Wear the pantyhose. You'll be more comfortable. Why "sneeze and freeze" when you don't have to?
As far as the color of your pantyhose go, for quite a few years, “Nude” color pantyhose have been in. In addition, black pantyhose with the little black dress were WAY overplayed in 1990’s, so that again points to “Nude”.
However, take a look at your dress. Is it very dressy and super elegant? Put another way, would you wear it to the Oscars or a Nobel Prize ceremony? If the dress is really that fancy, I would forgo the normally hip Nude and go with a semi-sheer black or off black.
Pantyhose style/type: I’d skip the ultra-sheers, for despite their good looks, they are 100% nylon. You’re bound to get a run, even if you just turn your head to sneeze. They will also start to bag at the ankles and knees after a few trips to the ladies room, and perhaps most importantly, they will feel as scratchy as can be.
If you're a pantyhose newbie, a support pantyhose like L’eggs Sheer Energy might be a good choice for you. They're comfy and silky and the lycra helps them stay put. Avoid control-tops; they do wonders for the figure, but they are more difficult to put on and can be very uncomfortable for unaccustomed newcomers.
If the L'eggs Sheer Energy seem too opaque to you, you could maybe go with Hanes Silk Reflections, or Body by Victoria (Victoria’s Secret), or similar. These are more sheer (with less Lycra) than Sheer Energy, but still with enough Lycra for comfort, fit, and durability (more than ultra-sheers anyway). My ex-girlfriend was a Silk Reflections girl until I bought her several pair of Victoria’s Secret pantyhose. Once she tried them, she was a Body by Victoria woman from then on.
Finally, try on the pantyhose well before the special night. Make sure your hands, feet, and nails are all smoothed out and devoid of rough edges. Put a teensy bit of lotion on if you're still concerned. Get comfortable and carefully roll and gather up one leg of the pantyhose, so that your toes and toenails touch as little of the pantyhose leg as possible. Gently slide and glide the pantyhose up and over your foot, ankle and calf. Go up the leg as far as you can, and then repeat the process with the other leg. You might try closing your legs and putting the other leg as close as possbile to the first leg, to get ready for the stretch required to put the second leg into the gathered up pantyhose sheath. The heel of your second leg with have to be pulled up high, near the knee of the first leg.
When you have the second leg covered, slowly and gently pull up each leg until you reach the panty portion. Pull the pantyhose up the rest of the way over your hips to the waist. Slip your hands flatly underneath the waistband and into the panty portion to adjust the final position of the pantyhose. Examine your legs in a full length mirror and gently pull up and adjust as needed. If you're height and/or weight fall in between sizes on the size chart, it's always better to go up to the next larger size.
Good Luck, have a great dinner, and congratulaions!