1. Send the right message – Your wedding invitation will let your guests know that you’re planning a glamorous event. Choose an invitation on thick paper with letterpress printing or go with an Art Deco style invitation in black and white.
2. The dress code – Black tie is defined as clothing worn after 6:00 p.m. that is less formal than white tie, but more formal than business attire. Men should wear tuxes and a black bow tie, and women should wear below-the-knee length dresses or floor-length gowns. Let your guests know that your wedding will be black tie by noting it on the wedding invitation. Your wording should include a phrase like “Black tie” in describing the wedding like “Join us for a black tie wedding celebration,” or you can add a line at the bottom or in corner copy that says “Black tie optional,” depending on the formality of your day.
3. Set the stage – Black tie weddings should be all-out glamorous, with luxe details and high-impact décor. Use color in your decorating, but make sure it’s a rich color like deep red or a metallic like bronze, silver or gold. Choose satin, taffeta and other fabrics for your linens and drapery. Use quality china, glassware and silverware. Alternate candles and large floral arrangements on tables for visual interest.
4. Treat your guests right – Your guests will be in their best attire, so make them feel special. Arrange for transportation from hotels to your site. Provide valet parking for those driving. Rent a red carpet for guests to walk on as they enter your venue. Have a formal coat check available. Hire ushers to escort guests to their tables. And be sure to provide post-celebration transportation so guests can return to their hotels safely.
5. Get real – Go for a live jazz combo or a big band instead of a DJ. Hire waiters to pass drinks and appetizers instead of having a buffet. Offer cocktails and signature drinks at the bar, with skilled bartending staff attending to guests.