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Evening Wedding Attire Etiquette

Whether you’ve been invited to or are having a wedding that will take place in the evening, it's important to be aware of the etiquette associated with such an event. Part of adhering to the etiquette rules for an evening wedding is knowing what to wear; using specific courtesies will help you to look your best at the ceremony and reception.Does this Spark an idea?


If the evening wedding is especially formal, or will be a black tie event, it is appropriate to wear a tuxedo. The tuxedo should be accompanied by a black bow tie and cummerbund–it is not proper etiquette to wear a tie and cummerbund in the wedding color(s), as these will probably be worn by the groomsmen.

A formal, full-length gown is ideal for women who are attending an evening wedding. The lines of the gown should be simple and clean, and the dress should not be extremely form-fitting, so as not to upstage the bride on her special day. The accents of the dress should be modest as well, so things like multi-colored sequins or pearl-lined collars should be avoided. The color of the dress should complement the skin color and undertones of the woman wearing the dress, so that the outfit will not attract unwanted attention.

Guests at semi-formal weddings should dress slightly less formally than they would for a black tie event. A tuxedo is not necessary for a semi-formal wedding, but men should wear a well-tailored suit in a dark color such as black or navy blue. affordable cocktail dresses online are appropriate for women to wear to a semi-formal evening wedding–the dress should fall at least below the knee.

The bridal party will be dressed in the attire that the bride and groom have chosen; bridesmaids will likely be dressed in full-length gowns in one of the wedding colors, and the groomsmen will wear ties and cummerbunds with their tuxedos in the same colors as the bridesmaids' dresses, or in the alternating wedding color. The hostesses can wear dresses that are slightly different from the bridesmaids' in length or color, and male ushers can be dressed in the same outfit as the groomsmen.

The bride's dress will have a significantly long train for an evening wedding. If the bride chooses to wear a veil, this is full-length as well. Gloves, usually in satin, are worn by the bride to cover her arms, but it is also appropriate to wear a long-sleeved wedding dress. The groom can wear a tuxedo, or a white waistcoat and white bow tie–if the groom wants to be especially formal, he can wear white gloves and a top hat.

Evening Wear Etiquette

Evening wear has expanded greatly, and it no longer means a stuffy shirt and tie for men or a princess-like ball gown for women. Experiment and push the envelope, especially when an invitation arrives with a vague dress code requirement. That said, there are a few rules to following for evening wear.Does this Spark an idea?


For women, the notion of evening wear can run from a affordable cocktail dresses online to a tuxedo-inspired pantsuit and many looks in between. It’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed, so make the most of styling a standard little black dress. Coiffed hair, a smokey eye, and bold jewelry can elevate a simple frock into an amazing fashion moment. If you’re used to sporting one silhouette, experiment with flamboyant shoes. When you think your look needs something extra, go beyond a sparkling necklace and think gloves, tights or even a darling hat. The only real etiquette rule applies if you’re attending a work event. At this point, cover up the cleavage, and keep the hemline at the knees.

Men should always be in a button-up shirt and slacks for any evening event. Jeans can be the exception to the rule for more casual venues or parties, but if you want to play it safe, go with slacks. Shoes should be closed-toe, so opt for loafers, boots or dress shoes, depending on the occasion. A jacket is not required for all evening events, but it’s best to check the invitation or wear a jacket, just in case. It can always be removed if you arrive at the shindig and feel it’s out of place.

Black tie events are fancy and certain evening wear etiquette should be followed regardless of your personal style. Men and women should be dressed to the nines. For men, this means a tuxedo and for women this means an evening gown, affordable cocktail dresses online or very formal pantsuit. Bring out jewels (real or fake) to add glitz to your look. Women should always wear heels. If they are especially bothersome, look for a short, stacked heel that will distribute weight evenly and be easy to walk in.

White tie is the pinnacle of a formal affair. Whereas black tie gives you some room to showcase your own style, white tie has decided the evening wear for you. This is especially true for men, as a white bow tie is expected (and more often, required), with a tailcoat and even a top hat. Opera shoes, which can be found online at any time of the year, should be worn.

For women, a cocktail dress may fly at certain black-tie events, but not for a white-tie affair. Pull out all the stops with a ball gown, your best jewels and heels. Even a tiara is appropriate. When it comes to choosing a gown, color isn’t as important as fabric, so look for rich fabrics like satin, taffeta or brocade. You will likely want to visit a salon for a manicure and to have your hair professionally styled. Keep makeup classic, focusing on either eyes or lips, but never both. The makeup should be refined chic, never garish.

Evening Dresses From the 1960s

The 1960s were an interesting time for evening dresses. In the first half of the decade the gowns and dresses looked no different than what was worn in the mid to late ’50s. By the end of the decade the look was remarkably different. It was, for example, not considered shocking to wear a mini-dress to an event that took place in the evening.Does this Spark an idea?

The fabrics of early ’60s evening dresses were sumptuous: crepe de chine, satin, duchesse satin and organza were commonplace. A woman could wear a gown of gold lame, with a beaded and embroidered organza top and a low neckline. She might wear an overskirt of black faille, with a sash with a bow tied to the side.

