What Makes a Wedding Formal?

One of the questions our consultants are frequently asked is “what does it mean that the wedding is formal or not?”  The easy answer is “whatever you want it to mean”.  But that isn’t the answer most brides want.  What follows are the criteria that have long been used to shape and define various weddings and degrees of formality.

FORMAL – These are the traditional guidelines for a formal wedding.

    • The ceremony is held in a church, synagogue, or luxury hotel
    • The reception is held in a luxury hotel, private club or private estate
    • There are 100 or more guests
    • Invitations are engraved with traditional wording
    • The bride wears a floor-length gown with a chapel- length or sweeping train, a veil that is at least fingertip length and gloves (now optional)
    • The groom wears a cutaway (before 6 pm) or white tie and tails (after 6 pm)
    • Bridesmaids wear floor- length gowns


  • Male attendants wear matching cutaways or tails.
  • Guests wear formal attire or evening wear
  • The reception features a sit-down dinner
  • There is live entertainment
  • There is elaborate floral and event design
  • There is luxury transportation.

Note:  One consultants who specializes in very formal weddings shares this distinction:  “Ultra formal weddings follow the same guidelines as formal weddings, but with a heightened sense of formality and drama…Expect that a very formal wedding would have 200 or more guests, between four and 10 or 12 attendants, and a white tie dress code.  The bride’s gown as well the wedding party’s attire, and the guests’ should reflect this very formal style.”

Call us at 307-200-9886 or email info@celebratejh.com to discuss ideas.

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