Each Wednesday, we tackle wedding etiquette. At times, it’s a reader question or one from a colleague, friend or family member and other times we’ll cover a popular issue. This week, we’re running an excerpt from Dee Lane’s etiquette column in our New Orleans Bride Magazine Winter/Spring 2017 issue.
Question: My husband and I have been invited to a wedding that has several events associated with it, and each one has a different dress code. I know what they mean for me, but what does he wear to each? When is a tie appropriate and when can he wear a short-sleeved shirt?
Answer: Dress codes can be hard to navigate, but men’s options are actually easier than women’s. Here’s a brief rundown of some of the dress codes you might come across:
White Tie or Ultra-formal: Tuxedo or cut-away jacket, white tie, vest, shirt and cummerbund. Women wear long gowns (ankle to floor-length).
Black-tie or Formal: Tuxedos. Women wear long dresses, long cocktail or dressy separates. Note: For a more modern look for men, sometimes this can include a black shirt or not wearing a tie with tuxedo for men.
Black-tie Optional: Basically, the same as Formal, but men have the option of wearing a dark suit with a tie instead of a tuxedo.
Semi-formal: The only dress code that changes depending on time of day. Before 6 p.m. this means a suit for him and an appropriate shorter dress or dressy suit for women. After 6 p.m. calls for a dark suit for him and a cocktail dress for her.
Cocktail: Dark suit for him and short, elegant dress for her.
When in doubt, either call someone associated with the wedding party and ask, or err on the dressier side. As my grandmother always told me, you’ll never feel embarrassed for looking too good, but the first time you don’t have lipstick on when you go to the grocery you’ll see every crush you’ve ever had.
Don’t miss our first bridal show of 2017! The New Orleans Bride January Bridal Show will be TONIGHT, Jan. 11, at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans. Click here for more details and to purchase your tickets.