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Black Tie Required: What to Wear to a Formal Wedding (And How to Ask for It in Your Invitations)

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Generally speaking, what the bridal party and guests wear determines the tone of the wedding: informal, semiformal, or formal. The bridal couple should express their preference when sending invitations. (Still, keep in mind that you can’t police your guests. You’ll just have to hope that whoever comes to your wedding will dress appropriately.)

Unfortunately, there’s always someone who doesn’t respect your wishes, so be ready to look the other way!

Dear Wedding Guru: “My fiancé and I want a formal wedding. How do I address this in my invitations? Also, what do I tell my guests when they ask what attire is appropriate?”

(See answer on next page)

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Dear Valley bride-to-be: You can write “Black Tie” or “Black Tie Invited” in your invitations to indicate a formal wedding. This means that men should wear a traditional black tuxedo, pleated-front white shirt (with cufflinks), vest (or cummerbund) with matching bow tie, black socks, and patent leather (or very shiny) shoes. Nowadays, formalwear includes a white shirt and contrasting tie, without a cummerbund or a vest. Ladies should wear long evening gowns or elegant cocktail dresses. For a daytime formal event, a white tuxedo jacket (sometimes referred to as a dinner jacket) is the proper attire. Hope this helps!

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