Is the Black Tie Dress Code a thing of the past?

To fully meet the traditional black tie brief, you could choose to don a dinner jacket, white shirt, black bow tie and dress shoes, or opt for an evening gown more akin to old Hollywood glamour than office chic (dresses crafted from silk, satin, chiffon and lace are all black-tie winners according to fashion designer Samantha Benveniste). These strict dress codes should help delegates to understand what the expectation is ahead of an event and give an insight into what other guests will be wearing so they can prepare in advance, but it can also add extra pressures and expense if you don’t have anything handy in your wardrobe and feel expected to buy a new dress or hire a tux.


Shifts in workplace culture, particularly with start-ups and tech companies, has seen a noticeable move away from traditional dress codes in the office. According to a study conducted by the Society for Human Resources Management as many as 24% of businesses in the UK now offer a flexible dress code policy and this relaxed approach reflects a broader trend towards creating a more vibrant and inclusive work environment – making the black tie dress code even more obscure to modern workers. Millennials and Gen Z now dominate the workforce and they are leading the way with a more casual dress both in and out of the office. In fact, 74% of millennials said they thought that a relaxed dress code positively impacted their productivity.

Not everyone is ready to get rid of the chance to feel a little fancy in 2023. According to market research firm Mintel, 37%of people in the UK still believe that dressing formally to a work event is a sign of respect and seriousness in a corporate setting. Certain sectors, like finance and law, are much more likely to adhere to these stricter guidelines for event dressing – usually down to maintaining a level of tradition and meeting client expectations for professional services.

We spoke to one North East based business leader in the manufacturing sector, who said, “I like that black tie events give everyone the chance to dress up, these events are usually a celebration of our team’s achievements and it adds sense of occasion that feels different and exciting. Most members of our team love the chance to get their glad rags on and take part in something out of the ordinary that marks all of their hard work during the year.”

Love it or hate it, the formal attire dress code has been a part of events since 1860 when the first dinner jacket was first worn by the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII). The jacket was initially born out of practicality as he wanted to wear a shorter jacket when on his yacht and this style evolved into the form of eveningwear that we know today. But, as its unlikely that you will be sailing to your event in 2023, is requiring guests to dress in a certain way still fit for purpose in 2023? We turned to LinkedIn to find out what our network had to say…

Surprisingly 84 percent of people who responded to our poll said that they still enjoy black tie events and love the opportunity to get dressed up, with only 16 percent of people thinking that they are a bit old fashioned.

So, it turns out the black tie dress code is not totally obsolete but it’s certainly on the down turn and will undoubtedly become less and less prevalent as younger talent moves up the ranks. Do you still love the chance to get dressed up? Head over to our social media pages and let us know your thoughts…

To find out more about creating an experience that your delegates will remember, right in the North East contact

Ready for any event-uality: Meet our Event Manager Katie

Hi Katie! You’ve been at BeaconHouse Events since 2018 what did you study? 

Seventeen-year-old Katie thought that Acting would be a sensible choice for a university degree! I wanted to go to university and I always enjoyed, and was good at, drama at school so I took a place in the Acting degree. I did my first two years in Bournemouth and finished my final year here in Newcastle before heading up to Edinburgh for a month to perform in a show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

What did your first role look like after Uni? Did you know you wanted to work in the events sector right away? 

When I got back from the Edinburgh Fringe, I knew that a career in acting wasn’t right for me. The reason I didn’t pursue a career on the stage is that I found it too stressful, I didn’t enjoy the pressure and the anxiety of going on stage so I came back to Newcastle and ran a B&B; cooking breakfasts for 40 people, cleaning the rooms and working behind the front desk which was a complete change from what I was used to! From there I started working on Reception for a large chain hotel which I really enjoyed. After I had been there a little while, they happened to need support in the events team while a colleague was off sick and asked if I would be interested in joining the team and covering. I was good at it and I guess the rest is history! Working in events was nothing I ever planned for – I’m not a natural planner outside of work.

I knew that a role in the venue was not something I wanted to do long-term, but I wanted to stay in the industry and stay in the North East, so when I saw the role advertised at BeaconHouse I jumped at the opportunity.

