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Receiving an invitation to a black-tie wedding can be exciting but also a little daunting at the same time. After all, a black-tie dress code is one of the fanciest out of the bunch and requires guests to wear their swankiest attire. But fret not! With so many gorgeous formal outfits on offer, there's a black-tie ensemble out there to suit every style and budget.
What Is Black-Tie Attire?
A black-tie dress code is reserved for formal weddings and events. Guests typically wear floor-length gowns and tuxedos when attending a black-tie wedding.
For fall and winter weddings, formal attire feels all the more appropriate—especially for nuptials timed to the holidays or New Year’s Eve. Full-length gowns are perfect for such occasions whether you’re into a seasonal long-sleeve style, textured velvet number, or sparkling sequins. If you’re one to follow trends, consider puff sleeves, allover florals, and bold styles in statement-making hues. For subdued tastes, you can’t go wrong with a gorgeous black gown whether that means a one-shoulder silhouette, plunging V-neck, or asymmetrical shape.
Read on for the best wedding guest dresses for a black-tie wedding for every style, budget, and season.
For a Summer Wedding: LoveShackFancy High/Low Dress
If you're headed to a summer or destination wedding, this unique LoveShackFancy high/low dress is a no brainer. Dressy enough to adhere to a black-tie dress code and playful enough to complement a destination wedding venue – this dress is the best of both worlds.
Best Little Black Dress: Brandon Maxwell Off-The-Shoulder Silk Maxi Dress
No matter the occasion, you can never go wrong with a classic little black dress. We love this one in particular for its alluring neckline and lustrous, silky, sheen. Wear with shoulder-grazing earrings to highlight the off-the-shoulder silhouette.
What to look for in black-tie guest outfits
A black-tie dress code traditionally calls for formal outfits like floor-length evening gowns, tailored jumpsuits, and tuxedos. If you're not sure where to start, it's helpful to let the venue and season guide your decision-making process. For winter black-tie weddings, look for outfits crafted from warm and textured fabrics like lace and velvet. Soft pastels, as well as pretty floral prints, are perfect for spring and summer weddings, while jewel tones like emerald green, classic navy and, rich burgundy are always a fitting choice for fall or winter nuptials. Certain details like dramatic skirts, classic necklines, and shimmering embellishments will instantly make a silhouette feel black-tie-worthy. And if you're looking for a foolproof black-tie outfit, you can never go wrong with a timeless black gown or jumpsuit.
What is a black-tie dress code?
A black-tie dress code is reserved for formal weddings and requires that you wear a formal outfit like a floor-length gown and tuxedo.
What should a wedding guest wear to a black-tie wedding?
Guests attending a black-tie wedding typically wear floor-length evening gowns. Formal dresses in black and navy are also a popular choice for black-tie weddings as are gowns with allover embellishments.
Can I wear a short dress to a black-tie wedding?
Short dresses are typically more appropriate for less formal weddings. When in doubt, run your outfit by the couple or opt for a floor-length gown to err on the safe side.
Why Trust Brides
Contributing writer Sophie Moore is a former fashion editor at Brides and is an expert in all things bridal attire, from couture wedding gowns to the perfect "something blue" accessory. She researches and sources the best fashion items for brides, grooms, wedding guests, bridal parties, and more. Sophie's go-to black-tie outfit is a simple silkly gown styled with eye-catching accessories like shoulder-grazing earrings or colorful shoes.