Wedding Day Dress Codes - Colorado Weddings

Are you planning a wedding?
Did you recently receive an invitation for one?

This post is for you! Today we are talking about wedding day dress codes, and what they mean.

As a wedding planner, I can help guide you into an event that fits your desired; formal, casual, or anything in between.

The LAST thing you want is for your guests to show up to your casual wedding in a formal ballgown! This is the fast track to making somebody feel like they stick out like a sore thumb.

Let’s get started!

Wedding Day Dress Codes



WHITE TIE is the utmost in formal, spared for only the finest soirees in the finest locations.

BLACK TIE is a close second, and still very formal but much more approachable for most guests.

When you plan a black-tie or white-tie event, guests expect an upscale experience!

Chef prepared food, no-expenses-spared decor, beautiful venues, and impeccable service. Think white-gloved service staff, valet parking, spotless bathrooms, and seamless dinner service.

White tie events demand tuxedos (often with tails, and often white) and formal floor-length ballgowns, without exception. Guests may choose to have their hair & makeup done professionally at a spa before the event, and much of the attire may be of designer quality.

Black tie events require tuxedos or black suits, and formal dresses (usually floor length, but any length is acceptable). While still formal, there is much more room for guests to choose attire that fits their budget and tastes.

Bridal attire for a black or white tie event should be spectacular! Think eye-catching designer ballgowns, mermaid gowns with plenty of interesting detail, and sheath gowns in fine fabrics.



Formal events are still upscale, but without the rigorous etiquette and attire expectations of a black or white tie wedding.

A formal wedding may be in an upscale venue such as a golf course or hotel, and may offer more casual aspects (example: a mac & cheese bar or a dessert food truck at 10pm, which may be considered too casual for a black or white tie event).

Black Tie Optional’ tells guests that formal attire would not be out of place, should they desire to go all out!

It also tells guests that casual attire would be out of place, and to save their favorite cotton sundress for another event.

Guests may choose to wear suits or tuxedos of any color, and beautiful dresses in any style or length.



Cocktail style doesn’t necessarily mean that only cocktails will be served, but it does mean that the wedding will be a touch more formal than simply ‘casual’.

Cocktail encourages women to wear dresses of any length, and men can choose to wear a suit without the jacket, vest, or formal tie.

Cocktail style weddings often have many casual elements, while still having an upscale feel without the stuffy etiquette of more formal events.



Casual weddings are laid back and relaxed.

Casual indicates that a cotton sundress, cowboy boots, and jeans with a button down shirt and tie are welcome.

It is ALWAYS smart as a wedding guest to dress more ‘up’ than ‘down’, however a casual event gives more license to choose a more relaxed look.

Backyards, ranches, and the beach are perfect venues for casual events!


What kind of wedding are you hoping to plan? As a guest, what are your favorite kinds of weddings to attend?

If you are working on your Colorado wedding, I’d love to chat! I can make your ideas a reality, whether they are casual, white-tie, or anything in between.