"Guests" appalled at being told what to wear… period?

posted 3 years ago in Etiquette
  • poll: How much leeway do you as a bride have to dictate guest attire?
    It is never okay to suggest at ALL : (43 votes)
    5 %
    It is ok to suggest if very formal only : (108 votes)
    12 %
    It is ok to give a general suggestion on the invites or website : (261 votes)
    28 %
    It is ok to tell them exactly what to wear, down to colors if need be if it fits the day! : (13 votes)
    1 %
    As a guest I am offended if I am told what to wear at all : (25 votes)
    3 %
    As a guest I love knowing the overall general dress "code". : (265 votes)
    28 %
    I really don't care either way : (36 votes)
    4 %
    If I am told what to wear I will comply : (156 votes)
    17 %
    If I am told what to wear I would still wear what I want. : (28 votes)
    3 %
  • Post # 3
    11626 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: November 1999

    The bride can “gently suggest” – by saying “Cocktail attire” or “Black tie optional” or something without anyone getting mad – but her suggestion of saying “..or don’t come” is incredibly rude and offensive.

    Personally, I don’t like being told what to wear to a wedding because it seems to be that they think I can’t be adult enough to pick appropriate clothes.  I had no problems at my wedding with what people wore.  But, in the realm of etiquette faux pas, this is one that wouldn’t get under my skin for more than a moment.

    Post # 4
    5460 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: August 2012

    I don’t think anyone should tell other adults how to dress.  I do think it’s ok to have something like “Black Tie” or “Black Tie Optional” on the invitation.

    I understand that not every adult knows how to dress appropriately but if they show up to your fancy wedding looking like a hooker, then they will look ridiculous, not you… know what I mean?

    Post # 5
    3217 posts
    Sugar bee

    @Sunnyday278:  I also think part of the problem is that people try to host weddings outside of what their social group is ok with. Then get mad.

    For example people trying to host “black tie optional” when all their social circle has seen is backyard BBQs.

    Not that people can’t host a nice party, but guests who typically wear “nice jeans” to weddings aren’t going to go out and rent a tux.

    Also people try to cut costs by making their own invitations, which is often leads the invitation to be much more informal so guests dress less formally, then brides get mad.


    Post # 6
    2565 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: October 2014

    I was under the impression the only time you can require a dress code is if the venue requires it, or you are having a black tie or white tie wedding.  So putting “cocktail attire” is considered rude.

    I would never go to a wedding in anything less than a cocktail dress and FI in a suit.  It’s usually men that are underdressed at the weddings I have been to, and often it is teenage boys.  I have seen a couple people in jeans, tshirts, and sneakers at a wedding.  Does it ruin the day for the couple?  Of course not.  Did I side eye them because they were underdressed?  Of course, the adult men should know better.  And for the teenaged boys who were there looking like they put on whatever was the closest thing on the floor that morning, can’t believe their parents let them out like that.



    Post # 8
    9137 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper
    • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

    @Sunnyday278:  I agree.  A bride can recommend the style of clothing for guests to wear but ultimately the guests will wear whatever they choose.  Unless the venue itself has a dress code (i.e. country club or luxury venue), you can’t demand a specific attire.  Most of our guests have been asking what to wear so I direct them to a page on our website with suggestions but if they ultimately show up in jeans, there isn’t anything I can do about it (other than request that the photographer avoid taking photos of guests in jeans.)

    Post # 9
    11668 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: November 1999

    @Sunnyday278:  The only time you’re supposed to address attire is if it’s black tie.  You should always assume your guests know how to dress and can figure out from invitation and looking up venue what’s appropriate.  I’ve never been to a wedding where anyone was remotely inappropriately dressed, so I don’t really understand where all this concern comes from, but maybe it’s just a regional/social circle type of thing.  I wouldn’t really care if someone showed up to my black tie wedding in jeans because at the end of the day, they’re the one that looks out of place and will feel uncomfortable, not me.

    Post # 10
    802 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: August 2015 - Backyard Forest

    I think it’s totally acceptable. 

    I went to one this summer it said ‘formal attire requested’ – and the bride felt the same way as the girl in the letter… and you know what? everyone was totally dressed up and it was amazing!

    I went to my cousins wedding like 6 or 7 years ago and they requested people only wear black and white. I thought it was AMAZING and so cool – it was so much fun to shop for the wedding. The bride wore red, and the atmosphere was so cool… but people were PISSED about being told what to wear. EVerything looked wicked in the end, and most people have a black dress so it’s not like they were told to go buy a weird colour. 

    If people are that offended they don’t have to come, or they can just wear what they want and piss off the bride.

    Post # 11
    4139 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: August 2013

    I only ever got a wedding invitation with “cocktail attire” on it once. I don’t find it rude at all. Sometimes you don’t know how fancy something is going to be and personally I appreciate some direction so I don’t over or under dress. 

    Post # 12
    7230 posts
    Busy Beekeeper
    • Wedding: November 1999

    @andielovesj:  This, this, this.

    I really don’t get why a wedding will all of sudden changing who your circle of people are for a singular day. If I suggested a formal black tie affair I think my family would laugh at me and rightfully so. Suits and evening dresses are one thing, but tuxes and gowns??? That would be so pretenious of me. We just don’t roll like that 


    Post # 13
    10748 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: February 2014

    I think it’s 100% fine to put a dress code on the invitation. How the hell else are guests supposed to know? I’d hate to show up over/underdressed. 

    Post # 14
    1068 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: July 2014

    I appreciate it when a “suggested” level of formality is provided.  If you don’t have those clothes or don’t want to wear them, that’s fine, but it’s nice to know what kind of clothing is suited to the venue and the couple’s vision. 

    I also don’t really think that a less formal invitation or a less traditional wedding should mean that you must have a jeans and t-shirts event.  If a friend of mine wanted to host a black-tie BBQ and invite me with an evite, that sounds awesome (you had me at BBQ) and I’d come in a gown.

    Post # 15
    2070 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: November 2012 - Oak Tree Manor

    I can’t believe how bent out of shape people get over how wedding guests are dressed. They’re attending the wedding out of their love and support for the bride and groom – isn’t that what ultimately matters?! I’d rather my favorite people show up at our wedding in cut-off jean shorts, or some short little clubbing dress, than not come. A wedding isn’t a big dog-and-pony show, it’s about love and making a committment before loved ones.

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