How to tell guests to dress semi formally?

posted 3 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
Member
2546 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

cocktail attire

Post # 4
Member
5932 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2018

@engleman10513:  The time of day your event starts will dictate the attire.

Post # 6
Member
4576 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

 @Nona99: +1

 

@engleman10513:  What she^^ said. For a 4:30 ceremony in the summer, you may see guys in dockers and girls in sundresses.

ETA: as a guest, with a 6pm reception I would not think to dress in cocktail attire. We are attending a wedding this weekend with a ceremony at 6ish and reception around 8, so based on the time of day I knew her dress code hopes.

 

 

Post # 7
Member
5932 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2018

@engleman10513:  …well, if they’re the kind of people that don’t care, putting it on the invitation won’t do much good either.  I don’t think it matters anyway, if someone wants to go all “dress jeans” at a wedding and have everyone look at them sideways that is THEIR problem, not yours.

Post # 10
Member
435 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2013

On our website I linked a the restaurant website, included a picture, and mentioned that the restaurant was zagat rated and had won the wine spectator award for their wine list (but my guest lists consists of a ton of winos). I thought that was enough to give the guests a hint of how to dress.

Post # 13
Member
3249 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

@engleman10513: What do you mean by semi formal, and where do you live?

Post # 14
Member
1140 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

word of mouth? wedding website?

the people that show up in jeans have no class. let them get laughed at.

or have a bouncer tell them they cant come in? your call.

Post # 15
Member
3344 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2013 - Rhode Island

What does semi-formally mean?  If you want a formal wedding, then tell everyone you’re having a formal wedding and that the expected attire is cocktail.  Whatever you pick, be explicit.  Don’t say someting wishy-washy or confusing like “semi-formal” or “beach casual.”  No one knows what that means.  You usually put the attire on the wedding invitation in the bottom right corner and a blurb on the website to clarify.

Post # 16
Member
3249 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

“Cocktail” and “semi-formal” are ambiguous, and open to interpretation.  The correct term for our dress code is “lounge suit” but we knew that wouldn’t be understood by any of our guests, so we put “business suits/dresses” on the invitation as the dress code, because it can’t be misunderstood.

Semi-formal after 6 pm can mean black tie, or suits, depending on whether using the old or the new definitions.  Before 6 pm it’s a stroller, or a suit, depending on old or new. When it straddles the line there are four different versions that are correct, that people who know the rules and follow etiquette might interpret to be what you want.

Now, when we come to the colloquial use, many people tend to think “formal” means suits, so “semi-formal” would suggest below a suit.  Some people, however, think formal means only a collared shirt, and slacks, so semi-formal could be khakis and a polo.

Cocktail attire has no true definition, and so it isn’t advisable, especially when you already have a group of people that aren’t likely to know, or to care.

Whatever it is you want people to wear, be clear and explicit in the dress code in the bottom right corner of the invitation.  Also put it up on the wedding website in greater detail – we linked to some pinterest boards for people to get inspiration for attire that will go with our theme.

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