Planning a black-tie event may feel overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time doing so.
Every aspect of your black-tie event needs to be prepared in advance. The people attending these events expect greater attention to detail, refined dining, and impressive entertainment throughout the entire evening. Each portion of the night must be carefully orchestrated to meet your goals.
Black tie events don’t have to mean stuffy. You can design an event that’s professional and fun and feels luxurious. Plus, it’s an excellent excuse to wear the pre-owned Rolex you only bring out for special occasions. With the proper planning and tips, your high-level event can get off without a hitch.
1. Set A Goal, Budget, And Theme
The first thing you have to do is set your event’s goals and budget. What is the purpose of your event? Is it a corporate event celebrating the launch of a new product? Or an annual Christmas party your organization always hosts? Black tie events are also great for hosting fundraisers, charity auctions, and celebrating important birthdays.
Even weddings and anniversary parties can become black tie events with the proper planning.
Once you have settled on the purpose of your event, figure out what your budget is. The company, organization, or individual you’re working for may have given you a specific budget to stick to or a dollar range to work within. Your budget may impact the number of guests in attendance or the type of decor or caterer you can afford for your event. You also have to pick out your event’s theme.
It should correlate with the purpose of your event and be appropriate for the formal nature of the night. Consider elegant and classic colors such as gold, silver, black, and white. Some pops of color are okay, but you don’t want the whole event to be a vibrant hue of pink or blue unless your host requests this.
2. Send Invitations Well In Advance
Events have unwritten rules that are important to follow, and invitation etiquette is no exception. Etiquette experts recommend sending out invitations to your formal events at least six weeks in advance. This allows your guests the time needed to check their schedule and find the required formal attire.
Most importantly, the tone and design of your invitation should match your black-tie event. Pay close attention to the quality of cardstock, fonts, and other design elements being used. Include all relevant information about the event on the invitation, such as:
- Listing what the event is or who it is for
- Where the event is occurring
- The date and time of the event
- The event’s dress code
- Request for food sensitivity or allergy information
- How they can respond to the invitation
3. Be Thorough With Your Guest List And Seating
Consider having someone else look over your guest list before finalizing it and sending out invitations. You don’t want to mistakenly overlook an important guest. Once your invitations are sent out and you have a list of attendees, you may need to develop a seating chart.
A curated seating arrangement is required if your formal event is large or hosted in one large room with many tables. Focus on who your VIPs are and where you’ll be seating them. Pick tables that are upfront, with good views of the main stage. Consider assigning extra staff to tend to the VIP tables during the event.
Always plan for last-minute changes and requests by leaving at least one table empty for shuffling of attendees.
4. Match The Food With The Decor Or Theme
The food and decor of your event should be appropriate for formal occasions and correspond with your theme. Rent or purchase table linens in luxurious fabrics with a rich feel, such as lace or satin. If your theme is Rolex watches for men, consider decor colors to match traditional watch colors and bring in masculine elements for your centerpieces.
Your menu should also support the theme and needs to be of high quality. Look for a caterer who is experienced at formal events and sample courses from several catering options before making your decision.
You’ll want to provide your guests with a three-course meal, and how it looks on the plate is just as important as how it tastes. Your caterer should also offer wine and other beverages that pair well with the meal.
5. Don’t Make It Black Tie Optional
Your formal event deserves a dress code that matches. Black tie preferred, and black tie optional statements on your invitation may mean someone shows up underdressed. Not only does it not make your event look professional, but it can also make the guest feel embarrassed and out of place.
Learn the difference between black tie dress codes and make sure the statement on your invitations matches the goal of your event.
6. Plan The Pace Of The Evening
Black tie events provide dining, entertainment, and other scheduled events. Make sure you’re giving enough time to each portion of the night and leaving breaks in the schedule for trips to the powder room or mingling among guests. Planning the pace of your schedule keeps the event from dragging on or feeling rushed at the end.
Keep track of time during the event by swapping out your everyday smartwatch with a luxury watch. There are many styles of luxury watches to choose from, so it’s easy to find one to match your formal attire. These timepieces ensure your event schedule stays on track while looking like you’re casually admiring your fine jewelry.
7. Have A Red Carpet Or Formal Photo Opportunity
Whether they happen indoors or at the entrance of your event as a red carpet, formal photos help your guests feel valued and important. Your guests have put a lot of effort into their appearance for the night and want to show their outfits off.
Hiring a professional photographer makes them feel the night is about them and shows you want your guests to have an enjoyable time. Consider renting a photo booth if a professional photographer is out of your budget.
Remember To Have Fun
Once the planning is complete and your black-tie event is underway, take the time to enjoy your hard work. Try to relax and enjoy your guests’ company, and make sure you sit down and appreciate the catered meal you picked out.
Enjoying the night instead of stressing over every detail shows your guests you’ve got this event under control. Last, pat yourself on the back for a job well done.