What To Wear To A Black Tie Wedding

If you’ve been following along over these last few weeks, I’ve been recapping Our Parisian Honeymoon – including our experience staying at The Palace of Versailles. This is our final post from our time at the palace. It features the […]


If you’ve been following along over these last few weeks, I’ve been recapping Our Parisian Honeymoon – including our experience staying at The Palace of Versailles.

This is our final post from our time at the palace. It features the infamous ‘The Hundred Steps monumental staircase‘ which connected the queen’s & king’s private quarters to the back of the palace. Now if you’d like to see more – you can see more from our stay here, here, and here.

When packing for the trip, I knew I would need to bring at least one formal dress for dinner at the palace. Luckily the majority of the weddings Matt and I have been to over the last year or so have been black tie. So, I had a few gowns collecting dust to pick from!

Having just wrapped up my own wedding – and with peak wedding season just around the corner – I thought I’d share some tips on What To Wear To A Black Tie Wedding.

What To Wear To A Black Tie Wedding:

Let’s Talk Dress Hem:

Traditionally black tie dress code implies a formal occasion. This means a floor-length gown for the ladies and a tuxedo for the men. However, as black-tie weddings have become more popular I’ve seen a mixture of men in both tuxedos and dinner jackets and women in a range of floor-length gowns, high-low or midi dresses.

Personally, when it comes to dress hems for black-tie weddings I like to lean into the more formal side of things with a floor-length gown. The opportunity to wear a floor-length gown is rare, so I like to live up the occasion!

I know what you’re thinking – gowns are not cheap – and I totally agree!

I own three floor-length gowns that I rotate for black-tie weddings. All three of my dresses were purchased in 2020, which was a wicked busy wedding season for Matt and myself. One is a mustard yellow number that I purchased on sale at Anthropologie; the gown I’m wearing in this post is off Poshmark for under $200; the third is also black and was purchased from BCBG for a family wedding at full price. I’ve been able to share my pieces with my sister as well.

As the popularity of black tie weddings climbs, I’ve seen more brands like – Abercrombie, H&M, and Tuckernuck provide more casual or reuse-friendly floor-length dresses that would fit in perfectly at a summer or beach black tie event.

Conclusion: Floor-length preferred but a high-low or mid-length would still be approved!

Let’s Talk Dress Color:

When it comes to color at black tie events, I think two things should be automatically thought brainstormed. First, the season. And second, the venue.

Personally, I like to wear a black dress with feminine details like the silver beading on this dress or tulle if the wedding venue is more formal and indoors. Black is flattering, it goes with everything, and usually complements your date’s black tuxedo. Plus, it’s easy to reuse down the line for a gala or formal dinner (like where I was heading) no matter the season!

However, if I’m going to a black-tie wedding that is outside or a summer wedding that is by the shoreline – I like to ditch the black and go with a less stuffy look. I’ll lean into satin fabrics or cotton. Anything that is lightweight and easy to move in with patterns or fresh details is a vibe! These dresses are often easier to find and usually need little to no tailoring which is a cost saver.

Conclusion: Use the venue to determine the formality, color, and fabric. If the venue is inside and leans more formal wear a true black ball gown. When the venue is outside (especially in the summer) reach for lighter materials like satin and try on a unique color or fun floral pattern.

Let’s Talk Accessories:

When we’re discussing accessories I always think less is more.

For shoes, I’d say a heel is a must. I rarely wear heels – so when I do – I prefer a block heel. They’re easy to move in and easy to walk on grass for those outdoor venues.

For jewelry, keep it simple and let the dress steal the show.

I’ll wear these tiny faux diamond earrings or pearls. When it comes to jewelry just remember to leave the Fitbits and Apple watches at home, please!

Finally, for purses, a clutch never goes out of style.

The smaller the better. You do not want to be lugging around anything larger than a book. Sometimes I forgo a purse altogether and just give Matt my license and my lipstick!

Speaking of lipstick, I always recommend a fun lip for a wedding whether you’re wearing black or color! Having fun with makeup is my favorite accessory by far.

Conclusion: Less is more. Block heels are game-changers. Wear a fun lip. Keep the Apple Watch at home.

I hope this breakdown of what to wear to a current-age black-tie wedding helped! Let me know below if I missed anything in the comments below.

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