LULZ / Misc

How to host the perfect black tie event

If you want to host a truly stylish event that makes a big splash, then making it a black tie event is a great way to add a level of class and sophistication that you can't get with other types of events.

However, it's important that you get a few things right if you want your event to be a hit.

Does it need to be a black tie event?

Black tie events are generally held to celebrate truly notable achievements or milestones. You might hold a black tie event as an important charity fundraiser, a milestone birthday celebration, an awards ceremony, or the celebration of a huge corporate success.

When you are planning your event, it's essential to be sure that black tie is really the best way to go. If not, you could hold an event that's a little lower key and still have a great time.

Be clear on the dress code

Once you've decided that your event absolutely needs to be black tie, it's essential to be clear on what that means.

When you send out your invites, never say "black tie optional." People do this because they think it's kinder to give people the option, but actually, it just creates anxiety. It creates a situation where you don't know whether to go black tie and risk being the only one there who has followed the dress code, or don't go black tie and risk being the only one who is underdressed. Incidentally, if you ever receive an invite that says black tie optional, just go all out. It's fun to dress up, and much nicer being the overdressed one at a party than the underdressed one!

Black tie dress for men means wearing a dinner jacket, matching fitted trousers, a shirt, smart shoes, evening socks, and a bow tie. You can also choose to add a cummerbund and a waistcoat if you like.

Black tie dress for women is a little more open to interpretation than black tie for men. Typically a floor-length dress is a right choice, because it shows an elevated level of sophistication that can't be achieved with a cocktail dress. Black tie events are quite conservative affairs, and it's a good idea to reflect this in your outfit. Don't go for crazy patterns and colors; instead opt for classic silhouettes and colors that never go out of style.

Photo opportunities

If your guests have spent all that time dressing in their best outfits, it only seems fair that you give them an opportunity to have a photo taken!

Providing a professional photographer means that your guests can have a memento, and it means that you can too. Photos of all of your guests is a great way to show off what a success your event was, which will make your business look more attractive to potential clients and employees to boot.

Set the tone with music

Every event needs music, but it's essential that you get the tone right. It would be best if you had music that is quiet and understated, in line with the elegant tone of a black tie event.

Alive Network has a vast number of string quartets to choose from, which could be a perfect choice, you can find the best on the following link:

Choosing your food

Generally, there will be a few food courses at a black tie event:

  • Appetizers and starters (otherwise known as hors d'oeuvre)
  • A light first course
  • Your main course
  • The cheese course and drinks to accompany
  • Dessert

If you are working with a catering company, they will be able to advise you on the most effective food pairings, but it's crucial that you bear in mind the overall theme and tone of your event when making these choices. You should also take into account any dietary restrictions that your guests might have.


When choosing your decor, it's all about class. Think about warm and sophisticated lighting, beautiful table settings, and subtle decorative touches around the venue.

For a black tie event, subtlety is key - you don't want to end up with a garish looking room with too much going on!


You'll need some form of entertainment for your event, aside from the food, which is often a major draw! Think about enlisting the help of a speaker who is an expert in your field, or perhaps some entertainment like a magician.

When planning your event, it's essential that you leave people enough time to enjoy each course of their food, without leaving them for too long with nothing to do. Check your timing as many times as you can to be sure that you get this right.

  1. 1 year ago


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