Is The Black-Tie Dress Code Dead? 3 Wedding Planners Weigh in

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In case no one remembers, I used to go to a lot of weddings—and I mean a lot. The circuit was such a big part of my social life that I would write about my experiences and findings as well as share my outfit research pretty regularly here on Who What Wear. Not surprisingly, however, due to the pandemic, those invitations stopped rolling in a little over a year ago and have only just started picking back up now that couples have more options for holding safe gatherings again. Between those that were postponed entirely and the “real weddings” that are now following up the micro-weddings that took place during quarantine times, it’s about to be a busy summer, but I’ve noticed something different about many of the invites that have come my way…
While about 90% of the weddings I used to go to were strictly black tie, it seems like the casualness of life post-COVID is making its way into the world of events, too. Cocktail attire, formal, and even unique dress codes such as “garden chic” and “colorful formal” are appearing on invitations more and more. Since I’m the one my friends and relatives come to when they need help with dress shopping, I know others are in the same boat.
But is it really possible for the iconic black-tie dress code to be dying? In regards to what brides themselves are wearing, Business of Fashion recently reported the following: “With more weddings held outdoors during the pandemic, brides have gravitated to separates, blazers, minidresses, and jumpsuits.” Aside from the venue factor, the article attributes the shift both to the way wedding planning has been rushed post-COVID as well as the influence of Gen Z, which not only favors individuality beyond the classic wedding dress but also “[thinks] the big party with hundreds of guests feels outdated.”
Rocked by this information as well as my own observations, I recently decided to reach out to a few top wedding planners to hear their firsthand takes. While their views varied, one thing was made abundantly clear: Even if it’s on pause or experiencing a temporary decline, black tie is neither nor ever will be dead. Great news for my dress collection, I must say. To read exactly what Guerdy Abraira, Jung Lee, and Lindsey Shaktman have to say, simply keep scrolling—and enjoy some of my wedding-ready dress picks along the way.
“Black tie can never go out of style, but I think it is just taking a pause… for now! With the increase of micro-weddings due to COVID, weddings are taking place in backyards and other unique venues that have more of an eclectic and intimate feel, and thus, the attire formality has toned down! However, many couples have decided to wait it out and set a post-COVID-restriction date to be able to resume to larger and more opulent venues to ensure their wedding maintains that luxe and chic black-tie vibe.”

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