Hosting a Black-Tie Affair
Despite the world being on a slight pause right now, we are grateful to still be planning lavish celebrations + chic parties for so many deserving couples getting married later this year, and in 2021. Although we specialize in weddings that tend to feel more “boho-chic” in nature, we will always have a soft spot in our hearts for the classic Black-Tie Affair. Black-tie affairs are classic because they transform an ordinary space into an environment of opulence, a wedding party into red carpet material, and a bride + groom into A-listers. Giving your guests a reason to dress to the nines is always a special treat – everyone wants to feel like a million bucks. And doing so as they celebrate you + your new hubby, sip champagne, and sway on the dancefloor creates a real moment of celebration.
Despite common thinking, there is so much more to a black tie wedding than the attire. A black tie affair is a VIBE – you’ll need to thoughtfully plan + carefully craft every detail, which, with the help of your LW Planner/Designer, will start to manifest right before your eyes. Here’s a few things we invite you to consider when starting to envision your black tie wedding.
Be clear about the dress code
Black tie weddings call for a very specific attire. Typically, the men wear black tuxedos + women wear darker-colored floor-length gowns, but of course, there are variations from this. Overall, the vibe is clear — fancy, classy, luxurious and glamorous. #leilanitip: If you are hosting a black-tie affair, it is important to explicitly say what exactly “black-tie” entails on your invitations. If you are one hundred percent set on a formal + traditional black-tie wedding, then indicate the necessary dress code of gowns + tuxes. We even encourage brides to provide an “attire guide” to assist guests in choosing what they’ll wear to the wedding. It’s always considerate to keep your guests in mind, budget-wise, so consider tweaking the dress code, just a little, so that your guests don’t feel strained financially. Ways to do this? Consider detailing in your dress code the option to wear dark-colored suits instead of tuxes for the guys, or cocktail dresses instead of floor-length gowns for the ladies. When it comes to attire for your wedding party, consider classic black tuxedos with pocket squares for the groomsmen + floor-length dresses in a heavier material like a silk chantung or velvet for the bridesmaids. Keep hair + makeup glamorous, even a little moody, to pull their look together. We love seeing our black-tie grooms in cummerbunds + bow ties, shiny shoes, and maybe even slicked back hair. Overall, the intention is glam — whatever that means to you — so make that known to your guests, and keep that in mind when choosing your wedding party’s attire.
Choose the season + location/venue carefully
One of the biggest mistakes couples often make when planning a black tie wedding is choosing a season or location that does not fit the glamorous attire. If you are hosting a black-tie affair for the formality + fanciness that accompanies it, choosing a season + location that matches that vibe is important because it sets the stage for the overall effect of the wedding day + of course, your wedding photos that last a lifetime. Note the weather. For example, asking your guests to arrive in fancy attire only to show up to the beach in the dead of summer would probably not be the best move. That isn’t a hard + fast rule, though ~ consider an air-conditioned venue that overlooks the water for your black-tie wedding, so things still feel elegant, yet airy. Beyond the weather, it is also important to choose a venue that matches the 5-star glam you are hoping to execute. This means that hosting a black-tie affair in a rustic barn or a desert space probably wouldn’t be very consistent with the vibe. Instead, it would be advisable to choose a 5-star hotel, ballroom or winery. If your heart is set on an outdoor wedding, opt for a gorgeous garden or perhaps a private estate.
Be consistent with the black-tie glam
If you are hosting a black-tie wedding, don’t slack on the service. When you ask guests to dress up, meet their expectations of “playing rich” for the night. That means that every detail of your wedding should be infused with black-tie glam. This starts with your save the dates + invitations. This is the first thing your guests will see regarding your wedding, so they really set the mood + tone of the wedding. We love a black/white/gold color palette for a black-tie wedding, and clean + sophisticated yet opulent paper goods. Moving on to the design of the day itself, the decor should be rich in textures + details – we love incorporating details like velvet linens + napkins, mirrored tabletops, acrylic signage, and lush florals to really transport guests into another world of sophistication + class for the evening. The great thing about working with Leilani Weddings is that we love mismatching (the right way!). so we can help you get creative with how you infuse both the black-tie glam + your personal style to create a unique + personalized aesthetic.
Food, Beverage + Entertainment
Food + beverage are two of the most important, and memorable, elements to your wedding day. Yes, we love the pretty details, and think they’re important, but what your guests eat + drink on your big day should be just as showstopping. Some ideas: Opt for a seated three-course meal over a buffet. Serve cocktail bites in martini glasses + on gold platters (Pinterest is a great resource for creative ideas for fancy cocktail hours). Provide comfortable transportation or valet for your guests instead of making them walk long distances in their formal attire. Consider booking a live band over a DJ, or infusing the two. We are big fans of live music during your ceremony + cocktail hour, and have recommendations for harpists, string trios + quartets, jazz musicians, Spanish guitarists – you name it. Opt for an open premium bar (signature cocktails are a must!) Maybe offer a tray-passed champagne as guests arrive to the ceremony or to cocktail hour, or greet them with a freshly squeezed tray-passed lemonade. Think about booking some other fun details, like an ice sculpture, a luxurious dessert display, or a whiskey bar. Your guests are here to celebrate you + you are here to treat them!
Though the black-tie wedding is the most classic + traditional of them all, popularity of them are in fact declining in part due to the expenses often surrounding them. But, the good news is this: You don’t actually have to have a celebrity budget to pull off a glamorous black-tie affair. Although these types of weddings can be a little more expensive, we CAN make it work. When determining your expenses, consider the aspects of your wedding that are most important to you. For example, if you absolutely love the premium open bar + champagne greeting idea, then splurge more in that area + cut back on your florals. Are florals + design your main priority? Maybe we come up with a more modest menu so we can allot more money in that area. Whatever you decide, Leilani Weddings is here to help you navigate the expensive but glamorous world of black-tie affairs.