(Closed) Black-Tie Optional Wedding Attire?

posted 6 years ago in Etiquette
  • poll: What would you wear to a black tie optional wedding?

    Long dress

    Cocktail dress

  • Post # 2
    9990 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper
    • Wedding: November 1999

    The last black tie wedding I went to, it was 70% long dresses, 30% short dresses.  I wore a long one because I love getting dressed up.  I rented the dress from Rent the Runway so it wasn’t too expensive, either!

    Post # 3
    35 posts

    Key word here is “optional”, which is a step below the formality of “black tie”.  Either a long dress or a cocktail dress would be perfectly appropriate.   If you go with the cocktail dress option, just be sure it’s of a color, fabric, and formality that suits the occasion as well as the season (later fall generally calls for darker colors, jewel tones, etc.).  Also take a look at the style of the invitation as well as the venue for additional clues on how one might dress (sometimes a lot is said about the style/formality of the occasion aside from the actual “dress code” language).

    Post # 4
    84 posts
    Worker bee

    Our wedding will have black tie optional as the dress code, and with that I’m hoping for long dresses. I wanted strictly black tie, but my fiance vetoed that fairly quickly because he was afraid his friends would be annoyed about having to get tuxes. I know girls love getting dressed up, so I’m sure that would have been fine. In my case, putting “black tie optional” is my passive aggressive way of saying YOU BETTER WEAR BLACK TIE, without having to say it :P. I say go for a more formal, long dress. 

    Post # 5
    1705 posts
    Bumble bee

    I would take a look at some pictures of the venue, and see how elaborate/formal their weddings usually are. I’ve been to two “black tie optional” weddings recently (on the East coast), and one of them definitely leaned more towards the “optional” side. However, if you’re going to be in photos, I’d go more formal.

    Post # 6
    4835 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: April 2013

    View original reply
    Bchicagos:  I’m pretty sure a cocktail dress will be fine.  But if it was me I’d use it as an excuse to try something fabulous from Rent the Runway!  I scroll through their app for fun sometimes and never have the right event to rent a gorgeous gown.  I’d jump at the chance.  

    Post # 7
    35 posts

    View original reply
    artezig:  I definitely understand your dilemma of balancing the more formal look you’re hoping for with considering guests’ needs to purchase (or rent) more formal attire than they might already have.  However, “black tie optional” is just that, optional.  With that language, one should expect that some guests will choose a tux/floor-length gown while other guests will choose a full suit/cocktail dress.  (Generally, I personally think “black tie” should only be used amongst wealthier circles (myself NOT included) where all guests would already own a tux or floor-length gown.  Otherwise, “black tie optional” is a nice way of saying that you want it to be a formal occasion, without guests being required to obtain new attire.  Many lady guests do purchase new dresses for weddings, but gents certainly do not usually purchase/rent new suits/tuxes, and it should not be put upon anyone to do so.)  I’m sure your wedding will be a wonderful (and dressy!) occasion as “black tie optional”!

    I found this old, but helpful post on the language of this: http://boards.weddingbee.com/topic/what-is-the-most-polite-way-to-suggest-a-formal-dress-code/

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