Tie to a Wedding

Formal vs Casual: When Should You Wear a Tie to a Wedding?

Did you receive a wedding invitation from an old friend last week? With the ongoing pandemic derailing most wedding plans, the ceremony will likely take place sometime next year at the very least.

With this in mind, you have lots of time on your hands to prepare what to wear. And if you’re planning to wear a tie that you think embodies your personality, better hold your horses and slow down for a minute.

Before you wear any type of necktie to a wedding, you must first consider the kind of wedding you are going to. For every kind of wedding comes a different type of wedding attire.

The question now is, when should you be wearing a tie? And how should you know if you’re wearing the right one?

Continue reading below for a definitive guide.

Wear a Tie on a Black-Tie Wedding

The first order of business before preparing your wedding attire is to look at the wedding invitation. What does the invitation say about the event? If it indicates “Black-Tie dress”, then it means you should wear a tuxedo.

Hence, a tuxedo requires that you wear not just any kind of tie but a bow tie. Also, you want your tie to complement your black or midnight blue tuxedo. And if you choose to wear a different color, make sure to pick one that is very dark.

Also, you need to wear a nice collared dress shirt. This means none of those polo shirts, banded collar shirts, or t-shirts.

To complete your look, sport a pair of leather, patent leather, or loafer shoes. Stay away from sneakers not unless the couple instructs you to wear a pair.

The Same Thing Goes for a Formal Wedding

But what if the invitation says the event is a formal wedding? The proper wedding attire for men in such an event is not much different from a black-tie wedding. This means all the rules in a black-tie wedding applies.

The main difference, however, is that a formal wedding doesn’t require you to wear a tuxedo. Hence, you can wear a black suit or any other dark-colored suit that you want.

As for the tie, you now have the option to stick to a bow tie or go for a traditional tie. If you wish to wear a bow tie, then you need to wear a tuxedo.

As for the colors of the suit, it is best to stick to the favorites. These include midnight blue, charcoal grey, or deep black. As for the dress shirt, apply the same rules as you would in a black-tie wedding.

How About in a Semi-Formal Wedding?

In case the couple invites you to their cocktail or semi-formal wedding, the restrictions for the attire become more lenient. Here, you have more flexibility in your necktie options.

You can even wear one loosely, in a literal manner.

However, the rule of thumb for the necktie is to wear something that complements the rest of your attire. And since it’s a semi-formal event, it means you may see some of the guests not even wearing ties.

Thus, you have the option to bring your tie and carry it inside your pocket. You can then wear it anytime you want.

When it comes to your suit, sports coats and navy blazers are excellent options. They give you more flexibility compared to traditional suits and tuxedos. Moreover, you can easily remove them once the dance floor opens later toward the evening.

The Casual Guest Attire

But what if you’re a casual guest? This is often the most confusing designation for a lot of men. But when it comes to your necktie-related concerns, there should be none.

As a casual guest, it is best if you don’t wear a necktie. Skip the traditional tie or bow tie and go for a printed shirt. Stick to shirts that come with stripes or all-over patterns.

Furthermore, you can add a little more color to your attire. Aside from ditching the necktie, don’t wear a t-shirt. Yes, the event is casual but at the end of the day, it is still a wedding.

Hence, you should maintain a sense of formality even to a certain extent.

What Your Tie Means

When searching for ties for weddings, the primary rule is to adhere to what the event requires you to wear. But if the wedding is not formal or black-tie, then you can sport a tie that reflects your personality.

Interestingly, the tie that you wear says something about you. Men who prefer the bow tie are either eccentric or have a high interest in fashion.

If you prefer wearing a necktie that you tie up in knots, you are likely someone who embraces the complexities in life. You also have that rebel spirit or hipster vibe and want to veer away from tradition from time to time.

Other important Reminders

Last but not least, there are important reminders concerning what to wear and what to avoid during weddings as a guest. Perhaps the biggest rule that you should never break at all costs is overshadowing the groom.

This means you should avoid wearing something that will outshine the man of the hour. The key is to tone down your attire and avoid loud colors.

Stick to what the dress code says, and you’ll be fine.

Also, don’t go to a formal wedding without wearing a suit. At the very least, wear a jacket and a pair of chinos.

Do not attempt to sport a monochrome look. This means wearing a black suit, a black shirt, and a black tie. This look doesn’t create enough contrast.

In turn, it will only make you the odd man out. And last but not least, always wear a tie at a formal event.

Increase Your Knowledge About Fashion

By following this guide, you can go to any sort of wedding without having to worry about how you look. You can look smart and sharp without breaking any rules in wedding attires. But knowing how to wear a tie is not the only way to look fashionable.

We invite you to learn more about fashion and proper etiquette by reading our other articles. Increase your knowledge and start dressing the right way regardless of the occasion.



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