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The State of Black Tie: Your Observations - Page 66

post #976 of 2698
Quote:
Originally Posted by culverwood View Post

I agree that the correct form is not to put a dress code on a wedding invitation but different cultures and strata of society within cultures will interpret proper wedding dress code differently.

Here in the UK morning dress might be expected but black tie almost never worn, other cultures may have a completely different form of normal wedding wear.

Personally I would not put a dress code but tell the guests what people will be wearing, after all if you are not going to speak to your guests sometime before the wedding why are you inviting them?

That's kind of the problem in the US... there is no standard of interpretation. No one knows what to expect. Maybe it's different in the UK. The question of dress code is on every wedding web site and in every wedding planning book because it's very confusing now.

Regarding the last point, many people invite friends of parents, distant relatives, etc. There's no way to talk to everyone before the wedding unless you have a really small guest list. (Ever been to an Indian wedding? 300 guests is tiny, 600+ is common.)
Quote:
Originally Posted by becnal View Post

I think it's worse form to assume that a guest isn't able to rise to the level of the affair and therefore avoid inviting them. Besides, as BlackTieGuide.com says, Black Tie Requested is the perfect fix to this situation. Guests who have dinner jackets know they should wear them, and guests who don't know that a normal black suit with a normal black tie will be perfectly sufficient.

I never said that. I said you should not specify a dress code you know most of your guests will have to shell out money to abide by.

Based on my fiancee's extensive experience performing at weddings, the reality of the sitatution ("state of black tie") is that if you specify "black tie optional", you* are going to get the wedding party and a handful, if any, guests in BT. Hell, she even tried to discourage me from wearing my tux to a BTO wedding because of this, but I insisted. If you're okay with that as a host, go for it. Personally, I don't like the idea, and I would rather have everyone on the same level of formality.

* You = average, middle class American, which is the perspective I'm writing from.

Even "black tie requested" isn't clear to people. Just Google that phrase and look at some of the wedding forum threads full of confusion and outrage.
post #977 of 2698
Van Veen, I hope you don't think I was implying that you did say that. I wasn't.

On the invitation, it's easy to just spell it out for people. "Tuxes if ya got 'em. Dark suit and tie if ya don't". No reason a host should have to take questions from every invitee. If that's the case, then the invitation isn't done right.
post #978 of 2698
Perhaps as men, we all need to realise that we almost certainly will be invited to a couple of black tie events in our lives: friends weddings, our own wedding(s), New Years parties, whatever. And thank goodness, because dinner jackets are so very wonderful. We should just prepare ourselves for it. And gladly. As David Mitchell says, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66c7el1E11o
post #979 of 2698
The President wore the same ensemble to his first inaugural ball, if I'm not mistaken. I'm certain the choice of a notch-lapel jacket instead of a tailcoat was a deliberate one. As with all things political, no small measure of calculation is involved. In this instance, his counsel must have been that a jacket with a notch lapel would be more relatable to the average American. A proper tailcoat and white-tie attire, on the other hand, might make him appear elitist or out of touch. Unfortunate, because it would have been nice for the President to be properly attired at his own ball, even if his past brushes with white tie might have needed a little help.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moloch38 View Post




Did anyone notice President Obama's "White Tie"?  Two-Button, Notched Lapel, Cumberbund? The list goes on.
post #980 of 2698
Quote:
Originally Posted by becnal View Post

Van Veen, I hope you don't think I was implying that you did say that. I wasn't.

On the invitation, it's easy to just spell it out for people. "Tuxes if ya got 'em. Dark suit and tie if ya don't". No reason a host should have to take questions from every invitee. If that's the case, then the invitation isn't done right.

Yup, but the issue is some people read WAY TOO MUCH into dress codes.

"BT optional" should mean, "you can wear a tux if you'd like, but you don't have to", but to most people it means, "we put this on the invitation so people don't show up in jeans and a polo shirt. If you wear a tux, you'll look like a waiter, so just wear a suit."

"BT requested" should mean, "if you own a tux, wear it. If you really want to rent or buy one, we won't stop you, but don't feel obligated to do so," but to most people it means, "this is just a polite way to say they expect everyone to wear a tuxedo. I can't believe they're making me rent one! What's the cheapest thing on the registry?"

IMO the best option (but for some reason some people think this is bad etiquette??) is to put the dress code on the invitation (or leave it off, I guess) and have a more detailed FAQ on the wedding site.

(Sorry for taking this thread off on a semi-tangent here, but planning a wedding basically takes over your life. Fiancee is sitting in the other room making herself some sort of headband right now.)
post #981 of 2698
Thread Starter 
If black tie is optional, I am wearing black tie. Not because of any complex social calculus, but because I like to make use of my tux. I could not care less if no one else wears one.
post #982 of 2698
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moloch38 View Post




Did anyone notice President Obama's "White Tie"?  Two-Button, Notched Lapel, Cumberbund? The list goes on.

Oh god. But are you surprised? At all?
post #983 of 2698
Quote:
Originally Posted by EriQ009 View Post

The President wore the same ensemble to his first inaugural ball, if I'm not mistaken. I'm certain the choice of a notch-lapel jacket instead of a tailcoat was a deliberate one. As with all things political, no small measure of calculation is involved. In this instance, his counsel must have been that a jacket with a notch lapel would be more relatable to the average American. A proper tailcoat and white-tie attire, on the other hand, might make him appear elitist or out of touch. Unfortunate, because it would have been nice for the President to be properly attired at his own ball, even if his past brushes with white tie might have needed a little help.

