As the hosts at your wedding, you and your other half will want your guests to feel welcome and comfortable at every turn.

Which is actually why having a wedding dress code is a good idea. You may think it a bit too formal and a bit control-freakish to have a dress code, but actually when your guests know exactly what they are expected to wear, they may be quite relieved.

What should guests wear to a wedding? And what should they avoid?

Turning up wearing the wrong outfit is embarassing

It’s one thing the Royal Family get absolutely right at their weddings. Their male guests are expected to wear morning suits and their female guests a hat. Because everybody knows what they are expected to turn up in, it makes choices a lot easier.

If you’re getting married on a tropical beach, then we’d say you should definitely have a dress code. Something like linen suits you don’t want your male guests wearing wool. Or maybe you even want to have board shorts and shirts!

This actually might be the time to have polo shirts especially printed up for your male guests to wear.

Wedding looks with flowers

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Male guests

If you want your male guests to dress a certain way, then it’s a good idea to specify this on the invitation. There’s nothing worse if you’re a man than turning up in a morning suit to a wedding when every other man is wearing a lounge suit. Or vice versa.

So put ‘morning suits’ or ‘lounge suits’ on your invitation and then your male guests will have a good steer on what they should wear.

Nicki Feltham Photograph

Morning suits look smart but not every man has one and may have to hire one. Nicki Feltham Photograph


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Female guests

Hats are certainly on trend, particularly after the recent two royal weddings. So if you’d like your female guests to wear a hat, put that on the dress code too.


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Novelty dress codes

If you’re having a themed wedding, say ‘ Game of Thrones ‘or ‘Marvel’ then you may want your guests to come dressed in fancy dress and in character.

It’s certainly going to be an ice breaker and a talking point but we’d advise you to think carefully about this one.

If you’re having a small wedding, attended by a few of your friends, then go ahead. But if you’re having a wedding with extended family and friends of different ages (as well as work colleagues) then tread carefully.

Not everyone loves fancy dress and the older generation who may not be acquainted with the likes of Jon Snow or Daenerys Targaryen will wonder what it’s all about.

However, if you do want to have some fun at your reception, then you could always have a dressing up box with hats, scarves and other props so guests can pose for photographs.


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An easy dress theme idea

If you’re really set on having a dress code theme, then the easiest way of doing this is with colour.

So if your wedding is themed around apple green, then ask guests to consider that in your dress code. They don’t have to wear all green but could have a green tie, shoes, handbag, hair accessory.

If you’re marrying around Christmas, then ask your guests to dress in festive colours, reds, greens. Or introduce some metallics into the mix, with festive golds and silvers.

People don’t mind adding a touch of a theme to their outfits, it’s not the same as having to get dressed in full fancy dress kit!

What about children?

Adults aside, you can always opt for a dress theme for youngsters. Maybe put together a box of onesies of different animals so they can dress up for photographs and look super cute at the same time. Or a box of hats, helmets, bonnets or animal masks.

Dress themes – summing up

  • It’s a good idea to put a dress code on your wedding invitation, morning suits, lounge suits, hats for the ladies, so people know what they are expected to wear.
  • Steer clear of fancy dress weddings, they are very niche and will put some guests off.
  • Have a dressing up box for kids and guests who want to get into the mood for photographs.