Wearing of medals on civilian black tie

Hi there,

I'm hoping someone can advise me. My partner is a navy veteran and has some medals.

I have a black tie do coming up and wonder if he should be wearing his miniatures. There seem to be no hard and fast rules I've searched extensively all over the net - some say, absolutely not, only when the invite specifies or it's a military 'do', and then there are loads of conflicting sources saying to wear them on black tie if you want to.

He isn't sure himself (and is modest by nature so would only wear them if I asked him to), so I'm really trying to find out absolutely what's acceptable and I can't think of a better place to post this question except here.

I personally think all UK military personnel are heroes, and am very proud of him and think these things should be known, but of course I would not want him to do the wrong thing or for me to have made him look less than he is, do you know what I mean?

Any advice would be massively appreciated.



War Hero
Book Reviewer
To be honest, for most black tie shindigs, it will say on the invite that minatures may be worn. I've been on a cruise and seen people wear them but i didn't bother to be honest.

Why don't you get him to take them and if anyone else has them on, he can shove them on as well.


Lantern Swinger
Hi Wendy,

I have worn my miniatures to all kinds of functions including black tie functions and weddings etc. I think the general consensus is that there is very little guidance about them which is obviously different to the standard sized medals. I got asked at a wedding by a LT CDR why I was wearing them and told him that I was proud of them and if there was any reason why I shouldn't then I would take them off. He had no reply!


War Hero
Book Reviewer
You make a good point GS. If he's a civvy or at a civvy function, there's bugger all anyone can do anyway.


I'd say no, unless the invitation says to. The invite would usually say Evening Dress - Decorations or Dinner Jacket - Decorations or Black Tie - Miniatures. If it doesn't say this, then you're making a guess, which as others have said is not exactly the end of the world, but it's not proper either. There's no regulations for it, which is why you can't find a definitive answer!
Thank you so much for the brilliant repies, I feel totally sorted now. So glad I came to you guys!

Blackrat, really cool to know you've seen it about a lot like on cruises (I think you should wear yours, it's a really special thing and I bet you had to be superhuman to get them, you guys are so modest),

PotMess, thanks for stopping me going mad searching for a definitive answer that doesn't exist!

SJRM - that's a great point - the event is a big corporate Christmas black tie do (my company) and there is no way the organisers would know anything about this stuff.

Girthsmith - I absolutely love that you wear yours to formal events and I think your reply to the LTD CMDR was amazing. I've decided he should wear them, and I will rip that line off from you (with your permission) if any comments come our way..he or I an say his gf is proud of them!

Thanks all so much.


War Hero
SJRM_RN's suggestion certainly seems the most pragmatic to me.

I've worn miniatures to civilian black tie events, because, as a serviceman it is part of the black-tie outfit I wear.

When I leave the service, so far as I'm concerned, I don't rescind the right to wear my medals whenever the **** I like, if I feel it appropriate.


Lantern Swinger
As a civvy, make up your own protocol. Anyone questioning said wearing or otherwise, should be told to boil their head.


Lantern Swinger
I think the addage "Win em and wear em" is the best rule.

I worked for a cruise line after I left for a while and they positively encouraged it. I only ever received positive feedback about them apart from one septic who had been some sort of DoD guy in the states who was whinging that he deserved a Gulf gong more than people that went there.

I politely told him to do one.


As BR 3 is a Book of Reference for serving personnel, it does not apply to Veterans in any way shape or form. If you've got 'em flaunt 'em!


Lantern Swinger
As a civy I have worn my medals at various events. If ever it states formal or black tie out they come. (Miniatures)
Last cruise in the Queen Mary 2 they were proudly worn to each formal evening. Oppo managed to score us a dinner table with the skipper one night. I'm sure it's due to his military regalia ;) (mess undress) myself wore a regular tuxedo.

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