What does “black tie” mean to you?

posted 1 year ago in Guests
Post # 31
5972 posts
Bee Keeper

jellybellynelly :  This! 

I wish people wouldn’t use ‘black tie’ when they mean ‘formal’ or ‘cocktail’. It’s so confusing! 

I’m Canadian (Scot/Irish/Brit background) and my husband is Italian-Canadian….plus I don’t know if age has anything to do with it, but we’re older & to us ‘Black Tie’ means Black Tie in the traditional sense- tuxes and gowns, everything very formal, from the venue to the menu choices (definitely plated), elegant decor. As in Hollywood Premiere fancy. 

But recently it seems some bride and grooms specify ‘black tie’ when they just mean ‘not casual’, as in ‘please dress up!’. And this puts the guests in a dilemma (we have 3 wedding invites over the next 3 months that have specified ‘black tie’ and only one of them seems to be actual black tie. This makes things really awkward because, as guests, we don’t want to ‘out-dress’ the wedding party or parents of the bride and groom. If you tell my husband ‘black tie’, to him this = tux, and ditto for me with a long formal dress…..but my husband understandably doesn’t want to show up in a tux if the groom/ groomsmen/ FOB/FOG aren’t all in tuxes themselves. 

In this situation we’ve approached a family member and specifically asked if people are wearing tuxes and gowns (esp as one of the invitations was quite cute but definitely not the formal invitation you’d expect to correspond with a black tie event- agree with Bees who’ve said the invite helps set the tone). 

No snark on people who have cocktail attire, casual attire, beach attire, rustic themes, buffets, DIY decor etc, in fact I quite frankly prefer casual weddings over formal weddings, but please, please PLEASE don’t call it a black tie event unless it truly is, you just confuse your guests. 


Post # 32
2140 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

AnonBee2019 :  yup of course all of these things! I’d add that the bride is probably in designer or couture gown and that cocktail hour includes passed apps and high end stations like a cold seafood tower  

When you ask what it should “feel like”. I expect black tie to feel like a luxe gala or awards show. The room and environment should ooze good taste have no expense spared. I want to feel like every guest I’m with is in some sort high level execituve or actor including myself!

black tie is a standard of service and calls to an extravagant and elegant event. Black tie optional is an annoying dress code where people try to pass on the details that make the event feel luxurious and just want people to “look their best for our big day”

Post # 33
1285 posts
Bumble bee

To me, it means tuxedos or a very fancy three-piece suit for men, and a formal dress for women, either floor-length or an extra-fancy cocktail length with beadwork or something.  

My cousin put “black tie” on her wedding invites thinking that meant that guys were supposed to wear ties to the wedding.  She had no clue that it suggested something more formal.  I wonder how many younger people (in their 20s) actually know?

Post # 34
166 posts
Blushing bee

I think the definition of a ‘black tie’ event has been pretty clearly stated in previous posts. I just wanted to note that I have been to several true black tie events, I am in my 20’s and know what the proper protocol is. Luckily this has never happened to me, but I am glad that I never received an invitation for an event that called for ‘black tie’ and didn’t really end up to be that level of event, even though I would probably be skeptical in the first place receiving an invitation that said ‘black tie’ and did not fit the bill.

Post # 35
2569 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

Black tie, to me, is a tux and a floor-length gown. 

Leave a comment

Find Amazing Vendors