What to Wear Black Tie Wedding

Are you wondering what to wear black tie wedding? Black tie weddings can be elegant and luxurious affairs, but knowing how to dress for them can be a bit daunting.

In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about dressing for a black tie wedding, from understanding the dress code to choosing the right attire for both men and women. We’ll also cover accessories, hairstyle and makeup tips, dressing for different seasons, and proper etiquette for guests.

Black tie weddings are known for their formal and sophisticated atmosphere. Understanding the dress code is crucial to ensure that you are appropriately dressed for the occasion. Whether you’re a guest, member of the bridal party, or the one tying the knot, knowing what “black tie” means is key to making a stylish statement without committing any fashion faux-pas.

When it comes to men’s attire for a black tie wedding, there’s often confusion between wearing a suit or a tuxedo. We’ll delve into the differences between the two and provide guidance on how to choose the right one for your next black tie event.

And for women, we’ll explore the options of wearing a gown, cocktail dress, or trouser suit, helping you find an outfit that suits your personal style while adhering to black tie standards.

Understanding the Dress Code

The dress code for a black tie wedding can often be confusing, as it is not an everyday requirement to dress in such formal attire. The term “black tie” refers to a very specific type of formal wear, which dictates the appropriate attire for both men and women attending the event.

In order to avoid any fashion faux pas, it is important to understand what this dress code entails and how to interpret it when choosing an outfit for a black tie wedding.

For men, a black tie dress code typically means wearing a tuxedo, which consists of a black jacket with satin lapels, matching trousers with satin side stripes, a crisp white dress shirt, a black bow tie, and black patent leather shoes. On the other hand, women have more flexibility in their outfit choices for a black tie wedding.

Traditionally, women are expected to wear long formal gowns for such an occasion. However, shorter cocktail dresses or even elegant trouser suits paired with statement accessories are also acceptable options.

In addition to the traditional attire choices for men and women at a black tie wedding, understanding the dress code also involves considering other factors such as location and time of year. It is essential to consider the venue and season when selecting your outfit in order to ensure both comfort and adherence to the formality of the event.

By understanding what “black tie” means in the context of a wedding celebration, guests can confidently select their attire while respecting the couple’s wishes for their special day.

Men’s AttireTuxedo with black bowtie and patent leather shoes
Women’s AttireLong formal gown or shorter cocktail dress/trouser suit with statement accessories

Men’s Attire

When attending a black tie wedding, it’s important to ensure that you’re dressed appropriately for the occasion. For men, the decision between wearing a suit or a tuxedo can be crucial in making the right impression. Understanding the difference between the two and knowing how to choose the right one is essential for looking your best at a black tie event.

Suit vs Tuxedo

The main difference between a suit and a tuxedo lies in their formality. A tuxedo, also known as a dinner jacket, is typically reserved for more formal events like black tie weddings. It features satin accents on the lapels, buttons, and sometimes on the side of the pants. On the other hand, a suit is considered less formal and can be worn for a variety of occasions, from business meetings to less formal weddings.

How to Choose the Right One

When choosing between a suit and a tuxedo for a black tie wedding, it’s important to consider the level of formality of the event. If the invitation specifies “black tie,” then opting for a tuxedo is recommended. However, if the dress code is “formal,” then wearing a well-tailored suit may be more appropriate. Additionally, consider personal style and comfort when making this decision.

It’s important to note that when opting for a suit at a black tie wedding, it should still be tailored and well-fitted. Selecting high-quality fabric and paying attention to details like lapel style and accessories can elevate your overall look. Ultimately, whether you choose a suit or tuxedo, ensuring that it fits properly and complements your personal style will allow you to look your best at any black tie event.

Women’s Attire

When it comes to attending a black tie wedding as a woman, the attire options can be a little more diverse than those for men. While the dress code typically calls for formal and elegant outfits, women have a few different choices to consider. Whether you opt for a gown, cocktail dress, or trouser suit will depend on various factors such as personal style, the formality of the event, and even the season.

