(Closed) What is expected at a black tie event?

posted 4 years ago in Traditions
Post # 3
Member
430 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

@SparkleBee11:  My expectation is that it would be held in the evening (starting after 5:30 or 6) would probably have a live band & like you said, white glove service and top shelf bar.  If you’ve got those bases covered I think black tie is perfectly appropriate and would be lovely.  

Post # 4
Member
669 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@SparkleBee11:  This is my understanding:

 

1) Starting 6pm or later (tuxes are evening dress)

2) Upscale venue

3) Valet service for parking

4) Top shelf open bar, premium food (preferably tableside ordering)

5) Live multi-piece band

6) Upscale decor, flowers, lighting etc.

Post # 5
Member
11760 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

Putting black tie doesn’t mean people won’t come underdressed.  Our wedding was incredibly formal and a black tie affair and people still showed up in suits (no big deal to me personally), some even came in just slacks and a button down with no tie (they stuck out like a sore thumb). 

Post # 6
Member
64 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

Just for the record you don’t have to provide anything in particular just because you’re asking your guests to wear black tie. I have been to black tie weddings where barbecue was served and we played croquet (on a rolling lawn in front of the fancy pants venue), and I’ve been to semi-formal weddings where waiters passed champagne in white gloves and we had a 6 course meal, and that one had a DJ and not a band.

 

Obviously certain things just “fit” better, but don’t feel like you need to adhere to this strict list of stuff: it’s your day!

Post # 7
Member
2057 posts
Buzzing bee

@SparkleBee11:  In addition to what PP stated, I would add a plated multi-course meal, passed hors d’oeuvres, appropriate invitation suite (though not as “crucial”).

Post # 8
Member
2775 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2010

@classyashley:  Agreed.

Black tie weddings are lovely, but unless common in your circle, can be expensive and inconvenient for guests (not everyone has a tux or floor-length gown lying around).  So I do think if you’re asking for black tie attire you need to keep up your end of the bargain by hosting a full-on formal, opulent event.

Outdoor BBQ/lawn game weddings are lovely, too, but I wouldn’t want to attend such an event in an evening gown.

Post # 9
Member
207 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

Black tie means to come dressed preferably in a tux or upscale clothing . Valet parking etc. If you don’t want that type of affair. Then I would considering putting “formal” affair on the invites besides “blacktie”

Post # 10
Member
5983 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2018

@SparkleBee11:  When I am invited to a black tie event, I expect valet service, a coat room, a plated dinner, a hosted bar, a live band, above average venue quality and service, including bathroom attendants and an average of three servers per table…anything less than that and my host has missed the mark for black tie and stumbled into the prom addeled territory of “formal”

Post # 11
Member
5015 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

We are putting “black tie optional” on the invitation to encourage more formal attire. Our wedding is at a very upscale hotel, we have open bar, complementary valet parking, a live band, and wedding starting at 5:30pm (reception starts at 7:00pm). My FI and groomsmen will be in traditional tuxedos, but nice suits are fine. We didn’t want anyone showing up in sundresses or flip-flops (it is SoCal!!) but didn’t want to insist on it being black tie. I think it’s a good compromise!

Post # 12
Member
669 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

You really aren’t supposed to tell people how to dress on invites anyway. The blacktie nature is usually reflected by the venue you chose, engraved invites, etc. it’s rude to put “formal” or “black tie optional” on invites

Post # 13
Member
9147 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

If I saw black tie preferred I would wear a cocktail dress or gown.

As for expectations, if I am expected to dress up then my expectations for the event would be higher.  I would expect for the event to be dinner on Friday or Saturday night.  I would expect passed hors d’eurves and a proper cocktail hour with premium top shelf liquor; as well as an open bar throughout the evening.  I would expect courses (at least three: salad, appetizer, and main.)  I would expect an upscale venue and decor.  I would expect a live band for at least part of the evening.

I would be pretty disappointed to show up in a gown (which means I spent money buying a gown and getting my hair and makeup done for your wedding) and eat BBQ (and I love BBQ and plan to serve it buffet style for my own casual beach reception.)

Post # 14
Member
547 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

@SparkleBee11:  FWIW, we listed black-tie optional on our invites. We have: letterpressed invites, addressed by calligrapher, valet, coat check, 3 course dinner with white glove service and tableside ordering, top shelf open bar, a string quartet for ceremony/cocktail hour, uplighting, tall flower centerpieces, and a DJ (I suppose this is breaking a rule, but I’d rather have songs I like played in their original format so we nixed the band idea). GM and fathers will be in tuxes, BM and mothers in long gowns. 

I’ve read that a lot of this is “expected” at a black-tie event. I think that, if you ask for black-tie, it shouldn’t be a backyard BBQ, BUT I don’t know a single person IRL that would literally take stock of each of the things you offer at your wedding and compare it to what you wrote on your invites. I think if you hit a bunch of them, you’ll be fine.

And also, I truly don’t think it’s rude to put black-tie or black-tie preferred/optional/etc. on the invite. I actually prefer to be informed of the formality of the event, so i can plan accordingly. I’d hate to wear a sun dress to a formal event or an evening gown to a informal BBQ–not every bride lurks on wedding bee and might not know that the invites are supposed to show the formality of your wedding. 

Post # 15
Member
207 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

@PrincessBride27:  +1 its always good to let your guest know how to dress bc you don’t want them the feel out of place. I went to a wedding and it was a mixture of jeans, long gowns , and sundresses. So for my wedding it will say “formal affair”  which doesnt mean you have to go buy a 3 piece suit. It just lets your guest know don’t come to my wedding dressed down , when it is a formal wedding. They will appreicate the heads up. And plus, who wouldn’t enioy looking good ? Your pictures and everything will be a big difference if that is the type of affair you like

Post # 16
Member
5208 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: February 2013

I think people will wear what they want to wear regardless of what you say on the invitation. Most common sense people will wear formal attire to a wedding anyway simply because it’s a wedding. Those who don’t want to, won’t. Honestly I don’t see the point of them. The objective of a wedding is to get married, right? So why inconvenience your guests (let’s not beat around the bush – black tie events are always an inconvenience) when they are there to celebrate with you? 

The topic ‘What is expected at a black tie event?’ is closed to new replies.

Get our weekly roundup of the best of Weddingbee.
I agree to receive emails from the site. I can withdraw my consent at any time by unsubscribing.

Find Amazing Vendors