Photo courtesy Image Studio

New age weddings and quirky wedding guest dress codes: explained and decoded

Is your close friend's upcoming wedding invite giving you nightmares?
Weird or quirky dress codes many a times leave wedding guests scratching their head. There has been a significant rise of quirky wedding dress codes. Non-traditional dress codes have become the latest trend for new age couples. The trend started with destination weddings, with couples wanting to further capture the sense of the location or create an overall color palette that would look striking in pictures.

Many couples want to be different and want their event to stand out. This is the reason why wedding dress codes are becoming increasingly creative, theme-specific and often leaving guests with a sartorial conundrum of trying to decipher exactly what to wear.

Be curious no more, we have researched and explained (With photos and recommendations) some of the latest experimental wedding dress code jargon just for you-

"California formal"

Dress in "California formal" - The invite says wedding guests should wear "California Formal," but what does that really mean? This suggests an elegant outdoor wedding in California—so dress to impress.

He should wear: A summer suit with a shirt and formal shoes. Most gentlemen will be wearing ties. Sunglasses are a must.

She should wear: A formal summer dress at tea, knee, or floor length. Makeup and hair can be natural. Many ladies will be dressed in flowing flower or print dresses with their hair down and loose. Sunglasses and a light sweater or wrap are a must. 

"Brooklyn formal Dress code"

Dress in "Brooklyn formal Dress code"- One can elaborate on the dress code as follows- nothing "too stuffy or too cool-for-school, nothing that is going to prevent you from getting down on the dance floor.

She should wear- "Sundresses, cute summer bright print dresses, same color or pattern sets" .

He should wear- summer suits, bowties, and stylish sneakers are all welcome.

"Bohemian black-tie"

Dress in "Bohemian black-tie" - We could literally translate this as formal boho chic look. Embroidery, tassels, busy prints and fringes all are welcome on a long maxi length dress. Ox-blood, black, reds, browns would be great dress colors unless specified otherwise.

She should wear- Long max dresses, long flared dress, big sleeve or embroidery dresses.

He should wear- velvet suit jacket, or printed brocade tie or bow tie will add drama to a regular black suit and complete the look. Interesting shoes in terms of shape or texture will also look cool.

"Farmhouse chic" or “fancy ranch”

Dress in "Farmhouse chic" or “fancy ranch” attire - As the name suggests, farmhouse chic or fancy ranch would be full of sunshine and also might equate to white or light-colored clothing. The location is rustic and the look of the wedding is an homage to beautiful nature. I would recommend trying Madras check pattern maxi dresses or floral embroidered looks. You can always go for dressy separates instead of a dress as well.

She should wear- Check or stripes dress in earthy tones or floral embroidered dresses or separates.

He should wear- Check shirt with a summer suit can look great on this occasion.

"Coastal chic" or "Elegant Beach attire"

Dress in "Coastal chic" or "Elegant Beach attire"- This will be an elegant beach wedding, so dress to impress.

She should wear- A formal summer sundress in citrus colors or print at tea or knee length with flat sandals. Makeup and hair can be natural or curls may also look great with some flowers.

He should wear- A summer suit with a linen shirt (no ties required), linen pants (or khakis) and sandals.

"Fabulous Attire"

Dress in "Fabulous Attire"- It can be interpreted multiple ways. It means you're not restricted to black-tie, but says you gotta look good. It gives guests more leeway than "formal", and lets women dress up with "no rules.

She should wear- A dressy dress, cocktail dress, full length dress, anything that says you made an extra effort to dress up. Hair and make up should be event appropriate and heels are a must.

He should wear- A formal suit, or a formal dinner jacket will look great. Bow tie, tie can be optional.

“Gatsby chic”

Dress in “Gatsby chic”- Hello 1920's, belle epoque era. Gatsby chic means glamorous so welcome shades of gold and glitter. Straight fits are great for this theme with some shimmer. Think about the movie "The Great Gatsby" featuring Leonardo Di Caprio, the hair, make up and costume can serve as the inspiration.

She should wear- A short glitter dressy dress, fringed dresses with a flapper headband and matching heels. Straight pinned hair will also look good.

He should wear- A formal double breasted suit with a pocket square.

“Summertime soiree”

Dress in “Summertime soiree”- Its so much more fun to get dressed up in summer. There are boundless colors, patterns and styles to choose from and it’s a great time to try something new and get creative with your outfits. Summertime soiree can be translated as a little dressier summer party. You combine simpler looks with statement earrings and shoes or wear a statement dress.

She should wear- A beautiful printed dress in colors you love, combine it with a gorgeous cane bag, kitten heels or mules and big loose curls.

He should wear- A linen suit in pastel color or a gorg jacket with jeans.

velvet dress for women

Gaudi Teal Wrap Velvet Dress

View Details
Liquid error (sections/pf-dfc2ba2a line 229): product form must be given a product
maxi dress for women

Elsa Art Deco Maxi Dress | Wedding Guest Dress

View Details
turquoise dress for wedding

Amber Blue Dress | Wedding Guest Dress

View Details
Resort wear elegant evening jacket dress for women

Amalfi printed Jacket Dress | Wedding Guest Dress | Graduation Dress

View Details
Liquid error (sections/pf-dfc2ba2a line 313): product form must be given a product
Liquid error (sections/pf-dfc2ba2a line 334): product form must be given a product
Liquid error (sections/pf-dfc2ba2a line 355): product form must be given a product

about the writer

Sandhya Garg is a Project Runway designer. She studied and specialized in women's fashion at London College of Fashion, UK and has worked at Alexander McQueen, Gucci, Liberty London, Alice Temperley to name a few.

She has her own successful resort dresses, special occasion dresses, wedding guest looks, swim coverups label. While on Project Runway Season 13, she won 2 challenges and was fortunate to show her collection at Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week. The brand has been featured in Marie Claire US,, Elle Magazine, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Vogue online to name a few.

She designs limited edition high end printed spring dresses and swim coverups. Beautiful prints are inspired from around the world to be worn during travel, resort stay or cruise holidays.