Including a dress attire on your wedding invitations or communications is encouraged.
It will make your guest feel more comfortable, help to create an expectation for the theme of your Big Day, and give you the peace of mind around the attire that will will be worn at your event. Here are some basic descriptions commonly used on invites or communications:
Casual dress means wedding guests can wear pretty much anything they want. However, I recommend to be more specific and describe something like “a summer dress for the ladies and dress pants with button-down shirt or polo shirt for the guys.”
Cocktail Attire, Semi-Formal, or Dressy Casual
All three of these phrases are asking guests to dress somewhere between formal and casual. For example, a cocktail dress for the ladies and a suit and tie or a sport coat for the gents.
Beach inherently indicates casual, which is why formal is tacked on to the end — to indicate that it’s still a classy affair. I recommend specifics like “a formal summer sundress (tea-length or knee-length) with flats for the ladies and a summer suit with linen shirt, linen pants or khakis and sandals for the guys.”
Formal Attire or Black Tie Optional
These two phrases are very common in today’s weddings. They indicate that the wedding party will be in formal wedding attire, and it’s optional for all guests. We recommend a dark suit or tux for the men and formal evening wear (floor length dresses or evening pant suits) for the women.
Black Tie usually indicates an evening affair where the men where tuxedos and the women wear formal gowns of any length.
This is the most formal of all wedding dress codes. We’re talking soirees at the White House kind of evenings. The gentlemen dress in long-tail tuxedos and the women don full-length ball gowns. I hope to be so lucky as to attend one of these fabulous affairs!
Now that you know what language to use - where should the dress code go on the wedding invitation?
If your ceremony and reception are at the same location, the wedding dress code should be printed at the bottom right or bottom center of your invitation. This is known as corner copy, and is available on most wedding invitations. You will see the option to add corner copy as you personalize your wedding invitations.
If the ceremony and reception are in separate locations, your dress code should be printed on the reception card.