Wedding Etiquette Forum

Family Style Dinner = Black Tie?

Hi ladies.  Please help me settle an argument with DH.  We were invited to a wedding that says on the invitation that its Black Tie.  However, from talking about the wedding with the couple, I know that the dinner will be served family style.  There are other elements that lead me to believe that this isn't really Black Tie but that the bride is trying to fancy it up.  DH is insisting that he has to rent a tux for this but I don't really want to spend the money to do that knowing that the wedding isn't truly Black Tie.  What do you ladies think?
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Re: Family Style Dinner = Black Tie?

  • Your hubby should just wear one of his suits with a dress shirt and tie.  He won't feel overdressed in a rented tux, nor will he stick out at what sounds like a non-black tie wedding.
    PrettyGirlLost
  • LondonLisaLondonLisa London, UK member
    Eighth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Definitely not black tie- sounds like the bride just wants people to dress up without thinking it through. Dark suit should be just fine.

    Lurkers: this is why it is wrong to dictate dress unless it is truly black tie (top end everything). Your guests are not photo-op props, so if you want them all in black tie, you have to pay for a truly black tie event- at least a 5 course meal, top shelf open bar, live band, butlers etc.
    PrettyGirlLostMairePoppyluckysnorkelAmyzen83
  • Family style by definition means it's not black-tie.
    Anniversary

    image
    I'm gonna go with 'not my circus, not my monkeys.'
    PrettyGirlLosts-aries8990
  • climbingsingleclimbingsingle NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Yeah, that's not a black tie event. He does not need to rent a tux. 

    grumbledorePrettyGirlLost
  • sarahuflsarahufl New York member
    Tenth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    dark suit, dark dress. Family style does not equal black tie.....
    image
  • Not at all black tie. 

    Dark suit is fine. 
    image
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Guys in tuxes and women in gowns does not automatically make a wedding fancy.  You need high-end food and top shelf bar and a huge band and gloved service, etc, etc, etc to make a wedding fancy.  Having high-end attire but middle of the road everything else just makes you look like you care more about the pictures you are going to get rather then your guests comfort.

    grumbledoremanateehuggers-aries8990Amyzen83
  • Just smile at her whenever she talks about this and then wear a cocktail dress and have your H wear a dark suit.  I would be shocked if she noticed.
    image
    PrettyGirlLost
  • flojo973 said:
    Hi ladies.  Please help me settle an argument with DH.  We were invited to a wedding that says on the invitation that its Black Tie.  However, from talking about the wedding with the couple, I know that the dinner will be served family style.  There are other elements that lead me to believe that this isn't really Black Tie but that the bride is trying to fancy it up.  DH is insisting that he has to rent a tux for this but I don't really want to spend the money to do that knowing that the wedding isn't truly Black Tie.  What do you ladies think?
    What elements?  I think we are all interested :)
    image
  • photokittyphotokitty where I want to be mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited February 2014

    Any way you slice it, if a guests has to serve themselves - a la guests passing platters family style - it's not black tie - it's black tie optional, like every other wedding in the world - bc you can alway wear a tux if you want. In this case I'd have your DH wear a black suit. IMHO at this wedding, the only people in tuxes will be the WP or those who own them.
    :kiss: ~xoxo~ :kiss:

  • PrettyGirlLostPrettyGirlLost A Land Filled with Unicorns and Cat Hair member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    flojo973 said:
    Hi ladies.  Please help me settle an argument with DH.  We were invited to a wedding that says on the invitation that its Black Tie.  However, from talking about the wedding with the couple, I know that the dinner will be served family style.  There are other elements that lead me to believe that this isn't really Black Tie but that the bride is trying to fancy it up.  DH is insisting that he has to rent a tux for this but I don't really want to spend the money to do that knowing that the wedding isn't truly Black Tie.  What do you ladies think?
    No, no no.  Absolutely not.  Don't waste money on a tux if you don't want to.  This is not a black tie event, and this bride and groom are rude for suggesting that it is.

    Lurkers- A black tie event is just that- it is an event with very specific hosting criteria.  It is not a style of dress.  You must meet all of the following, at a minimum, to have a black tie event, and unless you do, do not put Black Tie on your invitations just because you want ppl to dress up for your wedding.

