Attire & Accessories Forum
Options

Bridesmaid dress length black tie wedding

Right now I've been planning on having my bridesmaids wear knee-length black dresses; picking them out themselves so that they will hopefully be able to wear them again.  They would carry hot pink flowers.

I was also hoping that the greeter/guest book attendents could wear silver or gold colored knee-length dresses with a black sash or something like that to tie the look together.

My question is how formal should I make this wedding?  I definitely want it to be a nice affair (semiformal or black tie).  The biggest issue is that most of my family will underdress if I say semiformal.  My sister has worn a denim jacket over top of a dress at a semiformal wedding and I am certain that most of the guys won't even wear jackets.  I am mostly concerned about the denim jacket as she is not in the wedding party so I don't get to dictate what she wears, but also my other sister's wedding she wore a jean jacket and then walked around on stage behind the wedding trying to take pictures even though she wasn't the photographer.  I don't want to confront her and say "hey listen semiformal means nice dresses and guys in suits, not a denim jacket", besides most of the guys in my family would still not wear a suit.

I might sound like bridezilla for worring about what my guests wear so feel free to call me out if that is the case.  I just feel like a wedding is an important event and I don't want my family dressing down for it, especially because my FIs family will be paying for most of it and they want a big bash.

The solution I am thinking of is making it a black tie affair.  I'm hoping that my family gets the hint and that even if they don't wear tuxes at least they'll dress somewhat nicer than business casual and won't tick off my FILs.  I am also planning to have a family picture so I feel like what they wear is more important to me than what the majority of my guests wear.

So after the long explamation, my question is whether it is ok to have a black tie wedding if the bridesmaids are wearing cocktail-length dresses?  I don't mind long black dresses for BMs although I really want something that they can wear again and I don't know where they would use a full-length black gown again (at least a knee-length dress they could wear to someone else's wedding).
Image and video hosting by TinyPic Wedding Countdown Ticker

Re: Bridesmaid dress length black tie wedding

  • Options
    There is a level of formality between "semi-formal" and "black tie," you know.  Besides, black tie means all out luxury, live band, full top shelf open bar, white glove service, the works.  If your wedding is anything less and your guests show up in tuxes and evening gowns, they're going to be pretty pissed.

    You shouldn't say anything about attire formally (as in, on the invitations) anyway, barring true black tie or venue dress codes.  Just do everything you can to convey the formality of the wedding (fancy invitations with formal, traditional wording, perhaps a blurb on your website, word of mouth), and if your family underdresses, that's on them.
    This is a neglected planning bio.
    This is a belated married bio, with no reviews yet because I'm lazy.

    image
    Sometimes I feel like people think that brides are delicate little flower princesses who get all dressed up and pretty for one special moment of their dreams, when really they're just normal people who just happen to be getting married. Things shouldn't have to be sugar-coated for grown-ass women. -mstar284
  • Options

    I agree with the above post.  There's a big area of formality in between semi-formal and black-tie, but, just as stated above, there isn't really much you can do to tell people besides do as much as possible to lead them in that direction (i.e. formality of invites, time of wedding, etc).  I think the cocktail length of the bridesmaids dresses is more than appropriate because it sounds like that is level of formality that you are trying to go for: "cocktail attire" aka guys in suits (not tux), girls in cocktail dresses (not evening gown).

    No matter what you put your girls in though or even if it was ok to state the dress code on the invite, you'll always have that guest or 2 that dress inappropriately in your eyes.  Don't let it ruin your day or make you try to micro-manage every other aspect of you wedding because it still may not work.  You'll look beautiful regardless and that's all that matters in the end.

  • Options

    To answer your question. If you're going to state "black tie attire", etc on your invite (if it's semi-formal like pp said, this shouldn't be stated on your invite) then yes, I would have the BMs wear long dresses.  To me shorter dresses automatically drops the formality to semi-formal.  That may not be entirely correct, but is my opinion.

    And if the dresses are long and the right style, the BMs could have them shortened to cocktail length after the wedding so they can wear them again.  I've had several friends do this.  It's just easier/looks better with a straight dress (as compared to A-line, etc).

    But something else to consider is that is it in your family's (financial) means to dress black-tie appropriate?  I think it would look worse to have your FI's family in tuxes and yours in khakis and a button shirt w/no tie (just taking a whack at what they may wear) rather than FI's family in khaki's and a tie and your sis in a dress but with a jean jacket.

    And, like pp said, at the end of the day...who cares who wore what?  From other brides, they'll all said that they honestly don't remember anything that guests wore.  Attire should not be the worry of the day.  Your commitment to each other should be the excitement of the day!

  • Options

    Black tie dictates that all women should be in evening gowns and all men in tuxedos.  Are you sure your family would be okay with that?

    BabyFruit Ticker If ever there is a tomorrow when we're not together there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think. Even if we're apart i'll always be with you. - A.A. Milne
  • Options
    Thanks for the advice.  My family is plenty wealthy enough to rent 2 tuxes (father and brother) and all my sisters have evening gowns (except for the youngest but she's a BM anyways so that doesn't matter).

    Also I'm curius what is between semiformal and black tie?  From the research I've done, it seems that there's casual, dressy casual, semiformal, formal (black tie), and ultra-formal (white tie).  I thought semiformal was supposed to be the halfway point between dressy casual (button-up and khakis) and black tie; am I wrong?

