What to Wear to a Casual Wedding (2023)

For a couple that’s more laid-back than lavish, a casual wedding is the way to go. Casual weddings typically have a smaller guest list, which allows the couple to be more present with their guests and actually enjoy the experience rather than worrying about what’s next on the timeline. Instead of four-course meals and a detailed seating chart, expect to see comfort foods and open seating at the reception.

A casual ceremony may seem simple, but it’s still a celebration worthy of looking your best. So, how do you dress for this type of wedding without going too informal or too dressy? We asked an expert in fashion and wedding styling to help define and recommend what to wear for this particular dress code.

Meet the Expert

  • Yasmin Moinian is a personal stylist at Wishi, an online styling service founded by acclaimed celebrity stylist Karla Welch. Wishi connects you with the world's top stylists to help you shop online while incorporating what's already in your wardrobe.

Together with the expertise of personal stylist Yasmin Moinian, we’ll outline the basic do’s and don’t’s of this dress code and help you low-key nail the laidback look.

Casual Wedding Attire for Men and Women

When choosing what to wear, sometimes it’s easier to start with what not to wear. Avoid jeans, shorts, tank tops, and tennis shoes, unless the invitation specifically says otherwise. Sandals are tricky, as some might consider them too casual for an event like a wedding, while others say sandals are the obvious choice for casual beach nuptials. Again, rely on the invitation to steer you in the right direction.

What is Casual Wedding Attire?

Casual wedding attire is clothing that’s comfortable and easy to dance in—nothing fussy or over-the-top. Most casual weddings are held outdoors, so this style of attire should be something that works during that day and at night.


To play it safe, Moinian recommends women wear a wedge or block heel. For men, a casual loafer gives off a relaxed vibe that goes perfectly with a casual wedding.What's more, your attire will be dependent on the season and temperature. What you might wear to a beach wedding is completely different from what you’d wear to a backyard affair in the fall.

In the spring and summertime, stick to lightweight fabrics. “Men in navy, cream, or white linens is great casual attire,” says Moinian. “For women, floral dresses are a great example as well for warmer weather.”

In the fall, a casual suit (tie optional) or a blazer and dress pants, in a dark hue, are both appropriate options. For women, Moinian suggests a midi dress in a silk or chiffon fabric. If it's chilly, feel free to add a sweater on top. Play around with funky fabrics, patterns, and accessories to make your casual look more unique and reflective of your own personal style. As far as designers go, some of Moinian’s go-to brands include Christopher Esber, Staud, and Loewe.

To make your ensemble more special, add little touches that give a nod to the wedding theme (if the couple has one). For a beachy wedding, wear palm tree-themed accessories or consider a fishtail braid for your hair.

​​Avoid wearing black, which can come off more formal and/or stuffy. Casual weddings are a perfect opportunity to play with color when it comes to your wardrobe!

Casual Wedding Attire Etiquette

If the invite says casual, the couple is probably expecting that at least a few guests will test the boundaries on both sides of the spectrum of what’s considered “casual.” It’s easy to go overboard, since it is a wedding, after all, but don’t overthink it. “[The] basic dress code for a casual wedding would be [to not wear] something overbearing,” says Moinian. “Don’t go above and beyond. Just an easy dress that you could wear day or night.”

There’s a common belief that it's always better to be overdressed than under-dressed at a wedding, which is true for the most part. But if the event is more informal, chances are that the bride is wearing a no-fuss simple yet elegant wedding dress. The last thing you want to do is upstage the bride, which is easier to do at a casual wedding than at a formal occasion.

(Video) 7 WEDDING GUEST OUTFITS | what to wear when attending a casual wedding

Consider the couple, their preferences, and what they would consider casual if you’re hung up on what to wear. The answer should be fairly obvious given your relationship with the couple, especially if the ceremony has a smaller guest list, which means they consider you to be a close and personal friend. When in doubt, text someone else who’s going and ask for their opinion.



What should a guest wear to a casual wedding? ›

"When it says casual, men could show up in pants and a blazer with no tie—or maybe not a jacket at all—but just a nice shirt and a pair of slacks. Women can wear a nice sundress or dress, a jumpsuit or a two-piece outfit," says Julie Sabatino, a bridal stylist and founder of The Stylish Bride.

