Post # 1
So I actually had given no thought to putting any "attire requirement" language on my invitations. I am getting married in a garden in July and pretty much thought people were wise enough to make their own decisions. – no silk, floor lenghth dresses, but not jeans and a Tommy Bahama shirt either. My Future Mother-In-Law asked "So, what is the attire for the wedding?" and now I am freaked out! You dress nicely when you go to weddings, right… and a tad nicer if you are in the pictures? We are not having a traditional wedding party, so no matchy-matchy dresses or tuxes, but still… Do I need to say "Garden wedding attire" on the invite or something similar? I think it sounds silly. Is there anybody else in the same situation?
Post # 3
I always thought that you dress for a wedding, and that you figure out how formal from the time of day and the location. I have had several friends call about our wedding, because not only is it at 4:30 (sort of late afternoon, with the reception extending into the evening) but it is at our local country club (which could be formal attire but not necessarily). The clubhouse, like many, has a dress code that requires at least golf attire, meaning no jeans, no short shorts, collared shirts for men and either collared shirts or sleeves for the lades.
For an outdoor, afternoon wedding, I would wear a nice sundress and flats. I guess you could call that "garden party attire." As long as your invitations are reasonably formal looking but indicate that the wedding is outside, I think that people should be able to take a hint without an indication on the invitation or reception card. If your invitations look sort of picnic-y, people might have a little trouble.
I would tell your Future Mother-In-Law that you will be wearing a wedding dress, but that you expect guests to be dressed nicely but not formally. As the MOG, the only decision she really has to make is long or short, and for an outdoor wedding I would say short is probably the correct choice.
Post # 4
We’ve had the same question from several guests about our wedding which is going to be in a pasture surrounded by mountains. I think a garden wedding wouldn’t have created any difficulties for most of our guests, but somehow knowing it’s on a farm is creating lots of confusion especially when people found out the groom isn’t wearing a tux (he’s wearing a dark brown suit). I was having dreams about people showing up in jeans so I finally added an addition to our wedding website that says the attire is "outdoor semi-formal". I normally hate it when hosts put their own descriptors on attire descriptions but I couldn’t come up with anything else that really worked. I wanted people to know that they’re going to be walking through grass and that all events are outdoors (with a tent). I also mentioned that there might be a big temperature difference between the time our ceremony starts (5:00pm) and the time the reception will be over (11pm) since in the mountains that can sometimes be almost a twenty degree difference. I think if you’re really worried about it, you can either print it on the invitation or on an enclosure card or put it on your website. If you’re having a small wedding, word of mouth is probably also reliable.
Post # 5
Most people will show up appropriately dressed for a summer wedding, but there will be a few who just don’t know and have to ask.
I put "Summer Elegant Attire" on our invites, hoping that would be interpreted as slippy cute dresses, but nothing formal.
I also agree with the posters above to print your wedding web site info on the invite, and then you can be moree specific on your web site. Good luck!
Post # 6
I put "island formal" attire on our invite for our destination wedding, and people are now asking me what it means…so I put a jokey Dos and Don’ts in our newsletter with some pictures of appropriate clothing (ie. sundresses, summer suits, golf shirts etc) and not appropriate clothing (tuxedo t-shirt, borat swimsuit, wedding dress, etc)