Dress Codes, Decoded! 20 Gorgeous Dresses to Wear to Any Type of Wedding, on Any Budget

Wedding dress codes can be tricky - especially when trying to stay within a budget. These 20 beautiful dresses will allow you to be the best-dressed guest with absolutely no stress

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WHITE TIE

white-tie
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Our Muses: Mandy Moore, Jennifer Lopez and Zoë Kravitz

The most formal dress code for weddings, white tie requires a floor length gown. It’s your chance to take a cue from celebrities on the red carpet and go glam. You can never go wrong with a black dress, but if you feel like wearing color, go for it (as long as the wedding theme allows)!

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Needle & Thread

needle thread net a porter

Buy It! Prism Ditsy Lace-Trimmed Embroidered Tulle Gown, $560; net-a-porter.com

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Likely

likely neiman marcus

Buy It! Maxson One-Shoulder Column Evening Gown, $378; neimanmarcus.com

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Hale Bob

orchard mile

Buy It! Navina Sequin Bird Dress, $290 (orig. $362); orchardmile.com

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Lulu's

lulus nordstrom

Buy It! V-Neck Trumpet Gown, $84; nordstrom.com

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BLACK TIE

black-tie
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Our Muses: Malin Akerman, Mandy Moore and Hilary Swank

A tea length or floor length dress is the way to go for a black tie wedding. Play it up with patterns, embellishments, color, cut-outs or a fun silhouette but just remember to make sure it’s formal enough.

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Milly

milly neiman marcus

Buy It! Mckenzie Twist Strapless Polka-Dot Silk Chiffon Gown, $795; neimanmarcus.com

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Cooper St.

cooper st lord and taylor

Buy It! Floral Ruffle Trumpet Gown, $289.95; lordandtaylor.com

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Jarlo

nordstrom

Buy It! Freda Knotted Strapless Mermaid Gown, $195; nordstrom.com

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Aqua

aqua bloomingdales

Buy It! Tiered Floral Gown, $218; bloomingdales.com

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BLACK TIE OPTIONAL

optional
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Our Muses: Lupita Nyong'o, Kim Kardashian and Leslie Mann

Slightly less formal than black tie, this allows guests the option of a long dress, formal cocktail dress or dressy separates.

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Ulla Johnson

ulla johnson revolve

Buy It! Penninah Dress, $690; revolve.com

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H&M

hmprod

Buy It! Pleated Dress, $54.99; hm.com

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Mango

mango

Buy It! Appliqué Asymmetric Dress, $169.99; mango.com

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Likely

shopbop

Buy It! Lovelle Dress, $378; shopbop.com

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FESTIVE

festive
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Our Muses: Naomi Watts, Sofia Vergara and Saoirse Ronan

Playful, fun dresses are a go for a “festive” dress code. Guests should feel free to experiment with patterns, prints, textures, and styles – and to pick pieces with color!

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TiMo

free people

Buy It! Semi Couture Gown, $545; freepeople.com

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Bec & Bridge

bec bridge shopbop

Buy It! Marvellous Mini Dress, $240; shopbop.com

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Shoshanna

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Buy It! Balmwell Off-the-Shoulder Dress, $595; anthropologie.com

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LPA

LPAR-WD182_V1

Buy It! Halter Wrap Dress, $218; revolve.com

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CASUAL

beach
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Our Muses: Lea Michele, Nicole Richie and Amal Clooney

Usually, a dress code with the word “casual” in it indicates a beach or some kind of outdoor wedding with a low-key atmosphere. Sundresses and printed maxis are the perfect option for this type of wedding.

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Mara Hoffman

anthro

Buy It! Mei Lace-Up Dress, $475; anthropologie.com

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Free People

free people maxi

Buy It! One Bali Nights Dress, $168; freepeople.com

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MSK

macys

Buy It! Metallic Print Pleated Blouson Gown, $95.99 (orig. $129); macys.com

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J.Crew

jcrew

Buy It! Tiered Gingham Gown, $178; jcrew.com

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