Post # 1
I’ve always wanted a black tie wedding, but my Fiance thinks its rude to make people rent a tux. So we’re doing black tie optional for our wedding instead. Our wedding is a sit-down dinner in a Manhattan ballroom on a Saturday night. We just sent out our save the dates which lists our wedding website. I want to add the following text to the ‘Reception’ page of our website so guests have an idea of what to wear. I don’t want to offend my guests though, just give a heads up. Would you consider this rude or condescending? Any suggestions how to change it?
The attire for our wedding reception is black tie optional. If you are wondering what that means:
For Men: a tuxedo or a dark suit and tie
For Women: a long evening gown, a dressy suit, or a fancy knee-length cocktail dress
This is intended as a guideline only. More important than any dress code is our guests’ comfort. We want everyone to be happy and have fun.
Post # 3
“Black-tie optional” is a made-up designation, and is confusing. The only acceptable dress code for anything is “black-tie,” and that means more than just dress.
Trust your guests to dress themselves. The location and formality of the invitations are all the guidance they need.
Post # 4
I voted leaving it as just “black tie optional” as to be honest, I would have thought that because of your venue the majority of your guests would come in black tie or at least a very smart dark suit and tie.
I don’t think specifying would be considered offensive though, you know your guests best, are they likely to know what to wear without needing further explanation?
Edited for awful spelling!
Post # 5
I don’t think it’s offensive at all to give more guidance, I think it’s helpful since some of these terms are so variable from area to area. I like black-tie optional. It feels more inclusive than black-tie only.
If possible, I think what I would do is find a nice website with dress guidelines that you agree with and link to it. “Attire is black-tie optional. For more information on what black-tie optional includes, click here.”
Then they can choose to go find out more if they don’t know, and if they do, then they don’t have to.
I think other people must have way more cultured guests than weddings I go to – People do NOT know all these things brides on here assume they do!
Post # 6
Here’s what I put on my wedding website. Its heavily inspired by Mrs. Turkey’s explanation of black-tie optional.
Our wedding will be black-tie optional. This means dark suits or tuxedos for men and cocktail attire for women. Ladies, please feel free to go long or short with your dresses.
FYI: Groomsman will be wearing tuxedos and the maid of honor will be in a cocktail dress.
Post # 7
I have something very similar on my website. I also mention that long gowns are preferred (in my ideal world everyone would wear a long gown) and that our venue requires men to wear jackets. I think I will probably steal the mens part of your dress code. Personally, I like dressing up and want to dress as formal as I can get away with. I like to check with the bride or someone close to the bride to find out how everyone will be dressed, but with your description I wouldn’t have to. Which means one less question for you to answer (but probably a lot less questions since many people will probably be in the same boat as me).
Post # 8
@NAvery: It’s VERY offensive to assume that your guests can’t dress themselves properly for a wedding. And black-tie IS exclusive, that’s the whole point. That’s why “black-tie optional” is a silly designation. Besides, the real fact is that whatever you say or link to, people are going to do exactly what they want to.
Guests can judge the formality of the wedding by the location, as well as by the formality of the invitation. That’s all you need. This person’s wedding is in a ballroom in Manhattan – I’m guessing that her guests are going to be able to figure out how to dress.
Post # 9
I don’t think it’s offensive. I’d rather know than show up under dressed.
I could figure out based on the invitation, location, and time what would be appropriate. But, it doesn’t hurt to tell people…because I guarantee some people wouldn’t know or think to ask otherwise!
Post # 10
@oneofthesethings: Haha, okay. Come to a small town in the midwest where people wear jeans with holes in them and a cutoff t-shirt to a wedding and then tell me all guests know how to dress! 🙂 Heck, I’ve seen some odd things at big city weddings in Chicago!
I think we’re getting seriously uptight if a guest – who presumably knows and loves, or at least likes – would be offended by a couple sentence explanation of what the dress code means. If they already knew, then they’ll just assume it’s not geared for them. If they didn’t know, they’ll be grateful.
Post # 11
Thanks for the feedback! More than half our guests are from out of town, so I’m not sure they would assume tuxes/dark suits are the norm for a formal wedding. I think I’m going post it on the website. I’m guessing most people who would check a website are looking for that type of information anyway! I won’t include it in the invitation packet.
I know Black Tie Optional is ‘made-up’ and isn’t a ‘real’ attire, but my Fiance really is adamant about not doing ‘Black Tie’. And since he has asked for very few things in our wedding, I want to make sure he doesn’t feel slighted.
@BooRadley: I like the way you worded that!
@asscherlover: I like ‘long dress preferred’. Are you putting that on your website or spreading it by word of mouth?
Post # 12
- Wedding: July 2012 - The Gables Inn, Santa Rosa, CA
Most guests wont visit your website– I’d also include a line inside the invitation supplemental, somethinglike:
“Black tie suggested, but not required.”
Then if a guest needs more clarification, they can visit the site or ask you.
Post # 13
@CityBearBride: I did write “long dress preferred” on the website. I also wrote that recent graduates are encouraged to wear their prom dresses again. (I would kill for the chance to wear mine, and I’ve had some college friends ask.) My Future Mother-In-Law keeps warning me that most women don’t have long formal dresses in their closets, which is why I wrote preferred. I figure if you own both, you know to wear the long one. And if you only own a short dress you know you won’t be turned away at the door.
I’m not planning on writing anything on the invitations, since they should be formal enough for most guests to figure it out. My theory is if you see the tab “Attire” and click on it, then you probably aren’t sure what to wear and will be happy for the guidance. I’m also spreading by word of mouth to my friends and family that a tux and a long dress are the preferred attire. If they don’t own it and can’t afford to get it, then they should wear a cocktail dress/dark suit and come enjoy the party.
ETA: We do have a picture of our dog wearing a tie on the attire page. I don’t know if that undermines the message or lightens the mood, but she’s cute enough that I hope she distracts the people who are offended that we would tell our guests how to dress.
Post # 14
I’m really put off by “long dress preferred”… Preferred? Really? Why do you (not specifically, generally) care how long my dress is? How long is “long”? What if I don’t own a long dress? I feel like that puts too much pressure on your guest. I’d feel guilty that I don’t own a long dress (I’m under 50 and we don’t have “prom” in my country) and feel kinda awkward.
People are smart, they’ll work it out.
Post # 15
@asscherlover: I get confused by that, only cause my prom dress went above my knee and is not appropriate for a wedding and I don’t think I have ever owned a long dress that wasn’t a cotton maxi dress.
@CityBearBride: As a person who does not own a black tie dress with a husband whom I’m fairly sure doesn’t own a jacket of any colour, I would say that I would rather it just say “black tie only” so that I wouldn’t be the only fool wearing a nice (though knee length) dress and my husband wearing a dark coloured jacket, but not a tux. If it was “black tie only” then we could either rent or decline the invite.
Don’t ask why, but dressing inappropriately is a huge fear of mine, in many situations. I prefer to know what to wear.
Post # 16
I would just leave it as black tie optional. Once people see it’s a formal night wedding at a swanky Manhattan location, they’ll know well enough to get dressed up. And if someone really doesn’t know, it’s a pretty simple thing to ask or google!