Wedding goers: Here’s what 'cocktail attire' really means

Don't get us wrong: We love weddings. But even as the guest, they can be a bit tricky. First, there are all the events leading up the wedding (so...many...showers), then the gifts, flights, hotels, car rentals and, finally, the outfit. With so many weddings requesting "cocktail attire," we couldn't help but wonder, What constitutes a cocktail dress, anyway? And is there a definitive explanation? Well, the answer is yes, and here's the final verdict.

So, what exactly is cocktail attire? Just like it sounds—something that feels festive and fancy and worthy around a stiff drink. The most forgiving of the dress codes, cocktail attire means you have options. You can wear whatever length and style dress you'd like, but you're also allowed to branch out from the traditional dress-and-pumps idea.

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Wedding White - Such a dream to work with such a beautiful Soul - Thank you Mrs - for trusting #TeamLeatham - with your fairy tail day - we love you - we created heaven on earth for you and your new Hubby - #FloralArt - #kickingassandtakingnames - ☁️☁️☁️☁️☁️- sneak peak of one small corner of the beautiful evening
BUZZ - UK/NIGERIA Découvrez en 10 photos, le mariage le plus luxueux de l'année ✨💎 Celui du nigérian Folarin Alakija et l'iranienne Naza en Angleterre... Folarin est le fils de la femme la plus riche d'Afrique, la nigériane Folorunsho Alakija. Cette dernière qui a fait fortune dans le secteur du pétrole au Nigeria, a une fortune estimée à 2 milliards de dollars US. Elle a offert à son fils Folarin et sa fiancée, une cérémonie de mariage qui a coûté 5 millions de livres sterling soit à peu près 3 milliards 723 millions de fcfa... La cérémonie a eu lieu a Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire en Angleterre et comptait 1 million de rose. La nouvelle épouse de Folarin, qui est aussi une des ancienns petites amies de Rob Kardashian, a étudié l'ingénierie biomédicale à l'université de Manchester. Wedding Planner @thebridalcircle_sadeawe | 🌺 par @jeffleatham | Lieu #blenheimpalace Source: Instagram - #FloandNaza #FloandNaza2017 #NazaandFlo
And here we go #TeamLeatham - #WeddingWeek - #FloralArt - #Orchids - #love - #kickingassandtakingnames
I want something just like this - 🎼🎼🎼- #TeamLeatham- #kickingassandtakingnames - YESSS !!
PRETTY IN PINK - #FloralArt - #TeamLeatham - Let the Light come in 💗💗💗💗🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼
I've never seen a million roses before. But today was next level. #floandnaza wedding. This was a 1% of it. I love, love. More weddings please.
Just can't get enough 😍 @jeffleatham #floandnaza #blenheimpalace #flowerlover
The #BridalParty took over the #DanceFloor! ☝ Video via @ola.tinuke #FloandNaza #WeddingDigest #WeddingDigestNaija
Naza Alakija and her bridesmaids #floza #floandnaza #floza17 #weddinginspiration #idoweddingsng
In awe 💓 #floandnaza
Amazing wedding!! Great to be the celebrant! #blenheimwedding #floandnaza2017 #floandnaza
Via @dancefloordeco: "@africanbridal The Wedding of Flo & Naza Alakija! Simply breathtaking... The master planner Sade Awe of @thebridalcircle_sadeawe | amazing vendor partners involved in this wedding @invisibleblueuk @ascot_structures @rhubarb_food @elizabethscakeemporium @rossharvy @mrphilipwhite @jeffleatham @lehrandblack 👏🏾 #FloandNaza #FloandNaza #africanbridal #decals #gold #monogram #initials #mirror #events #wedding #flowers #marble #ideas #dancefloordecor #owanbelondon
A modelo iraniana Naza Jafarian disse SIM a Folarin Alakaji em uma cerimônia milionária na Inglaterra! Saiba tudo sobre esse super #casamento no #AntenaYes! #floandnaza #floza #zanajafarian #noivos #bride #allwhite #decoraçãodecasamento #floresbrancas #yeswedding
Buzz U.K./Nigeria ❤ 🎶🕺💃🎶 L'entrée des DH et GH au mariage le plus luxueux de l'année, celui de Naza et Folarin Alakija, le fils de la femme noire la plus riche au monde, Olarunsho Alakija. #Repost @ola.tinuke #floandnaza ・・・
After Party: 🕺💃The stage turned, the live band exited and the dj was revealed! ❤ #floandnaza
So thankful to have been included on your special day...many laughs and wonderful memories! #floandnaza ♥️🥂💃🏼🎆🌹 @jonopas @timtrendell @danifutter @floshow1 @mannykess @jaimelk62
It's now official! Congratulations Mr & Mrs Alakija!!!! Florals by @jeffleatham Via shaninamshaik At @blenheimpalace #Floza2017 #FloandNaza
The luxurious wedding of Folarin and Naza Alakija ✨💕👑 Swipe 👉🏾| More on the blog | Planner @thebridalcircle_sadeawe | Florals by @jeffleatham | Venue #blenheimpalace #floza #idoghana #luxuryweddings #bridal #flowers #ido #nazaandflo
Say Hello to Mr and Mrs Alakija #floza
#Floza17 #weddingphotography
That time Robin Thicke casually rocks up and performs at a wedding #Floza17
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Give me specific outfits. An embellished shift, a minimal maxi, a dressy jumpsuit, a flowy midi skirt, polished trousers. As long as the ensemble appears party-appropriate, you'll fit right in. You definitely must wear dress shoes, usually with a heel (although fancy flats work, too). And we recommend a clutch or mini bag, just so it's easier to hold if you need to bust out some signature dance moves on the fly.

And how does that differ from a formal or black-tie dress code? Formal wear indicates a longer dress hem (aka a gown) for women, and literally means a black tie with a suit jacket for men.

The bottom line? Be you, be comfortable and be ready to shake what your momma gave you (in that ridiculous culotte jumpsuit, of course).

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