Are tails appropriate for a 4pm wedding

We are planning on a 4pm Sunday wedding in a church with a 7pm plated dinner reception to follow at a unique and fun banquet hall. My dress is pseudo-Elizabethan style/silhouette with a full skirt and cathedral train. I have no clue about menswear and neither does my fiance. My mom recommends a tux with tails for a bit of a fairy-tale touch. We want a somewhat formal but fun (Disneyesque), not stuffy, wedding.

Are tails appropriate for a 4pm wedding or should the groom be in a suit? If the groom wears tails can/should the groomsmen wear suits with ties or should they wear tuxedos with bowties? Could our dads just wear suits with ties or do they have to get tuxes too?

Rebecca Black, Etiquette By Rebecca

Dear Arielblue,

Tails are reserved for the most formal weddings. Tuxes are worn for formal evening weddings. So, if yours is not formal, suits would be best. All men dress the same.

A 2+ hour gap in between events isn’t fair to your guests. So, you might want to offer them something while they wait or move your reception time up.

Best wishes,


The groom and groomsmen would be wearing their tuxes/suits through the evening reception (7-11 pm). Would tails still be inappropriate for the groom? And when you say “inappropriate”, who would be thinking that and how would it offend?

I will have to think about the in-between timeframe some more… I was told 2 hours is pretty much standard because you have to account for social time after the ceremony, driving time, and parking-and-walking-to-the-reception time. I think the latest we would start the ceremony would be 5pm… would tails be ok by then?

Rebecca Black, Etiquette By Rebecca

Your guests shouldn’t have to drive too far for your reception. It may be standard for some planners in some areas to have three hours from the beginning of one event and the beginning of another, but it isn’t considered polite or fair for guests. Plus, your social time would be at the reception. We, as hosts, always have to consider what is best for our guests.

“Appropriate” applies to etiquette standards–what is expected. So, if you want your event to appear planned well, then your attire would reflect the formality. I doubt anyone would be offended. They just might think that you two don’t know what is correct.

Tails are for the most formal event. That doesn’t change. If you want the men to wear tails, it is your choice. But, it wouldn’t appear proper if yours isn’t ultra formal.