(Closed) What is the most polite way to suggest a formal dress code?

posted 7 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
8738 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2011

What about “Black Tie Optional”

ETA: saw that you don’t love this one.

If I saw “black tie optional” I’d know that at the very least I’d have to wear cocktail attire because people will come in gowns and tuxes if you say “black tie optional”.

Post # 4
4485 posts
Honey bee

There is no polite way to dictate dress code. If your venue requires it for guests to be admitted, then word of mouth is your option. It’s rude to say anything in the invite.

Post # 5
1326 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2011 - Tre Bella, Mesa, AZ

Usually the style of the invite dictates the formality of the event, so as long as your invitation is formal, it should be fine. You can be more specific (Black Tie perferred or whatever) on your website.

Post # 6
207 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

I have this issue too. A couple I know got married a few weeks ago and people were showing up in torn up jeans and stuff at a fancy ball room? We are getting married at a golf and country club and they have a dress code, so if anyone shows up in jeans they probably wont be let in and I don’t want my guest to have to go through that, but I’m not sure what to say to everyone.

Post # 9
131 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: January 2016

If you don’t care if it’s actually black tie (e.g. tuxes and gowns) but just want it to be more dressy, I would go with “cocktail attire”.

Post # 11
375 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

I like “Black Tie Encouraged”. From your original post, I think that would best convey what you mean.

Post # 12
955 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

I didnt know it was bad etiquette to put it on the invite either! Oops. I put Formal Attire Requested on the bottom of our invites. It was very important to us that people came dress nicely. Most women came in summer dresses and men in pants and button ups. These days I think people, epecialy younger people, dont get the hint that is implied by the formality of the invites so I didnt take any chances.

Post # 13
5110 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: November 2011

We have a section in our wedding website that addresses attire that we would prefer at the wedding. 

Post # 14
187 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

Were getting married in a historic church.. and my family is pretty traditional.. so on our website I put semi-formal/ church attire requested and asked my guests to keep in mind that the ceremony will be taking place in a church and modesty should be taken into consideration..



Post # 15
875 posts
Busy bee

I don’t think that letting people know of proper attire is a bad idea especially if you live in an area that is more casual.  I have been at weddings in which people have showed up in jean shorts or decided to change after the wedding into “playclothes”  (and these were adult guests who ended up going from ultra formal to Wal-mart ready.  YUCK!  I know that some people don’t know that an ultra formal invitation is recognized by the style of the invite, the location, and the time of the reception. 


Post # 16
2142 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

On the bottom of the invite we put in small print “Semi-Formal Attire Requested” but you can put Formal or something like that. People seemed to listen to that because I’d like to avoid the “jorts” I saw at other weddings

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