Wedding Style GuidelinesWhat Kind of Wedding?

Given the changing social climate, what are the traditional standards that define the formal, semi-formal and informal weddings? And while you may think it doesn’t matter, the degree of formality you choose does influence many other planning decisions. These are the traditional guidelines for determining each style but you can (and probably will) choose your own variations.

Formal Wedding

Is usually held in a church, synagogue or a luxury hotel. Its reception is usually held in a luxury hotel, private club or private estate. Invitations are sent to 100 or more guests. Engraved or printed invitations are used with traditional wording. The bride wears a floor length gown with chapel or sweeping train veil. The groom wears cutaways or tails as do the attendants. Bridesmaids wear floor length gowns. Guests wear formal or evening wear. The reception is a sit down dinner, with live entertainment, elaborate event design, elegant flowers and luxury transportation.


Is usually held in a church, synagogue, private home or outdoors. The reception is held at the same location as the ceremony, or at a restaurant, garden or home. There are fewer than 100 guests. Invitations may be printed with traditional or personalized wording. The bride wears a floor length or cocktail length gown with fingertip veil or hat. The groom and his attendants wear either matching tuxedos or suits and ties. Bridesmaids wear matching floor or cocktail length dresses. Guests wear either evening or business dress. The reception can be a sit down dinner or buffet or light refreshments depending on time of day. There may be live music or a D.J. The floral arrangements or event design are scaled down.


These type of weddings are daytime ceremonies held in a home, community center, hotel or judge’s chambers. There are fewer than 50 guests. Invitations may be printed or hand-written with personalized wording. The bride wears a simple suit or dress with no veil or train. Groom wears a suit and tie. Each have one attendant. Reception can be held at home, or restaurant. Simple meal or light refreshments are chosen and if any floral designs are used, they are very simple.

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