More from The Wedding Guru

What to Wear at a Wedding: Tuxedo vs. Black Tie vs. Formalwear

What’s the difference between tuxedo, black tie, and formal attire?

(page 2 of 2)

The Wedding Guru says: The simple answer is that formal signifies “more dressed than what you would wear to the office” (or even to a Saturday night date). Today, the concept of formal is very ambiguous and can mean anything from a tuxedo to a dark suit to a black shirt with designer jeans. But, the “rules” say that a black suit is only appropriate for formal functions, and a formal shirt can be worn with either a tuxedo or a black suit (but a tuxedo shirt should only be worn with a tuxedo).

For men, black tie means a tuxedo: a single, double-breasted dinner jacket with satin lapels; matching pants with a satin stripe on the pant legs; satin-trimmed pockets and the accoutrements; a black cummerbund, a white formal shirt (with French cuffs fastened with cuff links and without a pocket); a black bow tie or a long black tie; black dress socks; and black formal shoes. In hot weather, a white dinner jacket and a cummerbund are correct.

For women, black tie means a floor-length, short, or three-quarter-length evening gown with evening sandals or pumps, an evening bag, and understated jewelry. Because “formal” for women is also ambiguous, I suggest that you include the dress code in your invitation. You can, for example, write “black tie” or “black tie optional,” or be even more specific by saying “long gowns preferred.” The fancier an event, the fancier the dress code should be.

There is a separate code for dress uniforms for men or women in the military.

Even more formal than “black tie” is “white tie” — but we’ll save that for another blog post!

I was overwhelmed by the amount of information at, so if you want even more details, by all means check out that site.

» More on what to wear at a wedding
» More from The Wedding Guru
» Submit a question to the Wedding Guru
» Hudson Valley Weddings 2013


Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Your to-dos before the I-dos

About This Blog

Tying the knot shouldn't put knots in your stomach, so whether you're the blushing bride, hubby-to-be, or even a wedding guest, The Wedding Guru Judy Lewis can answer all of your wedding-related questions.

This blog hails from, the one-stop resource for services and products, promotions and specials, a Regional Bridal Show schedule, Wed Shop, and links to money-saving and wedding-related Web sites.

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
Edit Module