For most couples their wedding day is likely going to be the biggest and most important event of their lives. Some weddings are very casual when it comes to what guests are expected to wear, and then there are more formal weddings.

Should you introduce a black tie dress code for your wedding day?

If that’s what you have in mind, then let’s look at a few pros and cons of enforcing a black tie dress code.

You Could Make “Black Tie” Optional

Not everybody you invite to your wedding might be able to, or feel comfortable with, dressing up for a black tie event, even if you do want a more formal atmosphere. Not every guy owns a nice suit or tuxedo and black tie, and not everybody can necessarily afford to hire one for the occasion.

If you really have your heart set on the wedding being a black tie affair, then you can always make the dress code optional, with very smart casual being an alternative.

You might need to define the term “smart casual” when sending out the invitations, as it’s a rather broad and ambiguous term that can encompass multitudes of dress styles. Specify some basic guidelines of what the guys are expected to wear if they choose not to go black tie.

Also Specify What Black Tie Really Means To You

While a black tie affair is a lot more refined than something that’s smart casual, there are still variations on the theme. If you want your male guests to dress up this way, can they wear a suit and black tie, or are tuxedos the only dress code you’ll accept?

Also, is an actual black tie or bow tie essential, or optional? Can guys wear a different coloured tie?

Footwear is also another major consideration. After all, wearing a black tie and tuxedo is not going to pair well with some casual shoes. Shiny black mens wedding shoes or boots are a must to really complete the overall look.

Definitely no running shoes allowed, even if there’s the option of smart casual combined with black tie.

The Dress Code for Women Also Needs To Be Considered

Just because a wedding or other event may be labelled a black tie affair, the overall dress code doesn’t just apply to the men. It’s not like all guys must wear a tuxedo and black bow tie, while the women can wear whatever they like.

The dress code has implications for the ladies as well, and you might want to make that clear in your wedding invitations. Let’s look at a few examples of what women could wear to a black tie wedding.

A floor length evening gown is always a very safe option for looking the part at a black tie event. The gowns could be hired or purchased, depending on the individual.

Dresses don’t have to be floor length by any means. Another classy, yet more trendy alternative is the cocktail dress and heels combination. Even business or dress pants could work well, and women can wear suits and ties too.

The Wedding Party Itself Also Needs To Conform

You can hardly have a wedding where you specify your guests must dress to a black tie dress code, then have those in the wedding party wearing something different.

The groom, best man and the groomsmen should all be dressed black tie, with maybe the groom having a different coloured shirt or some other distinguishing feature that sets him apart from his entourage.

The bride will likely be wearing a traditional white wedding gown, or she could modernise the theme and wear an evening gown that’s more in line with a black tie event, or a super classy cocktail dress.

The cocktail dress could be a good idea for either the reception or an after party.

The bridesmaids and maid of honour would be dressed in full length evening gowns of the same colour, with the maid of honour possibly wearing a different colour to the other women.

Anyway, that’s just a few things to keep in mind if you’re planning on making your wedding day a black tie affair.


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