While working in a venue is completely different from working agency side, it is still very busy and you have to learn to juggle a lot of tasks at once and maintain a level of professionalism. I think that knowledge of what goes into an event from a venue perspective, and the on-the-ground learning in that role, really helped me to transition into the event manager position here at BeaconHouse pretty quickly.

Did your stage training prepare you for a career in the events sector? 

While I didn’t enjoy the pressure that comes with performing, it did prepare me for being able to step out of my comfort zone and to positively react to any situation, which is helpful when you are on-site and dealing with any number of possible scenarios. Working on-site is my favourite part of the role and having the skills to be able to think on your feet when you are dealing with delegates, venues, and clients is definitely a skill that I’ve brought with me – the show must go on right!

What did you want to be when you were growing up? Did you always want to be an actor? 

Not at all, I either wanted to be a vet or I wanted to run my own rehabilitation centre for orangutans in Borneo!

While I was working with the events team at the hotel I had the opportunity to take eight months to go exploring and I was lucky enough to see a semi-wild orangutan in Borneo which was just an incredible experience. I have a curiosity to try and experience new things which I think is a skill that is really valued in the events industry – being curious and excited to bring new experiences to our events is a huge part of the role and you can only create new things if you take an interest in the wider world around you and are inspired by it.

You’re originally from Cornwall, why did you choose to build your career here in the North East? 

I have family connections to Teesside and am a huge Middlesbrough fan. I originally intended to move here for a year, go to loads of games, and then move back down South, but I completely fell in love with the region and didn’t want to leave! I don’t think I could live anywhere else in the UK now; I’m one of five siblings and none of us live any further South than Sheffield!

I have a golden Labrador, Luna, and the North East is such a great place to explore with her too.

Speaking of Luna, the BeaconHouse office in Hoults Yard is dog friendly – what does that mean for your work-life balance? 

It’s amazing. I had always wanted a dog, but I didn’t think that there would be enough flexibility working in events to do it. About a year into the role I decided that I would like to get one so I spoke to Sarah and Cat and asked if I could change my working hours to have longer lunch breaks so I could cycle home and walk her, and asked if she would be able to come into the office sometimes and they said yes. When she was just a pup she would just come in on a Friday so she wasn’t too disruptive, but now she is older she comes in all the time. Though we’ve not trained her to be helpful on-site yet! She would love to welcome delegates.

The office is perfectly located to walk her on lunchtime by the river or along the Hadrian’s Wall cycle path which is also nearby. Bringing Luna into the office gives me a real incentive to step away from my desk over lunch and get some fresh air; I value that hour to be able to think, come up with new ideas, and re-focus, especially with the busy season that we have coming up.

Are there any misconceptions about the industry that you would like to see banished in 2023? 

I still don’t think there is a lot of understanding about the level of work and level of detail that goes into the events that we create, especially outside of the sector. I remember during my first week at BeaconHouse Events, I was working on a major awards event and was asked to write the script for the evening – I had no idea that that was part of what an event agency would do! All these little things go into making an event a success and we often spend over a year researching and planning for our clients which is the part no one sees. As a team, we are already planning experiences for September 2024 and there are always events at different parts of their planning life cycles running simultaneously. The job is so much more than the common stereotype of booking rooms, walking around with a clipboard, and ordering lunch.

Is there a particular part of the process that you love getting involved in? 

I do love the end point of being on-site and seeing months of hard work cumulate into an experience that the client is proud of. I do like the pressure and the high stakes of being on-site too.

I also spend a lot of time pre-event working with speakers to make sure that they feel comfortable and prepared before they get up on stage which I enjoy. I hate public speaking so I think I can empathise with what would make me feel more confident. We have so many different types of speakers partnering with us for events, and not everyone does it professionally – often they are simply experts in their subject matter and need some additional support to make sure that they have everything they need in advance to do an amazing job. It can be nerve-wracking to stand up in front of 600 people so knowing that there is someone there who has your back and can walk you through the process is only going to add to the quality of the event.

Do you have any events that you look forward to every year? 

That’s a hard one because I work with so many different clients and it is the variety that is part of the reason I love my role but one that stands out is Planet Mark. They have been a client of mine since they first partnered with BeaconHouse in 2018 and each year we deliver their annual awards, looking after everything from guest booking and management, sponsorship relationship management, budget management, and cost control. Together with the management of the entries and judging process, script writing, production, staging and AV, venue management and liaison, and venue dressing.