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A gown is a classic choice for a black tie wedding. Floor-length and elegant, gowns come in a variety of styles and silhouettes, allowing you to find one that suits your body type and personal taste. From sleek sheath gowns to full ballgowns, there are endless options available when choosing this traditional option.

Cocktail Dress

If you’re looking for an alternative to a gown, a cocktail dress could be the perfect choice. A knee-length or tea-length dress can still be appropriate for a black tie wedding if it is made from luxurious fabrics and has sophisticated detailing. Opting for darker colors or rich jewel tones can also elevate the formality of your ensemble.

Trouser Suit

For those who prefer a more unconventional approach to dressing for black tie events, a stylish trouser suit can be an unexpected yet chic choice. A tailored jacket paired with wide-leg trousers made from luxe materials such as silk or velvet can create a sophisticated look that still adheres to the formal dress code.

Ultimately, whichever option you choose – gown, cocktail dress, or trouser suit – it’s important to remember that feeling comfortable and confident in your outfit is key. And don’t forget to consider the venue and time of year when making your decision on what to wear black tie wedding.


When it comes to attending a black tie wedding, finding the perfect accessories is essential to complete your elegant and formal look. For men, selecting the right tie, jewelry, and shoes can elevate a classic tuxedo or suit to the next level. For women, choosing the perfect pieces can add a touch of glamour and sophistication to their attire. Here are some tips for finding the ideal accessories for a black tie wedding.

For men attending a black tie wedding, a classic black silk bow tie is the traditional choice. However, you can also opt for a subtle pattern or texture to add some personality to your ensemble. When it comes to shoes, polished black dress shoes are the standard choice.

Make sure they are well-maintained and match your belt in color and style. As for jewelry, simple cufflinks and a stylish watch can add an understated elegance to your look without being overpowering.

For women, accessorizing for a black tie wedding often involves statement jewelry pieces such as chandelier earrings or a bold necklace. When it comes to shoes, strappy heels in metallic or neutral tones are popular choices. Additionally, clutch purses in coordinating colors with your gown or dress can complete your sophisticated look. It’s important not to go overboard with accessories; choose one statement piece and keep other jewelry more understated.

Ultimately, whether you’re a man or woman attending a black tie wedding, it’s important that your accessories complement your outfit without overshadowing it. Keeping things classy and refined will ensure that you look and feel confident at this formal event. Remember that less is often more when it comes to accessorizing for a black tie affair.

Hairstyle and Makeup Tips for Black Tie Weddings

When attending a black tie wedding, it’s important to not only consider your attire but also your hairstyle and makeup. Your hair and makeup should complement your outfit and the formal setting of the event. For women, elegant updos or sleek, polished hairstyles are popular choices for black tie weddings. Consider incorporating braids, gentle waves, or glamorous curls to add some sophistication to your look.

When it comes to makeup for a black tie wedding, the key is to achieve a polished and sophisticated look. Choose a timeless makeup style that enhances your natural features. Soft, smoky eyes paired with a nude or bold lip color can create a classic and elegant look. Remember to use long-lasting products and invest in a good setting spray to keep your makeup flawless throughout the evening.

For men, styling your hair for a black tie wedding often means opting for a neat and well-groomed appearance. A clean shave or well-maintained facial hair can elevate your overall look. Consider using pomade or styling gel to achieve a polished finish for short hair, while longer hair can be styled into a sleek and refined look.

Ultimately, whether you’re focusing on hairstyling or makeup for a black tie wedding, the goal is to enhance your overall appearance while maintaining an air of sophistication and elegance that aligns with the formality of the event. By following these tips, you can ensure that you look stunning and perfectly put-together at any black tie wedding.

Dressing for Different Seasons

When it comes to attending a black tie wedding, the season can greatly impact what you should wear. For summer weddings, it’s best to opt for lighter fabrics and colors to beat the heat while still maintaining a formal look. Men should consider wearing a lightweight tuxedo or suit in a light shade such as beige or pale grey, while women can choose a flowy gown in pastel colors or a cocktail dress in a breathable fabric.

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Fall and winter weddings call for richer and darker hues that reflect the seasonal changes. Men can go for a classic black tuxedo or suit, paired with a deep-colored bowtie and cummerbund. Women may opt for jewel-toned gowns or dresses in velvet or satin materials to add warmth and elegance to their attire.

Spring is the time for embracing florals and brighter shades. Men can have fun with their accessories by incorporating colorful pocket squares or floral patterned ties. Women should consider wearing floral-printed gowns or cocktail dresses in soft pastels or vibrant hues that capture the essence of the season.

It’s important to remember that regardless of the season, dressing for a black tie wedding always requires an attention to detail and formal attire that adheres to the event’s dress code.

SeasonRecommended Attire
SummerMen: Lightweight tuxedo or suit in light shades / Women: Flowy gown in pastel colors or cocktail dress
Fall/WinterMen: Classic black tuxedo / Women: Jewel-toned gowns or dresses in rich fabrics
SpringMen: Colorful accessories / Women: Floral-printed gowns or cocktail dresses in soft pastels

Black Tie Wedding Etiquette

When attending a black tie wedding, it’s important to adhere to the etiquette guidelines to ensure that you dress appropriately and show respect for the event and hosts. Here are some dos and don’ts for guests to keep in mind when preparing for a black tie wedding.

Firstly, do make sure to adhere to the strict dress code. For men, this typically means wearing a tuxedo with a black bow tie, while women should opt for a floor-length gown or elegant evening dress. It’s important to follow these guidelines to show respect for the couple and the formality of the occasion.

Additionally, do pay attention to your grooming and personal hygiene. Ensure that your hair is neatly styled, and consider opting for subtle makeup and well-groomed nails.

In contrast, there are also several don’ts that guests should be mindful of. Don’t disregard the dress code by choosing an outfit that is too casual or inappropriate for a formal event. This includes avoiding overly revealing or flashy attire that can detract from the elegance of the occasion.

Furthermore, don’t forget about punctuality. Arriving late can be seen as disrespectful, so make sure to plan your schedule accordingly to arrive on time for the ceremony and reception. By keeping these dos and don’ts in mind, guests can ensure that they present themselves appropriately at a black tie wedding.


In conclusion, dressing appropriately for a black tie wedding is essential to making a good impression and showing respect for the hosts and the occasion. Understanding the dress code and knowing what to wear can alleviate any stress or confusion when preparing for such a formal event. Whether you opt for a classic tuxedo or an elegant gown, it’s important to adhere to the etiquette while also expressing your personal style.

When it comes to men’s attire, choosing between a suit and a tuxedo ultimately depends on the formality of the event and your own preferences. Women have even more options, from floor-length gowns to chic cocktail dresses or stylish trouser suits. Accessories such as ties, jewelry, and shoes can add the finishing touches to your outfit, so be sure to choose them carefully to complement your look.

It’s also important to consider the season when dressing for a black tie wedding, as different weather conditions may affect your choice of fabric and color. Lastly, following proper black tie wedding etiquette is crucial for being a respectful guest. By keeping all these factors in mind, you can confidently prepare for any upcoming black tie wedding and ensure that you are dressed to impress.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Do People Wear to a Black Tie Wedding?

People typically wear formal, elegant attire to a black tie wedding. For men, this usually means a tuxedo with a black bowtie and formal shoes. Women often opt for long evening gowns or chic cocktail dresses.

What Colors Not to Wear to a Black Tie Wedding?

When it comes to colors not to wear to a black tie wedding, it’s best to avoid white or cream as these are typically reserved for the bride. Additionally, overly bright or neon colors may be considered too casual for this formal event.

What Is Black Tie Dress Code for a Woman?

The black tie dress code for a woman usually involves wearing a floor-length gown, although a sophisticated cocktail dress can also be acceptable in some cases. Pairing the outfit with elegant heels, tasteful jewelry, and a small clutch completes the look for this formal occasion.

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