Can You Wear Pants to a Wedding?

can you wear pants to a wedding article

Not every woman likes, or feels comfortable, in a dress or skirt. So, what are your options as a wedding guest? Do you really need to buy a dress or can you wear pants to a wedding?

Yes, you can definitely wear pants to a wedding and look fabulous — as long as you do it properly. Any pants you choose must be dressy enough for the occasion and you’ll need to pair them with the right top and dressy shoes.

In many ways, finding the right pants can be even harder than finding a dress to wear to a wedding. After all, not just any pair of tailored trousers will do. You’ll first need to find out the wedding’s dress code. 

can you wear pants to a wedding understanding dress codes

Can You Wear Pants to a Wedding: Understanding Dress Codes 

If you want to wear pants as a wedding guest, knowing the dress code is key. After all you won’t want to show up in trousers and a blouse if the wedding style is black tie. 

The information you seek should be listed either on the invitation or the couples’ wedding website. Not sure what to wear for the dress code the couple has chosen? Our overview of the six main wedding dress codes will help you figure out how to rock pants at any type of wedding.

White tie 

An evening gown is traditionally expected of all female guests attending a white tie wedding. While you still need to be dressed to the nines at this style of event, you can choose to wear a lady’s tuxedo or a fancy pantsuit. To help elevate your look, try pairing your outfit with some sparkly heels or velvet booties.

Here are some elegant options perfect for white tie.

newyorkdress tarik ediz 93810 jumpsuit

Black tie 

While you do have more leeway at black tie weddings, this dress code still requires sophisticated attire. You can wear a lady’s tuxedo or a pantsuit in silk, velvet or another luxurious material. Aside from some sensational shoes, make sure your hairstyle and makeup are as sophisticated as your attire.

Need some help finding the perfect pantsuit? Any of these would all be stunning for a black tie wedding.

women green satin 2pc single breasted suit business formal wear wedding suit

Formal (or black tie optional) 

Traditionally, a formal event means either a floor-length evening gown or a cocktail dress for female guests. If you’re not into dresses, however, a stylish pantsuit in a special fabric can work equally well. You can also wear a pair of tailored trousers with a fancy top and a pair of heels.

If you do opt for a suit or trousers, make sure your outfit is not too businesslike. Fabrics like velvet, silk or jacquard, like the examples shown below, can really elevate classic business wear.

net a porter nili lotan corette cotton blend velvet flared pants


One of the most common dress codes, semi-formal attire offers you a wider range of wardrobe options. An elegant pantsuit or fancy trousers with a sophisticated top or blouse are both great looks for a semi-formal wedding. 

Here are some lovely options for a semi-formal wedding.

ramy brook joss wide leg pant purple

Dressy casual 

Similar to semi-formal, a dressy casual dress code is slightly more relaxed, making a pair of well-tailored trousers your-go-to choice for pants. Whether you choose traditional trousers or sleek, cropped pants for warm weather nuptials, be sure to pair them with a structured blazer or a pretty blouse or top. Stylish boots, heels, wedges or flats are all acceptable choices for finishing off your outfit.

These pants are all perfect for a dressy casual affair.

karen millen clean tailored darted wide leg pants


If you’re attending a casual wedding, you likely have a pair of pants in your closet that would be appropriate. Just remember that casual for a wedding is not the same as your typical casual clothing, so no jeans, cargo pants or athletic wear. 

Instead, opt for tailored trousers in the cooler weather or a pair of chic capris or palazzo pants in the warmer weather.

These pants will have you looking your best, no matter which option you choose.

petal and pup au bottoms kieran pants sage green

What to Wear When No Dress Code is Stated

Now that you have the lowdown on wedding formality levels, let’s talk about how to dress if your invitation doesn’t request a particular dress code.

Wearing a pantsuit is a pretty safe option, but you can often determine exactly what type of attire is expected just by reading the time of day and location stated on your invitation. Want to know more? Let’s dive in.

Daytime wedding

More casual than evening ceremonies, a daytime wedding still requires you to make an effort with your appearance. Opting for dressy casual or semi-formal wear means you won’t feel out of place by being undressed. 

Here are some cute ways to incorporate pants into your daytime wedding attire.

hermie pants cropped tailored pants in light blue

Evening wedding

Fancier than daytime ceremonies, an evening wedding means having to find a pair of pants to match the increased formality. With most evening weddings being black tie, formal or semi-formal you can’t go wrong with a sophisticated pantsuit and accessories.

Here are some elegant examples of wedding-appropriate pants for an evening ceremony.

petal and pup wellar pant black

Church wedding

You can’t go wrong with a pair of tailored trousers or a pantsuit at a church wedding ceremony. With modest dress being the order of the day, it’s important to ensure your top or blouse doesn’t show any cleavage and, if you’re attending a Catholic ceremony or a wedding at any conservative church, it’s also important to keep your shoulders covered. 

Need some ideas? These classy outfits are the perfect starting point.

lulus lush approach emerald green floral jacquard satin wide leg pants

Beach wedding

Can you wear pants to a wedding on the beach? You certainly can! Floral pants, palazzo or wide-leg pants, cropped pants… they are all fair game for beach nuptials. Paired with a cute top and dressy sandals or flats, you’ll be beach-ready and wedding appropriate.

Here are some good examples to get you started.

sunny days wide leg pants sugarlips

Garden wedding

A garden wedding calls for female guests to don their most ladylike and feminine attire. That doesn’t mean pants are out of the question, however. Floral suits or trousers and blouses are perfect for a garden wedding and can be paired with heels or wedges as well as a hat to make a statement.

Here are three fab looks to serve as inspiration.

floral plisse extreme wide leg pants boohoo

Country wedding

A country wedding does not mean you wear your favorite pair of jeans. Even if the ceremony is being held outdoors or in a barn, the dress code will still require dressy casual or semi-formal wear for daytime and formal for evening nuptials. 

Here are three adorable daytime looks that are perfect for a country wedding. If you’re attending a dressy casual or semi-formal event, however, we do suggest a different style of top than the one shown with the gingham pants. A pretty blouse would be the perfect accompaniment.

petal and pup au bottoms gimmie pants tan gingham
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