The Ultimate Guide To A Black-Tie Wedding

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A black-tie wedding event is a classic and refined choice that fits the wedding dress code. You can liken it to the old Hollywood sophistication that elevates a drab affair into something glamorous. A black-tie formal wedding is a whole package starting from the invitation to the venue, tux, dress choices, appropriate shoes, and more. It’s a very traditional and festive affair and you can work with what you have. But if you want to stand out or have no working ideas, take some tips and stylish twists from this post.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a black-tie wedding mean?

A black-tie wedding is a fancy affair that’s less formal than a white-tie wedding. It is formal and reserved for evening weddings, featuring tuxes and floor-length gowns.

What time does a black-tie wedding start?

A black-tie attire wedding event starts at 5 pm at the earliest and 7 pm on average.

Should I have a black-tie wedding?

Yes, you should because it’s your wedding after all. You have the right to decide when and how your wedding should be. However, it is proper to accord your guests some flexibility.


Black Tie Wedding – Expert Guide

A black-tie wedding party is classic and there are some guiding rules to pulling it off. Here are all the tips for planning a black-tie event, from the invite to menu, service, and more.


Black tie wedding invitations are formal and the fonts are mainly curly cursive. You’ll find variations like a script, Sherif, calligraphy, and the likes. The font colors and backgrounds would also contain one primary color to balance the presence of other colors.

On a black-tie wedding invite, you can include a dress code on the lower left or right side of the invitation. Alternatively, the bottom center is a good place to put your dress code. In the event that you have other important information to pass on a separate card, then your dress code should go there so that your invite would look neat.

However, couples who already have their wedding website set up can list their dress code there. Also, when you write your dress code, keep a consistent style and wording. You can write the code with or without a colon, bullet, or vertical bar, as long as it matches your overall design. For instance:

  • “Dress Formal”
  • “Dress Code: Formal”
  • “Formal Attire (Black Tie Optional)”



City chic settings are the best black-tie event wedding venues. However, if you’re in the country, a formal venue would serve the same. When scouting venues, ensure that they offer services that prioritize your guests’ comfort.

An entrance valet service is necessary so that your guests don’t walk for long periods in their outfits. Also, there should be high ceilings and enough natural lighting ample space for formal seating arrangements. Some of the best black tie wedding venues include art centers, ballrooms, halls, libraries, and banqueting houses.


Start Time

If you’re having a ceremony and black-tie wedding reception, start your ceremony by 2 pm. Keep the whole affair within ten hours because you’re starting late and guests would get tired in a while.

Dress up, take portrait photographs and do your ceremony until 6 pm. By 6.30 pm, cocktail hour is over and the guests can start entering the reception. Serve the appetizers as early as 7.45 pm and the main meal by 8.15 pm.

Ensure the cake cutting, toasts, and dances happen within two hours. So that the wedding is over by 11 pm.



A black-tie preferred wedding menu could range from elegant to plated dinner settings. A buffet isn’t appropriate because you don’t have people moving around to handle in their suits and floor-length dresses.

  • So, start with fresh seasonal foods like berries, melons, and a lot of fresh herbs. You can also go with pan-seared salmon, arugula, microgreens, edible flowers, and shaved Parmigiano Reggiano drizzled with balsamic, lemon, or olive oil.
  • If you’re opting for plated dining, it’s even more beautiful because you’ll be saving money while giving guests the best. With plated dining, guests all eat the same entrée, but there’s a silent vegan option present. You can also play around with colors in your veggies to complement your fish and meat.
  • As for the booze, practice an open bar idea. Although it’s more expensive because the guests aren’t contributing, you can buy vodka, beer, juice, and cocktail in bulk to save. This will spare you from buying much wine.


Quality service is essential at the black-tie wedding affair. Opt for a venue that allows guests to drive to the entrance.

  • Also, they should have a valet service that parks the car so that guests don’t walk from a distance to the hall. In the alternative, provide transportation so that guests can do without driving.
  • Another point is to ensure that professional photographers are available to capture all the moments discreetly.
  • Also, waiting for staff to help the guests and ensuring seamless communication is essential. The venue can offer this or you can hire an ushering company to provide wait staff.


Style and Decor

Black tie wedding decor is all about opulence, glamor, charm, and elegance. The main colors for this event are black and white, but accents like silver, gold, and pastels are beautiful additions.

