Wedding Attire Decoded

You have been told that you should send your wedding invitations out three months in advance of the wedding. You know that you need to include all the important details: wedding date, location of the ceremony and reception, the times that each part of the day will take place. One thing that most invitations overlook is the dress code. Do you need one? Depending on the geographical location of your wedding or the local venue that it will take place in, the answer may be ‘yes’.

Destination Wedding
Not all weddings need to specify their dress code. However, if you are hosting your nuptials in a tropical location, it might be a good idea. Your guests who are travelling to your destination with you may not be aware of the local attire for a wedding. For example, if your wedding was in Hawaii, how would you want your guests to dress? The humidity is also something to take into consideration. After all, you don’t want your friends and family to sweat to death in the wool suits that they would wear to a typical Saskatchewan wedding. Instead you could add ‘aloha casual’ to the invite to indicate that beach wear (button down shirts with khaki shorts and cute sun dresses) are acceptable.

Backyard Wedding
Lots of intimate weddings are hosting their reception on-location at either a family farm or even their own backyard in their town/city. Most guests will arrive in more casual dress. The one thing that you hope people will avoid is showing up in jeans or cut-offs. It is still a wedding after all. Here you could state ‘casual’ on the invite.

Hotel Wedding
Since a hotel location is quite typical for a wedding, your guests should be gravitating towards suits and cocktail dresses. Stating ‘business casual’ or ‘semi-formal’ on the invitation is not a bad idea. It sets the scene for what everyone will expect for the evening and how to dress for it.

Art Gallery Wedding
When you are choosing your reception location, you may already have a picture in your mind of how everything will come together in the space, from the decor to the food. Often you will also see your guests all dressed up in this vision too. If you are considering an upscale venue like a museum or art gallery, you are going for more of a ‘black tie’ event and that should be stated to your guests.

One last reason to include a dress code is to let the vendors that you hired know your expectation of dress while they work at your wedding. You always want your vendors to blend in with your guests and not stick out as ‘the help.’ Giving them a heads-up is always appreciated.

In short, if you are not sure that your guests are going to arrive in the type of dress that best suits the vision for your wedding, include it on the invitation. You would rather tell people what they are already thinking than have them show up and feel uncomfortable, wishing they’d known what to wear.


Photo Credit: Lauren Winter Photography

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