10 Black Dresses For A Black Tie Wedding

If you’re lucky enough to get an invite to a black tie wedding, you’ve got some classy-ass friends. You know that when you get there, there’s going to be fantastic food, an open bar, and a real good time. But before you get to enjoy said party, you’ve got to get the right dress for the occasion. When it comes to black tie, most people automatically assume this means you HAVE to wear black. But let’s not be so literal. I mean, if everyone wore black, the party would look like a group of high-class cater waiters or an orchestra group about to play a symphony (drunk of course.) But, as all betches know, black is the best color. So in case you do want to go literal and wear black to a black tie wedding, here are ten non-basic black dresses that are perfect.

1. Amanda Uprichard Cherri Gown

This dress is simple, elegant, and black tie perfection. The sweetheart neckline is feminine while the slit gives it an elevated sex appeal. It IS strapless, so just make sure your girls are secure before you start breaking it down on the dance floor. We all know a nip slip will take you from classy to trashy realllll quick—just ask Janet Jackson. 

2. Jay Godfrey Lena Gown

This dress is simply sexy. And look, I get it, it’s not one of the cheapest dresses on this list for something so simple, but that’s the beauty of it. This classic dress will never go out of style, and can be dressed up multiple different ways for different events and occasions. If that’s not enough reason for you to justify splurging, think about how good its resale value will be because of the fact that it is such a timeless style. Not to mention how thankful you’ll be that, because it’s black, you won’t have to worry about your spray tan sweating off and potentially ruining your expensive dress!

3. Missguided Black Open Back Maxi Dress

Business in the front, party in the back. This dress is elegant and flattering, but still shows some skin. It’s also a great price, so like, that gives you a little extra money to spend on the happy couple’s gift!!! Or, more likely, a little extra money towards the alcohol for the wedding pregame, so maybe you can actually treat yourself to some Titos (instead of something that comes in a plastic handle).

4. Alfred Sung Mikado Jersey Bodice Trumpet Gown

This dress is sophisticated, chic, and super classy. Just like, don’t do an updo with this dress or you’ll look like a straight-up narc. Keep it glam with loose wavy curls or a chic slick pony. You want to look hot, not like the chaperone for prom.

5. Missguided Black Bardot Wrap Slit Slinky Maxi Dress

This dress is stylish AND cheap. So, if you’re anything like me, and sick of blowing all this money on everyone else’s “eternal love”, this dress is a great option. Because it’s black, it automatically won’t look cheap, even though it actually is. Dress it up with elevated accessories and no one will have any idea that it actually only costs as much as your weekly Starbucks run.

6. Lovers + Friends Lambella Gown

This one-shoulder dress is stunning, and perfect for a black tie wedding. With the Angelina Jolie-adjacent leg slit and goddess-like one strap top, it’s the ideal dress for the occasion. It’s also simple enough that it could be dressed down for a less-fancy occasion, even after you wear it for the wedding. To quote the iconic Hannah Montana, “you get the best of both worlds.”

7. Zviago Eye Of Horus Gown

Does this dress look familiar? Well, if it does, it’s probs because you’re a Bachelor fan. This is the same dress Hannah B., aka our newest Bachelorette, wore on her last date with America’s most eligible virgin bachelor, Colton Underwood. *Sheds inauthentic tear.* You may not want to wear a dress Hannah B. got dumped in, and look, I get it, but hey, look at her now! She’s the Bachelorette! Oh, yeah, I forgot…her men suck. But then again, this one’s a classy black, rather than Hannah’s tacky metallic pink, so maybe it will still bring you better luck than her after all.

8. Katie May Surreal Gown

No one ever wants to look like a try-hard, that’s why the goal is always to look subtly sexy. Especially, ya know, if you’re bringing that f*ckboy (who you’ve been trying to actually lock down as your official boyfriend) as your date. This dress is innocent-hot, and lets him know you’re gf material, but like, you’re also a hot commodity. So like, sh*t or get off the pot. Or at least stop booty-calling me..

