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Black tie optional wedding

Thin White Duke

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I think this would be a better argument in the age before mass communication.

My wife chose Preferred for our wedding. We had 330ish guests and I'd say 300-310 came black tie.

Almost all of our younger guests talked to us and we explained that if cost/travel etc was an issue it wasn't a big deal. And we had people coming from Asia, Europe, and all around the country.

Its so easy to ask now and "Preferred" elicits a convo in a way "Optional" doesn't.

Added benefit that it spurred a conversation about what Black Tie even means. Most of my younger female friends assumed it meant black dresses.

Ever BTO wedding I go to, people see "optional" and don't even ask the bride and groom.

I'll be at a BTO wedding at rhe Bel Air Bay Club next month. Everyone there has the money for a rig. I bet it will be sub 25% because of "optional" and Summer.
330 guests and 300 - 310 in black tie?
Sounds like the sausage fest of the century!
 

ValidusLA

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330 guests and 300 - 310 in black tie?
Sounds like the sausage fest of the century!
Lolol.

Well by this I'm including females in floor length, non white or black dresses.

So my friend who wore a leopard print cocktail dress is not included. She did not call us. She confessed to feeling very out of place.
 

ter1413

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Phileas Fogg

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Is Black Tie Optional just code for "please wear a tie and dark colored suit"?
its code for “we don’t know WTF black tie means.” Basically they’re saying come dressed in formal evening attire….or don’t!
 

Mute

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If you had to make it optional so that it's more inclusive, you may as well not and just ask everyone to wear a suit. Completely pointless. Those rare few who will go black tie will feel over-dressed and those who don't will feel under-dressed.
 

TheChihuahua

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Most black tie optional events I can recall have had a lot of tuxedos. Maybe the California crowd is a bit different due to the relaxed general attire attitude out west, but I have generally found black tie optional events produce a lot of tuxedos.
 

ValidusLA

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Most black tie optional events I can recall have had a lot of tuxedos. Maybe the California crowd is a bit different due to the relaxed general attire attitude out west, but I have generally found black tie optional events produce a lot of tuxedos.
I think there might be some truth to this, but I also think it might be a slight cop to stereotype. Not sure how old you are, but I would hazard it has more to do w/ age than location.

Example: I went to a BTO wedding on Long Island about.....4 years ago. All ivy league types. Well coifed. Certainly not a $ concern. Lots of older gents in tuxedos, and lots not. I brought my rig out from LA. But about 75% of the men below 35 were not in tuxes.

Comparing BTO and BTP and BT weddings on both coasts, BT and BTP I see almost uniform tuxedo wearing. BTO you are lucky to get 50%.
 

TheChihuahua

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I think there might be some truth to this, but I also think it might be a slight cop to stereotype. Not sure how old you are, but I would hazard it has more to do w/ age than location.

Example: I went to a BTO wedding on Long Island about.....4 years ago. All ivy league types. Well coifed. Certainly not a $ concern. Lots of older gents in tuxedos, and lots not. I brought my rig out from LA. But about 75% of the men below 35 were not in tuxes.

Comparing BTO and BTP and BT weddings on both coasts, BT and BTP I see almost uniform tuxedo wearing. BTO you are lucky to get 50%.
part of what I found interesting is that 25% of the men below 35 were in tuxedos.

also, while money may not be a concern, a lot of men below 35 don’t own a tuxedo. And the idea of renting is off putting, and to purchase for one occasion seems extravagant. So go with something nice they already have in the collection.

which segways back to my view on black tie optional:
1. You will never be “overdressed” by abiding by an option provided by a bride
2. The bride said BTO for a reason, assuming that the reason at least partially includes “she would like to see some tuxedos at the event”
3. So if you have a tux, wear it.

Just my view
 

ForwardPleats

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Means the bride would like to see people take attire seriously, and that people should feel free to go all out with this effort. But at the same time, don’t go rent a tux if you don’t have one.
If you have a tux, wear it. The bride or whoever opted for black tie optional would probably appreciate it. That’s why they stepped it up to that level. Have fun and play the part.
That is exactly how I read it as well. The bride and groom have put the words black tie in there because they are hoping those that have it will wear it. It doesn't matter if only a minority will dress that way, it is what the hosts would like to celebrate their day and guests should try and accommodate them.

My wedding, 5 years ago, we had a mixed crowd. There was a lot of professionals from my line of work who had tuxes for charity functions and the like but there was a lot of friends and family who did not. So we either put "Black Tie Preferred" or "Black Tie Optional" on the invitation.

Black tie is not common for most people nowadays. I can understand why some would chose BTO instead of BTP because they are worried the latter might come off snobby or snooty to relatives.
 

ValidusLA

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part of what I found interesting is that 25% of the men below 35 were in tuxedos.

also, while money may not be a concern, a lot of men below 35 don’t own a tuxedo. And the idea of renting is off putting, and to purchase for one occasion seems extravagant. So go with something nice they already have in the collection.
But I know a lot of these guys. I know they have tuxedos.

