What Is Semi-Formal Wedding Attire?

Wedding dress codes can be tricky to navigate, especially when the destination is somewhere tropical. All you may want to pack are sexy designer bikinis and matching cover ups. However, there’s a certain expectation when it comes to attending a wedding, no matter how casual it may seem. 

A black-tie wedding dress code is easy to understand, but what is semi-formal wedding attire in comparison? This type of dress is defined as a more relaxed look than gowns and tuxedos, which means fashionable cutouts, bright patterns, shorter hemlines, and festive accessories are all welcome to the wardrobe. When considering semi-formal dresses for wedding attendees, it’s perfectly acceptable to err on the casual side, while keeping the definition of the semi-formal fashion trends in mind. 

Not sure exactly where to start with your wedding guest attire? We have a few ideas to get you started and spark some fashion inspiration with our beach dresses

Casual Wedding Dress Ideas with Fashionable Cutouts

Formal wear usually trends toward the modest side with conservative necklines and coverage on the knees and, often, the shoulders as well. In regards to semi-formal dresses for wedding wear, you can have a little more fun with the structure of the dress. 

Cutouts are one way to feel sexy and on-trend without being too revealing for the occasion. The Julien Long Dress, Azure Cutout Dress, and Cashmere Elisa Long Dress beautifully balance refinement with a flirty twist that’s ideal for semi-formal wedding attire.

Julien Jessie Long Dress

Julien Jessie Long Dress

The Julien Jessie Long Dress is a feminine style that utilizes cutouts to add edge to the flowy dress shape. The deep midnight blue color and white floral details are sophisticated. Meanwhile, the details of the dress keep it from being too buttoned up. A plunging neckline and a casual front tie, plus a tulip hemline with thigh-high slit keeps the look breezy but still structured enough to wear as semi-formal wedding attire. 

These fashionable elements are balanced out by short sleeves and a fully-covered back. The Julien Jessie Long Dress is one of the chicest semi-formal dresses for wedding ceremonies with a more casual dress code. Wear with simple, dressy separates such as sandals and minimal accessories, as to not compete with the detailed structure this dress has to offer.

Azure Cutout Dress

Color and cutouts work together well in the Azure Cutout Dress. The gorgeous green hue and silk-blend fabric offer a softness to this striking dress. The refined structure of the bodice flows into a floor-length skirt with a cutout detail at the side to elevate the dress’ stylish appeal. 

The back tie and slits at the sides present a floaty aesthetic. It tops the list of the best casual wedding dress ideas for any body shape and personal style. Silver earrings and a floating necklace are elegant accessories to pair with this comfortable style. And, neutral-toned sandals help to complete the look.

Cyndi Long Dress

The Cyndi Long Dress is a memorable look due to its unique wrap style and honey gold beads on the straps and waist ties. The look carries the drama of a formal affair but adds a flirty slit at the front as a reminder of its semi-formal nature. It’s a free-flowing dress that also allows wearers to bare a little leg to create a sophisticated look and feel. As a result, it looks great when paired with either stilettos or chunky heels.

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Bright Patterns and Bold Colors Make a Chic Statement

In addition to having fun with cutout designs and high slits for movement, bright patterns and bold colors are equally chic and on-trend for any special occasion. When edging away from the classic black-and-white color combination that usually accompanies formal weddings, there are no rules when it comes to colors allowed for semi-formal wedding wear. Striking hues and intricate patterns easily take center stage. Keeping this in mind will help you narrow down what’s appropriate with regards to semi-formal dresses for wedding ceremonies.

Tulip Elis Nara Top and Tulip Lily Skirt

The deep purple color of this semi-formal top and skirt combination makes a stunning statement, particularly in a sea of neutrals and pale hues typically present at weddings. By pairing the Tulip Elisa Nara Top and Tulip Lily Skirt together, you get the illusion of a midi dress but with the casualness of separates. 

The form-fitting top pairs well with the unique ruffle and ruching of the midi-length skirt. And, a modest slit and asymmetrical hemline balance out the barely-there straps at the top. Keep the look low-key with resort sandals that complement the color of the dress. Then, add festive accessories like topaz or emerald earrings to play up the look and keep the look fresh and in style.

