Attire & Accessories Forum

Black Tie Preferred vs. Optional

I really want to have a black tie preferred wedding. Its at a upscale county club on a Sunday at 6pm and the wedding party will be renting tuxes. Full open bar, not sure if it's top shelf, served dinner, but we have a DJ. Can I do black tie preferred? Please help!

Re: Black Tie Preferred vs. Optional

  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I really want to have a black tie preferred wedding. Its at a upscale county club on a Sunday at 6pm and the wedding party will be renting tuxes. Full open bar, not sure if it's top shelf, served dinner, but we have a DJ. Can I do black tie preferred? Please help!
    Black tie preferred really isn't a thing. It's either black tie or it isn't. 

    I've never heard of a DJ at a black tie event, but I don't think that's the determining factor. Is this a white glove service event? Are you expecting the men to wear tuxes and women to wear long gowns? Will you be disappointed if people decline because they don't own those things and don't want to spend the money to acquire them? 
  • I personally would not.

    Are your guests black tie people?  DH and I had what you did except our wedding reception started at 4 PM on a Saturday.  We had a full open bar, full hour of passed hors d'oeuvres, plated meal including choices of filet, salmon, chicken or vegetarian, live sax during cocktails and a DJ during the rest of the reception.   

    The men in our WP wore tuxes and the women wore full length gowns.   

    My dress had a chapel length train which deviated from what "black tie" can possibly mean - but we had the elements you described.  The event wasn't black tie.   There wasn't a white glove service, guests parked their own cars and there weren't other elements at our expense to make the event black tie.  We didn't put out attire and did not ask guests to indicate a preference because our guest list was not comprised of people who attend black tie events and the last thing we wanted for our nearest and dearest was for them to feel like our wedding was an imposition for them to attend.  

    Also as @MyNameIsNot said, "black tie preferred" also isn't a thing and it's more than fine to have a wedding with all the elements you describe and really, the only time you'd indicate attire is if there's a reason that your guests are required to adhere to it. 
  • levioosalevioosa Southern California member
    Seventh Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Sorry, black tuxes and long gowns don’t make a wedding black tie. Will you be providing a live band? Passed hors d'oeuvre? Valet service? Bathroom attendants? White glove service? 

    You can’t specify a dress code unless a)it is truly required by the venue (i.e. no shorts, tie or sports coat required for entry, etc), or b) it is truly a white or black tie event.

    People will take their cue from the venue and invitations as how to dress. I’m going to dress way differently for a backyard wedding with a simple postcard invitation than I would for a wedding held in the Natural History Museum with a multi-layered, calligraphied and embossed invitation. 

  • I'm chiming in to agree with the others.  People more often than not mistakenly use the term "black tie" to describe an event that they want to be more on the "dressing up" side of things.  But a true black tie event is a real thing with a formidable list of requirements on the host side.  That's why the only people you might see throwing one are the ones who for both them and their guests are in the upper echelons (financially speaking) of society.

    There's nothing wrong with hoping your guests dress in more formal wear...and you can set that tone by the venue choice and invitation...but it is rude to include any kind of garment/dress rules unless it is required by your ceremony site and/or venue.

    In addition, think about it from your guests' side.  Unless most of your crowd attends fancy events somewhat regularly...and the fact that the men in the WP are renting their tuxes tells me they don' are expecting your guests to drop boatloads of money renting or buying tuxes and full length gowns, if they don't already own one.  And most/many people don't.  Don't get me wrong, I think that's fine for the WP.  But that's extreme PITA territory for all the guests.

    I would never attend a wedding if it required my H to wear a tux and me to wear a full length gown.  I don't care how close I am to the person.  Unless they didn't mind me wearing my own wedding gown, lmao.  Because, while I have a couple cocktail dresses, that is the only full length gown I own.
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  • edited September 2020
    I dont think you should say prefered because that is basically what black tie optional means.
     In regarss to having a vlack tie dress code specifically i disagree with the people on here,  there I no law anywhere that states "black tie must be this", etiquette & standards are subjective to personal opinion, region, ethnicity, religion, etc. Also traditions/ettiquite change over time, weddings & dress codes aren't the same now as in the 1950's and it has changed because people realised their arent actual rules governing these things & decided to hold their wedding how they wanted not how other people told them it had to be, you can set the dress code to whatever you want.
    That said some things are nice to include or you may want to consider in your planning to make your guests comfortable (ex: if you want people in long dresses to sit on pillows it might be difficult for them so chairsorry would be thoughtful, but at the same time historically other cultures have done it). 
    Also keep in mind people's finances; some people may be discouraged if they have to buy an expensive dress/rent a tux when they don't own one & have the money, & there are even some people who just HATE dressing up to that level, so you must accept some people may not come for whatever reason.
    In the end it's your wedding & weddings can eclectic or as different as you'd like; if you want to have people in long dresses & tuxedos go for it. 
    On the other hand im personally one for the option of "black tie optional" which gives air that it is dressier but has flexibility in what people wear for those who wont/can't drest up as much. If you want to fit into what is "standard" then your wedding would fall more into this category.
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