They see BTO and they choose not to wear it because its "optional."

25% in tuxedos is not, in my opinion, a good outcome. It means the bride and groom were hoping for an outcome, and got 25% of what they wanted. And if they had used slightly more clear and expectant language they would have gotten closer to the outcome they actually wanted.

I just don't think BTO serves anyone when BTP is an option. I'm not advocating for BT for weddings, which can be exclusionary.
 

TheChihuahua

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But I know a lot of these guys. I know they have tuxedos.

They see BTO and they choose not to wear it because its "optional."

25% in tuxedos is not, in my opinion, a good outcome. It means the bride and groom were hoping for an outcome, and got 25% of what they wanted. And if they had used slightly more clear and expectant language they would have gotten closer to the outcome they actually wanted.

I just don't think BTO serves anyone when BTP is an option. I'm not advocating for BT for weddings, which can be exclusionary.
i disagree that 25% of men under 35 would be disappointing. That makes no sense.
1. This is only men under 35, I believe you said the older crowd had more tuxedos. So it was more than 25% total.
But…

2. I don’t believe the desired outcome is 100%. Otherwise they wouldnot have made it optional.
the desired outcome is that some people will be wearing tuxedos. Not 100%.
so 25-35% might be the desired outcome.

and to those guys that owned tuxedos but we’re too cool to wear them, well that’s not a positive statement towards them. Says more about their attitude than anything else. The bride wanted to see some tuxedos. They were too cool to take their’s out of storage. The event wasn’t important enough for them to have their tuxedo shirt ironed. That doesn’t make them cool in my opinion. That is a negative attribute on their part (thinking they are too cool for something or fear of over dressing or couldn’t be bothered with taking their tux out of storage).

regarding the “preferred” option. Again, this can make some people feel uncomfortable that they have to go out of their way to acquire a tuxedo. The goal of the wedding is not to make some people feel uncomfortable because they don’t own a tuxedo or force people to go rent one. Optional aleviates this concern.

but if you view optional as “this wedding is not worth putting a little effort into preparing my tuxedo for the event because black tie is not being mandated or even preferred…” well, that’s your right to do so. It’s not something I agree with.
 

ValidusLA

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i disagree that 25% of men under 35 would be disappointing. That makes no sense.
1. This is only men under 35, I believe you said the older crowd had more tuxedos. So it was more than 25% total.
But…
At a wedding for a 30 year old, the vast majority of male attendees are in the same age range. That means if only 25% of young attendees are in tuxedos, then the overall tuxedo count is also low. Maybe 33%. Pretty meagre.

2. I don’t believe the desired outcome is 100%. Otherwise they wouldnot have made it optional.
the desired outcome is that some people will be wearing tuxedos. Not 100%.
so 25-35% might be the desired outcome.
I disagree. I believe the desired outcome is as much BT as they can get. But they are more worried about "offending" people.
No one is hoping for 35% black tie.

and to those guys that owned tuxedos but we’re too cool to wear them, well that’s not a positive statement towards them. Says more about their attitude than anything else. The bride wanted to see some tuxedos. They were too cool to take their’s out of storage. The event wasn’t important enough for them to have their tuxedo shirt ironed. That doesn’t make them cool in my opinion. That is a negative attribute on their part (thinking they are too cool for something or fear of over dressing or couldn’t be bothered with taking their tux out of storage).
I agree w/ this.

regarding the “preferred” option. Again, this can make some people feel uncomfortable that they have to go out of their way to acquire a tuxedo. The goal of the wedding is not to make some people feel uncomfortable because they don’t own a tuxedo or force people to go rent one. Optional aleviates this concern.
Been over this. This is a clear language issue. "Optional" literally means your choice. "Preferred" means we want it if you can but its not required. Force doesn't come into it. Preferred alleviates concern while also making clear priorities.

but if you view optional as “this wedding is not worth putting a little effort into preparing my tuxedo for the event because black tie is not being mandated or even preferred…” well, that’s your right to do so. It’s not something I agree with.
I agree with you, but a lot of people are minimum effort. This is a society that can barely be bothered to put on a tie. Big Law is talking about no longer requiring ties in the office, let alone suits. The end times have come.

Part of my stance on all this is that I think mixed Black Tie events just don't look good. I think seeing a party 1/3 BT, 1/3 suits, 1/3 sport coats looks horribly disjointed.

I don't think you should have to have a BT wedding. Too many brides are focused on grooms wearing tuxedos for photos, even if the event isn't BT. This looks weird and costumy.

I think you should have coherent events. If the wedding party is in tuxes, have a BT wedding. If they are in suits, don't. If your wedding is on a beach, you probably aren't wearing ties. All are fine, but have it be coherent.
 

