Let’s cut to the chase: do not ever declare your wedding reception dress code as: “Black Tie Optional.”
To us, the matter is very simple: if you want to have a black tie wedding, then ask your guests to come in black tie. While not everyone has a tuxedo or an LBD (Little Black Dress) at the ready, both of these items are more easily had than ever before. From Suit Supply and J. Crew, to any number of high end rentals sits online e.g. Rent the Runway, any gent or gal can gussy themselves up at any price point.
Reality is most of your guests won’t opt for black tie, but they will ponder how to make your sartorial wishes come true. And, fret over your wishes because what is the alternative to an optional black tie? (For the record, our advice is black, dark gray or navy suit with similar color tie and accessories. Said differently, fashion up an outfit that is as close as possible to a tuxedo.) Why make your guests wrestle with a decision and then turn up at your wedding and never know if they opted for the right choice?
If you’re going to make your guests wrestle with their closets, why not be a lot more adventurous and outright theme your wedding? Or, be so esoteric that the resulting fashion choices turn into a surprise for you on the day. But, the only surprise at a black tie wedding will be how you’re likely the only ones in a tux.