Black-tie dress codes usually indicate a formal, evening event. Women should wear a floor-length gown that does not reveal the ankles, in sumptuous fabrics like silk and organza. If the wedding seems a bit less formal, however, a sophisticated cocktail dress might be acceptable, but be sure to consult with the bride first. Additionally, it’s okay for women to sport elegant pantsuits if they’re more comfortable with that specific silhouette. As for men, tuxedos are a must. A black bow tie, black vest or cummerbund, and patent leather shoes are also recommended. For summer weddings, a white dinner jacket and black tuxedo trousers are lovely and acceptable choices, to boot.
-BLACK TIE ON THE WEDDING INVITATIONS-
· The appearance of “Black tie” on an invitation indicates unequivocally that the host expects tuxedos to be worn.
“Black tie preferred” This terminology is used by those who want to host a very formal party but do not want to exclude guests that cannot afford a tuxedo.
“Black tie optional” (or Black tie invited) allows hosts to suggest that men wear tuxedos but not to insist on it.
If included on the invitation, “Black tie” should be written in the lower right on a reception invitation.
As the wording here suggests, this dress code is slightly less formal than a black-tie wedding. So, a tuxedo isn’t required, but can still be worn if preferred. If opting for a suit, however, a formal dark suit, white shirt, and a conservative tie are acceptable. For women, the outfit choices remain the same: a floor-length gown, a fancy cocktail dress, or a dressy pantsuit. In fact, there isn’t much of a difference between black-tie and black-tie optional, although it’s more acceptable to wear a dress that shows the ankles (which is not true of a black-tie dress code).
A semi-formal dress code isn’t an invitation to be totally casual. Focus on the level of refinement versus the type of clothing. A wedding, no matter the dress code, is still a special event that deserves an out-of-the-ordinary outfit. Part of dressing for a semi-formal or dressy casual wedding is paying close attention to when the ceremony will take place. The wedding venue as well, can offer clues on how to interpret the dress code. For instance, a grand ballroom sets a different tone than a modern, industrial loft or garden party. For evening events, darker, more formal colors are recommended, while light colors and airy fabrics work best for daytime affairs. Women can wear below-the-knee dresses, slip dresses, a dressy skirt and top, or an elegant pantsuit (styled with heels, nice wedges, or formal flats). As for men, opt for a dress shirt and slacks, with the option to wear a tie. Semiformal gives you flexibility on comfort, but be sure not to dress too casually.
This dress code is relatively new and will leave many guests scratching their heads. To break it down, festive attire allows you to have fun and play around with your looks. Women are encouraged to wear cocktail party attire featuring bolder colors, playful accessories, and unique silhouettes. Men should sport a patterned or textured suit, jazzed up with a bright tie or creative pocket square.
A small step above semi-formal, cocktail attire is an extremely popular choice within the wedding space. It’s a balance between elegant and comfortable and fancy and pared-back. Instead of a floor-length dress, women should opt for a tea-length, knee-length, or midi look. And while tuxedos are no longer an option, men are required to wear a suit and tie, regardless of the wedding’s setting. During the day, think natural colors and fresh styles. In the evening, feel free to utilize darker hues and embellishments such as sequins or feathers (so long as your dress doesn’t sweep the floor). Remember: The goal is to look polished and dressy, but not so much so that you take away from the bride. When in doubt, your best little black dress, a pair of sensible heels or dressy flats, some nice earrings, and a classy clutch will always work for a cocktail event, no matter the venue or time of day. In addition to a traditional cocktail dress, women can also wear dressy suits or nice jumpsuits paired with heels or formal flats. For the men, all experts agree: a suit and tie are required for cocktail attire. Go with darker hues in chillier months or for evening events, but feel free to wear lighter grays or blues in warmer weather or for daytime celebrations. As for shoes, keep it classy with a nice pair of dark dress shoes that match your belt.