What To Wear To Black Tie Optional Wedding: Best Looks

Know what to wear to black tie optional wedding by considering two factors. It would be best to know what this dress code means and how to maintain the right balance of formality without going over the top. 

This styling guide will also provide specific black tie optional outfit ideas for male and female guests. And in case you made up your mind about wearing suits, consider what color suit for a wedding

what to wear to black tie optional wedding


What To Wear To Black Tie Optional Wedding For Men And Women


Know what black tie optional means

Before deciding what to wear to a black tie optional wedding, you must know what this dress code means. It might be confusing upon a glance, but it’s easy to understand what’s a black tie optional wedding guest attire. 

The black tie optional dress code means that guests should wear formal attire and get as formal as they want, but they also can tone it down. It can also mean that the wedding welcomes a semi-formal dress code rather than something too casual. 

That being said, you can wear a tuxedo or evening gown since they are very formal and it’ll be acceptable. But if you don’t want to or don’t have these formal outfits, an alternative would be a suit or a cocktail dress, hence the name, “optional” in black tie optional. 


Stay classy on your wedding attire

Even if the wedding follows a black tie optional dress code that gives the guests complete control of the formality in their attire, you still don’t want to attend the wedding underdressed. More often, these types of weddings will already have the couple and wedding party dressed in black tie. 

Furthermore, the term “black-tie optional” can also be mentioned on the invitation as “black tie encouraged.” This means that the couple prefers the guests to wear black-tie wedding outfits but allows a less formal outfit. 

Since it’s only an option, you still want to wear something relatively formal. Avoid very short and revealing dresses for women or very laidback jackets or shirts for men. 


What Should A Woman Wear To Black Tie Optional Wedding?

Female wedding guests can understandably have difficulty picking a black tie optional dress. However, if you have an evening gown that you think is subtle enough for a wedding and it’s not revealing nor upstaging the bride, then it should be your first pick. 

You can also consider formal cocktail dresses or midi dresses, but be careful of really short dresses as they tend to be more casual. Or if you don’t like dresses or skirts, you can always opt for dressy pants or even pantsuits in a black tie optional wedding. 

A tip to dress up and make these outfits more formal is to use a bodysuit under them. And if you’re curious if you can wear a jumpsuit to a black tie optional wedding, be mindful of the fabric, color, or pattern so it wouldn’t look casual. 

Read how to wear pants to a wedding for more styling tips. 


What Should A Man Wear To Black Tie Optional Wedding?

Wearing tuxedos and suits is expected for male wedding guests with a black tie optional dress code. Therefore, you must avoid casual clothes such as t-shirts, workout clothes, or even certain types of jackets that don’t match the event’s formality. 

You can also never go wrong with dark colors on your jackets as they look classier than light colors. For example, consider a navy blue or charcoal tailored suit when you can’t wear a black tuxedo jacket. 

Don’t forget to wear the appropriate dress pants and avoid jeans for formality. And of course, you need to wear formal shoes like leather oxfords when attending a black tie optional wedding. 


What Should You Not Wear To Black Tie Optional?

Black tie optional weddings prefer their guests to wear very formal attire, but they can dress it down a bit without going too casual. Therefore, midi and cocktail dresses are acceptable but not very short dresses or patterns that are more suitable for an informal or casual event. 

Women can also wear pants, blouses, and suits, as long as the overall outfit looks formal and classy. And as for men, the only potential outfits to avoid include gym clothes, t-shirts, graphic shirts, shorts, ripped jeans, and rubber shoes. 

Consider the clothes you’ll wear to a semi-formal event, but dress them up a bit to match the black tie optional dress code. However, remember to maintain a lowkey style as you don’t want to overshadow the bride and groom. 


Do You Have To Wear Black To Black Tie Wedding?

Black for wedding outfits to a black tie wedding is acceptable and expected, although it’s not mandatory. Instead, dark colors, including black are appropriate for a formal event like black tie wedding. 

Therefore, men can consider black, navy blue, or charcoal suits, while women can also opt for evening dresses of the same colors. 



And that’s it! We just learned what to wear to black tie optional wedding where you can consider evening gowns, tuxedos, suits, or even pantsuits. 

The main element to remember is to keep formality in mind and never wear something too casual. However, please maintain subtlety as you don’t want to take the attention away from the bride and groom. 

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