Did someone say ‘black-tie wedding’? Four little syllables and we can hardly suppress our girllike excitement. Sure, we’re happy for the happy couple—of course—but let’s be real: how often do you get to dress to the nines for such a ten-out-of-ten event? This is the next best thing to dressing for the Golden Globes.
So, if a black-tie wedding invitation has landed in your lap, do us a favour and go big! Wear something so long and luscious that you’re almost tripping over it. Be beautifully impractical. We’re not talking about an old mini that you’ve worn to a nightclub or a bar. We’re talking about mermaid trains and high splits topped with plunging necklines, as well as up-dos and diamond-encrusted clutches. Read on to learn the (up-)dos and don’ts of black-tie attire at a wedding.
Jaw-to-the-floor, floor-length dresses
You likely already cottoned onto this, but when it comes to black-tie attire—the longer, the better. There are few other opportunities to wear those mermaid-cut ballgowns. However, if you’d prefer to leave the trailing trains for the bride, then you should go for a maxi cut—or a midi, if you were wanting to hit the D-floor. The main thing is that your dress should be exceeding knee length.
Mermaid, maxi, midi: you came, you saw, you made jaws drop—whichever cut you went with. Images: Alamour The Label
And what about the colour? Well, the truth is you can wear whatever colour you want (with the exception of white, cream, or off-white, of course. Matching the bride is a big no-no at weddings)! If you were zooming in on the collection of blacks in your closet—or if you were building a Pinterest board full of black ballgowns—you would be forgiven. The term ‘black-tie’ can be misleading that way.
Black dresses: great for black-tie events. Also great for black-tie events: every other colour ever (unless you’re attending a wedding, in which case white is off-limits). Image: Alamour The Label
Fun fact: ‘black-tie’ is a self-explanatory dress code—for men. At these events, they needn’t wear more than a tuxedo with, well, a black tie. Please note that ‘black-tie’ is a woman’s licence to break out whatever beautiful ballgown she wants in whatever colour she desires (except, in this case, white). Black is definitely an option, ladies, but please don’t feel limited to this!
All about the bling
Your ballgown is likely so fabulous, it can largely speak for itself. That being said, black-tie events are the time to break out your best jewel, diamond, and crystal bling! Perhaps you have a special Swarovski set up your sleeve, or maybe you’re just crazy about Tiffany’s. As Marilyn Monroe did say, diamonds are a girl’s best friend.
Sometimes, it pays to get earrings that match your eyes! Your whole ensemble includes your fabulous self, as well. Image: Alamour The Label
Diamond earrings, necklaces and bracelets, or even pearl pendants would all complement a ballgown (or dress) of any colour. Why? Because they shine with the light of the sun whilst still maintaining neutrality. If you have some jewelled accessories, you may need to be a little more selective. Ensure the jewels are thematically linked to each other, as well as your dress or ballgown. They should colour-match or complement the colour of your garment.
What’s up with the ’do
If you haven’t noticed by now, we’ve been dropping heavy hints about up-dos throughout this post. Do do an up-do—be it partial or in full! If you’re feeling especially fancy, finish it off with a beaded or floral hair accessory. We’re digging pearl pieces, which would go a treat with pearl jewellery.
A hairdo to give Reese Witherspoon a run for her money. Loose hair looks glam, so long as its waves are sharply defined. Image: Alamour The Label
If you’re not feeling the up-do, then you do you. You are welcome to wear your hair loose, on the proviso you style it well! Just imagine hair cascading to your shoulders in waves sharpened to perfection. We think Reese Witherspoon wore this best at the 85th Annual Academy Awards.
Any final tips?
If you’re close with the bride (or at least somewhat close, considering you’re not part of the bridal party), it may pay to ask about the bridesmaids’ dresses. Will there be a common colour scheme, and if so, what will it be? Armed with this knowledge, you may want to choose a colour that differs from the bridal auxiliary. Don’t get us wrong—this is not a fashion crime akin to matching the bride’s gown. However, you may want to separate yourself from the action with your own colour scheme. Accidental outfit matches can sometimes be #awkies. Otherwise, there’s no harm in taking some colour-matched selfies with the bridesmaids!
Image: Alamour The Label
Our final tip is the choose something that you’re comfortable with! Well, you are dressing to the nines, so literal comfort may be on the back burner. But dress in something that flatters your figure, matches your skin tone, and fuels you with confidence that makes you stand tall. Let your outfit radiate as much love for yourself as you feel for the happy couple. And if you are choosing something skin-tight, maybe choose a stretchy material, because chances are, you will be sitting for a fair portion of the wedding. We will leave you with that practical little gem.