We love any excuse to rock a new look, and a wedding is one of the best opportunities to try out the latest trends (neon pink, anyone?) or go a little glam. But, when the dress code calls for semi formal wedding attire, it can be difficult to know where the (hem)line is. How formal is too formal? Are jeans allowed? Is there such a thing as too many sparkles?
With more and more couples opting for semi formal weddings, now’s the time to get up-to-date on this ambiguous attire dress code. With wedding season fast approaching, don’t stress! We’re digging into what semi formal wedding attire really means — so you can focus on finding the ‘fit that makes you stand out for all the right reasons, and not the wrong ones.
Plus, we’ve rounded up some stunning semi formal wedding attire for both men and women that have us counting down the days for our next wedding invite.
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What is Semi Formal Wedding Attire?
Semi formal wedding attire sits at the sweet spot between understated dressy and elevated casual. It’s also commonly referred to as “dressy casual” — which can be viewed as a weekend version of business casual. Think: flowy dresses, simple suit jackets, and timeless silhouettes.
For colors, prints, and hemlines, semi formal wedding attire doesn’t have strict rules like other dress codes, making it tricky to know what’s appropriate. We suggest factoring in the season and wedding venue to gauge what type of outfit is best. After all, a yellow mini dress may be perfect attire for a summer backyard wedding, but feel too flashy for a winter soiree in an elegant ballroom. It’s hard to go wrong when you dress specifically for the event!
To complete the semi formal wedding attire vibe, we recommend a natural, polished beauty look. That means you can skip the time-consuming updo and let your hair down (literally) with loose waves. And while we love a smoky eye, give your sparkly evening palette a rest and try a neutral color or simple wing instead.
GWS Semi Formal Wedding Attire Tip: When in doubt, go for the dressier option. While every couple may have different interpretations of what semi formal wedding attire means, most will appreciate the extra effort you took to dress up for their big day. So, if you’re deciding between khakis or slacks, we say nice dress pants never killed anyone.
Formal vs Semi Formal Wedding Attire
While you don’t want to ruffle feathers by dressing in ultra casual attire for a semi formal wedding, you also don’t want to go too far in the other direction. But where is the line between formal vs semi formal wedding attire?
With formal wedding attire, also known as black tie optional, guests will be dressing to the nines. For this dress code, you can expect elevated evening looks and luxe accessories that would be out of place in a casual setting. A semi formal wedding attire dress code, on the other hand, is one or two steps below that — less glitz and glam, more relaxed and refined.
For example, tuxedos fall in the black tie optional category, while suit jackets and dress pants are more dressy casual. Similarly, floor-length gowns are gorgeous for a formal wedding, and sophisticated midi dresses are perfect semi formal wedding attire.
What Should You Not Wear to a Semi Formal Event?
Sometimes, the easiest way to choose what you should wear to a semi formal wedding is by first figuring out what you shouldn’t wear. As we mentioned before, tuxedos and evening gowns are too dressy for semi formal wedding attire, as are pocket squares and glittery jewels. In other words, if the outfit would be at home in The Great Gatsby or Bridgerton, it probably doesn’t qualify as semi formal.
At the other end of the dressy spectrum, jeans are typically a no-go for a semi formal celebration. The same goes for t-shirts and most tennis shoes (although a trendy pair of sneakers could be elevated with a sophisticated suit). Think of it this way: anything that would make it on your Saturday afternoon coffee run probably isn’t a good fit for a semi formal wedding attire dress code.
What Type of Accessories Should You Wear With Semi Formal Wedding Attire?
Now for the fun part! Just because semi formal wedding attire doesn’t call for the bling of black tie or the endless options of a casual wedding, that doesn’t mean you can’t be playful with your accessories.
If you outfit is more on the casual side, dress it up with some statement jewelry (we love tassel earrings for moments like this) or a chic pair of heels. For ‘fits that are leaning formal, add some personality with a birthstone necklace or Euphoria-inspired nails.
When accessorizing suits, ties are not mandatory — but if the mood strikes, don’t be afraid to choose something with a bit of color. For shoes, dapper is always better, so we recommend a classy pair of dress shoes, oxfords, or loafers. And, while pocket squares and cufflinks are out for semi formal wedding attire, a sleek watch and classy belt will always be in.
The Best Semi Formal Wedding Attire for Every Style
Still not sure which direction to take with your semi formal look? We’ve got you covered. Whether you’re packing for a tropical destination wedding or planning your look for a small ceremony at a mountain lodge, we’ve narrowed down the best semi formal wedding attire for every style. Get ready to say yes to the dress — or the suit!
Semi Formal Dresses For Wedding
While dress pants and jumpsuits are totally acceptable and chic options for semi formal wedding attire, we’ll take any chance we can get to rock a breezy, on-trend dress. And, since semi formal dresses aren’t too (dare we say) dressy, you can easily wear them over and over. With these top picks, we’re all about leg slits, floral prints, and smooth satin.
1: Retro Floral Semi Formal Dress For Wedding
Since floor-length gowns are more black tie territory, we love a feminine and flowy midi dress for semi formal wedding attire. This square-neck option brings the vibes, with a retro floral print that has us dreaming of warm weather cocktail hour.
Pair this gown with these swoon-worthy pleated blush heels, and you’re pretty much golden.
