Tammy: Decoding ‘Black Tie Invited’ — Wear It If You Have It!

By Tammy Seibert

“You can never be overdressed or overeducated.” – Oscar Wilde

Our nephew Michael Baldauf married Courtney Erickson on October 6, 2018. They created a special website that you can visit ericksonbaldaufwedding.com for their story and details leading up to this wonderful three-day event.


What exactly do you wear when you are invited to a “Black Tie Invited” wedding?

The “invited” or “optional” means that male guests are invited to wear tuxes and women may wear evening gowns or cocktail dresses – what you would wear at a black-tie affair – but you don’t have to. It’s fine for men to wear nice dark suits and for women to wear dresses that aren’t necessarily Oscar-night material.

Always be mindful of your host’s desires and anticipate what their vision is for their dinner, dance, fundraiser, wedding, whatever. What does black tie mean to your host – what does it look like to them? If it’s Rihanna, well that’s one thing, and if it’s the Prince of Wales, it’s another.

Ladies:  A night for you to look your most gorgeous! Embrace it and have fun. Wear a long formal gown (if you have the opportunity to wear one, my attitude is why not?) or a shorter fancy cocktail dress that is black-tie appropriate. Colors to keep in mind for winter: jewel tones, emerald, ruby, amethyst and, of course, black. Bring out your best jewels and high heels and jazz it up!


Gentlemen: There’s really nothing as sophisticated as a man in classic black tie. He should wear a dinner jacket (also known as a tuxedo jacket) and matching trousers, bow tie, and cummerbund or waistcoast, and black patent leather or calfskin pumps or laced oxfords.


Our three sons all wore classic black tie. They opted for bow tie and black suit.



I asked my niece Sarah Fiegel when you saw “Black Tie Invited” on the invitation, what were your first thoughts? What made you decide to wear a long dress? What was your favorite part of the evening? Did you feel like Cinderella at the ball? Tell me about the dress you chose.


Sarah’s response: My first thought when I saw it was black tie was that I was gonna go for it. I was super excited; it isn’t often you get to dress up, so I figured it would be a wasted opportunity to not wear something fancy. That’s why I chose to wear a long dress. I figured if we were gonna do it, we may as well do it right. I’m grateful I could rent my dress because I got to wear something that made me feel really glamorous without paying through the nose. Rent The Runway genuinely made it so easy. I chose the dress based on three factors: color (had to be black, per the bride’s request), style/length, and rental price. But I also didn’t wanna wear something too flashy because I was a guest, not the bride or in the bridal party. The open back and the pockets were a big sell. I can’t remember the designer or the name but I can look them up, my RTR profile will have them. Best part of the night was absolutely the dancing!!! The band killed it. I was so glad the dress was comfortable and let me move. Dress was the Jadore Gown by ML Monique Lhuillier.


Tammy:  I found my black evening gown by Jessica McClintock at a vintage store. I didn’t want to be cookie cutter and I didn’t want to spend a fortune on a dress I would probably never wear again. You always want something unique and different at each event that you go to. When I tried it on, I knew it was perfect …  off the shoulder, black chiffon skirting. The bodice was sparkly so I knew my jewelry would have to sparkle to keep up. I carried a little black satin evening bag that had some bling on the flap. It truly was a magical evening and my dress was elegant with a price tag that didn’t break the bank.

The Real-Real Behind the Scenes

There were so many special moments over the weekend and here are some of the highlights that will be forever memories with Eric’s family in New York. Thank you Courtney and Michael for everything…it was wonderful to be a guest and take it all in. Everything was perfect.




Congratulations, Michael and Courtney Baldauf.

A Little Background Music

Shopping Links

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JS Collection Off Shoulder Split Gown, Rent the Runway, $50-$80.

ML Monique Lhuillier Lusting Over You Gown, Rent the Runway, $55-$85.

Badgley Mischka Forbidden Territory Gown, Rent the Runway, $50-$80.



1 Comment

  1. These pics are so precious of your family and the beautiful wedding/reception for all the family to attend in Buffalo. Such a wonderful time to get together with family and friends. So glad you took so many pictures and shared them on the blog. Lots of Love to all of you. Very proud MOM and DAD!!


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