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PrettyinPink
Expert March 2018

Addressing Guest Attire for Wedding?

PrettyinPink, on December 28, 2017 at 1:51 PM Posted in Etiquette and Advice 0 103
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I was planning on leaving off anything like - "Formal Attire" or "Black Tie Optional" on my invites, but my FMIL thinks I should include it. I am against putting black tie optional on the invites because 1) it comes off as rude and 2) grooms/groomsmen are wearing navy suits so it seems contradicting. I'm sure most sensible people will wear a dark color suit to an evening spring wedding at an upscaled hotel? I think she wants to include it because she knows a few people on her ex-husband's side would be the type of people to show up in khakis/jeans and a polo. What are your thoughts? I know we cannot control what our guests wear and that isn't my intent...but would people be that silly?

I am completely against putting blacktop optional, but would it look silly to put "formal attire". We did indicate "formal" attire on our website (the knot.com), but a lot of the older guests won't utilize the website that much. Thanks!

103 Comments

Latest activity by An, on December 29, 2017 at 8:46 AM
  • Sarah
    Master June 2016
    Sarah ·
    • Flag
    You can’t put “formal” anything if you aren’t even having your wedding party dressed formally.
  • An
    Super September 2019
    An ·
    • Flag

    There is no such thing as black tie optional. A wedding is either black/white tie (and noted on the invite) or no dress code is given. If you or your FMIL want to dictate how people dress, you need to have a black tie wedding with all the bells and whistles.

  • OGJessieJV
    Master July 1867
    OGJessieJV ·
    • Flag

    Is there something in the water? There's another thread about this.


    FTR, Black Tie Optional isn't a thing. It's either Black or White Tie and it's not just a dress code, it's a set of requirements.

  • PrettyinPink
    Expert March 2018
    PrettyinPink ·
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    Ok, what dictates a black tie wedding - you said all the bells and whistles?

  • PrettyinPink
    Expert March 2018
    PrettyinPink ·
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    View Quoted Comment

    Ok, I understand. That is why I ask these questions - I am unaware.

  • Sarah
    Master June 2016
    Sarah ·
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    The things I know of for black tie: valet service, live band, top shelf open bar, multiple course plated meal (servers should have on white gloves). I know there is more to it than that, but those are the ones I remember off the top of my head.
  • PrettyinPink
    Expert March 2018
    PrettyinPink ·
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    View Quoted Comment

    What constitutes "formal"? They are in navy suits that are basically tuxedos without the satin lining. It is a very formal evening wedding at a very upscaled hotel like I mentioned. Bridesmaids are in floor length dresses. I just don't want people to show up in khakis and polos - pretty sure that is not an abnormal thought.

    OK, well I'm sure people will know it is formal but not black tie. I got my answer from just stepping back and thinking about it. Thanks everyone.

  • A. L.
    Master July 2017
    A. L. ·
    • Flag

    Navy suits = not formal attire.

  • Mj
    Devoted June 2019
    Mj ·
    • Flag

    I would still put something. Even if you expect less of some people with what they wear, you can atleast say you told them. Some people really do not get the hint so if you can give as much subtle direction, it will at least make you feel better.
    Good luck!

  • OGJessieJV
    Master July 1867
    OGJessieJV ·
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    View Quoted Comment

    Maitre d' service for all the tables, live bands, passed hot appetisers, champagne toast, must begin after 6:00pm etc. It's an event in and of itself.

    Formal can be anything. I can be formal in a cocktail gown, a pantsuit, a pair of dark denim and nice shirt, it all depends on where the event is held and what it is.

  • OGJessieJV
    Master July 1867
    OGJessieJV ·
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    Black or Grey are formal colours. Navy is not.

  • A. L.
    Master July 2017
    A. L. ·
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    View Quoted Comment

    I agree with this. Navy says causal winter.

  • Sarah
    Master June 2016
    Sarah ·
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    This is why their suits aren’t formal.
  • PrettyinPink
    Expert March 2018
    PrettyinPink ·
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    Ok, well maybe it was a mistake on my end. I should have gone with at least back suits - the navy suits are already ordered. I didn't want to put the pressure of our families to get tuxedos. I don't know why I mentioned black tie. It won't be black tie regardless but I would just like some sort of formality set. But, I won't put anything. I don't really think navy suits, if done right, scream "casual winter", but ok - to each their own. I guess they will look casual and winter like in a gold ballroom in the spring. Who cares - weddings I have realized are overrated.

  • OGJessieJV
    Master July 1867
    OGJessieJV ·
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    You asked, we told you. Black and grey are traditional formal colours. Navy is not. It's not necessarily "casual", but it doesn't scream "formal". I wouldn't necessarily "dress down". But, I wouldn't wear a more formal outfit to your wedding if I knew that your groomsmen were wearing navy, probably just a pantsuit.

  • A. L.
    Master July 2017
    A. L. ·
    • Flag

    "Weddings are overrated"

    OK. Well. Glad to have met you.

  • Mrsjacoria2018
    Devoted October 2018
    Mrsjacoria2018 ·
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    I would put formal... done right navy suits can be very spiffy and elegant... Smiley smile but I guess Dr people that are used to upscale weddings they might notice something off.... I wouldnt notice anything off...
  • Mrsjacoria2018
    Devoted October 2018
    Mrsjacoria2018 ·
    • Flag
    To* instead of dr
  • A. L.
    Master July 2017
    A. L. ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment

    What are Dr people?

  • PandaInLove
    Expert August 2017
    PandaInLove ·
    • Flag

    Black tie optional is not a true dress code. "Formal wear optional", maybe...but black tie? Absolutely not. Black tie is a type of event, not a dress code.

    All clarification aside, I would only recommend my guests to wear specific types of clothes or styles unless it was a) beneficial to their comfort at the venue (i.e. recommending flats for a hilly, outdoor area) or b) the event and venue utilize a specific dress code (i.e. the venue does not allow jeans, so I'd mention that requirement, or it is truly a true black tie event).

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