  • For the ceremony, think gold lanterns paired with green and white flowers for the hall. Then work on a topiary or wall flower arrangement for the aisle.
  • The reception should feature a black and white table cover set with greenery table runners and silverware. Pair this with gold napkins and black place cards written with gold letters. Above, fix a chandelier covered with ivory blooms and complement it with gold table candelabras holding candles.
  • Additionally, put varying heights of ivory blooms in transparent vases and finish with black chairs.

Entertainment and Music

Entertainment and music are central to a black tie wedding. A great ensemble can provide live music for your stylish event, while DJs can keep the dance floor alive. Ensure everyone has a remarkable memory by offering guest entertainment such wedding games and attractions. These little extras such as a photo booth, magician or cigar bar add the special sparkle to your chic party.


Invitations and Favors

Create a gift registry to guide your guests on choosing meaningful presents. When it comes to favours, choose personalised, high-quality mementos. Monogrammed candles or gourmet chocolates are good selections which reflect the refinement of your black- tie event.

Black-Tie Wedding Album

For your black-tie wedding, you deserve a timeless album to captures the grandeur of the day. For a classic touch, opt for a traditional, leather-bound album with gold embossing. With exquisite layout design bring to life the moments, ranging from the vows to the first dance. Let a professional photographer be the one to edit and curate the images for a coherent sophisticated look. Your wedding album should be a work of art, reflecting your unique personality and special day.


Black Tie Wedding Attire Guide

Black tie formal wedding attire doesn’t mean all black, rather it must be formal. For ideas, see the ultimate guide to wearing a black-tie wedding attire here.

Wedding Attire for Women

  • Women would wear floor-length black tie wedding outfits that are glamorous and make a statement. However, if you’re more comfortable with shorter variations, a statement cocktail dress that’s rather flamboyant will work.
  • Women who don’t care so much for gowns can work with a custom pant suit with blinged-out fabrics to maintain the glam. Don’t wear play suits or jumpsuits as they’re not appropriate.
  • To accessorize your look, consider diamonds if they suit your budget. In the absence of those, wear moissanite or zirconia earrings, bracelets, and neckpieces. Don’t wear wristwatches, especially when you’re rocking a gown unless it looks like a fancy bracelet. If you’re on a budget, target the sales period of your best designers.
  • You can also opt for preloved pieces. Another option, especially for tux lovers is to get a custom fit from your designers. Black tie weddings work best with black and dark color dresses. However, jewel tones like gold, silver, and Emerald are stunning choices. If you want vibrant shades, opt for the subtle hues.


Formal Shoe Etiquette for Women

  • With the right dress code black tie wedding, you can never go wrong with the classic black pumps. They are very comfortable and elegant, even as they elevate your height.
  • We also love the idea of pointed front stilettos for that spring when you walk.
  • If you are the type that needs air on your feet, ankle strap heels are a beautiful option.
  • But for people who struggle with balance, platform heels, block heels, and wedges are some of the best options available.
  • You can also choose kitten heels to assure you of comfort. Brown, dusty rose, maroon, purple-black, and deep hues are some of the best colors you can wear.

Wedding Attire For Men

  • The black-tie wedding attire male would wear comprises a tuxedo and pants. The set must be trimmed with contrasting black satin or grosgrain on the lapels, pants, jacket, waistband, and formal pants. Your tux cab also has a waistcoat. Opt for black, midnight blue, navy, royal blue, and grey variations. But if you want to make a statement, opt for hunter green or burgundy.
  • Pair your tux with a formal classic white spread collar shirt or wing collar shirt with French cuffs. Finish your look with velvet, satin, or grosgrain black bow tie. If you cannot deal with tuxedos, wearing a midnight blue, peach, or dusty rose dinner jacket with black lapels on black pants.
  • Remember that tuxes and formal pants don’t have belt holes but adjustable side tabs and inner brace buttons to secure your formal braces. So get braces in black, white, red, burgundy, silver, or gold. Alternatively, cummerbunds are perfect options.
  • Finish up your look with formal cufflinks and stud sets, which would replace buttons on the open placket or French shirt. Consider the silver, jewels, gold plated, or brass cufflinks. For shoes, opt for patent leather shoes like Oxford which are classic.
  • You may also go for a modern and narrower round toe option in velvet, royal blue, and grey. Pair them with mid-calf-length black or navy blue stockings.
  • Patent leather formal dress shoes are always the best option for your black-tie look. You can keep your shoe classic as with a patent Oxford or go more modern with a slightly narrower round-toed style shoe. Depending on your outfit, a velvet slipper can be a fun way to add a more youthful look to your outfit.


