There's tons of advice out there about what to wear to a black tie wedding, but I was wondering if Offbeat Bride had its own take on the subject? I recently received an invitation to a black tie Nuptial Mass, and I am simultaneously excited and intimidated.
I want to be respectful, but I'd love any other offbeat ideas. The dress code plus the high-church element has me second-guessing myself more than usual. Thanks! – Chris
Great question from the perspective of a guest. When it comes to being yourself while still blending in with the rest of the black tie-clad guests, it's all about a few key elements. You can absolutely stick to your personal style, with a few adjustments to make sure you're not being too distracting or causing a scene among the Muggles and Mundanes. Here are the ways I'd suggest altering your look to keep it well within the “black tie” asethetic…
Get specifics on the crowd from the couple
Feel free to ask the couple what the general tone of the guests will be. If they know you, they may be able to steer you in certain directions to prevent any scandal on the day. You can also find out if the venue/church/ceremony space has any specific restrictions on dress. You don't want to be caught in an outfit that may actually offend someone in a culture or religion with which you're less familiar.
Keep it tailored
Depending on your usual style, simply keeping things a little more buttoned-up, a little more well-fitting, and sometimes just an elevated version of your usual style, is sometimes all that's needed. Find a good outfit that you love and get it tailored to fit you perfectly. There's a reason why celebrities often look great in their casual wear: they get everything tailored. It can make all the difference. Rumpled burlesque chic? Shocking. Tailored-to-your-skeleton corset? Heart eyes.
Keep it muted
If your usual style is on the wild side, the sexy side, or the extremely colorful or themed side, try to limit the outfit to a few select pieces that represent you. Maybe it's a wild bow tie, colorful and fun shoes with a more conservative dress, or a generally more muted version of your usual style that doesn't feel too inauthentic. Think you, just toned down a little.
If your hair is colored or cut in an offbeat way and you're worried it won't pass muster in the stuffier environment, you can always rock a chic hat, head wrap, or even a wig if you're really worried. But check in first with the couple — it may be a-okay as-is.
Toss a cover-up in your car
In case you get there and realize that you've totally missed the mark on the dress code, throw a cover-up, a sweater, or even an alternate outfit in your car for a back-up change of clothes. It's better to be safe than sorry.
More offbeat guest goes black tie advice: