Top 10 Reasons To Have A Black Tie Wedding
Recently a bride asked me if I thought she should go with a black tie dress code for her New York City summer wedding. I didn’t even hesitate. Yes. In my opinion, black tie events consistently look more chic, stylish, sophisticated and timeless in photographs than weddings with no dress code. There are certain exceptions of course, such as destination weddings and weddings in hot climates where a loose and relaxed summer dress code is just more comfortable and appropriate. Recently I shot a destination wedding in Acapulco during their rainy season (June) and I can tell you black tie would not have been possible, it was just too hot and humid. I was in white cotton pants, a white loose fitting linen shirt, and white sandals and I was dripping like a garden hose.
There are many traditional social rules concerning black tie events. The event should have more than 100 people. The event should have a sit down dinner. The event should be after 6pm. My point of view is that it’s your day, your wedding, your guests…so you make the rules. Even if it’s a backyard wedding with 40 people, a black tie dress code makes everyone look and feel like a million bucks and the pictures will be richer for it.
When I say black tie I’m referring to the modern interpretation of black suite, white shirt, black shoes and a black neck tie for men, and both formal dresses and upscale cocktail dresses for women (avoid loud prints.) For the men, the tie does not have to be a bow tie, the shirt does not have to have french cuffs or a ruffled breast, top hat, tails and vest are not required. Keep in mind, many guys don’t own a tux, but they do have a black neck tie, a white shirt, black dress shoes and a black suit, and if they don’t they should.
What is it about black tie events that makes the photographs look so spectacular? I’ve had this conversation with so many brides that I decided it was time to put my thoughts on the matter down on paper. Below I’ve penned the top ten reasons a bride should have a black tie wedding:
Have you ever looked at a class picture of kids in their matching school uniforms and compared it to class pictures of kids who were all wearing different clothes? Do you see what I see? The pictures of the kids in uniforms becomes more about the faces, expressions, and body language. By taking so many distracting colors and shapes out of the photographic equation, the uniformity of similarly dressed people gives an added feeling of cohesiveness which looks great in pictures.
By taking many of the tell-tale signs of current fashion trends out of the equation, the classic cuts of mens’ tuxedos and shapes of elegant women’s formal wear tend to make black tie events somehow more timeless. I find that people’s hairstyles at black tie events are usually the only real way to have a feeling for when the event took place.
3. Blacks and Whites for Black and White:
Rich deep blacks and bright creamy whites are integral to black and white photographs that make an impact and really snap. Think about it, black and white images with mostly mid tones and grays rarely grab your attention and end up feeling flat. A black tie dress code provides a photographer with the ideal tonal pallet for the very best black and white photographs.
Uniformity in numbers creates the effect of multiplicity, a very nice element in photographs.
5. Feel Like A Million Bucks
I think everyone feels just a bit more elegant when they dress for a black tie event, especially men. From our youth, most people associate tuxedos and black tie with only the most exclusive events, so just putting on a tux and a black bow tie is enough to make a man feel excited for the evening ahead. I imagine women have a similar experience when they finally have a chance to wear that dress that was always just a bit too formal for most other social occasions.
6. More Attention For The Ladies
When all the men are in black jackets and pants who do you think is going to get most of the attention? That’s right, the ladies. Women have more black tie options than men so if you want you and your girls to take center stage, black tie it is!
There’s something about black tie elegance that softly whispers of history and tradition, and what is a wedding if not humanity’s oldest and greatest tradition?
8. Some of your guests aren’t stylish
Some of your guests, and you already know the ones I’m referring to, if left to their own fashion sensibility, will have an epic fashion fail moment at your wedding. And these guests will always wind up in the background of your photographs during some of your favorite moments. Uncle Donny with his green paisley tie, beige sport coat, and burgundy pants, yup, he’ll be larger than life in the background of your first dance and your cake cutting too. Now let’s imagine Uncle Donny behind you in a black suit like all the other men; all eyes are back on the newlyweds…where they belong. Inappropriately dressed guests can steal your limelight and don’t think they won’t. A black tie wedding dress code solves this problem.
9. Keep It Classy
Nothing says class, sophistication and glamour like a black tie wedding or event.
10. Once In A Lifetime
With any luck you’re only going to do this once, so why not set the stage for something extra special? A black tie wedding invitation lets your guests know they’re in for something extraordinary.
by Joshua Lawrence Kogan
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