Post # 1
Hello bees! I am planning a ‘black tie optional” wedding in the Fall. It has the elements of a black tie affair (the venue itself, evening start time, string trio for the ceremony, piano player for cocktail, live singer during dinner, synchronized white glove table service, high and full centerpieces, etc.) but because of personal preference we are having a DJ instead of a live band during reception.
Is it appropriate to write ‘black tie optional’ on the invitations? I’ve read from various sources that a live band is a must for a black tie/optional wedding, while others say a live band isn’t the deciding factor.
Just want some outside input as I have never been to a black tie affair myself. Thanks in advance!
Post # 2
It’s never appropriate to write Black Tie Optional. It’s always an option to dress up. It’s either Black Tie or it’s not. If it’s not – don’t write anything.
Post # 3
I’d just go ‘black tie’ rather than optional. Mainly because I tend attend weddings in a smart day dress or soft maxi drwas unless it’s black tie
it sounds enough of a black tie event to me. If people seriously wanted to quibble over something that minor, I’d seriously tell them to get out more (And probably judge ythe future of the friendship). It sounds like a lovely wedding you’ve got planned.
Post # 4
- Wedding: July 2017 - Vineyard on Long Island
its probably not proper etiquette based on previous responses, but i recently attended a black tie optional event on a friday evening and i thought it was very helpful to have ‘black tie optional’ printed in small, unobtrusive, gray print on the bottom of the invite. I interpreted that as ‘wear a gown or a step above your normal cocktail dress… we’re going for a step higher than your average cocktail reception’. I, personally, love being told straight up what to wear because i hate guessing and feeling like i’ll be over/under dressed.
Post # 5
I would totally write “black tie optional” on the invite. To me, that tells me that I can wear a long, formal dress and be appropriate. If that’s not written, I’m going to go with a short cocktail dress. I love any chance to really dress up (and wear flats) so definitely write it!
Also – there are SO many etiquette rules people break nowadays – I guarantee half your guests dont even know what black tie entails – so who cares, have your DJ!
Post # 6
I’m with the bees that say either black tie or not.
Black tie weddings arent really done here but I’ve been to a ton of black tie events. Most do have live music of some sort and a DJ later. I think you’ve got that covered with your musicians and singer. Just a thought. aside from the black tie issue, why not have your singer after dinner instead – so people can dance then as well?
Post # 7
IMO an event is either black tie or its not. If theres a DJ, its not, so I would just go for a very formal high end invite (letterpress, thick cardstock, traditional design) and leave out a dress code. If people ask you, then you can word of mouth “black tie optional” or just “formal”.
The one “optional” event I went to recently- there was one poor soul in a tux (who was a little embarressed about it). Everyone else in suits. I just dont see the point of a half way dress code.
Post # 8
Are black tie weddings common in your area/social circle?
Post # 9
I wouldn’t put it on your invite but I would put it on your wedding website.
I think it’s one of those things where you should know your audience. In my group of friends/family I know people who would be really excited for black tie ando thers who would cringe so going black tie optional was a good way to let my guests know don’t wear a summer dress and you should have a tie.
Post # 10
I just went to a black-tie optional wedding, with a live band. They didn’t have valet parking, etc. nor did I consider the venue/facilities to be black-tie. Most men wore tuxedos or a conservative dark suit. One of the bride’s relatives (middle aged man) wore a polo shirt and khaki’s. You just never know ….
Post # 11
I think “black tie optional/preferred” is acceptable for a wedding. It indicates to your guests what the level of formality is while also saying “hey, we totally get that some of you don’t have/can’t afford formal wear so don’t think you can’t come just because you don’t have a tux – a black suit is just fine too”. For a wedding you don’t want people to feel excluded based on their ability to pay for proper clothing the same way you would at say, opening night at the opera or a charity fundraiser.
Post # 12
it sounds like a lot of the previous posters don’t actually know what Black Tie Optional is. BTO is its own dress code; it does NOT mean, “you can go formal or not, anything goes.” BTO is a formal affair. Period. It’s optional in that one is not required to wear a tuxedo; a formal suit will suffice. For women, this means a formal gown, though the “option” here is to choose a shorter hemline (still at least knee length) over a floor length gown.
And yes, you can have a DJ at a BTO affair.
Post # 13
I am going to a wedding this weekend that had “Black Tie Optional” printed on the invite. I didn’t think it was bad. I thought it meant dressing up more than you would for a regular wedding.
Post # 14
I am not a fan of telling adults how to dress but I would just say formal to be honest
Post # 15
We’ve gotten several invitations that say “black tie optional” for weddings and one in particular had a DJ. I honestly never thought anything of it until just now. I think it is fine. To me, the wording “black tie optional” does not mean tuxes and long gowns, but it means you could wear those things and fit in, or you could step up your cocktail attire a little more. I’ve worn a sequin cocktail dress to the last 2 we went to, whereas I probably would have left the sequins at home if it did not say black tie optional.
That seems to be the way it is in my circle. If it’s the same for you, I say go with “black tie optional.” I’m in the camp of always appreciating a suggested dress code. FWIW we did not put a suggested dress code on anything we’ve sent and I’ve been asked numerous times what people should wear.