Evening Wedding Attire Guidelines

Updated November 13, 2018
Family toasting at wedding reception

Evening wedding attire is something that both bridal party members and guests struggle with understanding. Generally, evening weddings are formal or black-tie events, so they call for sophisticated and appropriate wedding wear.

Evening Wedding Attire Advice

Wedding celebrations hosted in evening hours or after dark are typically upscale events. Understanding exactly what to wear may be difficult for people who do not have experience dressing for swanky events. In fact, sometimes even the bride and groom are not sure what they should wear to their own weddings in the evening. Fortunately, the guidelines are not difficult to follow.

Bride and groom with wedding party

Bridal Party Formal Wear

The bride and groom are the ones who set the tone for an evening wedding. However, most of the couples who choose to host an evening wedding want a formal or black-tie wedding. If you want to host this type of wedding, follow guidelines to make everyone look picture perfect in the bridal party.

Black and red bridal party colors


While a designer wedding dress isn't required, a bride can still look for a low price wedding gown that features elegant elements to convey the formality of the wedding. Lace, embroidery, sequins and rhinestones add a sophisticated element to any dress. Even if you want a simple wedding dress, look for one made with high-quality fabric and has perfect seams.


Black bridesmaid dresses used to be faux pas, but today they are considered an excellent choice for evening wedding attire. Dark jewel tones or metallics are also great options. Floor length bridal party dresses are the best choice for evening weddings. Consider adding a bolero or shawl if you are getting married outside or in cooler months.


The groom should wear a proper wedding tuxedo to an evening wedding. The tuxedo does not necessarily have to include tails. He should have one element that sets his attire off from the other men in the bridal party, such as a white or silver vest with tie.

Groomsmen and Ushers

Groomsmen should also wear a wedding tuxedo to an evening wedding. Ushers, who normally may wear a simple suit, can also wear tuxedos. Otherwise, have them wear all black or dark navy suits.


Mothers of the bride and groom dresses from evening wear sections are appropriate for moms to wear to the wedding. The fathers of the bride and groom should don tuxedos that match those of the groomsmen or wear fashionable black or navy suits.

Evening Guest Attire

Guests who attend evening weddings should dress by following wedding guest attire etiquette. This means they should take their clues from the wedding party and formality of the weddings. For example, guests should not wear to a wedding anything that resembles a bridal party outfit, jeans or t-shirts.

Guests in formal wedding attire


Women should wear cocktail dresses or long dresses to a wedding that are not in bridal party colors. Look for matching shoes and a purse to complete the look. A little sparkle or rhinestones are okay, but don't go overboard. Use cues from the invitation and location to determine how fancy to go with your gown.


Formal dress codes for men are fairly easy to follow. Most men should don suits for an evening wedding. A proper tie or bowtie is also something he should master. Once the dinner portion of the evening has passed, he can take the jacket off for dancing.


Kids at evening weddings should wear formalwear for children. This means girls should have on dresses with tights and dressy shoes, whereas boys should wear suits and button-down shirts. If the children stay through the dance, consider bringing a change of clothing and checking with the mother of the bride or maid of honor to see if it is okay if the children change attire.

Group of children in formalwear

Formal Evening Wedding Wear Choices

Even though most weddings in the evening are formal or black-tie, some may be semi-formal or more casual. This may be due to the preferences of the bride and groom or to the differences in social circle norms for the couple who is getting married. Before you choose your clothing for a wedding, whether a guest or bridal party member, you should consider the overall style of the wedding itself and you will be properly dressed.

Evening Wedding Attire Guidelines