What to Wear to a Black-Tie Wedding

There's nothing better than opening up a fancy wedding invite that reads "dress code: black tie." It’s our one excuse to dress up to the nines, bask in a luxurious ambiance, and fill our Insta feed with plenty of fancy photos. But while a formal dress code is exciting, it can also be confusing. Do I need to wear a gown? Can I get away with a cocktail dress? What colors are appropriate?

While evening gowns and long dresses are standard fares for black-tie weddings, you can get away with a cocktail dress (of the longer variety) if it looks formal. Opt for sophisticated dresses made from luxe fabrics, and steer clear of anything that looks like you're going to a club. Wear your formal dress with sleek heels, elegant jewelry—you can’t go wrong with diamonds and pearls—and a chic clutch. Any color dress will work for a black-tie wedding except for white or ivory, of course. And yes, black and red are fair game! Jewel tones and pastel tones are particularly popular.

We’re not going to lie, black-tie attire can become costly (especially with luxe detailing such as embellished beading, lace, silk, and appliqués), but with a little shopping around, you don’t have to break the bank to find a stylish and appropriate formal ensemble, from sleek metallic sandals to embellished clutches and silky gowns. We’ve done some of the hard work for you and rounded up our favorite black tie attire on the market right now for every budget.

Just take a look at the back!

Available in sizes 0 to 14.

Update your black strappy sandals with this trendy transparent detail.

Available in sizes 5 to 12.

We love the vintage look of this (affordable!) clutch.

Don't be afraid to experiment with color, especially pretty pastels.

Available in sizes 0 to 12. 

Silver sandals will go with everything.

Available in sizes 5.5 to 10.

These sparkly earrings exude elegance.

Wow the crowds in this season's must-have lilac hue.

Available in sizes XS to L.

Wear with a gown for a wedding and jeans for a night out.

Available in sizes 7 to 8.5.

You can't go wrong with all black. 

Available in sizes 14 to 20.

Classic and versatile.

Available in sizes 6 to 10.

Guaranteed compliments ahead.

Available in sizes UK4 to UK16.

Comfortable enough to dance the night away.

Available in sizes 4.5 to 10.

An off-the-shoulder neckline with embellished detailing is the perfect answer to a black-tie dress code.

Available in sizes 14W to 22W.

Charm the crowds.

Available in sizes 4 to 8.

A little bling is the perfect finishing touch.

Thank you, Ted Baker, for another perfectly on-point wedding clutch.

How chic is the neckline?

Available in sizes 2 to 14.

Just add killer heels and statement earrings.

Available in sizes XS to XL.

Keep the rest of your look simple in striking blue sequins.

Available in sizes 6.

Neutral sandals will get you through every special occasion.

Available in sizes 5 to 10.

The perfect mix of elegance and ease.

Available in sizes 0 to 6.

We think Kate Middleton would love these.

For more wedding guest dress inspiration, see more of our favorites here.