(Closed) Formal = white tie?

posted 9 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
Member
776 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

I would say suit for your husband, fancy cocktail dress for you (not nec. long) and a fancy party dress for your daughter. We are putting formal on our invites and that is what I expect people to wear. 

Post # 4
Member
1276 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2009

Hmmm…I think technically from like the 50s, formal does mean white-tie.  But I don’t think that’s the terminology used anymore.  I’m pretty sure anyone who meant white or black tie would specify nowadays, though Texas maybe be different.  Where I’m from I agree with Lovespearls that dark suit and tie for men, fancy cocktail or formal gown (not too glitzy as to upstage the bride) for women.  Is there anyone else you can contact though?

Post # 7
Member
1276 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2009

Again, it might be different in Texas, but I generally think that in the US people specify if they mean tuxedo so that formal does not mean white-tie and semi-formal does not mean black-tie as is traditional…at least that’s true everywhere I’ve lived. This is something you want to find out though, b/c unless the event is black or white tie, tuxedos are usually reserved for the BP and FOB/FOG and it would not be appropriate for a guest to wear one.

I think that dress rules are more casual in the US.  This link might help you out:

http://fashion.about.com/cs/tipsadvice/a/weddingguest.htm

Notice that for "formal" it says only to wear a tuxedo if black tie is specified.  In my experience, unless it’s black tie (or black tie optional) women are more likely to wear cocktail than long dresses.  But if it’s long, it should not be too glitzy.  FYI, I personally would be very surprised if they meant black tie when they wrote formal.  If it were me, I probably would wear a dressy cocktail dress and have my FI wear a dark suit and tie.

Post # 8
Member
2004 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2008

I agree with Fizicsgirl. If I read "formal" I would expect to see men in dark suits or tuxes and women in fancy cocktail dresses, or slightly less fancy long dresses. That might not be exactly what "formal" is supposed to mean per the etiquette books, but that’s what I would expect to see.

If they specifically wanted tuxes and ballgowns, I would have expected to see "black tie" or "white tie." But per your subject line, I very highly doubt that in this case that formal means white tie.

Post # 10
Member
2250 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2018

that sounds like fun! I would love To have a wedding that is that dressy! I am calling my reception formal on the web and invitations and just HOPING that no one shows up in Birkenstocks or jeans. *ahem* FFIL *ahem*

Post # 11
Member
1428 posts
Bumble bee

My cousins like to do formal weddings….which is fine for them but not my cup of tea. That usually to us means a suit and dark tie for men. If the invititation says black tie, then the men wear tuxedos. White ties, to me, are what the groom would wear. That’s the only man I’ve ever seen with a white tie at a wedding, formal or not.Oh, and formal to us means long dresses for the ladies.

@vistagirl….my guy actually thinks it would be okay for guys to wear jeans at our wedding….um…NO…we’re going casual but not THAT casual. LOL

Post # 13
Member
2344 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

I’ll agree with everyone and say that, while it may not be correct ettiquette, "formal" in common US parlance means a dark suit with a long tie for men and a nice cocktail dress for women. The terms "black tie" or "white tie" are almost always specifically used if they would like true formal evening wear, meaning tuxedos for men and long formal gowns for women. While it is confusing for ladies such as yourself who know what the word "formal" should indicate, for most of their guests it probably just indicates to not wear jeans 🙂 Oh, Americans!

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