(Closed) Dress Code Breakdown

posted 4 years ago in Guests
Post # 16
Member
578 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: City, State

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sadieblue :  I’m wondering if this is a regional thing. Where I live, it’s standard to give a dress code guide, as people like to have a rough idea of what to wear. I’ve never heard any suggestion that this was rude or that people don’t know how to dress? I appreciate the inclusion of a dress code personally. If it’s normal for your area too, I’d suggest ‘cocktail’ which can have a reasonably broad interpretation anyway.

ETA: I’m not in North America. Where I live, expecting bridesmaids to buy their dresses = rude, including a dress code = not rude.

Post # 17
Member
8367 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

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sadieblue :  It has nothing to do with “traditional” or “non-traditional.” It has to do with trusting people’s judgement and not confusing them. You said yourself that your main concern is that they feel good about themselves. So let them wear what they want and don’t give them meaningless instructions that are only going to make them self-conscious: “Is peach ‘colorful’ enough? Or do I need to push it to tangerine?” Don’t do this. 

Post # 18
Member
2544 posts
Sugar bee

I agree with others that it’s not the norm/poor ettiquette to include dress code so some people might not take it well. BUT I did get a lot of questions from people about how to dress for my wedding so if it’s normal in your area then you’re probably fine. 

Will you have a wedding website? It may come across less fussy if you just include it somewhere on there. That way people will only find it if they’re really unsure. 

Also, if you do include it anywhere I wouldn’t be as specific as your suggestions.  ‘creative cocktail’ or ‘colorful semi-formal’ actually come across as more particular and directive – like they shouldn’t show up in a black dress or that they are expected to find something ‘creative’. Choose something as simple as possible so that it sounds more like you’re telling them not to worry so much about being formal, rather than dictating that they dress a certain way. 

Post # 19
Member
352 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2025 - City, State

If people ask for guidance, describe the vibe you’re going for just like you did to us.  There’s no need to put a label on it.  Besides, your own confusion about all the various and overlapping terms demonstrates just how unhelpful they are.  If you don’t know what they mean, your guests likely won’t either!

 

There shouldn’t be a dress code listed in the invitation suite unless the event is black tie or white tie or the venue has a dress code (e.g., women’s shoulders must be covered or no denim).  Guests will use the venue, time of day, and style of the invitation to infer what they should wear.  Anyone looking for more details can have a conversation with you.

Post # 20
Member
185 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2018

I personally don’t think there’s anything wrong with a dress code. I’m doing beach formal for my own just to help any guests if needed. I know the last wedding I attended did not have a dress code and I know many guests were checking with one another as to what people were wearing to be dressed appropriately. 

I came across two that you might want to consider. 

1) Creative cocktail. It would be just like a regular cocktail dress code but encourages creativity and color which could be a good fit if you have a lot of creative artsy guests. 

2) Garden party. This is less formal than cocktail but fancier than casual. It encourages bright color, pastes and floral patterns. Women would wear wedges or flats. For men it would be tie optional. 

I would explore dress code options on Pinterest. I have found it very helpful! Good luck bee! 

Post # 21
Member
6297 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

Unless it’s black tie, no dress code is needed on the invite. They should be able to determine what to wear based on the level of formality of your invitation, venue, and wedding time. 

Nothing is more irritating that seeing people make up dress codes. Things like “Beachy formal” and “Bright Garden Party” are not dress codes, they’re just confusing. 

 

Post # 22
Member
30388 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

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beachbride2018 :  The mere fact that you had to explain what those dress codes mean, is the precise reason why they shouldn’t be used. They aren’t helpful beause they can’t stand alone.

1) Creative cocktail. It would be just like a regular cocktail dress code but encourages creativity and color which could be a good fit if you have a lot of creative artsy guests. 

2) Garden party. This is less formal than cocktail but fancier than casual. It encourages bright color, pastes and floral patterns. Women would wear wedges or flats. For men it would be tie optional. 

Post # 23
Member
2544 posts
Sugar bee

“1) Creative cocktail. It would be just like a regular cocktail dress code but encourages creativity and color which could be a good fit if you have a lot of creative artsy guests. 

2) Garden party. This is less formal than cocktail but fancier than casual. It encourages bright color, pastes and floral patterns. Women would wear wedges or flats. For men it would be tie optional.”

I also think these are way too specific even if the title did explain them. The print, colours, and style  that they wear shouldn’t be dictated at all. The only thing that should (maybe) be communicated is the level of suggested formality so that the guests that care can feel comfortable. 

Post # 25
Member
30388 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

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sadieblue :   Bees are simply trying to help you not make a mistake. You said yourself you have only been to two weddings.

Perhaps you should look up the issue on accepted etiquette sites. You will see that the wording that several of us have used, is lifted right from the experts.

Post # 26
Member
1233 posts
Bumble bee

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julies1949 :  sorry but these are terrible suggestions. If I saw the first one especially, I’d cringe and then be super duper confused. 

 

And OP, you’re being very over sensitive. No one on here has been rude or condescending. You asked a question, people answered based on their knowledge and experience. That’s how most of the internet works…

 

your invite and venue will set the tone of the wedding. If I’m unsure, I’ll ask a mutual friend who is attending. If I don’t have a mutual friend, I’ll contact the bride directly. It’s the 21st century, I can shoot a bride a text and be like “hey! I’m confused about what to wear for your big day- are you going more for a maxi, printed dresses sort of vibe or something a little more formal?”. I’d rather do that than get some obscure two word attire code. 

 

ETa: meant to tag @beachbride2018 not Julie! My bad 

Post # 27
Member
290 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2018

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sadieblue :  I was invited to 2 work Christmas parties last year. (One was for my work, one was for my fiances) Neither one had a dress code mentioned on the invitation. For each I called the RSVP number listed and asked about a dress code. Both told me to “wear whatever I wanted and felt comfortable in”. Well, I wore jeans and a blouse to the first party (the one for my fiancé’s work) and EVERYONE was in a dress! I was the only woman not in a dress. 

So to my own work party I asked lots of co-workers what they were wearing. I finally decided on black dress pants and a blouse. And again, I felt underdressed. 70 or so people were wearing a dress and there were maybe 20 women who weren’t.  

So I agree OP, I like dress code guidance on an invitation!

(Also, both of these parties were in rented private rooms at restaurants in the evening. They were restaurants that you could wear jeans to and be fine. So the location and time of the events didn’t help me determine dress code at all!)

Post # 28
Member
30388 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

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dobby98 :  I agree that they are cringey, but they aren’t my suggestions. I was replying to a pp who suggested them. It wouldn’t make any sense at all for me to say that dress codes are rude and unnecessary, and then give those two suggestions.

Post # 29
Member
1233 posts
Bumble bee

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tiffy127 :  see for me personally, private room + evening = dress for sure! I would never consider wearing jeans to a big party being held in a rented hall in the evening… to me that’s a given. So I guess every region is different and some people do need specifics 🤷🏽‍♀️ Not trying to be condescending or anything like that to you @tiffy! It’s just showing me that we all think differently and that to some jeans have a wider acceptable range than others! Which of course is not the end of the world or anything negative, but as you said, being underdressed is awkward. In your case I would’ve hoped the hosts had been more specific over the phone instead of being to vague. 

Post # 30
Member
1233 posts
Bumble bee

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julies1949 :  tagged the wrong person 🤦🏻‍♀️ My bad! 

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