In short, yes—here's why.

By Alyssa Brown
August 15, 2019

Setting the formality of your wedding may come naturally once you've got your venue sorted, but if you're struggling to decide between a more casual or more formal affair, here are some great questions to guide you through the decision.

Related: A Comprehensive Guide to Wedding Guest Attire

What's the most common wedding formality style?

Jung Lee, event design expert and founder of FETE NY, says, "Casual formality is what many couples want for their wedding. They love the idea of people being dressed up and being surrounded by a gorgeous, luxurious environment. However, they also want it to feel warm and friendly."

What's your venue type?

Often, the type of venue implies a certain dress code. Lee says, "Lots of venues can accomplish a casual formality, such as a beach club, a countryside estate, or with or without a tent. But, even a clean loft space can achieve this quality—it then becomes the designer's job to strike the right balance to highlight the important pieces, dial down what's not right, and bring in significant design items to create a special setting." More formal settings might then include museums, libraries, castles, or grand ballrooms that lend well to black-tie events.

What's the existing décor like?

If your venue has towering ceilings with beautiful architectural details, hand-painted Chinoiserie wallpaper, or solid marble floors throughout, there's already a stately, formal feel that's built-in to the space. Lee says, "When it comes to the décor of the entire room, the walls, ceiling, and the larger elements are much more powerful than the smaller details in creating an upscale formal look. Added décor then plays a huge role—not just the flowers, but everything else on the dining table, too, including the place setting."

What other details can you use to set the formality level?

While your venue certainly sets a tone for the formality of your wedding, there are a lot of other factors you can play up or down depending on the aesthetic you'd like to create. Lee says, "All elements will play a key role in creating the setting for your wedding. To start, consider the band's appearance—are they in white dinner coats or black velvet jackets? Is the band tiered, with a large horn section creating a great orchestra feel? The band backdrop and the band stands are also important design elements in creating this mood." You can take this concept and apply it to the catering staff as well. Lee adds that for a more formal setting, "The bartenders' attire should be different than what the waiters are wearing, and the types of glasses they're using should depend on the drink."

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