    • Event begins after 6pm
    • High end, indoor venue
    • Valet service provided by the Bride and Groom
    • Gloved service
    • Hand passed hor d'ourves
    • Top shelf open bar with full wine list and preferably with a sommelier on site to assist with wine choices.
    • Multi course gourmet level plated meal- generally 5 to 7 courses, and preferably with dual entrees or tableside ordering
    • Real china, silver ware, glassware, linens, etc
    • Multi piece live band and and a DJ or secondary performers for when the main entertainment takes breaks
    • High end decor and custom lighting


    "Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends time and space."


  • PrettyGirlLostPrettyGirlLost A Land Filled with Unicorns and Cat Hair member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer

    Just to be clear, "plated meals" where a full plate is set down in front of the diners, is completely NOT a formal practice. In service a la Russe, (Russian-style service, purportedly from the practice of the Tsarist court) which is the most common service at "black-tie" events, involves the servants carrying filled serving dishes and serving food from the platter or dish onto each diner's plate as the diner indicates his preference.

    In service courtier (court service, taken from the practice of the pre-revolutionary French court) filled serving dishes and serving implements, and wine bottles or decanters, are placed on the table and the diners serve one another: gentlemen pour four the ladies on either side and then for themselves; ladies dish up food to the gentlemen on either side and then to themselves. Service courtier differs from "family style" in that the serving dishes are not passed around the table: the food being served is divided into several smaller serving dishes so that the diners can reach them to serve one another without passing them -- you need about one serving-dish to every four diners: I've seen it done with one serving-dish per six diners put it becomes a little awkward.

    Plopping a loaded plate down in front of a diner, even if the plopping is done by someone wearing a tuxedo jacket and white gloves, is not formally correct service.

    This is actually what should be occurring at black tie events, then, but in modern times it often does not.

    "Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends time and space."


  • antotoantoto member
    500 Love Its 100 Comments Second Anniversary First Answer
    edited February 2014
    flojo973 said:
    Hi ladies.  Please help me settle an argument with DH.  We were invited to a wedding that says on the invitation that its Black Tie.  However, from talking about the wedding with the couple, I know that the dinner will be served family style.  There are other elements that lead me to believe that this isn't really Black Tie but that the bride is trying to fancy it up.  DH is insisting that he has to rent a tux for this but I don't really want to spend the money to do that knowing that the wedding isn't truly Black Tie.  What do you ladies think?
    No, no no.  Absolutely not.  Don't waste money on a tux if you don't want to.  This is not a black tie event, and this bride and groom are rude for suggesting that it is.

    Lurkers- A black tie event is just that- it is an event with very specific hosting criteria.  It is not a style of dress.  You must meet all of the following, at a minimum, to have a black tie event, and unless you do, do not put Black Tie on your invitations just because you want ppl to dress up for your wedding.

    • Event begins after 6pm
    • High end, indoor venue
    • Valet service provided by the Bride and Groom
    • Gloved service
    • Hand passed hor d'ourves
    • Top shelf open bar with full wine list and preferably with a sommelier on site to assist with wine choices.
    • Multi course gourmet level plated meal- generally 5 to 7 courses, and preferably with dual entrees or tableside ordering
    • Real china, silver ware, glassware, linens, etc
    • Multi piece live band and and a DJ or secondary performers for when the main entertainment takes breaks
    • High end decor and custom lighting

    I'm actually very curious where this list comes from.  My sister and I were discussing requirements of a black tie event so I looked it up online and I can't find any of these specifics you have mentioned.  Where did you get this info?  Would love to have it for future use :)

    edit:  The only specific requirement I found was that the event began after 6pm.
    image
  • ^^ A blend of these two is how they do it on Downton Abbey - the servant presents the serving dish of the food option to the diner and the diner actually "serves" the food onto their own plate. Whether ATB is insane is a whole other issue.
    Hahaha, love that show.

    If you are trying to decide if your wedding reception is black tie, watch Downton Abbey, and then decide if you can legitimately put Black Tie on your invitations ;-)

    And remember, almost only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades.

    And for the love of god, no WOMEN serving at table. The scandal!

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    [Deleted User]PrettyGirlLostemmyg65Amyzen83
  • PrettyGirlLostPrettyGirlLost A Land Filled with Unicorns and Cat Hair member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    antoto said:
    flojo973 said:
    Hi ladies.  Please help me settle an argument with DH.  We were invited to a wedding that says on the invitation that its Black Tie.  However, from talking about the wedding with the couple, I know that the dinner will be served family style.  There are other elements that lead me to believe that this isn't really Black Tie but that the bride is trying to fancy it up.  DH is insisting that he has to rent a tux for this but I don't really want to spend the money to do that knowing that the wedding isn't truly Black Tie.  What do you ladies think?
    No, no no.  Absolutely not.  Don't waste money on a tux if you don't want to.  This is not a black tie event, and this bride and groom are rude for suggesting that it is.

