Post # 1
Can you have a formal wedding, with formal invitations, at a formal venue, if you know with an almost Biblical certainty that most of your guests will show up in jeans?
My family is mostly blue-collar and includes a lot of farmers and cowboys. If I specify “Black Tie” they will not come–to most of them, “dressing up” consists of their best Wranglers, a plaid or pearl-snap shirt, and the cowboy boots they wear to church. The women mostly haven’t seen a formal dress since Prom or their own wedding.
I am 100% OK with this! I’d rather them all be there in clown suits if that’s what they want, then to invite saying Black Tie and get only a handful show up. That’s who they are, and it’s part of who I am. I want them to be able to wear whatever they feel most comfortable in, as long as it isn’t a long white dress or a Hooters tee. But is it weird to have a formal wedding if the guests will be dressed in a decidedly informal way? Is it impolite?
Post # 3
@EffieTrinket: I am having a more-on-the-formal-side wedding.. I am SURE someone (a few someones) will show up in jeans/nice shirt… Have YOUR day how YOU want it, and if they come dressed that way, it’s on them.. I would rather have comfort, and happy people 🙂
Post # 4
@hiroshymatetrastar: Oh, I don’t mind if they wear jeans. I fantasize about everyone showing up in tails and ballgowns with kid gloves, but yeah right. It’s more that I don’t want to commit a faux pas, or make anyone else feel like they’ve committed a faux pas. I just want to have a pretty wedding that people come to and are happy at. 😀
Post # 5
@EffieTrinket: sure, why not???? we stated on our party invite “attire: informal/business casual” so that people will be relaxed and have fun. We are having a church ceremony, formal invites, and only 5 of us are getting “dressed up” – me, my fiance, Best Man, Honor attendant, and the father of the bride!!
In fact, we know his son in law will show up in his best jeans and cowboy hat and we wouldn’t want it any other way!
Post # 6
I think that unless you hold your wedding at a highly formal venue (higher end country club or golf course) I don’t think attire will be a non-issue. If you have no problem with your guests’ clothes and they don’t either, everyone will just have a great time! I don’t think you need to worry 🙂
Post # 7
@EffieTrinket: Hmmm… this is a really interesting question! You’re being very thoughtful.
Could you talk to someone on that side, but try not to spill the beans as to why you’re talking to them? Maybe mention some of the venues that you’re looking at, etc and see how they react.
I consider weddings a formal occasion, so jeans, etc make no sense to me at all and would be rude. However, as a host you should try to make your guests comfortable. I could see how having a super formal venue, food, etc. might make those guests who are unused to that level of formality uncomfortable. Would they feel ridiculous at the venue being underdressed, even if 50 other people were wearing the same “level” of clothes. Woudl you have an issue if the servers and staff at the venue are “better” dressed then some of your guests?
I guess what I’m asking is this: would dressing inappropriately for a venue make your family feel bad? Only you know that answer.
Post # 8
If you invite my Jacobite gentleman friend to a formal event, he will show up in a kilt and Montrose doublet. That is his proper ethnic formalwear, and heaven help you if you suggest that a tail-coat would be more appropriate. My Brahmin lady friend will show up in a silk saree heavily laced with 24kt gold thread. That is her proper ethnic formalwear.
If you invite my rodeo-cowboy grandnephew Lysander, he will probably show up in his “good” jeans, formal boots (the ones that are never exposed to a horsestall), and even wear that silver buckle of his! “Cowboy” is not generally recognized as a legitimate ethnicity, but young Lysander goes to that level of extreme formality even less often than my brother Aloysius hauls out his dinner-jacket and black bow-tie. It is what Lysander would wear to greet the Queen: it is the most formal clothing he owns and completely acceptable in his admittedly non-urban culture.
There is nothing rude about having a festive party where everyone brings the best of their own culture to the table. It’s a small world nowadays, and we are all becoming more multicultural. Why should your cousins’ culture not be considered as legitimate as any other?
Post # 9
@aspasia475: I consider it legit, for sure. I’m all for everyone wearing what they want, and actually think it’s kind of cool. If I wasn’t, this question would have been “Where’s the best place to have a destination wedding?”
I was just wondering what sort of formality restrictions, if any, the anticipated guest attire puts on the wedding. I know that’s sort of backward of how many look at it (they decide how formal they want it to be and request the guests toe the line) but I want folks to be comfortable.
ETA: It sounds like you run with a very fascinating crowd! Sometimes I wish Oklahoma weren’t so homogenous. There are all sorts of interesting cultures in the world that I probably will just never have the opportunity to learn about, except on the internet.
Post # 10
There are no restriction, sweets. It’s YOUR wedding. I love the idea of everything being super pretty/formal and then having everybody be as comfortable as they want. That’s a great hostess, in my opinion, and you’ll likely get the ‘best wedding I’ve ever attended’ award numerous times from them. 🙂
Post # 11
@aspasia475: +1 Love this explaination (It was what I was going for)
Post # 12
If you’re ok with it and it’s not an issue for the venue, then it’s fine that your guests wear what they want!
Post # 13
@aspasia475: I love this response!
Quite a few of my family and his family members showed up in jeans, even though we had a fairly formal wedding. I don’t think they were uncomfortable at all, and I don’t think anyone really even noticed!
Have the kind of wedding you want, and if you don’t care what they wear, I don’t think they will be too bothered 🙂
Post # 15
How about instead of “black tie” you have a “cowboy formal” event? 😀
Post # 16
@Elvis: I don’t know how you came up with that term, but it’s genius! I might just use that!
Post # 17
We had someone show up to our formal wedding in jeans, a button down, and bow-tie. Honestly, we saw the gamut in terms of clothing. In my area khakis, a button down, sport coat (sometimes!), and topsiders is considered wedding attire. We had everything from that to people in suits.