What to Wear at a Wedding: What Does Black Tie Attire Mean?

The wedding invitation says “black tie attire” — what’s acceptable and what’s not?

Sometimes deciphering wedding invitations can be tricky: White tie? Black tie? We straighten it out for a bride-to-be and her mother; read on…

A Hudson Valley bride asks: “I know it’s usually the bride that’s stressed out with details, but in this case, it’s my mother who is causing the stress! I’m having a formal wedding, which is why we included ‘black tie attire’ on the invitation. Some of my friends are wearing long gowns and others are wearing fancy cocktail dresses; I made the mistake of mentioning this to my mother, who insists that I call my friends back to tell them that ‘black tie attire’ means they have to wear floor-length gowns. I think mom is wrong. Am I right?”

(Our answer on next page)

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The Wedding Guru answers: You are correct. According to etiquette, “black tie” means tuxedos for men and cocktail dresses for women. Maybe your mother is confusing it with “white tie attire,” which requires floor-length gowns? (Honestly, I think the fewer financial obligations you put on your guests, the better. Forcing someone to buy a long gown that will be worn only once is thoughtless!) Tell your mom that what the guests wear is far less important than if they have a good time look forward to being at your wedding!

» More on wedding dresses and formalwear
» More from The Wedding Guru
» Submit a question to the Wedding Guru
» Hudson Valley Weddings 2012

 

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