Post # 1
Hi! I am looking for some help/opinions. My Fiance has been awesome about letting me or my parents have whatever details we want about the wedding. However, he asked that the wedding be “Black Tie Optional.” His rationale is that we are having night time wedding at a beautiful ballroom and thinks the “optional” allows those guests who do not have a tux wear their suits. Additionally, he and his family are very comfortable in formal settings, but he is compromising in that he believes “formal” is not necessary.
My father on the other hand is opposed to “Black Tie Optional” as he is afraid to put guests out or that it might sound pretentious, which is not our goal at all.
My parents are paying for the greatest portion of the wedding, but my Fiance and are kicking in, but do we just go with what they want? Does “Black Tie Optional” put people out? Do we communicate this on the invite or just through our website?
Any other thoughts or feedback would be very helpful!
Post # 3
my parents are more like your parents and rather not make it uncomfortably “snotty” (sorry to use that word)
i dont think you need to write Black Tie Optional, if ppl want to wear a tux they would anyways (assuming your venue is a very nice venue and guests can assume formal attire is acceptable)
if i got an invitation to Four Seasons Hotel or Ritz Carlton wedding, i wouldn’t feel awkward if guests decide to wear tux. it’s their choice.
Post # 4
I don’t think it sounds pretentious or “snotty” at all. I think it lets your guests know that you’re having a formal wedding and that the prefered attire is optional. It communicates just what your Fiance said it communicates.
Post # 5
If it’s important to your Fiance that some guests wear tuxes, then “Black Tie Optional” is the only way to communicate that. If you say “Formal Attire” then most male guests will wear suits, and some will dress less formally than that. But you have to know your guests. Many people would feel put off by “Black Tie Optional,” as many people have never attended an event at which most men were in tuxes. They might feel like the wedding was out of their league, so to speak, and like they weren’t going to know how to behave appropriately. In other words, it could make them uncomfortable and embarrassed. On the other hand, in some circles (such as, apparently, your FI’s), very formal events are common and people are comfortable and confident that they’ll know how to dress and act appropriately. So you’d need to look at your guest list and imagine your loved ones in each situation and try to make an educated guess at how comfortable they’d feel. What is Uncle Joe going to say when he reads “Black Tie Optional?” Will he think “Oh good, I have just the suit to wear to an evening affair” or is he going to think “What the heck, I don’t own a tux!”
(Our wedding was “Formal Attire” and I still had an uncle say “Wait, does that mean I have to go out and buy a tux?”)
Post # 6
Well, I love formal affairs and am a bit of a formalities-snob (you think?), and I always find my eyebrow going up when I read “Black Tie Optional” because
a) of course it’s optional: what are you going to do — throw me out if my escort isn’t wearing a dinner jacket? and
b) if one is being truly formal, one doesn’t insult one’s guests by suggesting they don’t know how to dress, so dress instructions do not belong on the most rigourously proper of formal invitations, and
c) What passes for “black tie” nowadays would never have passed muster with my father, and frequently involves such things as teal ties with brown dinner jackets that amuse more than they impress.
In other words, I would out-snooty your fiance’s family by doing what your own father recommends and keeping the dress instructions off the invitation. If your fiance puts his foot down and insists, I’d mollify your father by explaining to him that putting dress instructions on the invitation actually reduces the formality of the invitation and he can therefore worry less about pretentiousness.
Post # 7
@Pipe5:Black tie is not off putting. Gentlemen who do not own a tux can wear a black suit. That’s traditionally the way it is done.
Post # 8
I think I’m in the minority here but I always appreciate seeing the dress code. If I don’t know the venue or the planned desire of dress of the couple then I feel all shaky inside and anxious, lol!
