by Megan Wenzl September 02, 2020 3 min read

Although weddings across the nation have been postponed and cancelled, many are still happening on a smaller scale during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Whether you are having a micro wedding, a downsized version of your originally planned wedding, or just a ceremony you might be wondering what dress code to put on your invitations. 

With restrictions in many states on guest capacity limits, you might be rethinking the formality of your wedding. Were you going to have a 400-person casual wedding, but now because of downsizing, you have the budget for a more formal affair such as a black tie wedding?  

No matter how small your wedding is due to restrictions and keeping family and friends safe, it can still be as formal or informal as you want it to be. So to help you decide on what dress codes to put in your wedding invitations, here’s a modern-day guide. 

Black Tie 

boutonniere on suit

Black Tie events are one of the more formal-type of events. Black tie events call for Tuxedos for men. For women, think high-fashion cocktail dresses or long gowns. These are the high-end, fancy kind of events you see in movies. 

Black-Tie Optional or Formal

This means men can wear a tuxedo if they want to— usually if they have one in their closet. If you don’t have a tux, they don’t need to run out and rent or buy one — men can instead wear a darker colored suit and tie. For women, a long gown works well. 

Semi-Formal or Dressy Casual 

For a semi-formal event, dress somewhere in the middle of formal and casual. The same dress goes for dressy casual. While that can mean different things depending on what your definition of “formal” is, opt for either a cocktail dress or dressed up skirt with a top. Dress pants work this type of event too. Men can wear a suit and tie or dinner jacket with slacks. 

Festive 

teal dress

This type of dress is supposed to add some color and fun into the more popular dress codes. So women could wear colorful dresses or men could wear something fun like a bowtie. With this dress code, you could even decide on a fun theme. Let your guests know if you do have a wedding theme, like tropical or Oscar night. 

Casual 

This might be the perfect dress code for outdoor, social-distance weddings. But I will leave that up to you. For this dress code, women can wear a sundress, dressy skirt with a dressy top, or dress pants. Men can wear a sports jacket with slacks. Be mindful that just because the dress code is casual, make sure your guests don’t wear jeans or cargo shorts. Casual still means to dress appropriately. And you don’t want to look back on your wedding photos with your best friend wearing sweatpants. 

While deciding on a dress code can be difficult, especially during COVID-19, make sure you think about what you want and not what your guests want. You do not have to go with the dress codes on this list, you could make up your own dress code. If you want a black-tie event with 20 people in attendance, go for it. If you want a festive theme with lots of colors and maybe even some fun hats, do it. It’s your wedding.