Post # 1
How to convey Black-tie “optional/requested”
I have seen a decline in more formal weddings and specifically formal dress for appropriate events in general. Etiquette dictates that by word of mouth and via the formality of the invitation guests should be able to discern how to dress….with the family and family friends I know I kind of don’t trust their instincts on what is appropriate. I don’t want to be rude or discourage those that may not own or would not like to buy a tux, BUT I also don’t want any work dress or club outfits for women or outlandishly coloured church outfits as that is the fanciest things they own. Smh, what’s a colored girl to do?
Post # 2
You put “black tie” on the invitation to indicate formality. Designations such “black tie preferred” or “black tie optional” are never necessary or even traditionally considered correct since a dark suit, white shirt is an acceptable stand-in, anyway. So you may come a closer to getting your wish by the use of the traditional form rather than the more liberal “black tie optional” language.
However, it’s also wrong to put yourself in the position of being “etiquette police” on the day or by heavy handed instructions to people on the website. Your guests are adults and you just have to trust them to be able to dress themselves. You should welcome your guests warmly no matter what they wear.
Post # 4
Black Tie Optional isn’t a thing. Black Tie is a thing, but it sounds like your wedding isn’t black tie. Therefore you let the venue and invitations and timing indicate the formality. You do not mention a dress code. If someone asks what to wear, you can suggest a cocktail dress or suit. Adults can dress themselves and if their Sunday church clothes are the nicest thing they own, then you should feel honored they wore their best outfit for you.
Post # 5
Black tie isn’t just having the guys show up in tuxes, it’s a whole style of doing things.
- ceremony starts at 6pm or later
- top-shelf open bar
- plated multicourse dinner, white glove service
- live band
- valet parking
- etc, etc, etc
If you’re having a black tie wedding, you can list “black tie” on the invitation, but depending on your social circle, be prepared for a lot of the guests to not know what that means and show up without a tux/long, formal ballgown. Your wedding day will go so fast that you really won’t notice what people are wearing unless someone shows up in something totally ridiculous.
Post # 6
MrsHistory-Bee: everyone has given you great advice so far but I just have to ask……..how many people are you concerned about? Becuase you say family and friends and then go onto say that you don’t want to discourage guests that may not be able to afford it but you don’t want them showing up in the best attire that they own.
I may be wrong but I kind of get the feeling from your post that you care more about your theme (black tie) than you do about the comfort and finances of your friends and family. If you are so concerned that guests won’t get black tie that you need to find ways to communicate it to them and are afraid of discouraging them, then maybe you have chosen the wrong kind of wedding theme for your audience. If I was concerned that my enforced dress requirements were going to discourage guests including family to come to my wedding then I would either scrap the idea or just let them wear whatever they were comfortable with. Guests attending tops dress requirements in my world.
Post # 7
j_jaye: I was concerned that my enforced dress requirements were going to discourage guests including family to come to my wedding then I would either scrap the idea or just let them wear whatever they were comfortable with. Guests attending tops dress requirements in my world.
Word! I always shake my head in amazement at people who pick themes that aren’t the “norm” within their social or family circles. You end up stressed out and stressing your guests — in the end for what? A look…Not worth it my humble opinion.
Post # 8
Hi j_jaye: I am concerned about certain sides of the family. For friends especially those my age I feel I can have more of a candid conversation if neccessary. My theme isn’t black tie, the formality of my wedding however would under normal circumstances require tuxedos and floor length evening gowns, but realistically because so very few men own tuxes these days a DARK suit will do. I actually don’t think that guests would be discouraged and not actually come…
1. I believe that I’ll be talked about for wanting something so “fancy.”
2. My biggest concern is to have people be indifferent and not even try
2a. At that point, their indifference wouldn’t be because of finances, it would be because they were never taught what to wear when OR they were taught and choose to ignore it for no reason at all.
And I feel that is just ridiculous (it is one of biggest pet peeves sans wedding)! I want all of my invited friends and family there, but I want to make sure they know what is and is not appropriate so that when they get their outfits together no one will UNEXPECTADLY feel underdressed. Basically if you choose to wear something that you could wear to the club at least you’ll know going in to the wedding that you are underdressed and that it is on you and not the host for not explaining what type of attire was expected.
Post # 9
bklynbridetobe: The norm has been semi-formal and cocktail to family weddings that I have been to. But it never fails that some people from certain factions of that family will show up in any dress that they own; sun dress, club dress, maxi dress. It has nothing to do with fianace, it is lack of knowledge of etiquette or they choose to ignore it (because somewhere along the way it became cool to not to do the right thing and learned that formality equals discomfort).
Post # 10
Thanks cmbr: that IS what I am having for my wedding.
Post # 11
I can totally understand you wanting your guests to dress up, but not requiring it. I think “Black Tie Optional” is going to cause some stress to certain guests. If you want people to dress fancy, send out super fancy invitations and host it at a very fancy venue. Those with formal clothes can take the hint, and other people can just wear their best because you haven’t specified a dress code.
Post # 12
Correct me if I’m wrong, but your wedding is not actually a Black Tie event, but you want your guests to wear Black Tie attire?
I don’t think anyone will wear ‘club attire’ to your wedding! I’ve been to many weddings, and no one ever showed up wearing club attire. And I think “church best” sounds really nice. Ya know? I agree with the PP who mentioned keeping your wedding theme within the social norms of your family and friends. You want everybody to have fun and be comfortable, and you don’t want to come across as inauthentic.
Post # 13
If you’re having a black tie wedding then I think it is fine to put “Black tie” on the invitation. But I would also just get used to the fact that there will probably be people there wearing things you don’t like. It’s really not worth stressing about. If you have “Black tie” on the invite then it’s on them if they show up in an orange suit or a mini-skirt. All you can do is provide guidelines and answer questions. Your guests need to dress themselves.
Post # 14
antisocialite: I only mentioned black tie optional because I wanted them to know if they didn’t own a tux and couldn’t afford to go buy one a dark suit would do. I know that it isn’t a “real” thing though, but thanks. I hope I am not coming off snappy, but my wedding is black tie from the invitation suite to the venue and everywhere in between. Common sense isn’t all that common and I am saying, how else can I convey nicely in conversation or other wise (Barely_Blush: send out a newsletter) that “hi cousin A you normally don’t dress appropriately to events like this, make sure you get it right this time.” < NO I DON’T PLAN ON SAYING THIS, but what can be said is what I was asking, because more likely than not, the ones that should ask questions won’t.
Post # 15
JenGirl: That is exactly my sentiment I just want to make sure they have the info available to them and know that putting the requested attire on the invitation is a no-no (in some etiquette circles). What they do with it (no matter how minor or major an annoyance it could be to me on the day of) is on them. I mean I am not having a bouncer at the venue checking the dress code, lol!