It has been fantastic to see the team grow in the time we have worked together and to have been a part of the amazing things they have achieved.

And finally, who would your dream client be? 

I’m not sure that I have a dream client as such but if there was an opportunity to put on an event that encompassed all of the things that I love; sustainable travel, food, good wine then I’m there! I love outdoor events, like the kind we organise for The Great Run Company, so I would like to deliver more of those. They are a totally different kettle of fish to a traditional corporate event – there is so much to consider when it comes to health and safety and logistics, even the weather has a role to play!

Six things to do in the North East if you’re visiting for an event

We worked with the team at NIC-A to support with full logistics planning from invites, venue sourcing, liaison, speaker and delegate travel bookings, stage management, and onsite delivery and the event ended with a reception and dinner at Blackfriars restaurant which allowed our international delegation to experience a taste of Newcastle’s medieval past. This got us thinking – what are the things you can’t miss in North East if you’re visiting for a conference this year?

BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art

Take a short walk across the Millennium Bridge to the Gateshead side of the River Tyne and you’ll find the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art. This world-class gallery stretches over five floors and is free entry so it’s the perfect way to spend a few hours in the city, even on one of the drizzlier days. Head to the west-facing windows of the old flour mill for a dramatic view up the river and across the city, taking in the iconic Tyne Bridge.

Entry is from 10 am. Visit the website for further details on events and exhibitions taking place during your visit:

Newcastle Castle and Keep 

Steeped in history, this imposing Norman fortress is a rugged reminder of northern England’s turbulent past. Just a stone’s throw away from Newcastle Central Station, the castle is where the story of Newcastle began and the reason the city got its name – now it welcomes visitors seven days a week where you can explore and enjoy hidden stories of the keep and its former inhabitants. Used in many films, serials, and other video shorts to set the scene that you are in Newcastle, it is the quintessential view over the River Tyne!

Opening times, events, and further information can be found at

Visit the North East coast

Hop on the Metro from Newcastle City Centre and in 20 minutes you’ll be soaking in the beauty of the stunning North East coastline. Boasting white sandy beaches, dramatic views, and some of the best fish and chips in the region, no trip to the North East is complete without a trip to the seaside. The Metro underground train will take you right from Central Station to Tynemouth where you can get your fix of fresh air before all the hard work begins. The Metro system can also take you directly from the city centre to the airport, so you don’t have to worry about getting stuck in traffic when you’re heading home.

Find out the latest travel news, maps, and prices for the Metro at

A stroll along the Quayside

Conferences and events can be overwhelming, so get out and stretch your legs with a walk along the scenic River Tyne which runs through the heart of the city. A 15-minute stroll along the river will bring you to the bustling Ouseburn Valley which is paced with independent eateries, a thriving city farm, pubs serving local suppliers, and street art celebrating the city’s shipbuilding past. Today the Ouseburn Valley is made up of social and cultural venues, nestled alongside reminders of the area’s industrial heritage, including the old flax chimney outside the famous Cluny bar and music venue and the recently refurbished Ouseburn Railway viaduct.

Traditional North East dishes

If you fancy a bite to eat after a busy day, you’ll find traditional North East food, friendly company, and good cheer – with a fresh, modern touch at Broad Chare, which is listed in the Top 50 Gastro Pubs, the go-to place to find the best pubs to dine in in the UK. Nothing fancy, nothing fussy, just genuine warmth and an open-hearted welcome which is sometimes just what you need after a day of networking and inspiration.

Mocktails with a difference

In 1898, with Queen Victoria still on the throne and the North booming with newfound industry, a water closet was installed for the people of Newcastle. Nowadays W.C bar is housed in that same Victorian public toilet beneath the well-known Bigg Market, but don’t let that put you off! Its extensive drinks menus have added to the appeal, especially the remarkably lengthy list of cocktails which can mostly be served alcohol-free if you ask. They have a wide range of interesting soft drinks and it is worth a visit for the quirky venue alone.

We always encourage our delegates to get out and see our city in the most sustainable ways possible, and visitors to Newcastle will notice the abundance of Neuron scooters that are available for you to hop on and start exploring. Download the app and see more of the North East in a way that doesn’t cost the Earth.

To find out more about creating an experience that your delegates will remember, right in the North East contact