(Closed) Southern traditions: white tie wedding?

posted 10 years ago in Traditions
Post # 3
596 posts
Busy bee

i have never attended a black tie wedding so this is only my opinion but if i saw "black tie preferred" on a wedding website, i would think "the bride and groom would really prefer if Darling Husband wore a tux, so now we will have to worry about going out and renting one".  admittedly, i would be a bit irked about having to incur this type of expense, even if it was a negotiated discount rate.  i think it’s a bit much to dictate such a strict and costly dress code.  does it really take away from your day to have some of the men wearing black suits instead of black tuxes?  is it worth having your guests collectively spend thousands of dollars on tux rentals, when i’m sure they will look just as handsome in black suits?

it sounds like you are more flexible on the idea than your Fiance is.  i would really encourage you guys to rethink this! 

Post # 5
7052 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2010

I have lived in the south since I was 2. 

Can tell you from experience I have only been to one white tie wedding. Men attending wore a dinner jacket type tux or dark suit.  NOT everyone wore tux’s.  Women wore either long dress or cocktail dress.  It was very glamorous.  And it was the wedding of one of my lifelong best friends!

We (bridesmaids) wore white long ballgowns with a blush long train and blush/darker pink rosettes on the back.  Looked beautiful!  She did cause somewhat of a commotion b/c apparently a few of the guests thought that the bride should be the only one in white..

But it was the prettiest wedding ever!  Did a balloon drop and during their first dance and had giant rose topiaries scattered all over the ballroom of the hotel (famous southern historic hotel).

Don’t sweat it.  People can get away with wearing a dark suit and cocktail dresses.  It’s a step above sunday dress.

If you put  on the invite,the type of attire on the invite or rsvp, the attendees should know what to do. 

Congratulations!  Just breathe and relax.  We’ll help and give encouragement 🙂  

Post # 6
484 posts
Helper bee

I agree with Bellenga – just put "black tie optional" on your reception card and let your guests decide.

If your groom wants to wear white tie than he can. No one is going to make an announcement at your wedding that your guests and groom aren’t dressed in the same attire.

And a little tip about the Emily Post Future Mother-In-Law…go get yourself a copy of the latest Emily Post Weddings and become your own expert. I can guarantee she doesn’t know everything and if you disagree on something you might be able to use the book to back you. I know people aren’t really into etiquette these days but I find that it’s a great way to get people to either a) agree with you or b) shut up about whatever they want you to do….a simple "I’m sorry but that’s not proper etiquette" goes a long long way. Trust me.

Your going to have a beautiful wedding! Enjoy!

ps this is coming from a black tie bride 🙂  

Post # 7
1813 posts
Buzzing bee

On my wedding website I would put "black tie optional" but then further explain, since most people would just take this to mean the wedding party is wearing tuxes, so bring one if you have one….I recommend explaining that the wedding party will be doing white tie…that way if anyone feels like renting a tux to dress up they can, so they won’t feel underdressed if they would have wanted to dress up & didn’t already own one….I have at least one friend that would probably rent a tux if explained as such…however, while practical, I think putting the name of the preferred vendor could give it a less happy vibe.

Post # 8
584 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2009

i agree with pp’s… "black tie optional" gets your meaning across… people can wear tuxes (or should if they have them… some people might, i have lots of musician friends, they all own tuxes), but if not tuxes, dark suits.

Post # 9
139 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

I went to a black tie wedding this spring, which wasn’t even listed as black tie optional.  There were men who weren’t in tuxes, and it was fine.  I actually felt peeved that it was listed as black tie because i had to dig out a super fancy dress and take my husband’s tux to the cleaner’s (another musician with a tux!), and then to arrive and find plenty of men in suits.  I think you’ll have a "critical mass" of tux wearers if you list it as black tie optional (all his southern family, for instance!) that it will feel VERY fancy.  It’s more about the way you decorate the place, what you and your wedding parties wear, and the vibe you set than what your guests wear anyways.

Post # 10
293 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2008

To begin with you would never do anything but "Black Tie Preferred" or "Black Tie" I do not think it is appropriate to suggest a vendor even though you are being helpful-it sends the wrong message.  

Beyond all of that I am VERY confused by your etiquette beliefs and customs, you say WHITE TIE AND TAILS? and BLACK TIE AND TAILS?  It is not accepted or standard for people to wear (or suggest) tails.  For a formal evening wedding BLACK TIE or WHITE TIE does not connote tails.  In summer men usually opt for a formal summer dinner jacket (which can be rented) and for black tie, men usually wear a tuxedo.  Tails, Strollers and Cutaways are not standard and I have never seen them requested.  Your FI’s circle of friends can make this choice but it is non-standard. I dont know if you just inadvertently keep typing the word tails but that is a different designation from Black Tie altogether! 

Post # 11
9 posts

Black Tie or Black Tie Optional should do just fine. The idea here is that you want to make sure guests know this is a formal event and they should dress appropriately. Guys who don’t want to wear a tux will know to wear their dark suit instead of their blue blazer, and women will know to wear something a little fancy too.





Post # 12
5 posts

My wedding was Black Tie Preferred.  This basically means the same thing as Black Tie Optional, but apparently the woman who sold us our invitations was an etiquitte freak and insisted that "Black Tie Optional" was not correct terminology.  I googled that and it looks like some websites agree with her so I went with it.  I was amazed and touched by the amount of men who wore tuxes – and were excited to do so!  The ones who wore dark suits didn’t stand out too much, and the women wore both long and cocktail length gowns.  Don’t sweat it!

Post # 13
484 posts
Helper bee

Just posting again to agree (again) with HannahMont on this – it’s really not a big deal! You’re going to be surprised at how many men happily put on a tux.

Also, just to clear up what "white tie" and "black tie" actually mean, here’s a handy chart from the etiquette maven herself, Emily Post


I think most of us will be surprised to find out what we actually don’t know what these terms mean! For instance, white tie does mean black tail coat. And I just learned that black tie does not necessarily mean long gowns for the ladies. (although try arguing that with my mother…)

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