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5 Clever Dress Code Wording Ideas For Your Wedding Invitation

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So you’re getting hitched? Congratulations! It’s the happiest time of your life and you have a million things to get ready, and a few dozen people to wrangle together under one roof.

You’ve got enough of a headache getting everything in order, let us make your life a little easier with a few tips to help you define your dress code in a clever way that inspires your guests to have fun, too.

stylish wedding invitation with modern flowers and floral ornaments and bow tie on wooden background top view

1. Location, Location, Location

The easiest way to convey what your guests should and shouldn’t wear is by describing the place it will be held. Something like “Hawaiian shirts are great, but the church is in Idaho.”

By giving the setting and venue you can construe a sense of what you are looking for in a dress code without coming off as a Frankenbride.

Some more examples of this could be:

  • “Hang up those heels because we are partying on the sand.”
  • “Saying I do with a view, so dress for wind.”
  • “Island wedding, so light on the layers.”

You can substitute words a lot of these and they still work great!

The fantastic thing about your location is that if it matches the theme and style of the wedding you can get a lot of value by describing where the event will be at. If a wedding is going to be in a traditional Japanese shrine, most people can infer that they shouldn’t be wearing a rainbow t-shirt.

2. Let Your Theme Be Seen!

Another easy way to make your guests know how they should dress is by making sure your theme sticks out in your invitation.

90’s wedding? Make your invitation look like a Nirvana album.

Space wedding with an alien groom? I’m not judging! Put planets all over the background of the card. This makes it easier for people going to a western wedding to not dress up like they are going to Sunday mass.

Some other examples:

  • “Break out those legwarmers and sweatbands because we are going back to the 80’s!”
  • “Get your phantom masks ready for our marriage masquerade!”
  • “Try on those glass slippers for a Cinderella wedding!”

The great thing about wedding themes is typically they are visually identifiable enough you can get the point across without writing anything about it at all. But if you do, these ideas may help break the ice a bit more gently.

3. Timing Is Everything

woman holding a wedding invitation card and bouquet of flower

So the time has come for you to start sending out wedding invitations in June, for an event in the dead of winter. Several people will get an outfit set out well before they realize that it is going to be 45 degrees with a wind advisory on the day of.

In all sincerity, you probably already have a date on the card (if not, definitely jot that down), but emphasize the season it is going to be in.


  • “It will be a winter wonderland, so don’t skimp on a jacket!”
  • “Wedding in summer, so coats are a bummer.”
  • “Fall, pumpkin spice, scarfs would be nice.”

Wedding invitation delivery dates fluctuate wildly from twelve months (or longer) before to as late as four
to six weeks before. Don’t be afraid to use seasonal imagery (falling orange leaves in autumn)
to double down on the time of year the event will be.

Giving yourself a wider window and emphasizing the month it will take place can help give your attendees a better idea of what to throw on!

4. A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

Sometimes the most informative way to get an idea across is through an image rather than a strongly worded letter. If you want people to dress for an authentic German wedding, be sure to put a picture of a group of people decked out in their best set of lederhosen.

Often times letters struggle to explain what someone wants in their dress code, but it’s much harder to mistake someone’s intentions when there is a picture of five people wearing it.

If you prefer to do a very formal, traditional wedding then by all means post people in elegant dresses and sharp, three-piece tuxedos.

If you want something a bit more unique than a picture can explain, include a caption explaining the idea you are shooting for in your dress code. That way you can set the tone and specify it in greater detail just below
the image!

5. Informative, Not Intimidating

Woman with a wedding invitation card

The people you will be inviting are all your friends and family members (We hope). It may prove fruitful for the future of these relationships and the success of your wedding to not admonish them in your letter.

Be very aware of the tone you use in your letter so that it comes across as helpful and happy rather than demanding and demeaning.

There are countless stories of the infamous bridezilla rampaging through their loved ones’ lives; you don’t want that reputation. Something like, “Colorful dresses for all but the bride!” comes across much more pleasantly than, “If you wear white you will not be allowed into the venue.”

Half the battle is how you phrase the wording more than the point you are (sometimes aggressively) trying to get across.

You can always get a point across without having to sound threatening. It’s a happy day, your invitation should reflect that.

Use this in conjunction with any of the previous tips for a much smoother experience. Sugar is sweeter than salt, people will be more inclined to abide by your wishes if they actually like you.

Getting to the brass tacks, there are a million different ways people can design and word their wedding invitation. These are certainly not the only ways to make an invitation, and at the end of the day, it’s your wedding, you get to decide.

But with a little creativity and some of the ideas listed above, you will be one stress-free step closer to
having the wedding you’ve always wanted.