Wedding Guest Etiquette for Cocktail Attire

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Wedding Guest Etiquette for Cocktail Attire
While the bride and groom must dress their best, the guests should find out what appropriate clothing for them is too. (wedding image by Mat Hayward from Fotolia.com)

Choosing an outfit for a wedding can be simple if you follow proper wedding attire etiquette. A wedding that requires cocktail attire expects that guests dress according to certain guidelines that call for a sophisticated look. Following the wedding guest etiquette for cocktail attire shows respect for the bride and groom's plans and wishes for their wedding.

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Men

Men should dress with elegance to present their charismatic and refined sense of style. According to Wedding Channel, tuxedos are not appropriate for weddings guests who are attending a cocktail attire wedding and reception. Cocktail attire is similar to formal attire for a wedding, and it calls for a nicely tailored suit. Men should pair a white button-up shirt with a svelte tie that complements the man's personal style.

Women

Finding an appropriate cocktail dress is an important choice for female wedding guests at a cocktail attire wedding. According to Wedding Channel, women should find chic dresses that veer away from a sweet look. They should avoid floral patterns and pastel tones to look sophisticated and stylish. Floral patterns are romantic, which is too pretty of a look for cocktail attire. Grey, black and grey-blue are good picks for the colour of dresses and accessories.

Children

Children are often not invited to weddings, although there are some exceptions. Male children can wear light suits for an outdoor daytime wedding, and they can wear dark suits for nighttime indoor weddings. Female children should wear dresses that are pretty and sweet looking because they are young. They do not need to dress in the style of an adult's cocktail dress. If the female child is a teenager, her look can be sophisticated instead of sweet.

Expectations

Wedding invitations often include a line about the dress that is appropriate for the wedding. If the invitations do not state outright what type of dress is expected, perhaps there is a hint in the wording and style of the invitation. Guests are welcome to contact the mother of the bride to find out what the engaged couple expects guests to wear. If the guests do not know the mother of the bride, they can contact the mother of the groom.

Season

Cocktail attire generally calls for short dark dresses for the women. If a wedding is outdoors, perhaps a lighter grey tone may be appropriate. For a winter wedding, women may ask whether they should wear long dresses. If a long dress does not seem appropriate, women can wear a heavy coat, scarf, or pantyhose with their cocktail dresses. There should be an emphasis on the comfort of the wedding guests. They should not dress out of season because they think a couple expects a certain look from them.

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