Black Tie for Kids

Dressing the kids for a black-tie event can be cute and easy. A classic black suit, or tuxedo, along with a white dress shirt and bowtie makes a gentleman look sophisticated for a boy. Select shoes that are comfortable for kids to move and play.
The style of the event can be mirrored by girls in elegant dresses or gowns. The dress has to be age-appropriate and move easily. A few simple hair accessories or a tasteful tiara can do this just fine.
When dressing children for a black-tie occasion, make it simple and comfortable. Clothing with complicated closures and constricting fabrics should be avoided. Remember, children could grow out of formalwear quite fast, so opt for affordable choices. Lastly, allow the kids to take part in the outfit selection process so as to ensure they feel comfortable and confident at the event.

What Not To Wear To a Black Tie Wedding

There are a few Etiquette rules guiding a black-tie wedding outfit. And while we’ve discussed how to show up, here are some things you should never wear to a black-tie wedding.

For Men

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  • No Suits, even black because the black-tie dress code means a tuxedo or formal dinner jacket outfit.
  • Don’t wear opened-toed shoes
  • Avoid shorts or Polos
  • Ditch opened collar dress shirts without a bowtie or formal necktie
  • Don’t wear sports coats or Blazers
  • Never wear tennis shoes nor show up without socks

For Women

  • Avoid wearing anything short or revealing
  • You also don’t want to wear anything in the white to cream and ivory spectrum or bright and bold colors.
  • Pull out all the stops and wear your best brings, but don’t upstage the bride. So keep a minimalistic look and focus on the fit and quality of the fabric.


Black Tie Attire Hues

Black tie wedding attire female, male and non-binary guests would wear comprises dark hues, deep variants, and jewel tones. Since the event is for the evening, a fall wedding would favor outfits incorporating gold-tinted accents, beige mesh fabric, and a bodycon silhouette for women.

The men can wear a beige tux. Pair this look with nude heels or grey dress shoes and a matching clutch bag.

  • In the winter, emerald color is a deep jewel tone that remains timeless. Men will match this look with pink Blazers, black trousers, and brown oxfords.
  • But for a spring, summer, or beach black tie wedding theme, choose a flurry of blue floral accents. They look best when accentuated with layered tiers and a gathered bodice to define your figure. Not forgetting the classic LBD with a fitted bodice and a Mermaid style skirt with a high slit. Pair this look with a pointed-toe stiletto and walk in with a dapper dude in a black tux and oxfords.

What To Wear If The Invitation Says “Black Tie Optional.”

When it is a black-tie optional wedding, it means that a tuxedo isn’t mandatory. So you can swap it for a structured suit jacket with understated ties.

For the ladies, you can still wear full-length evening gowns, but it’s not a must. Mid-length dresses are also perfect. However don’t wear anything above the knee, else it becomes too casual. Opt for darker hues like navy, black, and charcoal.

The idea of jumpsuits for black tie optional weddings remains a touchy subject. But we advise that you wear them depending on the wedding style, even though you should look too laid back. Avoid patterns and brightly colored fabrics or flowy silhouettes and opt for elevated and custom-tailored looks.


Black-Tie Attire Shopping Tips

Black-tie options cater to all budgets. You could also rent a tux, which is inexpensive and stylish as well. Another cost-effective approach is borrowing from close friends or family members who share size and style preferences with you. If you want to splurge on your attire, average prices for tuxedos and evening gowns vary, but you can find good quality ones between 0 to 0. It is advisable to buy a dress that corresponds with your budget and makes you look fabulous on that day.

Black Tie Wedding Hair and Makeup

  • There is no rule cast in stone for black tie wedding hairstyles or make-up. But keep your make-up clean with, red or nude lips and smokey looks. You don’t want your face to look a riot and attract undue attention.
  • For the hairstyles, classic chignons, thick braids, artfully twisted buns, and sleek straight ponytails are perfect. Don’t over-accessorize your hair because the outfit is already doing a lot.

Enjoy a night of opulence, splendor, charm, and sophistication at the black-tie wedding event, even as you hold your own. Stand out with our carefully curated outfit, venue, food menu, and decor ideas. If you’re confused about how to plan the day or when to start, we answered all your questions too. So check out our ideas and get inspired for the big day.