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

posted 10 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 17
Member
1348 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

“Black Tie Optional” really covers your bases. If people see that, they’ll be inclined to dress up. You could just say “Black Tie Attire” but then people may be put off by having to wear a long dress/tuxedo. I’m using Black Tie Optional because I want it to be formal, but I don’t care if people show up in cocktail length dresses and suits.

Post # 18
Member
347 posts
Helper bee

@MissAnnie:

 

I am a traditionalist. Normally, there would be no need for a dress code on an invitation. However, in today’s world you unfortunately can no longer count on people knowing about proper dress. Therefore, if you must print it, I would simply choose black tie or black tie preferred. I bought a lovely book by Miss Manners when I lived in the US, and it explains the history and reasons for dress codes very well. Black tie optional is meaningless, because it doesn’t really tell people anything.

My husband and I attend a lot of events and in our social circle, formal means white tie and tails and ball gowns for ladies, semi-formal is dinner suit and long evening dress, while informal is a lounge suit and nice dress or skirt suit for ladies.

Post # 19
Member
625 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

My wewdding will be at REALLY nice upscale museum and on my RSVP cards and in a section on the website it will say “Formal Attire Requested.”

Post # 20
Member
592 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2012

I love invitations that tell me the dresscode. I”d be horrified to rock up over or under dressed 😮

I think “Black Tie Encouraged” sounds the best out of those 🙂

Post # 21
Member
2975 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2019 - Paris, France

From what I know.. it is only appropriate to put dresscode on an invite if it is black tie or white tie. And you should assume the type of event from the type of invitation (ie..does this envelope have calligraphy or is it printed from a computer? …Is the wording of the invite formal.. or fun?). To be quite honest.. I think that black tie prefered etc is just a nicer way of saying black tie please! Is there any way to hint at ‘formal’ instead of writing black tie at the bottom? For instance… Formal reception to follow after the ceremony.. or something like that. Also, what do your invites look like?

Post # 22
Member
486 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2014

We put black tie on the lower part of our invitation. This is pretty typical in our crowd. You wouldn’t put “cocktail attire” or “business casual” or whatever on a wedding invitation – its kind of reserved for black tie (i.e. tuxedos are required of everyone) IMO. You could put black tie optional or something similar as well. Writing black tie optional shouldn’t imply to people that its tuxedo OR ripped jeans. Its tuxedo or nice suit – hopefully people would know that.

Post # 23
Member
1174 posts
Bumble bee

@MissAnnie: The time of day and type of wedding venue dictates the attire. Its pretty much understood by most guests.

Post # 24
Member
153 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

@pinkb: I’ve seen this on invites too (“formal attire requested”) and I plan on doing this as well. As awful as it may sound, nothing irks me more than seeing someone completely under-dressed for the occasion, like the time I saw someone in a mini-skirt and flip flops at a funeral or the people who insist on wearing jeans to the opera.

 

Post # 25
Member
262 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

Just on your invitations, right ‘ Dress code: Formal”

 

Post # 26
Member
347 posts
Helper bee

@ms. headphone:

 

Where is the “like” button on this board?

I so agree. Last week, I organised and co-hosted a memorial dinner for an old family friend’s deceased wife at an international club. The club specifically states that its dress code is lounge suit and tie. Well, two guests decided to show up in jeans and without ties! I am amazed they even got past the doorman! They stuck out like sore thumbs. Unlike many, I actually believe that it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed. If I am overdressed, it looks like I really made an effort, but if one is underdressed it communicates that one simply did not care, and that is inexcusable in my opinion.

Post # 27
Member
10 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: June 2012

This is really helpful to read.  Perhaps someone could help me to determine how formal I can make my wedding, please?  We’re having an outdoor ceremony just before an evening cocktail hour and reception, which will be at a glass, garden-like atrium at a nice hotel.  Someone suggested to me that it shouldn’t be black-tie optional because of the outdoor/garden-type theme.  Also, my fiance doesn’t want people to feel pressured to dress to the nines.  I don’t want people to be too casual, though.  Any thoughts or recommendations?  Maybe I can use the invitations to give some air of formality without stating a dress code?

Post # 28
Member
82 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@glimmer:  I am having your same issue. What did you end up doing?? 

Post # 29
Member
82 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@MissAnnie:  So what did you finally do? Because i am having this SAME exact issue. Except my ceremony and cocktail are outside, and the receptions is inside….

Post # 30
Member
1946 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

@Monana:  No black tie if any part of the event is outdoors.

Post # 31
Member
1022 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2019 - City, State

What about “Semi-formal affair, black tie optional.” of “formal affair, black tie optional.”

 

I think that lets people know for sure, no jeans. For the ignorant, “Black tie optional” alone might translate into “suit or jeans, either one.”

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