9. Lulus Mine Backless Trumpet Gown

If you’re going to a black tie wedding where the bride and groom are more conservative, a dress like this is a great option. It’s conservative while still being stylish, so you’ll still look good af. It’s also a timeless style, so you’ll ideally end up wearing it more than just this one time. Ideally, of course.

10. LIKELY Maxson Gown

This one strap maxi has a touch of edgy flare with its one-shoulder detail. It’s cool and fashionable, but in a classy black tie appropriate way. Sassy and sophisticated, just like you, right?!?!

Whether you decide to play it safe and go with one of these black options, or spice it up with some color, just make sure you’re wearing some type of gown so you’re dressed appropriately. I mean, it won’t guarantee that you’ll also act appropriately, but that one will be more so determined by your relationship with the bartender at the open bar.

Images: @kiraikonnikova / Unsplash; Revolve (6); Missguided (2); Nordstrom (2)
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What To Wear To Each Type Of Wedding Based On Dress Code

Look, I love weddings. I love getting drunk and I love getting dressed up—all in the name of eternal love, of course. But, what I don’t like is the confusing wedding dress codes. Like, I’m a smart girl. I have a college degree. But I don’t know wtf it means when the dress code for your wedding is “dressy casual”? Or black tie optional? Like, it should be black tie, period. Right? Don’t throw “optional” in there and start making me overthink everything. I’m spending a lot of money to be a guest at YOUR wedding, the least you could do is give me a straight-up answer about what the dress code is. But, since that’s not going to actually happen, I’m here to break down the four primary wedding dress codes: casual, cocktail, formal, and black tie. So, in an attempt to help you all out, here are the four main wedding dress codes and what to wear for each!

1. Casual

Casual, also known as “informal”, is probably the easiest yet most confusing dress code of them all. Like, my version of “casual” is leggings and a hoodie, but I’m pretty sure that’s not what the bride meant when she said “casual” on the invitation. Everyone has their own interpretation of what casual means—just ask my co-worker who seems to think casual Fridays means you can wear a graphic tee that says “future queen” across the chest to the office. So in regards to “casual” I would align your outfit with the theme or the setting of the wedding, and always err on the side of being too dressed up, rather than not dressy enough. For example, casual for a beach wedding may be a maxi dress, while casual at a restaurant venue may require a more polished outfit, such as a jumpsuit or matching set.

Show Me Your Mumu Emanuelle Smocked Top and Marley Shorts

superdown Karolyn Square Neck Jumpsuit

Under The Moon Light Patchwork Maxi Dress

2. Cocktail

Cocktail attire is synonymous with mini dress and heels. Of course, you don’t have to necessarily wear a mini dress, but think that vibe. Your accessories, makeup, and hair should definitely be more elevated than what you’d wear for a casual wedding, but also not as extravagant as black tie. So like, don’t wear your best Claire’s accessories, but also don’t wear your family diamonds. Make sense? Hopefully, your answer is “yes”  since you can’t actually respond to me. Cool, moving on. Here are some dresses to wear.

superdown Oriana Ribbed Halter Dress

Lovers + Friends Jay Blazer Dress

ASOS DESIGN Square Neck Midi Pencil Dress

3. Formal/Black Tie Optional

Okay, so here’s where I’ll do some clarifying because, to be frank, I’ve always been confused over the difference between cocktail and formal. So, the first key difference I’ll address here is that formal is also the same as black tie optional. Why not just say formal??? Beats me. Like why do you have to include that it’s optional? Technically, everything is optional, but that’s not the f*cking point of a dress code. GAWD! Basically you can wear a short or long dress, it’s up to you. But you better have heels on and you better still wear something that wouldn’t make you stand out in a group picture. When it’s formal, men may wear tuxes, so you have to be prepared for if they do, and make sure your ensemble matches their dressy level accordingly. Classic catering to the man #patriarchy.

