Black-tie optional weddings are becoming more common these days. A black-tie optional wedding allows you stylistic creativity while retaining formal clothing.
A black-tie optional dress code is pretty straightforward for men. However, what should a woman wear at a black-tie optional wedding? Should they wear an evening gown, a midi-length dress or cocktail attire? Keep reading for a comprehensive guide on black-tie optional wedding attire.
How to Know an Event is Black-tie Optional
It should say on the wedding invitation if the event is black-tie optional. Sometimes couples use “black-tie encouraged” instead.
A black-tie optional ensemble for a wedding dress code is not a passive-aggressive dress code, as some might think. Couples want their guests to be encouraged to get outfitted up without the anxieties of buying or renting a tux. Black-tie optional is a more accommodating option because it acknowledges that only some can afford black-tie apparel.
What is Black-Tie Optional Attire?
Black-tie optional dress codes are a statement from the couple for their desire for everyone to dress up. Men are not mandated to wear tuxes, but it will not be frowned upon if you do so. Women are likewise not expected to wear full-length dresses. It would be perfectly acceptable if someone wears a cocktail dress instead.
Black-tie optional is a deliberately vague parameter that permits much flexibility concerning your ensemble. With this dress code, the wedding party will likely be in floor-length gowns and tuxedos. These expectations are almost mandatory for immediate family members.
Expect a mix of formality from the other guests.
Black-tie Optional Wedding Attire for Men
For men, you can wear a double-breasted dinner jacket, dress socks, a white shirt and black shoes. You could choose a formal suit with formal trousers at an outdoor summer wedding. While a white dress shirt is okay, leaving the white tuxedo jacket for an all-white wedding is best.
It’s never wrong to dress in a black-tie at black-tie optional events. While the best solution is a black suit, you can still get away with charcoal gray and navy blue. Avoid brown, which many people may view as too rustic for the occasion. Stick to solid-colored suits so as not to draw too much attention from the bride and groom.
Black-Tie Optional Wedding Attire for Women
When it comes to black-tie optional events, there are plenty of options are available. Formal evening gowns are the best option, but because black-tie optional events are slightly less formal, you do not need to wear a long skirt if you don’t want to.
A mid-length dress is an appropriate outfit for the party. A cocktail dress is also reasonable, especially when you wear the same outfit for the ceremony and reception. Avoid more casual dresses, like sundresses, as well as pastel colors.
We recommend dressing according to the location. If the ceremony occurs at an elegant venue, match the chandeliers by wearing dangly earrings.
Black-tie optional attire is a relaxed version of formal attire. While you do not have to wear black, sporting white, ivory or cream from head to toe to a black-tie optional wedding is an unequivocal no. Under no circumstances should you wear a white tie. An accent color is okay. For example, a white handkerchief in a men’s jacket or a white woman’s accessory is okay. Avoid too light colors unless the wedding invitation requests guests to wear all white.
It is also necessary to recognize that this is still the couple’s big day. It is best to avoid anything too flashy or over-the-top. You want to avoid removing any attention away from the couple. Show off your style, but do so with respect to the newlyweds. Also, remember their families invested a significant amount of time, energy and money in planning this affair.
Styling at a black-tie optional event invites you to experiment with your hair, jewelry and makeup to pull the entire semi-formal look off. A black-tie optional is the antithesis of daily life. If a ponytail is your typical hairstyle in your everyday life, get a beautiful half up half down hairstyle. Do what you believe will make you feel and look different. Leave the Apple Watch at home. Wear jewelry that accents your outfit and go bold with your makeup.
We hope this comprehensive guide has answered your questions. You’re now ready to attend a black-tie optional wedding in style.
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As a multi-passionate creative and a self-proclaimed frequent flyer of weddings, Kiara combines her love for the wedding industry and experience as a professional wedding photographer with her writing abilities to share tips, tricks, and helpful information with couples. She is the owner of Switech Studios a popular wedding photography business. With tons of insider information from behind her camera lens on how to have the best wedding possible, Kiara’s in-depth knowledge is sure to put you on the road to wedding planning success.