Not formal, but not casual?

posted 3 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 4
Member
5199 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

I think the wording your looking for is semi-formal or (my preference) cocktail attire.  That pretty much means suits and cocktail dresses.

If your trying to go a layer below that (informal backyard wedding or the like) I’d try using “dressy casual.”  

My wedding was at a beach and I told people “beach chic” which was totally confusing to pretty much anyone who felt the need to ask about the dress code.  (To me it’s pretty obviously what’s appropriate to wear to a beach wedding, but I guess that’s not the case for all!)

Post # 5
Member
2527 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2014 - Italian Villa

Cocktail attire. People know that means to dress smart, but not over the top. 

Though technically you shouldn’t be advising people what to wear- your venue and time of day should be enough indication (though I am learning myself that this isn’t the case). 

Post # 6
Member
102 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

Our wedding is at the country club- but outside in a tent…we specified Garden Attire (dressy casual although we have gotten some funny comments about the request 🙂

Post # 7
Member
2649 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

@lexmek27:  Why do you feel you need to specify attire? If its not black tie, people will still dress nicely – it is a wedding after all. Plus, it’s rude to tell your guests how to dress.

Post # 8
Member
1068 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

I’d say “smart casual,” if you were going to say anything (no jeans, basically?), but people won’t show up in jeans if you don’t say anything.

Post # 9
Member
3249 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

@lexmek27:  

Semi-formal, under the older standards means a Tuxedo in the evening, or a stroller during the day.  Under newer standards, it means a suit.

The term for what you’re after, etiquettewise, is “Smart Casual.”  I would put “Smart Casual/Business Casual” on the invitations.  Those that are familiar with etiquette will understand the first part, and those that are not will understand the second part.

We wanted “Lounge Suit” but since most people wouldn’t know what it meant, we decided to make it more clear by putting “Business Suits/Dresses” on our invitations.  The only risk of saying “Business Casual” is that some ladies may think they are supposed to wear a smart suit, and be afraid to wear a nice dress.  However, a great place to clarify that, is on your wedding website.

Post # 10
Member
3249 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

@Zhabeego:  It is correct etiquette to include the appropriate attire on the bottom right corner of the invitation.  For example, the wedding of HRH Prince William said:

Uniform, Morning coat, or Lounge Suit

Post # 11
Member
46 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: September 2013

I’m totally there with you.  I’m having my wedding on the lawn of a historic park with the reception in the park’s rose garden.  I think I had wanted a formal wedding, but by default of it being an outdoor wedding, and since we decided against tuxes, it’s turning out to be more casual.  Which is fine, I just cringe at the thought of someone wearing jeans to my wedding.  That probably seems a little “bridezilla” to some, but for me, guests dressing up is a sign of respect and celebration.  Coming in jeans means your wife or girlfriend is probably dragging you there (and has one hand on you at all times so you don’t bolt).  And honestly, my FI and I have some family and friends who, if they even attend, will probably be in jeans.  Oh well.

Post # 12
Hostess
7630 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2013

If you can’t think of the word to grasp the concept, others probably won’t be able to either. I would just let people decide on their own or at the most put “cocktail attire.” 

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

@gingerkitten:  @gingerkitten:  Newer terms like “Cocktail Attire” are very ambiguous, and do not actually have any firm rules at all, so they do not provide any particular information to the guests – this is why specific dress codes with specific rules exist.

 @lexmek27:  Be prepared for the fact that some guests do not care what your dress code states.  Encourage, but do not enforce.

Post # 14
Member
2527 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2014 - Italian Villa

@Duncan:  perhaps to those in the UK it doesn’t have meaning,  but everyone in the US knows it means suits (or slacks and a blazer) and cocktail dresses. I suppose it could depend on the crowd in question,  but it was merely a suggestion. 

Post # 15
Member
27 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: September 2013

I said ‘casual-cocktail’ on our wedding website, rather than the invite. I was worried that would confuse people but everyone seems to understand!

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