Post # 1
I need some suggestions about how to make my wedding less formal/more relaxed, bees! Here’s some background, sorry if it’s a bit long-winded.
I always imagined my wedding to be a small-ish laidback affair. I didn’t necessarily want people to show up in sweats, but I didn’t picture the sort of event where everyone wears suits and ties either. The whole formal thing is nice, but just not really “me.”
FI has a large family and large group of family friends. Most of them are professionals… definitely more the suit and tie set. I think there are probably only 1-2 people in my family that even own ties 🙂 We accepted money from FI’s parents, and the wedding has quickly turned into a 175+ guests (of these about 30 are from my side). I understand that money comes with strings, and my FI really wanted to be able to invite all these people… so I’m compromising on the number.
Our wedding venue can sort of go either way in terms of formality. The reception grounds are massive, with golf course-like rolling hills, on the bay. The cocktail hour is in an old mansion on the grounds and the reception is under a tent with a brick floor. The ceremony would either be outside under a big tree, or inside if it rains. The wedding will be Sunday evening at 4 or 5.
I am grateful beyond words for FI’s parents’ contribution. But I feel like this is turning into a big party/family reunion and isn’t really about me . . . especially b/c I’ll only have 30 or so people on my “side.”
So, I’m trying to salvage part of my original idea of having an informal or semi-formal wedding, but don’t know how to do that. Can I somehow get this across in an invitation? Is there anything else I can do?
Post # 3
The invitations and website will be your first step to let guests know that it’s not a suit and tie networking luncheon or something. Choose an invitation suite that sets the tone that you’re looking for and it’ll translate to guests.
Post # 4
I think you could start setting the tone with your invitations. Maybe try to skip the formal “Mr & Mrs John and Jane Doe invite you to the wedding of their daughter Angela 83…..” and do more of a “Together with our families” or something like this:
I would put something like “Dinner, drinks and general merriment to follow” or something light and sparkly like that to keep the tone upbeat.
For your actual venue, pick flowers that are more casual. So many bunches of wildflowers or sunflowers. Don’t get big heavy centrepieces full of roses, etc. You may want to consider putting out boardgames and things like that for people to play (I found a bunch of wooden puzzles, etc at Value Village that I’m putting out). Maybe see if you could do a BBQ style or buffet meal rather than a formal sit down with the “traditional” meal choices.
Post # 5
I found a basket at Michaels that was in our wedding color, had a liner, and on the front said “RELAX”. I hand tied together with ribbon about 15 pairs of flip flops (for a wedding with 150 guests). Everyone (even those in suits) grabbed a pair and wore them. I wish I had bought more because people were asking for them.
My FIL changed out of his suit and into jeans for the reception. It was not a big deal at all. He was more comfortable and actually stayed the entire time (which was a big surprise).
I wouldn’t really worry about it being “about you”. Ours turned into the same kind of thing and it wasn’t a big deal at all. At the actual wedding you will be so busy and distracted you wont care all those extra people are there having a “reuinion” Everyone knows you are the bride and its about you and your FI getting married.
Post # 6
I think the earlier in the afternoon the more relaxed it might be, people tend to get more gussied up for evening affairs. Also, def no black tie.
This might be a bad idea…..but I have been to a wedding where they had drinks for 1/2 hour or so before the wedding started and well drinks help people relax.
Music is another thing that people will get cues from
And I agree with the others about invites and the website being cues as well.
Post # 7
Do you think I should put “no black tie” or “jacket not required” on the invites? I usually don’t like telling people what to wear…
Post # 8
I agree with the previous posts in regards to invitations. Also, how about music. I started to feel that my wedding was getting way to formal so I hired a Caribbean steel drum band for cocktail hour and am having past mojitos. I thought this would add a little relaxed summer feel.
Post # 9
I think instead of saying “no ____” it has a negative tone to it, so how about “Flip flops encouraged” or almost having a sort of “theme” like hawaiian shirts or beach hats or something like that? I would try to put your informal dress code in a positive tone.
Post # 10
I think when people see the location, they will dress themselves accordingly. If they are mostly suit and tie people,that’s what they’ll wear. Once there,they may loosen up a little and remove their jackets and ties,but it IS a wedding afterall. I’m not sure if you’d be happy if people showed up in outfits they’d wear to a sporting event or shopping at the mall either.
Each of my daughter’s had completely different wedding venues,and still people asked what others were wearing. I thought the one, at a Sheraton ballroom would have suggested attire to them,but evidently not. Invites were kind of middle of the road in terms of design and style, but we still had a few ask if a sundress and flipflops would be OK to wear. Huh? Because it was in late June you don’t know what to wear to a wedding?
We expected questions for the other wedding being held at a yacht club at the beach, but no one came dressed extrememly casually, except for one woman who wore long shorts and a shirt. Jackets & ties on all but one or two men and dresses on all the women save the one.
You can try to convey what it will be like (or how you want it to be) but people see a wedding invitation and usually know its an ‘event’. Other than word of mouth about it,they won’t really know how informal it will be until they arrive. If that’s what you want,I guess your best bet will be to spread the word through family and friends.