Cara One-Shoulder Micro Mini Dress

UO Flamenco Ruffle Tie-Back Slip Dress

Nookie Lust One Shoulder Gown

4. Black Tie

Black tie is my favorite dress code because it’s the simplest and gives you an excuse to wear a gown. Which like, I don’t know about you, but I haven’t been able to wear a legit gown since prom. Call me basic, but I just love the princess feeling of a long dress. Sue me. This should go without saying, but gown doesn’t mean a big poofy dress that gives the bride a run for her money, nor a maxi that just happens to be long dress either. You have to get something elegant and not just like, a long sun dress.

Yaura Off Shoulder Thigh Split Maxi Dress

NBD Luna Gown

Shona Joy Luxe Bias Cowl Slip Dress

Hopefully this guide to wedding dress codes at least helps give you some form of guideline of what the f*ck to wear. Worst case, if you still mess it up, just get drunk at the open bar and then no one will remember you as the girl who dressed inappropriately. Instead, you’ll just be the girl who got blacked out and grinded on all the groomsmen. Up to you to pick your poison here.

Images: Eric Ward / Unsplash; Revolve (7); Free People (2); Asos (2); Urban Outfitters;

5 Dresses Under $200 That Are Perfect For Black-Tie Weddings

The material of the envelope alone is a major indication of the type of wedding you’re about to be invited to. The soft, thick paper, intricate lace peeking out from underneath, crazy 3D art…Let’s just say if you know, you know. Chances are, this wedding will require black-tie attire, and there are two types of people when it comes to approaching this. One type will be so stoked to be classy for once, act richer than their two-digit bank account, and look fancy af. The other type, aka me, tends to feel like Nick Miller:

The term “black-tie” may seem daunting and super expensive at first, especially if you have no idea what it means to begin with, but rest assured, I gotchu, fam. Long summary short, most colors are fair game, you don’t *have* to wear a floor-length gown, and there are more than enough budget-friendly options to choose from. Here, I offer you some inspo under $200 for your next black-tie affair.

1. NBD Trent Gown 

Stuck on which color to lean towards? I mean, white is clearly a hard no. F*cking duh. Just stay away from the color the bridemaids will be wearing and you’re good to go. A good rule of thumb is to go for a gemstone color like this gorgeous, silky-looking emerald green.

2. Eliza J Cascade Ruffle Gown

If you’re not one who is up for wearing a ball gown, opt for a floor-length dress with a trumpet- or mermaid-shaped skirt. Billowing ruffles are bound to make your night extra classy, playful, and flirty. In a color that’s just as cute as Caesar black, you seriously can’t go wrong.

3. Laundry by Shelli Segal Off-The-Shoulder Bell Sleeve Dress

Praise be. Regardless if it’s a black-tie event, you can wear a cocktail dress. Don’t listen to your mom—on this matter, at least. Short dresses are totally fine as long as they’re on the longer side like, grazing the knee, and when you drunkenly hail an Uber home, you don’t flash the entire party. Since we’re officially underway into wedding season (hi, spring!), bright colors and pastel shades are a fab choice.

4. BHLDN Jones Dress in Black

Back to the whole temporarily-tune-your-mom-out-thing, “no black” is also another fake rule that is always questioned for weddings. Your favorite color is definitely fair game, and in fact, it’s low-key encouraged. Why? Because literally everyone looks amazing in the color, especially when it’s in a flattering silhouette, and black goes with any color scheme, so no stress about upstaging any brides or bridesmaids.

5. Jarlo Harlow Off-The-Shoulder Gown

Here’s another color risk people are always afraid of taking: red. Old-fashioned people, and I say that nicely, typically say the bold color is attention-grabbing and therefore, takes away from the bride. LIES. When you style a somewhat muted dress in a classier color like this ruby, you’ll fit right in and only bring attention to yourself on the ‘gram. This off-the-shoulder dress has a fold-over bust and boned bodice, but the fluted skirt and pooled train keep it v modest and tasteful for the occasion.

Obviously, go with whatever makes you comfortable, as long as you’re safely within the specified dress code. Dressing for someone else’s wedding can be tricky, but you shouldn’t be scared about black-tie. What are your wedding guest go-tos? Let us know in the comments!

Photo: Andre Hunter / Unsplash; Giphy; Revolve; Nordstrom; Lord & Taylor; BHLDN; Bloomingdale’s
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