Or maybe he's just a fan of Nucky Thompson...

post #984 of 2698
Quote:
Originally Posted by mafoofan View Post

If black tie is optional, I am wearing black tie. Not because of any complex social calculus, but because I like to make use of my tux. I could not care less if no one else wears one.

+1. Any excuse to wear the tux is good in my book.
post #985 of 2698
Quote:
Originally Posted by Van Veen View Post


You really would ask your guests to go through the inconvenience and expense of renting a tuxedo to attend your wedding when you know that very few of them own tuxedos? I hope you wouldn't be upset when a lot of people decline to attend and your gifts are lighter than expected.

 

Ok, you've taken quite a leap here. My position was that black tie is not an entirely unreasonable or unrealistic request for a wedding invitation (speaking nothing of my own preferences; just talking about black tie in general). You've taken five steps forward and declared that not only is black tie unreasonable, but in fact, anyone who requests black tie at his wedding is a selfish asshole. These are two different issues you're conflating.

 

Regardless, I disagree that someone would request black tie necessarily for self-centered reasons. More likely than not, someone requests black tie because that happens to be the tradition in his culture, or that's the way his parents and grandparents did it, or that's what his church has requested (especially true at Catholic weddings), or that's what he believes to be proper, etc. Black tie may present an inconvenience to a lot of guests, and it may or may not be realistic for most of those guests to accommodate it. But I would never assume malice or selfishness on the part of the groom.

 

The general rules of the game these days seem to be to treat black tie as black tie optional, anyhow. Those who have 'em wear 'em, and those who don't wear dark suits and ties. Nobody's going to play tux police, or deny admittance to those who aren't dressed properly. That would be a legitimately dick move.

 

(On a side note, black tie is technically incorrect at a day wedding, and I do get a little annoyed by those who request it as such. But that's a very minor technicality).

post #986 of 2698
Quote:
Originally Posted by mafoofan View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moloch38 View Post




Did anyone notice President Obama's "White Tie"?  Two-Button, Notched Lapel, Cumberbund? The list goes on.

Oh god. But are you surprised? At all?

fistbump.gif
post #987 of 2698
Quote:
Originally Posted by SugarBush 

In an era when you cannot assume that a man will own a suit at all, this strikes me as almost insufferably elitist.

No what's insufferably elitist is your belief that you know "the rules" but that everyone else is an unwashed rube who doesn't. See my actual data point below.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Van Veen 

Decades ago, maybe. Now, no. Most people will never attend a true black tie event in their lives. If you don't put a dress code, you'd get people showing up in khakis and brightly colored dress shirts looking like cell phone salesmen regardless of whether your invitation is in perfect copperplate calligraphy or comic sans. That is unless, of course, most of your friends live on a completely different social level than your average middle class American.

I didn't (specify a dress code) and they didn't (show up in khakis) and I don't (run in high social circles).

I live in North Carolina, got married in 2008, did thermographed invitations in Edwardian Script with no dress code but with the ceremony time announced as "half after six o'clock in the evening". The men who owned tuxes wore them, and the rest wore suits. Maybe one sportcoat - I'd have to check the pictures. A few guys did consult with our most "fashion-forward" friend as to whether tuxes would be appropriate, and she properly told them that the ceremony time and invitation typeface implied that evening wear was welcome.

We specifically omitted a dress code so as to not make the men who didn't own tuxes and didn't want to go to the expense of renting one feel like they were inadequate by having to opt out of "black tie optional".
Edited by musicmax - 1/23/13 at 1:18pm
post #988 of 2698
Quote:
Originally Posted by Van Veen View Post


The problem nowadays is the dilution of dress code meanings. To most people nowadays, "formal" actually means "business formal". I bet if you put "cocktail attire" on an invitation, you'd see more than a handful of guys without ties and at least a few without jackets.

"Cocktail attire" is ridiculously ambiguous. I have a "cocktail attire" event next month at a local museum. I'm torn between wearing a Brioni tux and ordering Vespers, or a Jack Daniels t-shirt & Canada Dry ballcap (backwards of course) and chugging bourbon & gingers....
Edited by musicmax - 1/23/13 at 1:24pm
post #989 of 2698
Thread Starter 
I agree "cocktail attire" is a silly designation, but it basically means men should wear jackets and women should wear a skirt or dress.
post #990 of 2698
Quote:
Originally Posted by EriQ009 View Post

The President wore the same ensemble to his first inaugural ball, if I'm not mistaken. I'm certain the choice of a notch-lapel jacket instead of a tailcoat was a deliberate one. As with all things political, no small measure of calculation is involved. In this instance, his counsel must have been that a jacket with a notch lapel would be more relatable to the average American. A proper tailcoat and white-tie attire, on the other hand, might make him appear elitist or out of touch. Unfortunate, because it would have been nice for the President to be properly attired at his own ball, even if his past brushes with white tie might have needed a little help.

Obama wore a peak-lapel tailcoat to the Al Smith Dinner, though a size or two large, with a turndown-collar shirt with black studs; Romney wore wing collar with black studs; Gary Johnson wore - oh wait, he wasn't invited. Screw Al Smith.
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