A woman might wear a affordable cocktail dresses online of pink silk taffeta with a covering of pale gray lace. The bodice would be sleeveless but fitted and the skirt full and flouncy, with a scalloped, lace-edged hem. Another dress might be an elegant black crepe de chine with a bodice that was not only fitted but boned, with halter straps and a narrow skirt with a pleat and back slit. Women still wore gloves, often elbow length for soirees, possibly in different colors like orange, blue or purple. Shoes had pointed toes and could be gold kidskin or satin.

By the end of the decade, severely-fitted bodices had been dispensed with, as had long gloves. Even dresses were not required for evening wear. In 1966 one might find a woman wearing a man’s black velvet suit, complete with vest and jacket, but worn over a blouse with a lace edged Peter Pan collar and cuffs. The outfit would be worn with square-toed black satin boots with thick heels. The year before, the same woman might be seen wearing a semi-fitted beaded dress with big polka dots on a cerise background, with a bib neckline and shoulder straps. She’d be without jewelry and her hair would be in a severe Louise Brooks bob.

A cocktail dress from 1969 was proof that the revolution had arrived. It was a mini-dress made of plastic and worn with lycra tights. Another evening dress from the same period would look conservative — it, too, was a mini dress, but made of black wool crepe, with a strap neckline and a flared skirt, worn with shoes with tasteful heels. The woman’s long hair would be held back in a black bow.

Evening Dresses for Teens

Teens wear special dresses for occasions such as proms, formal parties and weddings. Designers target teenage girls with trendy fashions, textures and colors. When a teen shops for an evening dress, she should take into account her body type and choose a dress to flatter her shape. Today’s flirty styles, interesting details and variety of fabrics give young girls many options..Does this Spark an idea?


Chiffon is a popular choice of fabric for teen evening dresses, according to Bridgette Raes, New York image and style expert. It is a delicate, translucent material that suits this age group. Lightweight fabrics are okay to wear in cooler weather, but teens should also consider velvets and heavier jacquard options. Bolder teenage girls may prefer shiny knits or fabric with sheen.

Raes says it is all about bright colors for today’s teenage girls. Some of the popular evening dress shades for this age group are vibrant purple, royal blue, red, jade green and even bright yellow. Teens usually avoid the black affordable cocktail dresses online that are popular with adult women. When teens wear neutrals, they are typically extreme hues in grey, gold and soft “makeup” colors such as blush. Florals and prints are once again popular with teens (at the time of writing in 2011).

Interesting straps take center stage on many of today’s simple, elegant evening dresses for teens, according to Raes. Embellishments and jewels such as rhinestones adorn the straps. Teenage girls often want to show off their tan by wearing dresses with open back. The strap attachments create a point of interest. When teens choose shorter dresses, they typically have interesting bottom details, including flutter hems and ruffled flounce skirts. Layers of material such as tulle add bounce underneath the skirt.

Raes says girls under 16 should steer clear of long gowns. She suggests tea length for that age group — below the knee and above the ankle. Older teens can wear longer dresses, especially to proms. They should be free flowing, simple styles that do not look like ball gowns.

Teenage girls want to reflect the latest trends, but Raes says they should also consider body type. If you are a teen with curves, you need to choose a style that shows off your waist, such as the empire dresses. The garment should float away from the body.

Many teenagers have slender frames or are thick in the middle, and a fluid silhouette looks best on them. Although halter dresses are popular with young girls, pear-shaped teenagers should avoid them. Pear-shaped figures need wider necklines and substantial straps to draw the eyes outward and balance out their larger hip and thigh areas.

Evening Dress Fall Colors

Getting all dolled up for the fall season means you have to look your best even if you have to wear a coat to beat the chilly weather. As many pre-holiday bashes, end-of-the-year parties and other special events are popular during this season, if the dress code calls for an evening dress you want to look the part. If your fashion sense is eclectic there’s no need to tell you what you can and can’t wear during any particular time of the year, however, pastel with zebra print may not work for everyone. When choosing fall colors for your evening event, you won’t be disappointed with the plethora of color options.Does this Spark an idea?


Gold, burgundy, emerald and eggplant are all deep, rich colors that fall in the jewel tone family. These dark, elegant colors work well with long evening gowns accessorized by huge stoned costume jewelry. When you think of fall, these colors are usually last on the list competing with yellow-gold tones, orange and green. Any of these colors will do when you’re in search of a signature piece. The depth of these colors serve justice for just about anyone’s skin tone and are easy to pair with accessories.

When you want to be the showstopper at a fall big ball or gala, slip into a silver sequin or gold-beaded evening dress, baring your best attributes with style. Pewter, bronze and copper tones also work well in an array of evening dress styles from halters to mermaid style and even slinky sheath. Pair your dress with same or complementary colored jewelry, making sure not to overdo it and take away from your dress design.

When the little black dress grows up, it becomes a fashionable evening gown ready to put your best face forward like a pro. When in doubt, go with a simple black dress that accents your curves. A black gown is appropriate for fall events of all kinds, allowing you to not have to worry if the dress is “too much.” Go simple with black or amp up your look with special beading and texturing to give your look a bit of individuality.

The fall season doesn’t mean everything you wear has to be dark. Soft creams, rose and olive also work and are appropriate for evening dress colors. To avoid a shorter dress looking like a affordable cocktail dresses online, opt for longer-style gowns with plenty of embellishments such a fabric roses. Choose a sophisticated design such as a high one-shoulder or an open-back style.