Suit & Tie

Each time you go to open a wedding invitation the age old question “What do I wear?” pops into your mind as yet another invite is laced with the dress code. For women the choice can be easy; it normally means choosing between whether you wear a long dress or a cocktail dress. Now trust me (a girl with an extensive closet) I know that does not settle it but I believe men have a more difficult time in determining the appropriate dress code. For men the decision is made a bit more difficult. With wedding invitations throwing around phrases like “White Tie”, “Semi-Formal” and “Cocktail”, all the suits, sports coats, and ties blend together. So what is appropriate to wear when? Whether in South Florida or Nashville, we here at Enchanted Brides have a few helpful etiquette tips for our grooms and male guests to help narrow down the dressing decision.

1. White Tie

The most formal dress code is when the invitation specifies “White Tie”. What this typically means for men is a tailcoat tuxedo, a formal white shirt, a white vest, a white bow tie, white (or gray is also acceptable) gloves, and black opera pumps (these are shoes without laces). We always suggest to our male readers to invest in a tuxedo because you can use it for many different events and it is nice to not have to worry about renting one if you already have one hanging in your closet.


Photo: Kristyn Hogan

White Tie Attire can be found at Nashville’s Street Tuxedo

2.Black Tie

The second most formal dress code does not require all of the white, but still involves a tuxedo. Normally, we recommend men to wear a black tuxedo with a black tie, black vest or black cummerbund, and black suspenders. For footwear, we suggest nice dress shoes in black- but laces are alright this time around.


Photo: Kristyn Hogan 

These suits can be found at Street Tuxedo

3. Black Tie Optional

As Oscar Wilde once famously said, “You can never be overdressed or overeducated.” Therefore, although the invitation itself might say the word “optional,” we at Enchanted Brides feel it is the most appropriate to follow the Black Tie part of the suggested dress code. You will not look foolish showing up to a Black Tie Optional wedding in a tuxedo, if anything, you will impress. If that really is not your style, a dark suit with a white shirt and a conservative tie could work too.

4. Semi-Formal

Semi-Formal is where things start to get tricky. Many people have different opinions about what “semi” formal would mean. Some argue that it means a nice shirt and slacks while others suggest a full suit. According to wedding etiquette spoken throughout the wedding world, semi-formal for men means a dark suit with a white button-down and a conservative tie. Yes. Semi formal means ties. Do not be that guy who shows up without one despite the word “semi” on the invite!


These suits can be found at Miami’s My Groom’s Room

5. Casual/Cocktail

Finally, the casual/cocktail wedding dress code does mean casual, but we are not talking any form of denim here people. Most weddings that have this as the dress code are taking place on a beach or the couple wants a laid-back feel for perhaps a smaller, more intimate setting. In this case, opt for a button-down, tie, khakis, and if the weather permits, a sports coat. Although it says casual, you are still attending a wedding- a dressier occasion than your average Saturday night- so dress that way too!

Although dress codes can seem confusing, hopefully this article helps you narrow down all of those decisions you thought you had to make. Remember that you are in attendance to celebrate a friend or relative’s wedding and to dress to their standards. You are the guest. And I promise the influx of compliments from your date, wife, girlfriend, or the bridesmaids are sure to make all that primping worth it.


Photo: Kristyn Hogan

Suit can be found at Street Tuxedo

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