When you start planning your wedding, deciding how formal you want your wedding to be is one of the most important early decisions you can make. That degree of formality will drive many of your wedding day choices and the information you share with guests. Here are the traditional explanations of dress for the various levels of formality.
White tie is the most formal.
For men, that means a black tailcoat with matching full-dress trousers, a white waistcoat, a white shirt with a stiff wing collar worn with a white bow tie, white button-on suspenders and pearl shirt studs.
For women it means a full length gown, fine jewelry, elegant shoes, styled hair and well done make up. If you choose this level of style for your wedding, most guests will have to incur the expense of renting formalwear and it should be stated on the invitation.
Black tie means you expect a formal elegant dress on guests. Men should wear a black dinner jacket with matching trousers without cuffs, a black cummerbund or waistcoat, a white shirt with a black bow tie.
For women it means an elegant gown – either cocktail or calf length for a daytime wedding or full length for an evening wedding. If you expect this level of formality, be sure to state it on the invitation.
Semi formal dress means that men may wear dark suits and ties with dress shoes and women may choose either cocktail or full length dresses with tasteful jewelry, evening shoes and handbags.
Informal means that men may wear a suit or a sport coat, with or without a tie, and women can wear any nice, shorter length dress with appropriate accessories.
Cocktail means dress or business suits with ties for men, and a cocktail length elegant dress for women. (little black dress)
Dressy casual is one of those terms that is hard to pin down, but most folks agree that it mean a sport coat with contrasting slacks for men and a nice dress or pantsuit for women.
Casual means a shirt and slacks for men, and a skirt or pants with a blouse or casual dress for women.
What degree of formality will you choose for your wedding? Let us know in the comments.
Comments will be approved before showing up.
If you're a bride who doesn't want to wear a traditional wedding veil, Love Wedding Shop has some lovely wedding veil alternatives for you.