Etiquette and Black & White Attire for a Birthday Party

by Edith Quinn

Everyone loves a birthday party. When it comes to color themed birthday parties, familiarizing yourself with proper etiquette will save you from frustration and embarrassment. When asked to wear black and white attire, the host has planned a specific themed party and needs the help of guests to carry out her vision. Regardless if you are hosting or attending a color themed party, you can have a wonderful time while celebrating someone's special day.

Invitations and Dress Code

The success of a black and white-themed party depends on the attire of invited guests. After investing time and money in organizing a black and white birthday bash you don't want your efforts ruined by Uncle Bob wearing his bright Bermuda shorts. On your invitations, politely request guests wear only black and white attire. Send your invitations, along with RSVP cards, eight weeks before when hosting a formal event. If it's a casual party, send your invitations to guests by mail or email two to four weeks beforehand.


Black and white may be the easiest dress code to adhere to as most people already have these two shades in their wardrobe. When the party is a formal event, wear a black tuxedo if you are a man. Black or white gowns make for appropriate attire for women. Offset your outfit with black, white or silver accessories. Wearing black pants and white shirt or blouse to a more casual birthday bash will produce approving smiles by your party host.

Guest Etiquette

Despite the formality or informality of the birthday bash, always provide your host with an RSVP. This makes the party organizer's life easier as she will not have to track down unresponsive guests. Do not bring uninvited guests along with you. If the invitation specifically says your name and guest, feel free to bring a spouse, significant other or friend along. If your name is the only name on the invitation, assume that your host expects you to fly solo to the party.

Gift Giving

If the invitation specifically asks guests not to bring gifts to the party, heed the request. Many people do not want gifts and would rather receive well wishes. Also, presenting a gift to the guest of honor may make feel other guests uneasy if they did not bring a present. If you feel like you need to bring a gift to the party, present it to the person in private. Call your host for clarification on gift giving when in doubt.

About the Author

Edith Quinn has been writing since 1998 when she landed her first newspaper reporting job. Spending most of her career working for community newspapers, she has covered everything from ribbon cuttings to criminal trials. Her work has appeared in "The Daily Observer" and "Nepean This Week." Quinn has diplomas from both the print and photojournalism programs at Loyalist College.

Photo Credits

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