Mabel Ruffle Mini Dress

Mabel Ruffle Mini Dress

Another dress code may be, what is semi-formal wedding attire when it comes to hemlines? For formal events, a floor-length gown is the normal go-to. Although, semi-formal affairs usually allow for shorter hemlines. The trick is to keep the look polished and pretty with well-fitted silhouettes and well-tailored hemlines. 

The Mabel Ruffle Mini Dress hits a high note when fitting the semi-formal wedding dress code. The vivid hues of red and purple against a gorgeous cobalt background create an unexpected, bold color combination with a floral print that feels fresh and modern. Additionally, the billowing strapless top and wrap-style skirt are elegant and simplistic, and the thin matching belt creates a streamlined silhouette that pulls together in a polished way. Wearing flats or heels with interesting straps in a metallic color easily completes the look. 

Nora Jumpsuit

With semi-formal wedding attire, you don’t have to stick to dresses alone. Jumpsuits for women are a modern, comfortable option that makes a fashion statement, especially a royal blue color like the Nora Jumpsuit. The vibrant color and fitted design of this jumpsuit make it a shoe-in style when looking for something other than semi-formal dresses for wedding wardrobes. 

The fashionable slits at bottom of the legs keep the look fun and carefree, while the fit of the jumpsuit maintains a refined sophistication ideal for any type of wedding wear. Amp up the blue even further with a matching pair of colored stilettos and stick with gold jewelry to complete the stunning look.

Semi-Formal Wedding Attire Allows for Shorter Hemlines

Casual wedding dress ideas include all hemline lengths from flowy maxi dresses to midi separates, and nearly anything goes with a semi-formal dress code. Fortunately, this also includes shorter hemlines that match well with a resort atmosphere and beach background. A semi-formal attire is perfect if you are wondering what to wear to a beach wedding. Whether you prefer a body-hugging skirt or a loose, wrap-style mini, a shorter hemline exudes confidence for the occasion.

Clover Yana Short Dress

In general, it’s best to steer clear of white when dressing for a wedding when you’re not the bride. However, when you add a cheerful floral pattern into the mix, like with the Clover Yana Short Dress, it changes the style and suits the occasion. The colors and simplistic style of the slight A-frame skirt help this dress top the list of casual wedding dress ideas. 

The pretty back tie adds another stylish element to deliver a lovely, feminine style. Pull the hair up in a polished ponytail to show off the back and pair with minimalistic jewelry. Bring out the colors of the floral design with sandals in a magenta, blue, orange, or green hue. 

Warm Red Firenze Natalie Short Dress

The tropical coral color of the Warm Red Firenze Natalie Short Dress is fresh and feminine. The off-the-shoulder ruffle sleeves and crepe textured fabric elevate the specialness of this dress and make for a tastefully sexy statement for a semi-formal wedding. 

The shorter hemline and body-hugging bodice exudes fashion confidence and serves as a bright spot for any dress wardrobe when you’ve RSVP’d as a wedding guest. For casual wedding attire for guests, keep the rest of the look simple with sparkly diamond studs and dress sandals in a sandy tone. Let the color and style of the dress speak for itself and be the center of attention.

Lollipop Cyndi Short Dress

Lollipop Cyndi Short Dress

The Lollipop Cyndi Short Dress is pretty in pink, being both sophisticated and playful at the same time. Design elements like honey gold beads on the straps and waist ties add subtle sparkle, while the wrap-style creates a flattering silhouette ideal for every shape. 

As far as semi-formal dresses for wedding styles go, this is a classic choice that will stay on-trend season after season. The linen blend is lightweight and delivers an elegant appeal. Play up the pink of the dress with sandals in a similar shade and accent with rose gold accessories to tie the look together.

The beauty of semi-formal wedding attire is you can feel more relaxed in your fashion choices and have fun with cutouts, colors, and hemlines. Change up the styling with fashionable shoes, interesting accessories, and on-point hairstyles and makeup. Going completely casual is not the goal of the semi-formal wedding dress code. It simply allows you to loosen up your style while still dressing appropriately for such a special event.