    I am getting my terms from http://fashion.about.com/cs/glossary/a/partydefinition.htm so please let me know if definitions have changed since this article was written.
    Image and video hosting by TinyPic Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • Options
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_attire-accessories_bridesmaid-dress-length-black-tie-wedding?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:15Discussion:d82c9138-fd60-42df-a080-2b419d8dc381Post:117ff477-3024-43ee-b8e7-3d48f31316fa">Re: Bridesmaid dress length black tie wedding</a>:
    [QUOTE]Thanks for the advice.  My family is plenty wealthy enough to rent 2 tuxes (father and brother) and all my sisters have evening gowns (except for the youngest but she's a BM anyways so that doesn't matter). <strong>Also I'm curius what is between semiformal and black tie?  From the research I've done, it seems that there's casual, dressy casual, semiformal, formal (black tie), and ultra-formal (white tie).</strong>  I thought semiformal was supposed to be the halfway point between dressy casual (button-up and khakis) and black tie; am I wrong? I am getting my terms from <a href="http://fashion.about.com/cs/glossary/a/partydefinition.htm" rel="nofollow">http://fashion.about.com/cs/glossary/a/partydefinition.htm</a> so please let me know if definitions have changed since this article was written.
    Posted by lenergyrlah[/QUOTE]

    I would call the middle point "Cocktail Attire"  - guests are expected to wear dresses and suits.  But as PPs have said, it's bad form to dictate any dress code on the invites, unless it's black or white tie.

    Black and white tie mean more than dress codes.  Aerin already discussed some of the things that are expected of the <strong>hosts</strong> of a black tie event (white glove service, etc.)   Calling it black tie when it isn't is essentially telling all your friends to go get tuxes and gowns just for fun, which is not something most people have the budget for. 
    image
    murrayed
  • Options
    So after the long explamation, my question is whether it is ok to have a black tie wedding if the bridesmaids are wearing cocktail-length dresses? 

    No. Black tie = long dresses.

    As far as your other guests, the best you can do is suggest suits and cocktail dresses if they ask what to wear. Otherwise, it's not your problem if they show up underdressed.

    You also cannot dictate the attire for anyone outside of the bridal party, which means that the greeter and guestbook attendants are free to wear what they wish. (And if you haven't already asked these people to do these busywork jobs, I would strongly advise against it.)
    image
  • Options
    This is essentially my problem, people thinking that the "middle point" between semiformal and formal is dresses and suits when in reality that's supposed to be what semiformal is.

    And yes I know what a formal affair means; my wedding is still a year out so I haven't finalized what sort of wedding MIL is invisioning but I think my question is answered about knee-length BM dresses at formal wedding.  Thanks!
    Image and video hosting by TinyPic Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • Options
    Try "black tie preferred".  This means you prefer guests to wear tuxes/gowns, but dark suits and fancy cocktail dresses are also acceptable.  Keep in mind, if you go this route, you do need to have a fancier wedding.  Semiformal is the norm for hall weddings, which is why you don't need to put it on your invites.  If your familty doesn't know what that means, I would start spreading the word.  Get your imediate family on your side, then have them help spread the word.  I was raised to believe that you dressed for the occasion to show respect to the guest(s) of honor r(the bride and groom, in this case). Wearing denim to a typical hall wedding is an insult to the bride and groom, in my opinion.

    Similarly, if you have a BBQ, beach, or other casual wedding, you need to note "casual attire" on your invites--usually in the lower left corner.

    I completely understand your worries and frustration--at least it's your own family and you can talk to them.  I'm worried about certain segments of my fiance's family!
  • Options
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_attire-accessories_bridesmaid-dress-length-black-tie-wedding?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:15Discussion:d82c9138-fd60-42df-a080-2b419d8dc381Post:5a504b90-6fb3-4ece-9cd1-06088c3b14ad">Re: Bridesmaid dress length black tie wedding</a>:
    [QUOTE]Try "black tie preferred".  This means you prefer guests to wear tuxes/gowns, but dark suits and fancy cocktail dresses are also acceptable.  Keep in mind, if you go this route, you do need to have a fancier wedding.  Semiformal is the norm for hall weddings, which is why you don't need to put it on your invites.  If your familty doesn't know what that means, I would start spreading the word.  Get your imediate family on your side, then have them help spread the word.  I was raised to believe that you dressed for the occasion to show respect to the guest(s) of honor r(the bride and groom, in this case). Wearing denim to a typical hall wedding is an insult to the bride and groom, in my opinion. <strong>Similarly, if you have a BBQ, beach, or other casual wedding, you need to note "casual attire" on your invites--usually in the lower left corner.</strong> I completely understand your worries and frustration--at least it's your own family and you can talk to them.  I'm worried about certain segments of my fiance's family!
    Posted by LeahDVM2003[/QUOTE]
    This entire post is incorrect, but the bolded part specifically.  Strictly speaking, there's no such thing as "black tie preferred/optional" -- it's black tie or it's not.  And again, barring black/white tie or venue dress codes, nothing about attire ever goes on the invitation.  Your guests should be able to pick up from the style and formality of the invitation the formality of the event, noting specific attire is an insult to their intelligence.
    This is a neglected planning bio.
    This is a belated married bio, with no reviews yet because I'm lazy.

    image
    Sometimes I feel like people think that brides are delicate little flower princesses who get all dressed up and pretty for one special moment of their dreams, when really they're just normal people who just happen to be getting married. Things shouldn't have to be sugar-coated for grown-ass women. -mstar284
  • Options
    Somebody better tell The Knot, Brides, and Emily Post, and Miss Manners then!   Frankly, all of the wedding invitations I've seen "look" formal, but only one was actually black-tie preferred.
This discussion has been closed.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards