Formal or Casual? You Choose.

Formality impacts many aspects of a wedding. From your invitations, to your bridesmaid gowns, the formality of the event plays an important role in nearly every decision you will make throughout the planning process. Thus, it is important to have the formality chosen before making any big decisions, such as hiring vendors or buying attire.


Today we will discuss the formality of an event, from black tie to casual, and several others in between. Suggestions will be given regarding invitations, guest attire recommendations, local venue options, and much more. Keep reading for all the insider tips + tricks!



A "black-tie" affair

This is normally an evening wedding requiring formal attire. Male guests will be expected to wear tuxedos, while women may wear long formal gowns or chic cocktail dresses. Below is an example of an invitation that indicates a black-tie event.

Black Tie Invitation Baton Rouge Wedding

A Formal Invitation

Formal stationery has a unique look to it. It is often on white or cream colored paper, with black or gold accents. This classic look communicates a possibly formal wedding.

A formal invitation is also worded differently than a more casual invitation. It usually begins with the names of the bride's parents requesting "the honor of your presence at the marriage of their daughter..." There are many different etiquette rules regarding formal invitations. My suggestion would be to do one of the following: (1) hire a knowledgeable wedding planner, (2) discuss the wording with your stationery designer or (3) use other resources (online or books) to find out how you should word your invitations.



A "semi-formal" event

This level of formality is between formal and casual. Male guests would need to wear a suit, and women could wear a cocktail dress or a nice top with a skirt. Depending upon the season and time of the event, light or dark colors may be worn.

Short, Pink Bridesmaid Gown

Wedding Party Attire

If you are aiming for a semi-formal wedding, your bridesmaids may wear short dresses, as seen to the right. However, if you want your bridesmaids to stand out, long dresses would also be appropriate. The guys should wear suits. These suits may be dark or light. If you're having a summer wedding you may opt for a lighter color suit, such as khaki or a light grey. If you are getting married in the fall or winter a dark grey, black or navy would be fine.



A "casual" day

If you want guests to be relaxed at your wedding, you may go for a more casual wedding day. While men should still wear slacks, they do not need to wear a jacket and tie. Women can wear either a sundress or a pant suit set.

Backyard Wedding

A Backyard Wedding

Does a casual wedding mean having it in your backyard? Not necessarily. But if you choose an indoor/outdoor venue, with the option of having an outdoor reception (weather permitting), it can definitely give your day a more casual feel. Have some tables and chairs set up, a buffet line, and some lawn games; your guests will feel like they are in their own backyard.



I hope this post gives you some ideas to implement into your wedding day. Your wedding should be enjoyable and a black-tie affair may not suit your style. Regardless of whether you go black-tie or casual, make sure you, your family and your fiancé are comfortable. If you're having a good time, the guests will as well.


Having a formal wedding or a backyard wedding? Somewhere in between? Leave me a comment below! I want to hear all about it.