    Lurkers- A black tie event is just that- it is an event with very specific hosting criteria.  It is not a style of dress.  You must meet all of the following, at a minimum, to have a black tie event, and unless you do, do not put Black Tie on your invitations just because you want ppl to dress up for your wedding.

    • Event begins after 6pm
    • High end, indoor venue
    • Valet service provided by the Bride and Groom
    • Gloved service
    • Hand passed hor d'ourves
    • Top shelf open bar with full wine list and preferably with a sommelier on site to assist with wine choices.
    • Multi course gourmet level plated meal- generally 5 to 7 courses, and preferably with dual entrees or tableside ordering
    • Real china, silver ware, glassware, linens, etc
    • Multi piece live band and and a DJ or secondary performers for when the main entertainment takes breaks
    • High end decor and custom lighting

    I'm actually very curious where this list comes from.  My sister and I were discussing requirements of a black tie event so I looked it up online and I can't find any of these specifics you have mentioned.  Where did you get this info?  Would love to have it for future use :)

    edit:  The only specific requirement I found was that the event began after 6pm.
    That's because most of the info out there talks about black tie as if it is only a dress code.

    This list was created from talking with Knotties and others who frequently throw and attended black tie events.

    "Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends time and space."


  • antoto said:
    flojo973 said:
    Hi ladies.  Please help me settle an argument with DH.  We were invited to a wedding that says on the invitation that its Black Tie.  However, from talking about the wedding with the couple, I know that the dinner will be served family style.  There are other elements that lead me to believe that this isn't really Black Tie but that the bride is trying to fancy it up.  DH is insisting that he has to rent a tux for this but I don't really want to spend the money to do that knowing that the wedding isn't truly Black Tie.  What do you ladies think?
    No, no no.  Absolutely not.  Don't waste money on a tux if you don't want to.  This is not a black tie event, and this bride and groom are rude for suggesting that it is.

    Lurkers- A black tie event is just that- it is an event with very specific hosting criteria.  It is not a style of dress.  You must meet all of the following, at a minimum, to have a black tie event, and unless you do, do not put Black Tie on your invitations just because you want ppl to dress up for your wedding.

    • Event begins after 6pm
    • High end, indoor venue
    • Valet service provided by the Bride and Groom
    • Gloved service
    • Hand passed hor d'ourves
    • Top shelf open bar with full wine list and preferably with a sommelier on site to assist with wine choices.
    • Multi course gourmet level plated meal- generally 5 to 7 courses, and preferably with dual entrees or tableside ordering
    • Real china, silver ware, glassware, linens, etc
    • Multi piece live band and and a DJ or secondary performers for when the main entertainment takes breaks
    • High end decor and custom lighting

    I'm actually very curious where this list comes from.  My sister and I were discussing requirements of a black tie event so I looked it up online and I can't find any of these specifics you have mentioned.  Where did you get this info?  Would love to have it for future use :)

    edit:  The only specific requirement I found was that the event began after 6pm.
    That's because most of the info out there talks about black tie as if it is only a dress code.

    This list was created from talking with Knotties and others who frequently throw and attended black tie events.
    It's just CRAZY that I can't find a legitimate guideline from any sort of etiquette reference.  I'm gonna need Miss Manners to give me a phone call.
    image
  • PrettyGirlLostPrettyGirlLost A Land Filled with Unicorns and Cat Hair member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    antoto said:
    antoto said:
    No, no no.  Absolutely not.  Don't waste money on a tux if you don't want to.  This is not a black tie event, and this bride and groom are rude for suggesting that it is.

    Lurkers- A black tie event is just that- it is an event with very specific hosting criteria.  It is not a style of dress.  You must meet all of the following, at a minimum, to have a black tie event, and unless you do, do not put Black Tie on your invitations just because you want ppl to dress up for your wedding.

