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Just Said Yes May 2024

Proper Attire?

Zoe, on March 27, 2021 at 2:24 PM Posted in Wedding Reception 0 11
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We are having an upscale outdoor wedding (5pm ceremony) and reception on family property with a large historic home on site. Planning to have reception in a huge tent with lots of florals, lighting, lounge seating, etc. to make it look elegant and classic (not rustic/country). Anyway, we would love to have our wedding party in black tie because we think it just looks so nice and put together! Plus, he wants an excuse to wear a really nice tux lol. Would it be tacky to have wedding party in black tie but have guests in a less-dressy attire? Perhaps fancier cocktail or semi-formal attire. We just don't want to inconvenience those who may not be able to afford black-tie attire or make anyone feel uncomfortable/stressed about what they have to wear, but also want to keep the overall aesthetic more elevated and fancy. We also don't want it to be weird to have it fancier even though it's outdoors. TIA!

Edit: I should add that we have not 100% decided on the style of food service, but are leaning toward a heavy cocktail/stations set up with ample seating and the option for guests to mix and mingle. We will likely not have a formal multi-course seated dinner.

11 Comments

Latest activity by Cassidy, on March 27, 2021 at 4:59 PM
  • Caytlyn
    Legend November 2019
    Caytlyn ·
    • Flag
    I don’t see why this would be an issue. It’s pretty common for the bridal party to be dressed more formally than the rest of the guests.
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  • Michelle
    Rockstar October 2022
    Michelle ·
    • Flag

    It's common to have the wedding party dress nicer but I would side eye that big of a gap in formality but not say a word. Guests dress semiformal (Sunday Best) by default unless the venue mandates tuxes and gowns to be allowed inside.

    However unless the venue requires the fancy attire, you can't tell your guests how to dress because they are adults. And witnessing your wedding should take priority over a dress code.

    • Reply
  • Katie
    Rockstar August 2020
    Katie ·
    • Flag
    Hi Zoe! That’s very similar to what we did! My husband really wanted a tux and so did the groomsmen, dads, and my Man of Honor in tuxedos. The guests were semi formal - men wore suits and women wore maxi dresses, sundresses or cocktail dresses. Here are a few pics to give you an idea of how it looked:
    Proper Attire? 1
    Proper Attire? 2


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  • J
    Master 0000
    Judith ·
    • Flag
    First, you do not have a black tie affair til 6 pm ( or dark in winter. The daytime equivalent of a tux is a cutaway, and most will not be pleased if you request it. To a certain degree, a wedding party is a costume event these days in that many wear evening style tuxes during the day time, and people don't care. The rules of formality which govern attire, say that the guests and family dress the same level of formality Or one step down from the bride and groom.
    Proper Attire? 3
    A cutaway jacket ( day tux) is usually in shades of grey or navy, often with trousers lighter than the jacket, often with an ascot not tie, and always with a waistcoat, not cummerbund. And has tails. ........ No one should be in a cutaway if you aren't. Although your setting could be black tie, is your service going to be - live bands, top level and number of waiters, multi-course plated meal at the table ( though you may choose from a buffet, which they serve and bring to you. ) Valet parking, top shelf liquors. Womens gowns may be ballgowns, or of other luxe material, silks and satins in all colors except white. No tight fit, body baring slits, or styles associated with clubs.
    If you simply invite people to a wedding and a formal reception to follow, you should get women in floor length, and if you invite them to cocktails and a semi formal reception you will get many short cocktail dresses with men's dressy suits. ... People ( me included) get annoyed to find that as a couple they spent $400 and then found it was not a black tie event, judging by service. Also, if you are big on black keep in mind that at this time of day / evening you will have many in very light or silvery things, not black. Black is mostly After Six. As Bride and groom, if you are dressier, guests don't mind of comment, as long as it ia not asked of them.
    • Reply
  • Hanna
    VIP June 2019
    Hanna ·
    • Flag

    I think that semi-formal attire sounds perfect for the type of wedding you're describing. A great place to indicate "semi-formal attire" would be on your wedding website. I think it's pretty common for the wedding party to be fancier than the guests. I wouldn't think twice about your groomsmen in tuxedos and your guests in semi-formal attire. To me, semi-formal means a suit for the men and nice dresses or sundresses for the women. In my opinion, cocktail attire might be asking a bit too much of the guests if it's outdoors and won't have a plated meal, but semi-formal sounds absolutely perfect

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  • Michelle
    Rockstar October 2022
    Michelle ·
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    View Quoted Comment

    Semiformal doesn't need to be mentioned anywhere because it the default dress code. It's Sunday Best, what you would wear to church. Whenever in doubt, most people ask matriarchs in the family or social group since they are familiar with how things go.

    • Reply
  • Ava
    VIP May 2022
    Ava ·
    • Flag
    I think this all sounds great! And it’s nice to see a couple that is having consideration for their guest’s physical and financial comfort. Too often you hear the opposite- the bride wants her guests to wear black tie attire, but doesn’t want to host a black tie event.
    • Reply
  • Hanna
    VIP June 2019
    Hanna ·
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    View Quoted Comment

    Of course it doesn't NEED to be mentioned anywhere, but it's very common these days for couples to list attire on their wedding website, which is why I suggested it. I have personally never heard that semi-formal is the default dress code for all weddings? My understanding is that the attire is supposed to match the formality of the venue. I personally think that it's very considerate when couples indicate attire on their website, because it provides clarification and eliminates questions. Also, everyone comes from different backgrounds. For example, saying to dress in "Sunday best" means absolutely nothing to me because I'm Jewish and have never been to a church before in my whole life, other than to attend a wedding. Anyways, I'm not the OP (my wedding was over a year ago) so you should be telling her this not me, lol

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  • Michelle
    Rockstar October 2022
    Michelle ·
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    For those who read the websites, the info is helpful. Not everyone does as many posts have mentioned when the website is given to guests.

    I've always understood attire to depend on the time of day. But every group is different.

    • Reply
  • V
    Champion July 2019
    Veronica ·
    • Flag

    It is very common for the bride, groom and bridal party to be more dressed up than their guests. My husband, the groomsmen, my brother (bride's man), and my dad all wore tuxes (my father-in-law elected to wear a suit he already owned) and the bridesmaids and groomswoman wore long formal dresses. Our moms also wore long evening gowns since they were part of the processional. However, we asked our guests to wear cocktail attire. We didn't want to make any rent tuxes or buy long evening gowns.

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  • C
    Master January 2019
    Cassidy ·
    • Flag
    I always appreciate it when attire is mentioned. It takes the guess work out of choosing an outfit. I think the website is the perfect place to mention it. You can also spread by word of mouth and tell key people(parents, bridal party, etc) incase anyone asks.


    I put it on our website and on the details card of our invitations. We got married In a church so it was worded as such, the ceremony will be in a house of worship please wear appropriate attire (nothing revealing, short skirts, etc). I also wanted to be sure to list is because there have been no “formal” weddings in either family so the chance of people showing up in jeans or leggings and t-shirt were likely.
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