Bopper, lowspark is correct: "b'nei mitzvah" is the plural of bar/bat mitzvah. This happens to be a party for twins.
You might have thought it harsh - but I think the message is pretty clear. If a host/ess doesn't want guests wearing jeans to an event, he/she has to find a way to communicate it. "Smart casual" doesn't necessarily do it - many people might figure chinos to be on the same level as denim.
I do agree that I don't like the "no ties" since there are indeed men who feel that they have to wear a tie almost anywhere other than a trip to the hardware store, and it's really not going to detract from the event if there are a couple of guys wearing ties. Jeans are different, however. There's no denying that there is increased informality in our culture these days, and sometimes it's necessary to spell-out what is and is not acceptable.
I'm sorry, I guess I wasn't clear -- I didn't mean that I found the invitation wording harsh. I thought that "Dandy Andy's Daddy's Love's" (say that 5 times fast) post was harsh.
This is one of the rare occasions where I disagree with you, Karen! Regarding the bolded part, I mean.
See, I can certainly understand hosts not wanting people to wear jeans. I can also understand them not wanting them to wear lots of other things, to be late, to refuse to dance, to drink too much, and a lot of other faux pas. Where I differ from you and several other posters is the extent to which they can go to prevent guests' mistakes. I just don't think you can take it upon yourself to try to educate your guests about what is appropriate to wear when the invitation states "casual." The relative formality and nature of the type of event, the invitation, and the venue give them more clues. If that's not enough, then go with "dressy casual" or "business casual" and hope for the best. That's why - to me -- the question isn't "how do you politely specify that you don't want people to wear jeans or ties?" but "is it polite to specify that people not wear jeans or ties?" Not how, but whether at all.
Peaches made such a good point about negative versus positive wording. Take the analogy of timeliness. Of course guests are rude if they are late for, say, a wedding, and the hosts aren't being silly wanting everyone to be on time for the ceremony. But not everyone knows that, and, more important (and less insulting to the guests' manners), in some cultures, the wedding doesn't start until WELL after the invitation time. (My parents once showed up promptly for a Cuban-Jewish wedding in Miami. The family and attendants were still in bathrobes and curlers, and none of the other guests showed up for well over an hour!) But in our community, the wedding ceremony starts EXACTLY on time. So let's say it's a situation like that -- the ceremony is going to start on time, but you have several guests who come from communities where that's uncommon. In such a case, I would think that a notation "ceremony at 7:00 promptly," not "no latecomers" or "be on time." I can't really think of a positive way to phrase "no jeans or ties" -- to me, "casual" would have done it for jeans at a party in this venue, but I can't think of how for ties. Maybe "ties not required" (I'm assuming that's what they meant; "no ties allowed" would not, in my opinion, be okay to specify in the first place.)
You know what? Maybe it's not so much a question of positive versus negative as language describing what the hosts are doing (hosting a casual party, starting on time) as opposed to trying to tell the guests to do (dressing appropriately for a casual party, showing up on time)? I think that might be a good guideline to keep in mind.
Kind of reminds me of the strings about bridal registries and the way they are communicated. You know, the continuum that ranges from an attitude of "Since you have asked, here are the patterns we have chosen and a few other items we like" to one of "here is our registry info; you owe us a gift, and only cash or an item we have selected for ourselves will be acceptable"! It's not just the crassness and greediness that's wrong with the latter -- it's the trying to exert too much control over the guests' performance of their duty to send a gift, when in fact gifts are always the choice of the giver, registry or no registry.