35 Formal Wedding Ideas for Your Black-Tie Celebration
Choosing a theme for your wedding is an important part of the planning process. And, sometimes, it can be the hardest. The reason? There are so many different styles to choose from. From minimalist and bohemian to classic and rustic, it may be difficult to decide how you want your big day to look and feel. Though we're partial to all of these styles, there's a specific way to elevate all of these themes: Consider a black-tie wedding.
What exactly goes into this type of formal event? Think decorative focal points in the form of over-the-top centerpieces, elegant cakes, and gilded details with a dress code to match (guests typically wear tuxedos and floor-length gowns). While these factors are necessary for a lavish fête, throwing a glamorous event starts with the right venue. Just look to the lofty ceilings and elaborate columns found at the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum, pictured here, for inspiration. The immaculate space served as the perfect setting for an elegant black-tie affair.
Ahead, you'll find a series of ideas to inspire your own formal wedding day. From the smallest décor details, like monogrammed napkins for your signature drinks, to larger style elements, like a chapel-length train, you'll find plenty of elevated inspiration in the following slides. Still unsure if a formal event is right for you? We think the following gorgeous photos, taken during a few of our favorite sophisticated weddings, will convince you to go for it. Click through to discover how these couples successfully pulled off their own elegant affairs.
At this formal affair, Written Word Calligraphy and Design personalized the invitations for each guest. The notes were then housed in envelopes with a watercolor painting of the wedding's destination.
Packed Welcome Bags
Scrawling calligraphy by Stacey Shapiro graced bottles of pink Champagne and personalized chocolate bars in these fully-stocked welcome bags.
A regal event calls for an extravagant wedding dress. This bride wore a gorgeous lace Elie Saab Couture gown with a dramatic train and veil.
Realistic Sugar Flowers
The best part about this regal cake? It is entirely edible. The Butter End ensured that guests would be wowed with these life-like sugar spray roses.
Napkins bound in fresh flowers were an elegant addition to this textured place setting.
Elegant Escort Cards
This duo's escort cards featured the formal paper goods trifecta: vintage deckled-edge paper, a gold monogrammed wax seal, and delicate calligraphy by Deborah Allen Art.
Customize your reception by hanging a large monogrammed banner over your cocktail bar or head table—alternatively, use it to spruce up a bare wall.
To create a formal ambiance in your cocktail hour or reception, have a piano player fill the space with classical music.
Calligraphy, done in gold and charcoal gray, decorated the front of these ecru Alexa Pulitzer invites.
Gold flatware provided an elevated contrast to the reception's slate gray menu.
The Butter End Cakery dreamed up this seven-tier confection—complete with gilded accents—for a majorly glam wedding.
When choosing a centerpiece for your reception tables, opt for a larger-than-life arrangement. This Violet and Verde mix was bursting with vibrant greenery and classic blooms, like garden roses and peonies.
A gilded vase gave this Out of the Garden mix of roses, seeded eucalyptus, and hypericum berries a royal finish.
Watercolor Table Numbers
At this Florida wedding, each reception table was dotted with a custom painted table number. The crest included tiny oranges, a nod to the celebration's location.
An embossed silver stand was the perfect complement to this ruffled five-tier Happy Hollow Bakery cake.
Gold Place Setting
Create a signature drink for your upscale cocktail hour. This couple developed these cherry-blossom mule cocktails and served them with custom napkins.
Buttercream Bakeshop added another level of sophistication to this vanilla-frosted three-tier by cascading a vibrant ivy vine down the front.
Simple and Classic
Dressed to Impress
In your wedding invitations, call on your attendees to wear their very best come the big day.
LoveCakes used tiny gold beads, fresh flowers, and an elaborate support to elevate the newlyweds' white, three-tier treat.
Though petite, Lark Farnum Design's display of pale pink peonies, garden roses and hydrangeas still made a sophisticated impact at this reception.
Tie That Binds chose letterpress printing for every element of this over-the-top invitation suite, which featured a wax seal complete with a recreation of the wedding venue. The suite was then wrapped in handmade silk-thread paper.
Elevated Place Settings
On this tabletop, floral porcelain plates sat atop gold-rimmed chargers. Personalized napkins embroidered by Sarah Drake Design completed the look.
Lemontree Calligraphy & Illustration put a personal stamp on these baby blue invites by creating a custom watercolor monogram for the suite.
In a lofty and dark reception space, this all-white, four-tiered Jasmine Rae Cakes confection brightened up the elegant room.
These groomsmen exemplify the best of a black-tie dress code. The group donned traditional tuxedos and black bow ties for the occasion.
Gold calligraphy and a custom monogram were this fancy Cheree Berry Paper suite's main highlights.
Marble Place Cards
Gift your guests sturdy marble place cards at your black-tie event. InLoft Calligraphy wrote each attendees name on small tiles, which also served as keepsakes.
Situate your glamourous cake on an equally gorgeous floral arrangement. This ruffled Megan Joy Cakes treat sat atop a mix of garden roses, dahlias, and anemones.
Fresh Flower Cake
There's nothing more elevated than a classic white wedding cake. That's why Frost It Cakery used only white frosting and fresh flowers for this black-tie wedding in the countryside.