When the invitation says “Casual” this might as well leaves many guests confused. Yes, you can get away with a lot of different looks when dressing for a casual-style wedding, but how casual is appropriate for the guests when dressing for a wedding? While this type of dressing sounds the most relaxed, it can also be the most open-ended, and, therefore, sometimes the most mystifying. The venue may help you better determine the level of formality – or lack thereof, but if you have no single clue of the wedding you’re going to attend, it’s best to keep to the safe side and aim for Business Casual.
The goal when dressing for casual wedding is polished but not uptight, so for the ladies, a floral shift, a sundress, a skirt with pretty blouse, a dress romper – but nothing too shorts, or a nice pair of tailored pants with a bright cardigan are the best bet particularly for a daytime function. For an informal dress code in the evening, you can be more adventurous in a trendy jumpsuit or boldly printed pants. Plus, don’t forget that shoes can also make the look more polished, which you can choose metallic flat sandals or wedges. But be sure nothing is going to be too flashy in this wedding. You don’t want to be more formal than the wedding couple.
As for guys, aim for date night—no suits or ties. A nice collared or button down shirt in a short or long sleeve, a tailored oxford shirt with flat-front chinos or sleek wool pants, or a nice polo with dress pants, or casual, but neat, khaki pants are best suited for this. If the event is more pub than lounge, the guys can always switch the pants to dark denim.
Lastly, although casual generally means anything goes, meaning the wedding will likely be held outdoors and will be much more laid-back, especially when it comes to attire. However, jeans, tank tops, t-shirts, stretchy pants, cargo shorts, flip-flops and athletic clothing would still be a poor choice, unless they’re specifically noted as acceptable.
ASOS : Pretty Floral Pleated Plunge ($104) / Paper Dolls Pencil Dress ($100) / Little Mistress Belted Skater Dress ($86) / Double Strap Cross Over Debutante Midi ($60)
Monsoon : Riley Embellished Dress (£69) / Keira Dress (£169) / Eda Dress (£149) / Cara Dress (£59)
The Limited : Striped Fit & Flare Dress ($49) / Crop Top Sheath Dress ($49) / Bow Belt Skater Dress ($35) / Layered Sheath Dress ($40)
Phase Eight : Juliene Dress (£79) / Hermosa Dress (£99) / Claudine Embroidered Dress (£140) / Deanna Textured Dress (£110)
A useful tip when you are in doubt about what to wear, or if there isn’t a clear statement about dress code in the invitation, remember that you can always ask the host or hostess what they expect party guests to wear. Or, there may be more information on the couple’s wedding website, if they have one. If your search still turns up zero results, make an educated guess based on the invitation, its wording, the location, and venue of the event.