Post # 1
I’m the maid of honor for my twin sister’s wedding and I’m trying to figure out how to word her invitations.
Here’s the deal: she is having a rustic wedding in a barn with an outdoor ceremony. She wants men to wear jackets and ties and women to wear dresses–fancy but not super fancy.
Her fiance is Russian and a lot of guests are coming from Switzerland, so she is worried that American terms like “cocktail attire” won’t translate, and “formal attire” would give guests the impression that it is a much less casual wedding than it is. On the other hand, she feels uncomfortable micromanaging guests to say “men please wear a jacket and tie, women please wear a dress.”
Have people had experience coming up with wording for international/cross-cultural weddings? How to ensure that everyone understands the dress code?
Post # 2
I don’t think it is necessary to dictate what guests should wear. I tend to find guidelines for what to wear can be more confusing then letting people decide on their own (as adults are capable of doing).
That said, I think an outdoor ceremony and a rustic barn reception do NOT say fancy dress to me, so I think she should be prepared for more casual clothing.
Post # 3
what she wants is pretty typical wedding attire. There is no need to mention it on the invitation (if you must, you can put “cocktail attire” on the wedding website. They have google in Russia and Switzerland – if guests are confused, they’ll google it). The only time you should mention attire on an invite is if it’s black or white tie.
Post # 4
Thanks so much! I tend to agree with you both that people generally know what “wedding” means but I promised as Maid/Matron of Honor that I’d do some research.
Other posts on wedding bee and elsewhere say “cocktail attire” means jacket and tie, but she seems to think it means jacket but no tie. Thoughts?
Post # 5
So she wants people in the wedding to wear what people normally wear to a wedding? or does she want something more formal? I would say in general Swiss are very stylish and I’m quite sure their “normal” wedding guest suits are appropriate. Also dress codes are always confusing for everyone. For me cockail attire means suit with tie and jacket, but the colours are not dictated. But I’m sure we can all find an appropriate source to tell us our opinion is right.
I would possibly skip the dress code since it’s not out of the ordinary. But if wanting then I think “coctail” or “black tie optional” might be the way to go. Dress codes are internationally confusing so don’t worry about the swiss. Should worry about all the guests 😁
Post # 6
I wouldn’t write anything. It probably won’t translate well cross culturally. People will wear nice wedding clothes, and if there are a few who are more casual than she’d have liked, it’s not up to her anyway to decide what her guests will wear.
Post # 7
What she wants sounds just like a normal wedding so don’t mention anything about the dress code and most people will dress appropriately. Those that don’t would disregard a dress code anyway.
Why are you writing her invites?
Post # 8
Our wedding is also multicultural. My fiancé’s family is from Central America and speaks Spanish and my family is from Canada and speaks English. We live in my fiancé’s country so our wedding will be a bilingual more “Spanglish” style so everyone feels included, for this reason we are also making invitations that everyone can fully understand and feel included.
We are actually making two sets of inivations for that purpose of “things not translating” as you said you are worried about. We will make ones in Spanish for his family and an English version for mine. Something you could consider.
We also chose to do this for other reasons such as invitation/rsvp styles in the different counties. As in his country they don’t send things in the mail (because it’s non existent) we would not be asking his guests to send their rsvp back in the mail because this is vitually impossible lol however in Canada it is the norm. So the RSPV will be different in terms of language as well as formate, wording etc based on what is the normal in each country/culture.
Post # 9
People also take cues from the venue and the invitation. I think if you have a somewhat formal invite, indicate cocktail attire, and they see the venue then they’ll be fine. If ‘cocktail’ is confusing, there’s always google.
I definitely wouldn’t leave out ‘cocktail attire’ though. I’ve been to several rustic barn weddings and jacket and tie were definitely not the norm.