How many times have you gotten invited to a wedding and you call all of your friends that are going because you don’t know what the heck is appropriate to wear to it?

I had that moment this past weekend when both Risa of Really Risa and I were attending a fall beach wedding that called for semi-formal attire.

The term “semi-formal” seems to be thrown around loosely on wedding invites and a beach wedding can totally contradict a fall evening wedding. What’s a girl to do?

STYLIST TIP: Here’s my little cheat sheet to break down what your wedding dress code really means

  • BLACK TIE: This call for formal attire usually is intended for evening weddings where men where tuxedos, so you should look equally as formal in an evening gown in a dark or neutral color.
  • FORMAL OR BLACK TIE OPTIONAL: This is less formal, so while tuxes and gowns aren’t required, they are still appropriate. A dressier dark or neutral color cocktail dress dressier in fabrics like silk or chiffon would work as well. Dressy separates are acceptable.
  • SEMIFORMAL: A cocktail dress in darker colors for an evening wedding and lighter colors, less formal fabrics for a daytime wedding (before 6pm). Dressy separates and floor-length or maxi dresses are okay, but be mindful of the fabric/embellishments, as you don’t want to look too formal.
  • CASUAL: This is usually for beach, outdoor, or destination weddings and means business casual (no jeans!), but usually a sundress or a dress you would wear to a nice dinner is standard. Once again, be mindful of the fabric that it is not too formal.
  • NO ATTIRE LISTED ON THE INVITE: My motto is that it’s always better to be over-dressed than under-dressed, so if your invite doesn’t call for a specific attire or you’re still not sure, dress for the venue, time of day, season, and you can always wear a more casual dress formally (like I did here with this jersey knit dress). *Whatever you do, do NOT wear white or anything you would wear to a club.*

Don’t forget that for a fall or winter wedding, you’re going to want to stay warm, so make sure you wear something over your dress. A tuxedo style blazer in black is always a safe bet to throw over your shoulders. Stockings in sheer black are always acceptable for evening weddings, as long as you wear closed toe heels.



Hipknoties in long, worn as a maxi dress (c/o) // Nona E. Rose belt (c/o) // Theory blazer (scored at HousingWorks sample sale) // Deepa Gurnani headband (c/o) similar online // Topshop shoes // Sorial clutch (c/o) // vintage cuff // etc… bracelet