• 02/14/2023

What Is Cocktail Attire for a Wedding?

cocktail attire - people cheer as a bride and groom walk by.

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Knowing what cocktail attire means for a wedding can help you plan what you will wear. When you are unsure of your expected attire, knowing what is suitable to wear as a guest can be challenging. Let’s explore cocktail outfits and how you should appear for a wedding with this dress code. 

What Is Cocktail Attire?

Cocktail attire is a mixture of elegant and casual dress codes. It’s not too formal and not too casual– it’s an excellent combination of the two. If you wear an evening gown, you will be overdressed. You will be underdressed if you wear a t-shirt and a pair of jeans. Think modest and classy when choosing your outfit. 

Cocktail Attire Guide

If you still aren’t clear on what to wear for a cocktail dress code, let’s explore some ideas further. You won’t want anything too tight or short. An appropriate dress would be about knee-length.

Dress or Pantsuit 

A mid-length dress or a nice jumpsuit will embody the cocktail dress code at a wedding. You don’t want to wear loud patterns because you don’t want to draw attention. It is considered rude to try to draw attention away from the bride

A little black dress is a go-to ensemble for any cocktail event. As long as it isn’t too revealing, it can be the perfect dress for a cocktail party or wedding that calls for cocktail attire. If you opt for another color, steer clear of the color of the bridesmaid dresses. Stay away from loud and bold patterns for evening events. No matter the venue, neutral colors are always a safe bet. 


Accessories are everything with cocktail attire because you dress up or dress down pretty much anything with the right accessories. You want to ensure your jewelry isn’t too flashy. A subtle necklace and earrings will do the trick! 


You’ll want to wear a nice pair of heels to portray the proper dress code. You could get away with a dressy pair of sandals if you like. If you plan on dancing the night away, consider wearing flats or something a little more comfortable–just stay away from your trusty tennis shoes, no matter how tempted you are. 

Men’s Guide to Cocktail Attire

Men’s attire is a bit more straightforward. Here are a few guidelines for men’s cocktail attire

The Suit

Although cocktail attire straddles the line between formal and casual, you should still opt to wear a suit. Unlike women who should avoid wearing an evening gown, men can get away with being too overdressed. 

Any formal suit will work for this attire as long as it isn’t too casual. Wear a muted button-up shirt with a tie and a mid to dark gray suit to hit the nail on the head with this dress code. A jacket and a tie are a must for the outfit. 


A tuxedo is a bit too formal for a cocktail occasion, but you can dress up your suit jacket with a traditional tie or bow tie to personalize your look. Less is more with cocktail attire, so try to steer away from bright or bold prints on your personal touches. You can add subtle jewelry like rings to put a unique spin on your ensemble. 

Cocktail Attire for a Wedding

Wondering what to wear can put a damper on your plans to attend a friend or loved one’s wedding. Don’t let it ruin your excitement for the nuptials! As long as you know what cocktail attire is for a wedding, you’ll be able to find something in no time!  

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