What should a female guest wear to a casual wedding? ›

Casual Wedding Outfits for Women

Sun dresses and maxis are ideal casual wedding guest attire, as they can easily look dressed up with the right accessories, hair, and makeup. Assuming it's a casual summer wedding, think about bright colors, florals, pastels, and bold geometric prints.

Can I wear jeans to a casual wedding? ›

Dress pants aren't always necessary if there isn't a formal wedding dress code in place, so jeans are a maybe. Before you wear jeans or khaki pants, however, consult other guests or even the happy couple about the wedding dress code to ensure they aren't too casual.

What do you wear to a smart casual wedding? ›

Smart casual: For the ladies, a summery midi/maxi dress or top and skirt combo are appropriate for a smart casual affair, with a more relaxed shoe style like wedges or even dressy flats. For the guys, a suit is definitely not required.

How casual is too casual for a wedding? ›

Steer Clear of Anything Too Casual

Even if a wedding is casual and relaxed, still dress with respect. No flip, flops, shorts, or jeans should be on your list of options to wear. Instead, ladies find a casual dress, and men wear a nice pair of this with a relaxed shirt.

What shoes do you wear to a casual wedding? ›

While you don't want to choose a red-carpet-worthy heel, you also don't want to dress too casually by wearing a pair of sneakers. Unless the invitation specifically calls for them, leave your sneakers at home. There are plenty of other flat shoe options like mules, flat sandals, or even a cute pair of Western boots!

What is dressy casual for a woman? ›

What does dressy casual mean? It's a way to describe an overall aesthetic that is basically not-all-the-way-formal-but-please-don't-wear-jean-shorts. Swann explains that dressy casual is typically requested for daytime weddings—and the earlier the event, the less formal the attire.

What is nice casual attire? ›

At an event, “casual” typically means a nice outfit that looks put together and fashion- forward, but doesn't necessarily require formal slacks, a blazer, or a gown. A pair of nice pants and a nice, casual top (no t-shirts!) is a great casual outfit. A nice sundress is also a good option for casual attire.

Is it OK to wear black to a wedding? ›

Can you wear black to a wedding? Yes, you can wear black to a wedding. While black used to be reserved for funerals and times of mourning, this color has become more and more acceptable for weddings. As always, make sure the wedding dress code doesn't advise against it!

Is it okay for a woman to wear pants to a wedding? ›

Yes, you absolutely can. If you don't like dresses or your legs are not your best feature, pants are totally acceptable, so long as you keep the time of day and venue in mind. Here are some ways to wear pants to a wedding with confidence.

What do you wear to a casual afternoon wedding? ›

For Women: A skirt and top or nice pants with a pretty top, and a casual sundress or casual cocktail would certainly be appropriate. For Men: If it's a very casual event, just a nice collared or button-down shirt in a short or long sleeve, worn with a tie, and some dress pants might suffice.

Can you wear a nice pair of jeans to a wedding? ›

Denim. "Unless its a Denim and Diamonds dress code, denim is pretty much an unwelcome guest at a wedding," Jacobs said. "This doesn't mean that pants or a jumpsuit are off the table, but it's best to leave your jeans at home."

What are the 6 types of casual attire? ›

  • Sundress.
  • Long or short skirt.
  • Khakis or nice jeans.
  • Shorts (depending on occasion and climate)
  • Plain T-shirt (no slogans), polo shirt, turtleneck.
  • Casual button-down blouse.

What does smart casual attire look like? ›

Smart casual is a pair of dark, slim jeans, a blazer, and desert boots. Smart casual is also chinos, a patterned shirt, and a bomber jacket. Done right, a smart casual look can work in “casual,” “business casual,” and even some “dressed up” environments while still standing out from the crowd.

What is proper dress for a 5 o'clock wedding? ›

A morning wedding typically calls for casual dress, while a ceremony after 5 p.m. generally calls for formal attire. The location can also help decode the dress code.

How much do you give for a casual wedding? ›

What is an appropriate amount for a cash wedding gift? As a rule of thumb, you can give $50-$500 as a single guest, depending on your relationship to the couple. For a casual guest who might not be making a ton of money, $75 should be sufficient.

