Jersey
Master November 2016

Black Tie Attire

Jersey, on November 13, 2015 at 6:57 AM Posted in Wedding Attire 0 24
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So, FH and I just received an invite yesterday to a friend's wedding. It's Black Tie! I'm more of a jeans and Keds kind of girl, so Black Tie overwhelms me. It's not even Black Tie Optional so I could get away with a short dress. I need to get a gown.

To those of you who have attended a Black Tie event, please post a picture of your dress! I need inspiration Smiley sad

24 Comments

Latest activity by Celia Milton, on November 14, 2015 at 7:51 AM
  • ButSrsly
    Expert November 2015
    ButSrsly ·
    • Flag

    I always think of Julia Roberts in pretty woman going to the Opera!

    • Reply
  • Happy In Hawaii
    Master July 2015
    Happy In Hawaii ·
    • Flag

    I'm going to a black tie optional wedding and got this dress for like $30 at Ross. Was it probably a prom dress? Yep. Do I care? Nope!


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  • Sara
    Expert December 2015
    Sara ·
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    Try rent the runway! You can get a gown without having to actually buy one.

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  • Aly
    Dedicated May 2016
    Aly ·
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    I second the Rent the Runway comment. It's affordable and you don't have to pay for the gown! Have fun with it! Smiley smile

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  • Jeanne
    Master August 2015
    Jeanne ·
    • Flag

    I definitely back rent the runway. In terms of where to start, I would pick a color and shape that you feel comfortable in (empire waist? strapless? long sleeves? ruching?) and go from there. At this point, your only requirement is that it's floor length so narrow it down to a garment that you would actually want to wear.

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  • Rachel DellaPorte
    Rachel DellaPorte ·
    • Flag

    If it's a true black tie wedding, it's going to have a dress code of classic, evening formal wear. Men should be in tuxes or a black dinner jacket (not a sports coat or business suit jacket) with matching pants (with a single silk or satin stripe on the outer seam, uncuffed), a white shirt (French cuffs with cuff links), black vest, a black, silk bow tie, suspenders, and patent leather shoes. Women should be in evening gowns or a very dressy cocktail dresses. Just a head's up -- there are plenty of people who add "black tie" to their wedding invitations in error. While the couple may think their wedding is ultra formal, that doesn't mean it's actually black tie. If you're attending a black tie wedding, here are a few of the things you'll see:

    Classic white or ecru invitations engraved in black script

    A 6:00 PM or later start time

    Valet parking

    Coat check

    No recorded music at the ceremony (usually a string quartet)

    Full, top shelf, open bar during cocktail hour

    A luxurious selection of passed apps during cocktail hour

    Full, top shelf, open bar during the reception

    Seating Cards

    Lavish decor featuring top of the line florals, linens, fine china, and crystal goblets

    Mulit-course, gourmet, plated meals with table side ordering and white gloved service

    An expert on wine/food combinations to assist guests with dinner wine choices

    Non-stop, live entertainment (a fill in band should be provided when the first band takes a break)

    Those are a few of the things you'll experience. It will probably be the nicest wedding you've ever been to. You, as a guest, will have your needs anticipated. However, if you find out there is a buffet, the wedding starts at 3:00 PM, or the bar is in any way limited to anything below top shelf, open, don't spend the money on the tux or a fancy gown. A business suit and tie is fine for him, and I'm sure you know how to dress for a wedding. There is no reason for guests to shell out over $100 to rent a tux unless they are going to really get the genuine black tie treatment.

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  • Celia Milton
    Celia Milton ·
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    It makes me crazy that people throw around "Black tie" without realizing that THEY have a responsibility to provide a suitable experience (and is it more fun? no; I"m with you on the keds....)

    Many of the details Centerpiece mentioned are present at most of the upscale weddings in our area (well, not the string quartet.....) but few invites I've seen have included 'black tie' and even fewer weddings have guests dressed in de rigeur black tie garb.

    I agree that 'rent the runway' as a great idea. And unfortunately, he needs to rent a tux, unless he's going to wear one at your wedding; it might be less expensive to just buy one.

    But I also agree with centerpiece; when you find out more of the details, you may tailor your own plans. Too many people slap that label on their reception with no clue about the expense of complying with it.

    I"m so bad at getting dressed that I might actually pass...... if I'm not in sweats, I"m in my 'work uniform (every single wedding photo of me is the same......) When I get too far from that, I'm lost...

