Putting on the Ritz: Black-Tie, White-Tie and Casual wedding attire

I received word that a wedding invitation is currently on its merry way to my mailbox. Its arrival ushers in the 2012 season of weddings! The season that was once typically June to September now seems to have stretched itself from May to October (at least based on my own experience as a bridesmaid and wedding guest).

We have had a few questions related to wedding guest attire (What do I wear to a casual lakeside ceremony? Can I wear black? Can I wear white? How do I keep warm in the evening? Are sparkles appropriate?) so we think this week is the perfect time to answer some of those questions! Spring and summer collections are hitting stores this month, so it is the perfect time to go out shopping.

The first thing we will deal with is required dress codes. Martha Stewart, with from help from Emily Post, breaks it down like this:

Informal (casual)

Separates like dress pants, dress shirt, and tie (sport coat optional) is fine for men. Sundresses are appropriate for ladies, but not in dressier fabrics or with elaborate embellishment.

Semi-Formal (Black-Tie)

Dark suits (or tuxedos if the invitation states Black Tie) for the menfolk, fancy cocktail dresses for the ladies.

Formal (White-Tie)

This is the fanciest of the fancy. We’re talking Mr. Monopoly or Mr. Peanut levels of fancy. We are talking tailcoat, white shirt, white vest and tie, white or gray gloves, and black opera pumps. Do you know what black opera pumps are? Shoes without laces. I know. That is why you and I don’t get invited to White Tie events, baby!
Oh yeah, and the ladies must wear floor length evening gowns.

And what if there is no stated dress code on the invitation (as has been my experience)? Martha Stewart Weddings says that a dark suit with shirt and tie is appropriate for men. For ladies, suitable attire is a cocktail dress or dressy separates. I agree with Martha – if there are no stated dress codes, you can’t go wrong with these guidelines.

Here’s a cute example of something me and my guy might wear to a summer wedding with no defined dress code…

Wedding Guest Attire

5 responses to “Putting on the Ritz: Black-Tie, White-Tie and Casual wedding attire

  1. mel.

    Great article! Good advice! It can be so difficult to decide what to wear to these things!

    Mel. x


  2. Thanks for stopping by! That dress is gorgeous, I love love the cut and the all-over lace! Have a fabulous time at your next wedding.


  3. Pingback: Wedding Attire: Night and Day « Pop culture. Style. It's an obsession.

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