    • Event begins after 6pm
    • High end, indoor venue
    • Valet service provided by the Bride and Groom
    • Gloved service
    • Hand passed hor d'ourves
    • Top shelf open bar with full wine list and preferably with a sommelier on site to assist with wine choices.
    • Multi course gourmet level plated meal- generally 5 to 7 courses, and preferably with dual entrees or tableside ordering
    • Real china, silver ware, glassware, linens, etc
    • Multi piece live band and and a DJ or secondary performers for when the main entertainment takes breaks
    • High end decor and custom lighting

    I'm actually very curious where this list comes from.  My sister and I were discussing requirements of a black tie event so I looked it up online and I can't find any of these specifics you have mentioned.  Where did you get this info?  Would love to have it for future use :)

    edit:  The only specific requirement I found was that the event began after 6pm.
    That's because most of the info out there talks about black tie as if it is only a dress code.

    This list was created from talking with Knotties and others who frequently throw and attended black tie events.
    It's just CRAZY that I can't find a legitimate guideline from any sort of etiquette reference.  I'm gonna need Miss Manners to give me a phone call.
    Well, now you have a list to go back to!

    "Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends time and space."


  • Just to be clear, "plated meals" where a full plate is set down in front of the diners, is completely NOT a formal practice. In service a la Russe, (Russian-style service, purportedly from the practice of the Tsarist court) which is the most common service at "black-tie" events, involves the servants carrying filled serving dishes and serving food from the platter or dish onto each diner's plate as the diner indicates his preference.

    In service courtier (court service, taken from the practice of the pre-revolutionary French court) filled serving dishes and serving implements, and wine bottles or decanters, are placed on the table and the diners serve one another: gentlemen pour four the ladies on either side and then for themselves; ladies dish up food to the gentlemen on either side and then to themselves. Service courtier differs from "family style" in that the serving dishes are not passed around the table: the food being served is divided into several smaller serving dishes so that the diners can reach them to serve one another without passing them -- you need about one serving-dish to every four diners: I've seen it done with one serving-dish per six diners put it becomes a little awkward.

    Plopping a loaded plate down in front of a diner, even if the plopping is done by someone wearing a tuxedo jacket and white gloves, is not formally correct service.

    I know this is supposed to be the fancy way but I went to a wedding like this and found it irritating.  It takes longer for you to get your food and I felt my personal space invaded while the servers were hovering over me.  I prefer to just have a fully done up plate placed down in front of me.
    Amyzen83
  • antoto said:
    antoto said:
    No, no no.  Absolutely not.  Don't waste money on a tux if you don't want to.  This is not a black tie event, and this bride and groom are rude for suggesting that it is.

    Lurkers- A black tie event is just that- it is an event with very specific hosting criteria.  It is not a style of dress.  You must meet all of the following, at a minimum, to have a black tie event, and unless you do, do not put Black Tie on your invitations just because you want ppl to dress up for your wedding.

    • Event begins after 6pm
    • High end, indoor venue
    • Valet service provided by the Bride and Groom
    • Gloved service
    • Hand passed hor d'ourves
    • Top shelf open bar with full wine list and preferably with a sommelier on site to assist with wine choices.
    • Multi course gourmet level plated meal- generally 5 to 7 courses, and preferably with dual entrees or tableside ordering
    • Real china, silver ware, glassware, linens, etc
    • Multi piece live band and and a DJ or secondary performers for when the main entertainment takes breaks
    • High end decor and custom lighting

    I'm actually very curious where this list comes from.  My sister and I were discussing requirements of a black tie event so I looked it up online and I can't find any of these specifics you have mentioned.  Where did you get this info?  Would love to have it for future use :)

    edit:  The only specific requirement I found was that the event began after 6pm.
    That's because most of the info out there talks about black tie as if it is only a dress code.

    This list was created from talking with Knotties and others who frequently throw and attended black tie events.
    It's just CRAZY that I can't find a legitimate guideline from any sort of etiquette reference.  I'm gonna need Miss Manners to give me a phone call.
    Well, now you have a list to go back to!
    Yeah we were trying to figure out if my wedding could be called black tie and the only thing it falls short of on this list is that it's a 4 course meal.  
    image
  • PrettyGirlLostPrettyGirlLost A Land Filled with Unicorns and Cat Hair member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    antoto said:
    Yeah we were trying to figure out if my wedding could be called black tie and the only thing it falls short of on this list is that it's a 4 course meal.  
    Close, but no cigar!  You will have a lovely, very formal wedding, but you can't call it black tie.

    PS- look at your ticker!!!!!!

    "Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends time and space."


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