When a wedding couple chooses black-tie attire for a wedding, they are planning to have an extravagant and elegant evening. 

Traditionally, you will not find a black-tie wedding to begin before 5 pm. There’s just something about men in dark suits and women in long formal gowns dancing under the stars. 

The same outfits would certainly not create the same sophisticated atmosphere early in the morning. And to be fair, it would be super impractical to wear black-tie mid-day when the sun is beaming down.

Pro tip: Link this post to the FAQ section of your wedding website where you discuss your guests’ outfits and send it to anyone who is unsure of what to wear! It’ll save you a lot of explaining.

And/Or, you can link this Pinterest board to inspire your guests.

What is Black-tie attire for a wedding?

When you attend a wedding that has listed black-tie attire for the dress code, you should dress in formal wear, but with dark, muted colors. 

To respect the formal event, you should make sure your shoes and accessories are classy and polished.

You may be surprised to hear that black-tie attire for a wedding is only the second most formal dress code a wedding couple can choose. 

All my fellow Downton Abbey fans will know that white-tie is actually on the top of the fancy pants scale (pun intended). 

Nevertheless, black-tie attire for a wedding is a very sophisticated dress code that may require some serious preparation from your guests. 

What is Black-tie attire for women?

While you may be able to get away with wearing a cocktail dress, black-tie attire for a wedding really calls for a floor-length gown or pantsuit. 

A deep cleavage may be right up your alley, but make sure that it looks tasteful.

By the way, the same goes for high leg slits. They can be a total showstopper or major outfit malfunction.





  • Full-length dress, pantsuit or romper 
  • The fabric should be very formal (e.g. chiffon, satin or velvet)
  • Choose darker, formal colors like black, emerald, navy blue, burgundy or metallics


  • High heel shoes
  • Few pieces of high-quality jewelry like pearl earrings or a tasteful necklace or bracelet
  • Elaborate hairdo including curls, an updo or a sleek & straight look

What is Black-tie attire for men?

For men, “black-tie” attire is exactly like it sounds.

A black tuxedo with a white dress shirt, a black tie or bowtie, and polished black leather shoes are the minimum. You can add a black cummerbund or vest to add even more formality.

If you absolutely must, you could go for a dark charcoal suit, too. 





  • Black tuxedo
  • Black tie or bowtie
  • White dress shirt


  • Black leather shoes (polished is preferred)
  • (Optional) Black cummerbund or vest
  • Cufflinks or a tie clip 

What is Black-tie attire for a girl?

There is typically a lot of leniency when it comes to enforcing the dress code for children. 

However, it will show a lot of respect for the wedding couple if even the little guests dress the part. 

For a little girl, that means a formal dress in a traditional, mute color like navy blue, black, burgundy or emerald with metallics to accent.

Depending on the season, a cardigan over the dress is appropriate as well. 





  • Formal dress 


  • Formal shoes
  • Necklace and bracelet

What is Black-tie attire for a boy?

Black-tie attire for a wedding means a little boy should wear black, dark gray or navy blue dress pants with a matching blazer and white dress shirt.

A tie or bowtie would add an extra formal touch, but your little boy may not be a big fan of wearing it.





  • Dress pants with a dress shirt
  • Blazer


  • (optional) Tie or bowtie

Now you’re a total expert when it comes to Black-tie attire for a wedding!!

Remember to share this post and Pinterest board with all of your wedding guests to give them an idea of what to wear on your special day! 

Did we answer your wedding day dress code questions? Let us know in the comments!