Black tie optional just lets people that would like to wear a tux and gown know that its totally appropriate at the venue and they won’t be overdressed and lets those that want to wear a dark suit and formal dress/pants know that its totally appropriate at the venue and they won’t be underdressed. I mean, we’ve all seen the person that comes to an elegant wedding in jeans and a tshirt, right? I have seen it at work at every single wedding and also see weddings where guests are running from cocktail dresses to clubwear to formal gowns. A lot of that happens because they don’t have an idea of what the expected dress will be. Being the one that answers phones all day at the club I work at, I constantly get calls from upcoming wedding guests asking how people typically dress for weddings here. You’ll just be giving them less work to do 🙂
Post # 9
I personally would not be put out by “black tie optional.” I think more information is always better, and it not only lets the men know what to wear, but also lets the women know how fancy to get. If you don’t want it on the invitation, you can always put it on the reception insert or the website.
Post # 10
@luckyprincess: I completely agree! I would rather know how formal an event would be than show up and look ridiculous because I guessed wrong!
I don’t think ‘Black tie optional’ is offensive at all.
Post # 11
I put formal attire on my invitation.
Post # 12
Also, OP – just wanted to let you know I did a test of googling ‘what does black tie optional mean?’ and all the hits come back saying ‘wear or rent a tux if you want or wear a dark suit, either are fine and women can wear gowns or dress/pants’. So if you have any fears that people won’t know what it means or are going to scratch their heads, at least you know most with interent access will probably google it and get an answer that should make everyone comfortable 🙂
Post # 13
I personally don’t feel it’s ever appropriate to list attire info on the invite. If you don’t feel comfortable with it tell Fiance that it’s not proper to dictate attire and then you can either let guests know by word of mouth – or hope that your guests can figure out the formality of your wedding by the invite and location.
Post # 14
I don’t think it should be on the invitation at all. We were going to do “semi-formal” simply bc we didn’t want jeans, but we didn’t want tux’s either (I’m even against suits! lol We’re on the beach). But, my dress is fairly formal – so the attire has always been an issue.
Thank goodness our coordinator told us NOT to put it on the invitation (and she had a very good point in doing so). Fact is, most people don’t wear jeans or anything else like to a wedding (unless the venue is ultra casual). If your venue is known for being a very nice place, then your guests will dress accordingly (bc no one likes to stand out other than the bride) lol At least, not stand out like THAT.
That’s my opinion.
Post # 15
I agree with others that dress code information does not go on the invitation, it goes on the website and via word of mouth. But I think it’s a bit naively optimistic to imagine that guests will understand what they’re supposed to wear without being told anything at all, as @aspasia475 suggests. People these days are baffled by dressing for nice events. I know this is true in our region because we attended a nice cocktail holiday party hosted by my husband’s employer a few weeks ago and were amazed at the number of people in jeans, night club wear (including knee high boots), all the way to floor-length gowns and tuxedos. These are people who need guidance!
We helped our guests out by making it as obvious as possible when we stated our suggested attire on our website: “Attire will be formal. Suits are appropriate for men, and dresses of any length are appropriate for women.” (Our wedding was in July, so I didn’t want women to feel that they had to wear long dresses). According to traditional etiquette, short dresses fall under semi-formal attire, but I know my guests well enough to know that if they saw “semi-formal” they would interpret that as khakis, polo shirts and casual summer blouses and sundresses. Not what we were going for. I’d reiterate what I said above, you have to know your guests. And please help them out with explicit information about the suggested attire – some people are going to be hopelessly confused no matter what, because these rules just aren’t universally known these days. More information is better.
(And yes, we still had a couple people attend in what I’d consider dressy-casual attire, even given our specific suggestions, but the vast majority of our guests got the message and looked handsome.)
Post # 16
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with putting down dress information on the invite. I’ve found that a lot of people didn’t even bother going to the website that my invitation directed them to, and I feel like dress code is crucial enough information to make it on the actual invite card. This is especially important, I think, if you’re inviting people from many regions in the US or from other countires. I’m from California, my husband is French and there are different understandings of how one dresses at a wedding. To top it off, we had our wedding in New York, which has its own idea of what is appropriate or not.
For the record, we just ended up putting down “formal attire” since we didn’t want my husband’s Parisian guests coming in tuxes. Conversely, we didn’t want my Californian friends showing up in khakis an polos (which is often standard wedding wear in Southern California).