TheChihuahua

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So we don’t totally disagree.
But a couple more points:

I do agree these events often have the younger crowd “too cool for school” but a lot of the older men do wear tuxedos. It’s fun for them to take out their tuxedos. Maybe it’s the brides grandfather, or her uncle, or whatever.

And I totally disagree that the goal is to have most in tuxedos. It’s optional. Those that want to wear it can, but it’s not expected. The goal is not to have everyone in tuxedos. It’s to allow those who want to celebrate the moment in that manner to do so. 30% sounds fine to me.

and I could imagine some of the conversations during the night:
“Yeah bro, I have a tux. But didn’t feel like getting it pressed or ironing the shirt or picking up a new shirt for this event… just wasn’t worth it…”
“Yeah, me too. I have a black tie preferred in a couple of weeks, I will get my tux dry cleaned for that one…”
“Yeah bro,…”

but really, the older crowd that did play the part probably felt good about it and had fun. And the fact that some of the younger too cool for school brodowns couldn’t be troubled to take their tux out of storage likely did not bother any of them at all.

I disagree with the disjointed appearance of the event concern. I don’t see that as an issue. Maybe for some other type of event, but not a wedding. Special charity function. Socialite event. Sure. But not a wedding. A wedding is intended to be a gathering of two families and including friends from all different walks of life. It’s a celebration of this event. It’s not a $5k per ticket socialite event in the Hamptons for people to peacock.
 
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ValidusLA

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So we don’t totally disagree.
But a couple more points:

I do agree these events often have the younger crowd “too cool for school” but a lot of the older men do wear tuxedos. It’s fun for them to take out their tuxedos. Maybe it’s the brides grandfather, or her uncle, or whatever.

And I totally disagree that the goal is to have most in tuxedos. It’s optional. Those that want to wear it can, but it’s not expected. The goal is not to have everyone in tuxedos. It’s to allow those who want to celebrate the moment in that manner to do so. 30% sounds fine to me.

and I could imagine some of the conversations during the night:
“Yeah bro, I have a tux. But didn’t feel like getting it pressed or ironing the shirt or picking up a new shirt for this event… just wasn’t worth it…”
“Yeah, me too. I have a black tie preferred in a couple of weeks, I will get my tux dry cleaned for that one…”
“Yeah bro,…”

but really, the older crowd that did play the part probably felt good about it and had fun. And the fact that some of the younger too cool for school brodowns couldn’t be troubled to take their tux out of storage likely did not bother any of them at all.

I disagree with the disjointed appearance of the event concern. I don’t see that as an issue. Maybe for some other type of event, but not a wedding.
Your engaging in a lot of hypothetical here. And assuming that brides/couples that chose BTO are hoping for some in black tie. I don't think that's either A) true or B) if true a coherent goal to have.

If the choices for why a bride would choose BTO are:
1) I choose Black Tie Optional because I hope some people wear tuxes if they want to.
or
2) I choose Black Tie Optional because I want people to wear tuxes but I don't want to be pushy or pretentious.

I think 2 is much more likely. And fits closer with conversations I've had with brides.

A lot of my female friends have asked me to help coordinate their husbands clothing for their weddings. They usually start from a tuxedo baseline because they think that's what they "should" be wearing. Because the billion dollar wedding industry has sold them on the idea that weddings = tuxedos for the groom and groomsmen. Often in horrible matching vest or tie colors.

(Worst example I've been involved in was when a bride forced groomsmen, including myself, to rent heather grey Vera Wang tuxedos. She asked for no input. They were awful.)

After actually talking about it, a lot of brides realize that their husbands and groomsmen might actually look a lot better in a navy or grey suit. Then the wedding party is coordinated and matches the rest of the wedding. Coherent, elegant.
 

TheChihuahua

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I think #1 is much more likely.
I think if it’s #2, they would say black tie preferred or black tie.

and I don’t think the bride’s uncle who took out his tuxedo (or rented one) for the event and loved the way he looked with his wife as they celebrated a special event cares much if the groom’s college roommate was too cool to pick up a new tuxedo shirt because his old one had red wine spilled on it so he went with a suit instead. I doubt he feels over dressed.

the optional variant gives people the freedom to go all out for the event in their own view of whatever all out is.

I guess we just disagree about the need for cohesion of a wedding. Like I mentioned, I don’t view it as an event where everyone should be in a Standard Uniform. I view it more as a coming together of persons from all different backgrounds, so a standard uniform should not be the goal. Different views I guess.

also, I don’t look down upon groom’s in suits. And I know it’s sort of trendy these days. But ultimately at a wedding, it’s seems more appropriate that a groom wear a tuxedo. It’s a special event. Maybe to people who don’t regularly wear suits, the act of wearing a suit is a big deal. But for people who wear suits regularly, doing so for their wedding seems like just making the event a routine happening.
 

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