What's not appropriate to wear to a wedding? ›

It doesn't matter if the dress code requests "casual" attire; jeans, T-Shirts, shorts, and sneakers are never appropriate to wear as a wedding guest. Show respect for the bride and groom by dressing formally. Sabatino suggests that men show up in a jacket and tie, even when the invitation says casual.

Is it okay to dress casual for a wedding? ›

Casual. This indicates the wedding will likely be held outdoors or on the beach, meaning the event will be much more laid-back, especially when it comes to attire. With that said, jeans, shorts, and tank tops are probably not appropriate unless they're specifically noted as acceptable.

What do guests wear instead of heels at a wedding? ›

If a heel isn't your style, or comfort level, opt for flats. We love these classic Badgley Mischka stunners because their neutral tone and timeless look make them a perfect go-to for weddings you'll attend for years to come.

Do you have to wear heels to a wedding as a guest? ›

"Guests at weddings should wear a pair of shoes that are formal as well as comfortable," says Kaeleigh Testwuide, a wedding expert and the owner of The Diamond Reserve. You don't have to wear sky-high heels that hurt your feet—think comfort and class, she recommends.

What does dressy casual mean for wedding? ›

It's a dress code that calls for special event clothing that's trendy, relaxed and comfortable. Think of the dress code as attire that is dressier than what you would wear to work, but not as formal as what you would wear to black-tie or formal events.

How do you dress casual but classy? ›

The go-to outfit is typically a pair of slacks in a neutral color, such as khaki, navy blue, or black. This is worn with a nice dress shirt. If you want, add a cardigan or blazer on top. Examples of a nice dress shirt include collared button-up shirts, crewnecks, ruffled blouses, cashmere sweaters, and vests.

What does elegantly casual look like? ›

Elegant Casual

A step above resort evening, with this dress code, men are expected to wear a long-sleeve dress shirt with slacks and dress shoes—no shorts, t-shirts, or sandals. Women can wear skirts or pants with a nice top or a dress.

What does a casual style look like? ›

Casual outfits refer to a look that is comfortable and relaxed. This usually consists of informal garments like jeans, a T-shirt, and even skirts. A simple T-shirt, for example, can dress down a look, taking the edge off a fancier outfit.

Can you wear a short dress to a wedding? ›

Is it inappropriate to wear a mini dress to a wedding? Definitely not! Mini dresses are appropriate for casual, cocktail, and semi-formal weddings. However, for a black tie, white tie, or formal dress code, skip the mini and instead opt for a floor-length gown.

Can a woman wear a blazer to a wedding? ›

Totally fine! Just make sure they're dressy enough for the nuptials. Start with tailored trousers and a polished blouse, or make things easy for yourself by grabbing a matching blazer.

Can you wear navy to a wedding? ›

Navy is a classic neutral that you can rely on for all dress codes and types of wedding attire. This shade pairs particularly well with evening celebrations as well as black tie, formal and semi-formal nuptials.

What does an older woman wear to a wedding? ›

For a formal or semi-formal wedding, grandmothers may choose a formal gown, a longer style dress, or an elegant suit-like style. For a casual wedding, a dress is still appropriate, as is a pantsuit, or skirt and blouse or dress and jacket combination!

What is appropriate for a woman to wear to a wedding? ›

Midi and Maxi Dresses

Longer-length dresses are an excellent option for weddings. Midi dresses also known as tea-length dresses hit below the knee to mid-calf length, while maxi dresses are long-length dresses that reach from the ankles to the floor.

Can I wear palazzo pants to a wedding? ›

With their breezy, comfortable feel and wide legs, palazzo pants are definitely one of the hottest trends of the season. Kudos to you for getting ahead of this fashion-forward and easy-to-wear item—and yes, you can wear it to your daughter's wedding!

What do 50 year old woman wear to weddings? ›

Women over 50 can enjoy a large number of flattering and stylish options to wear to weddings. Thanks to the “modesty” trend, which has been making its way into the mainstream for the past couple of years, you will find lots of midi dresses and maxi dresses, long sleeves, and high necklines.

Can a woman wear pants to an afternoon wedding? ›

Yes! Women can wear pants to a wedding, even a formal wedding, with some stipulations. These days, the old gender norms of men wearing pants and women wearing skirts are out the window (thank goodness). There is absolutely no reason why you can't rock pants to a wedding, as long as you do it right.

