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What To Wear To A Black Tie Wedding

Updated on October 15, 2013

Wondering what to wear to a black tie wedding? The term “black tie” is another word for “formal” and in this case, you will need to dress in an elegant manner. The first thing to do is ask the bride what you should wear. She may require the guests stick to a certain color scheme but not all weddings are like this. Still though, asking is important. You don’t want to show up to a wedding where the bride is only wearing white and everyone else is in grey with you wearing a bright red dress. That would be very uncomfortable, especially during picture time.

What to wear to a wedding as a guest

Your question is what to wear to a wedding as a guest, right? First of all, this depends on your gender. Let’s get into the specifics here:

Female Guest Wedding Attire

Stick to a plain cocktail dress. Don’t wear something with a lot of sparkles and glitter either. The cocktail dress can be in purple, blue, red, or even yellow. Try to stay away from colors like white or black. The reason why you shouldn’t wear white is because this color is reserved for the bride. As for the black cocktail dress - well, you aren’t at a funeral. Wear shoes you are comfortable in or if you are accustomed to high heels, then go for it.

Male Guest Wedding Attire

If you happen to be the best man, it is very important to dress in a full suit. Otherwise, if you are just a guest - you won’t be required to. You could wear a white work shirt with a collar (the button down kind) in the colors of grey, blue, red or brown. It would be okay for a man to wear white as opposed to the woman wearing white.

Black tie wedding dress code

Alright, let’s talk about the black tie wedding dress code - everything that is appropriate and what is not appropriate. Here are all the basics below:

  • Never go to a wedding in jeans or your normal work clothes, especially if you plan on taking pictures with the bride and groom.

  • Weddings held in catholic churches are considered very “formal” compared with other places so it is important to wear formal attire. No sports coats should be worn.

  • Can a woman wear black to a wedding? This is two-fold faux pas and we don’t recommend it. Stay with pastel colors if possible. We are celebrating a wedding - not a funeral.

  • Wearing sandals is not recommended. In fact, you will look out of place, even if your attire is considered formal.

  • Never wear gowns with sequins or anything that is beaded to a daytime wedding. This is considered formal attire, usually appropriate for the evening.

Wedding Attire Poll

Do you prefer casual wear or formal wear for weddings? (If it were yours)

See results

Can you wear a black dress to a wedding?

So many people have asked us this. In this day and age, no one will probably think twice. We’ve even seen brides with black dresses and today it is acceptable. But what about a guest wearing a black dress to a wedding? We suggest you stick to light colors or at least find the dress a shade lighter. However, if you found the dress you love and guests aren’t required to stick to a certain color, then we say go for it.


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