We’re switching things up in Southern Style! While I’m still talking fashion, today I’m answering a question that we often receive from brides. I’m actually quite familiar with today’s question, as I asked it myself when planning my own wedding! And it is: “Can my wedding be black tie?” The simple answer? Yes! For the longer version, here are a few things to keep in mind when considering a black tie wedding…
When we were planning our wedding, my husband Brandon was very laid-back, as usual. However, he had one request: to wear a tuxedo with tails. Needless to say, we had not intended to have a celebration quite that formal, so we compromised: he wore tails, but not white gloves or a top hat! :) With his fashion choice confirmed, a few other wedding day details were settled for us, like our ceremony and reception start times. Traditional etiquette recommends no black tie before 6pm; however, modern etiquette has allowed that if the reception begins after 6, black tie is acceptable.
Brandon’s attire also helped shape our bridesmaid dress selection. Since the groomsmen were wearing tuxes with tails, my gals needed to wear long gowns with a bit more formality than originally planned. I opted for black silk floor-length gowns that were dressed up even more with classic pearl necklaces (my bridesmaid gifts!). While black tie does limit the groomsmen color palette, it doesn’t have to narrow your bridesmaid choices. Black tie bridesmaid attire is a fun place to bring in color and even a bit of sparkle, like Lynze did with her girls. Do note that your gals gowns should be floor-length regardless of color.
A few other details to marinate on if you’re considering a black tie celebration:
– The venue. While chic tents are natural fits for black tie events, it might not be real easy to wear a floor-length gown down a dirt path. If your guests will be dressing in black tie (and likely heels, too), make sure you’ve thought through the ways they’ll navigate your ceremony and reception spots.
– The decor. While simple is often better, guests won’t feel overdressed if your tables are dressed up, too!
– The menu. I might be speaking for myself, but I can’t imagine how scared I’d be to eat juicy BBQ while wearing a beaded gown. We’re all for a mix of high- and low-brow details, but your guests will probably expect the food to reflect the effort they’ve put in to look their best for you, so make sure it’s delicious and feels a bit fancy!
– Your gown. A groom standing beside you in a tuxedo is the perfect opportunity to choose that extra ruffly or sparkly gown you’ve been eyeing. But if a more casual gown is more your style, consider adding some extra elegance through your accessories.
– Your couple style. While Brandon and I tend to be homebodies, we knew we wanted to get all dolled up for our wedding day and give our guests an reason to get a little extra fancy, so black tie was the right fit for us. But it’s definitely not the right fit for everyone, so be sure to think of your personal style.
And last but certainly not least, your guests! According to Emily Post, black tie calls for gents in black tuxedos with formal (piqué or pleated front) white shirts, bow ties, and cummerbunds. Gloves are not required, and in the summer white dinner jackets with black tuxedo paints are acceptable. Belles should don formal floor-length gowns, a very dressy cocktail dress, or their dressiest little black dress. Of course, if you do go with a cocktail dress, be sure to dress it up with your sparkliest jewels and highest heels! Ms. Post also says that you should not mention attire on a formal invitation. However, she does say that you can mention it on a reception invitation or card. Your wedding website is also a great place to include dress code.
Will you/did you have a black tie wedding? I’d love to hear from you!