Can you wear black to a 4 pm wedding? ›

"It is perfectly acceptable and chic to wear black to evening, black tie, and winter weddings."

Can I wear jeans to a smart casual wedding? ›

(Jeans would not be welcome at a smart casual wedding, for example.) However, the denim in question should be immaculate - so give the ripped knees a miss. If you do choose to wear denim, it's recommended that you wear fitted pieces in a darker wash.

Can I wear jeans and blazer to a wedding? ›

Jeans are not typically considered acceptable for a cocktail attire wedding even with a blazer. Save this look for another time and place.

Can I wear black skinny jeans to a wedding? ›

Yes, you can absolutely wear dark or black jeans to a semi-formal wedding! I think it can look really chic and stylish, and it's definitely a more comfortable option than a dress or skirts. Just make sure to choose a nice pair of jeans that fit well and pair them with a dressy top or blouse.

What are examples of casual wear? ›

Examples of casual attire: Casual dress includes items like T-shirts, button-down shirts, blouses and sweaters on top. Bottoms might include jeans, khakis, linen pants, cropped pants or shorts. Casual shoes can include sneakers, loafers, low heels or sandals.

What is an example of casual clothing? ›

Casual: A Definition

This includes jeans, sweaters, t-shirts, sneakers, and much more. However, it usually excludes flip-flops, sweats or gym clothes, revealing clothes, stained clothes, heavily distressed or ripped items, and graphic shirts with offensive or controversial statements on them.

What is smart casual dress code for ladies? ›

Here are smart casual ideas for women: Pants, dresses, and shirts: Consider professional skirts, dress pants, or jeans. Your skirts and dresses can drape just below the knee. Tops: You can wear a neat blouse, t-shirts, and button-down shirts in plain colours, such as blue, red, white, or black.

What is the difference between smart casual and casual? ›

Casual clothing is more comfortable and relaxed. People may wear casual clothing to shop for groceries, lounge around the house or take the dog on a walk. Smart casual is typically neater in appearance. The wearer may choose this clothing when doing something outside the norm or when a dress code requires it.

What does smart casual look like for ladies? ›

Smart casual is a dress code that focuses on more relaxed clothing but still fits well and creates a polished appearance. It can be hard to determine what this means, but it is all about finding a balance. This could be dark-wash jeans, dress pants, co-ords, skirts and blouses, and more for women.

Are sneakers smart casual? ›

Yes, you can wear sneakers as part of a smart-casual dress code for women, men and gender-neutral styles. You can pair sneakers with jeans, khakis and chinos. You may even wear sneakers with some skirts for a more athletic smart-casual look for women.

Do you wear long or short dresses to a wedding? ›

For a more formal wedding, it is typically expected that female guests wear a long dress. But instead of breaking out the gown you wore to prom, try wearing a more appropriate evening gown. If the wedding is during the day, a pretty maxi dress should do the trick.

Can you wear black to a 5 pm wedding? ›

Can You Wear Black to a Wedding? Generally, wearing black to a wedding is appropriate. "Guests can absolutely wear black to a wedding," says Shawne Jacobs, President and Creative Director of Anne Barge. "In the past, black was a color typically worn for mourning.

Can I wear a black dress to a 5pm wedding? ›

As a general rule, "wearing black is totally acceptable, as the hue is very versatile," Sabatino affirms. However, you should avoid wearing white unless you are told otherwise.

Can you wear black to a casual wedding? ›

Generally, though, black is versatile enough to wear to any type of nuptials. Consider a loose black midi dress or shirt-and-slacks combo for a casual wedding, or opt for a sleek black jumpsuit or suit for an upscale dress code.

Is it appropriate to wear pants to a wedding? ›

Can you wear pants to a wedding? Yes, you absolutely can. If you don't like dresses or your legs are not your best feature, pants are totally acceptable, so long as you keep the time of day and venue in mind.

What's the rule on wearing black to a wedding? ›

As a general rule, "wearing black is totally acceptable, as the hue is very versatile," Sabatino affirms. However, you should avoid wearing white unless you are told otherwise. That shade, she says, is reserved exclusively for the bride.


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