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Dress coats have not taken guilt brass buttons since Beau Brummell's day. An attempt to revive it was made in the late 19th century but without success - except as servant's livery.

In the early 19th century it was considered correct for the waistcoat to show 1/2" below the coat. But at that time the dress coat could still be buttoned up. Since about the Edwardian period the correct thing has been to have the waistcoat 1/2" shorter than the cut away fronts of the dress coat.

Nb in case any one asks why I say "dress coat" instead of "tail coat" it is because there are a few different types of tail coats. Tail coat = genus, dress coat = species.
 

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On all of the old coats I own, the covered buttons have worn away or are missing. I often find someone has replaced them with odd (usually mismatching) buttons. I have never yet seen a dress coat or frock coat with anything other than fancy covered buttons. Often the patterns on the buttons are very elaborate.

But I guess anything's possible.
 

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I imagine some of these Masonic dress protocols are quite old. It is possible that it predates the white tie/black tie distinction. There was a time when either black or white ties were permissible with evening full dress. Likewise, either black or white waistcoats.

You can witness this in this 1914 video:
 

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.

I cannot even begin to imagine why your girlfriend would not be delighted with the idea of a formal wedding, as it will allow her to wear a fancy gown with a train, tiara, long gloves (I adore gloves), etc.
Beautifully put!

If a bride wants an informal wedding with the men in lounge suits that means she too must dress down - shortish dress (knee-ankle length), no train, no tiara, no long gloves etc. Tails are the man's equivalent of a train. No tails - no train.
 
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