2: Amber Satin Semi Formal Dress For Wedding
Turn up the heat with this amber semi formal midi dress. Gorgeous warm hues and long sleeves make this the perfect dress for an autumn wedding. Pair it with statement gold jewelry for a look that’s sophisticated and always stylish.
3: Romantic Green Floral Semi Formal Wedding Attire
When it comes to semi formal dresses for wedding guests, Reformation is the holy grail. Every detail on this romantic floral dress is perfect, perfect, perfect — and it also comes in four other dreamy prints. We have no notes!
4: Bold Pink Puff Sleeve Semi Formal Dress
A semi formal dress code doesn’t mean you have to hide your legs! Show off your summer glow with this bold short dress. Details like the puff sleeves and a deep v-neckline elevate the look, making it fun and appropriate semi formal wedding attire for a warm-weather celebration.
We love the playful, babydoll look of this aesthetic. It’s fun, flirty, and just the right amount of formal!
5: Elegant Satin Semi Formal Wedding Attire
Timeless and universally flattering, this satin dress from BHLDN adds a touch of elegance to semi formal wedding attire. With a number of muted hues to choose from, this gown would shine for an intimate winter wedding. It’s a classic and understatedly elegant look that can’t be beat.
6: Floral High-Low Semi Formal Dress With Ruffles
Trend alert: high-low dresses are back! This floral pick is business in the back and party in the front — making it a semi formal dream for fashion lovers. We’re OBSESSED. Perfect for warm weather ceremonies. Let’s just say, you’ll be the talk of cocktail hour with this beauty.
7: Minimalist Cowl Neck Semi Formal Slip Dress for Weddings
A minimalist slip dress is always a good idea for semi formal wedding attire (or any dress code, for that matter). Dress it up with statement earrings for a glamorous evening wedding, or tune it down with strappy sandals for a beach bash.
Let’s be honest, with a dress like this one, you’ll want to wear it well after the wedding day too.
8: Vintage-Inspired Semi Formal Dress With Puff Sleeves
A delicate vintage print softens the shorter hemlines of this oh-so-sweet semi formal dress. A little cottagecore, a little regencycore, and a lot dreamy. This dress is proving that puff sleeves will never go out of style. And the puffy skirt is seriously to die for. Such a statement!
Mens Semi Formal Wedding Attire
Good news — mens semi formal wedding attire can be as simple or as stylish as you make it. For men that prefer a classic, sophisticated look, the recipe is easy: a suit jacket, button-down, slacks, and a tie.
For those that are looking to break the mold and have some fun, you can make a statement (while still following the dress code) by adding bold colors and unexpected accessories. Our picks tick all the boxes, so all you have to do is add your personal touch.
9: Mens Semi Formal Gray Suit Jacket
For mens semi formal wedding attire, a sleek suit jacket is a no-brainer. This gray wool-blend option is modern and versatile, meaning you can wear it well beyond the wedding weekend.
10: Burgundy Wool Mens Semi Formal Wedding Attire
Turn heads with this mens semi formal skinny suit jacket. Burgundy adds a cool factor that elevates your look without going over the top. It’s undeniably subtle and sophisticated. Pair it with a dark turtleneck or crewneck for an elegant winter soiree.
11: Mens Semi Formal Gray Checkered Suit Pants
Inject your mens semi formal wedding attire with some personality! These gray checkered pants are effortlessly cool, and the slim fit is modern and flattering. Plus, they look great with a nice pair of sneakers — so nothing can hold you back on the dance floor.
12: Beige Mens Semi Formal Wedding Attire
A mens single-breasted blazer is classy and timeless, perfect for almost any season and wedding venue. The gray suit jacket and tan pants would look striking with a bright button-down that reflects the event venue.
Need more suit inspo?! We’ve got you covered with our fave wedding suits for a truly gentlemanly look.
13: Mens Semi Formal Mauve Suit Jacket
We love a statement color for mens semi formal wedding attire, and this mauve suit jacket is next-level dapper. Keep it classy with a white or black button-down, or give it a playful twist with a botanical print. Either way, you’ll be the life of the party with this look.
14: Mens Semi Formal Slim-Fit Blue Suit Jacket
Crafted with Italian stretch wool, this J.Crew suit jacket is designed for top-tier comfort and style. And, with a clean blue color, this mens semi formal look can easily be dressed up or down for a day-time versus evening event.
15: Linen Mens Semi Formal Wedding Attire
Let’s be honest, nothing sounds worse than wearing a fitted suit jacket during an outdoor wedding in July. That’s where linen suits come in. With breathable fabric, this mens linen blazer will help you stay cool (and look cooler) without straying from the semi formal wedding attire dress code.
16: Mens Semi Formal Linen Plaid Suit Pants
Chic, stylish, and unique, these brown plaid suit pants are made to be shown off. For a semi formal dress code, we would pair them with a smart pair of mens brown dress shoes to tie the whole look together.
Mastering Semi Formal Wedding Attire For All Seasons
After two years of cancellations and delays, weddings are in their comeback era. So, if your year looks anything like ours, then you probably have a different celebration lined up for every weekend. With so many fashion opportunities and so little time, we want to help you nail each look.
Whether your next event is in winter, spring, summer, or fall, we’ve got the wedding guest gowns that will light up the night (and your Instagram feed). We’ve also rounded up some dapper mens wedding suits that would put any man in Peaky Blinders to shame.
Found the perfect look? Tell us about it in the comments below!