(Closed) Formal attire v. black tie optional?

posted 12 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
36 posts
  • Wedding: September 2009

My understandins is that, “Black Tie Optional” means tuxes and ball gowns would be acceptable and not out of place. “Black Tie” means you would be out of place without a tux or gown. “Formal Attire” means suits and cocktail dresses/gowns.

If you want people to feel comfortable wearing tuxes or encourage them to wear them if they have them I would write “Black Tie Optional”, but if  you just want to just make sure people were nice suits and formal dresses, “Formal Attire” should suffice.

Hope that helps.

Post # 4
768 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

I say you should say “black tie optional.” Formal attire means differnt things to different people… and it’s not always pretty. BTO will probably elicit a better response!

Post # 5
820 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2010

“Black Tie Optional” is exactly what you’re looking for. Men in suits (not khakis and a button down) and women in more formal wear. 

Black Tie means men in tuxes and women in gowns. I’ve only been to 1 – Fiance had to rent a tux and I wore an old bridesmaid dress.

Formal attire doesn’t mean what it used to. I think people assume “semi-formal” nowadays when they see it. They’re wrong of course, but that’s still what happens – haha.

Post # 6
1174 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

The purpose of stating what kind of attire is to put your guests at ease, knowing that they will not be out of place if they dress within the guidelines. The problem with “black tie optional” is that you really haven’t told them what to expect. If I wear a tux to a black tie optional event, I could end up being the only person there in a tux, which would be really uncomfortable. Better to say exactly what you mean.

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