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Wedding Attire: 5 wedding dress codes explained

Whether you’ve just got a wedding invitation in the door, or you’re planning your own wedding, dress codes can be tricky to suss out.

Planning your own wedding? This could be a helpful list to select your wedding dress code.

If you’re anything like us, there is always the inevitable question – what the eff do I wear? And the sheer panic that ensues thereafter.

Don’t forget, not every occasion needs an entirely new outfit, what about renting an outfit for the next wedding on the cards? Click here for more on dress rental in Ireland.

Black Tie

Black tie weddings are becoming increasingly popular, and could be considered the most formal of the wedding dress codes. Its easy to see why black tie dress codes are considered an easy go-to, not only will it mean that your guests have to turn out dressed to similar levels of formality, it also results in some really classy pictures.

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Men: Typically men will wear a formal tuxedo suit to a black tie wedding: a black formal dinner jacket, paired with tailored black pants, a white tuxedo shirt and a black bow tie. Occasionally, the colour of the bow tie can be changed, for example at Christmas, a red bow tie would be acceptable. A tuxedo may also include a cummerbund (a band or sash around the stomach) or a formal waist coat.
Women: For women, a black tie dress code usually means wearing a classy evening dress. Although a formal dress code, a modern take on black tie leaves a little more wiggle room for women to go either full length or ankle length, and colours can be dependent on season. Black tie also leaves room for additional accessories like fur stoles, hats, head bands and ornate pieces of jewellery.

Click for more on Dublin tuxedo rental

White Tie

White tie weddings are relatively new to Ireland, however this wedding dress code has been popular in the United States for a long time. Again, white tie is classed as one another very formal wedding dress code.

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Men: Similar to a black tie wedding, men would opt for a tuxedo. But, in the case of white tie weddings, men can opt for either a normal black tuxedo suit but with a white bow tie, or choose a white/cream tuxedo dinner jacket. Or, go with both a light coloured bow tie and dinner jacket over black tuxedo pants.
Women: A white tie wedding dress code does not necessarily give the green light for the girls to wear white, unless this is specifically mentioned on the invitation. Stick to a classic formal floor or ankle length evening dress, and you’re onto a winner.


Just a step below a black tie or white tie dress code, a formal dress code is still classed as one of the most proper forms of dress code. Formal can also be classed as ‘black tie optional’.

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Men: The formal wedding dress code usually requires men to wear a full suit: suit pants, shirt, tie and matching dinner jacket. Although black tie tuxedos are also usually acceptable under a formal wedding dress code.
Women: Similar to the more modern take on black tie, women should wear either ankle length or full length evening dresses. However, it goes without saying that a formal jumpsuit or skirt and top would most definitely be acceptable.


Most destination weddings will have a warmer and more humid climates, so its the perfect opportunity to pull out the linen.

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Men: The key is light fabrics – colour-wise and weight wise. Light chinos or slacks, with a crisp shirt and maybe a sports jacket. Linen suits are light, breathable and are pretty easy to get your hands on in summer. And they generally come in light colours which is perfect for warmer weather. Two things to be wary with linen is the unavoidable creasing and sweat patches.
Women: Destination weddings usually mean pops of colour, and summery silhouettes. Keep to tea length, ankle length or flowing full length skirts. Add sunglasses and voila.


Semi-formal is a dress code usually seen on an Afters or Day Two invite, but obviously could also be the vibe of the Big Day if the couple is aiming for a more laid back day.

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Men: Semi-formal, for men this means that chinos or slacks are perfectly acceptable along side a formal shirt and a blazer or sports jacket. Open shirt and no tie.
Women: For women, knee length or tea length skirts are perfect, however a long evening dress would probably be too much. You should also be able to wear an appropriate jumpsuit or a skirt and top combo.

What wedding dress code will you be choosing for your wedding?

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