    • Reply
  • Jersey
    Master November 2016
    Jersey ·
    • Flag

    CP: Everything that you listed is why I'm pretty excited to experience this wedding. Most weddings in my circle are budget weddings (by NJ standards), so this will definitely be new to me. I'm not sure if it's TRUE Black TIe. I will have to report back after the wedding. The wedding starts at 4:00 PM. FH doesn't want to rent a tux and according to him, the groom told him that's okay? So I'm thinking it's not an extremely strict black tie.

    I figured I should get a full length gown because I didn't want to draw attention to myself. I think a black suit vs. a black tux is a lot less noticeable than being the only one wearing a cocktail dress.

    I'm nervous to rent the runway, because a lot of those gowns are still pretty expensive and I don't even get to keep it.

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  • Jersey
    Master November 2016
    Jersey ·
    • Flag

    Sorry Celia, I just saw yours too! I agree. I don't think this is true black tie. I feel like some people just put it on so guests will dress up. But if it is true black tie, I'm excited to be spoiled for the night.

    @M, where are you? I know you attend black tie events. What do you wear?

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  • Mrs. Coakley
    Master June 2017
    Mrs. Coakley ·
    • Flag

    From my research, everything centerpiece said is correct for attire. For women, you should wear a floor length gown that is not too bright (jewel tones, muted red, or black) You can also wear a tea length dress but it should be black. Panty hose/tights are a must.

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  • Lynnie
    WeddingWire Administrator October 2016
    Lynnie ·
    • Flag

    Another vote for Rent The Runway! I couldn't find a full-length picture of myself in this dress, but this is what I wore to my last Black Tie wedding. Definitely wear a floor length dress. There may be others who don't, but you don't want to jump the wrong way and feel awkward at the wedding. FH will need to rent a tux!


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  • Mrs. Crews
    Devoted June 2016
    Mrs. Crews ·
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    Check out Rent the Runway! They have beautiful dresses for all occasions, and I think you could even type in Black Tie Attire, and they'll give you a list of dresses. They're also really great! They send you multiple sizes (just in case) and they're quick and reliable!

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  • Jersey
    Master November 2016
    Jersey ·
    • Flag

    Thank you ladies!! I might have to take the plunge with rent the runway. I'm just so nervous to drop $100 and then not be able to use it because it doesn't fit right Smiley sad

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  • Celia Milton
    Celia Milton ·
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    JJ, email me and let me know where it is.

    • Reply
  • S&P
    Master January 2017
    S&P ·
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    @JerseyJen I second/third/whatever number it's up to Rent the Runway. I've used the and it was great, but if it doesn't fit right I've heard they'll work with you to get a dress that does! And you get two sizes to begin with.

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  • Amanda
    VIP May 2017
    Amanda ·
    • Flag

    Burlington coat Factory has some great deals for black tie dresses!!!

    I got my dress on sale there for $20 bucks & FH got his suit there for $100 I think its Marc Echo if I remember right. They have amazing deals if you look good Smiley smile


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  • Ostrich
    Master April 2016
    Ostrich ·
    • Flag

    JerseyJen if it doesn't fit and you don't wear it, you can send it back for a refund! I think it's exchagne credit, but no worries if it doesn't fit. Often you can rent a second size for free. So if i'm between a 6 and an 8, i rent both for the same price.

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  • M
    Master July 2015
    m ·
    • Flag

    Haha, I'm here.

    I will say that men's wear is slightly more lax for black tie - while yes, traditionally he'd need a full tux with the satin stripe down the pant, etc., even SIL for her uptight wedding said if the guys had a dark blue or black suit, that was just fine. If the groom said that, he can probably get away with a really nice suit.

    This is what DH and I were put in for the black tie wedding, and most of our friends did Rent the Runway for their gowns. This is what others wore to the event (despite people generally knowing in this social circle what black tie means, still not everyone was technically appropriate, but I think these people are!)




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  • M
    Master July 2015
    m ·
    • Flag

    Also, this is totally random, but people think it's just A-OK to wear an old bridesmaids dress to these things. Of course you can, and of course no one will really care, but everyone can tell you're in an old bridesmaids dress. For these events, especially extra-high end, I think it's worth renting the dress!

    I probably would've rented something like this:

    https://www.renttherunway.com/shop/designers/badgley_mischka/glisten_up_gown

    • Reply
  • Jersey
    Master November 2016
    Jersey ·
    • Flag

    @e, I didn't know they did that! That's reassuring. I'm going to look into it.

    Haha! Thank you, m!! I can't click on the link because rent the runway is blocked? So weird. My sister told me to wear an old bridesmaid dress of hers, but I declined. It DEFINITELY looks like a bridesmaid dress. I'm going to look at rent the runway when I get home and try to go to some brick and mortar stores and try some gowns on. I will obviously post pictures when I decide! Smiley smile

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