Post # 1
Okay. So I know many posters have written similar posts asking similar questions, but I couldn’t find one that mimicked my situation, so I’d still like some help.
Our wedding is from 5pm-11pm on a Saturday night, in the ballroom of a nice boutique hotel in Palo Alto, California. The groom and groomsmen are wearing tuxes, but with regular, long ties instead of bow ties. Because my groom has chosen to wear a tux, the dads and our officiant (my uncle) will also wear tuxes, although I’m not yet sure what kind of ties they will choose.
We originally weren’t going to have a dress code note on the invitations, but the more I think about it, the more I think it’s a bit of a disconnect for the male guests to show up in anything less formal than a suit, what with all the aforementioned men in tuxes. Or, maybe because they’re not wearing bow ties with their tuxes, it wouldn’t matter, since tuxes without bow ties really just look like very fancy black suits? I want the female guests to feel comfortable in shorter cocktail dresses (and not feel like they have to wear long gowns), but I don’t want anyone showing up dressed super casual. Or, maybe this situation requires standard guest wedding attire, and a notation on the invite is therefore unnecessary.
It’s enough to make my head spin! So my questions are: based on my situation, do you think I need to put an attire code on the invitations? If so, do you think Semi-Formal or Black Tie Optional is more appropriate? Please help!
Post # 3
- Wedding: January 2011 - Vintage Villas
Well, in most weddings that I’ve been to, the groom and groomsmen were wearing tuxes. It seems to be less common for them to wear suits. I would think that your guests will assume that they will be in tuxes and will dress accordingly. Unless you specifically want your guests to dress up, I would skip putting anything on the invitation, or if you want to include something about a dress code, put it on the website instead.
Post # 4
@cardigan: I think this might be a regional difference. In California I think it’s actually becoming less common for grooms and groomsmen to wear tuxes. But regardless, your advice is great — skipping it would certainly be going with my instinct!
Post # 5
My wedding was exactly the same as yours: 5:00pm – 11:00pm in a fancy ballroom at a botique hotel. And our groomsmen were in tux’s along with our fathers. I also watned male guests to be in suits and female guests to wear cocktail dresses.
We actually opted not to put a dress code on teh invitation. We figured that most people would figure since it’s a fancy invitation and the location was fancy and it’s an evening wedding that they should ‘dress up’. And if you don’t write black tie optional, then no one will wonder if they should wear a tux. And I think that doing a dress code in our situation would have been bossy instead of informative.
On our website, we put semi-formal as the dresscode for people who really needed that information. And some people did ask us if a light suit was OK to which we said “of course!” but most guests just showed up dressed in cocktail attire which was perfect.
Post # 6
I think you should say black tie optional, but for regional reasons. California, especially NorCal, is SOOOO casual. People wear jeans and a jacket to $100 plate restaurants out here. Granted, the jeans are often a couple hundred bucks, but still.
If you put black tie optional, you’ll at least get your guests to wear semi-formal attire. At the least, you should avoid the jeans, open collar button down and a blazer look. I can’t imagine a Californian woman wearing a beaded floor length gown to anything but the fanciest event.
Post # 7
I think you definitely need to state how you want people to dress. It’s nice to assume that people will dress up but that really depends on your crowd.
You don’t necessarily need to put it on the invitations, but I think the wedding website is a good place for that kind of info. If you have an insert with extra info in your invite, it could go there too.
As for black tie optional–only put that there if you would like it if some guests wore tuxes. People don’t read the optional in that statement a lot and will think that you would prefer them to wear tuxes and suits if they can’t do that. I would think it best to put semi-formal if you’d like them in suits and cocktail dresses. If you want, you can explain that further.
We’ve gotten more quesitons about attire than anything else, so I think it best to try to give as much information up front. My fiance’s grandmother wanted to know what color my mom is wearing (I don’t know yet!) and one whole side of his family basically told us that they didn’t own suits and if they had to wear them, they wouldn’t come to the wedding. 🙁
Post # 8
The one thing that I was going to mention as a variable has been said already. I think you need to weigh in the trends where you are, adn with the guests you are inviting. Hopefully you’ve been to some weddings in the area to draw from.
In my circle a wedding like yours is pretty standard. It’s the kind of wedding I had. Tuxes for the Groomsmen are typical and guests just know to wear the kind of attire you’ve described. I would also think, given that the time of day and location of the reception will be, they’d get a big clue as to how to dress. However, since I don’t really know CA, I’m not sure how fair it is to assume your guests would just know what I took for granted with my guests.
Post # 9
I toyed with the idea of black tie optional but when I mentioned it to my BMs they thought it was too much and felt men would feel like they need to rent tuxes. We ended up not addressing the issue on the invites at all. It’s a church wedding with a relatively small guest list so I am trusting my guests to make their own dressing decisions. I only worry because the mass is at 1 and the reception is ocean side but I want people to dress up so I’m kind of spreading the word verbally that the Bridal Party and dads will be in tuxes.
Post # 10
your wedding is similar to mine. guys in long tie tuxes, and dinner/cocktails start at 5 – i want my guests in at least cocktail attire, but black tie is good too.
so my invites say black tie optional. basically asking nothing less formal than a nice suit or dressy cocktail dress type of attire.
i think its needed if it isnt obvious by your locale or time of day. if you have Out of Town guests it might help to have it on there.
Post # 11
It’s considered rude to mention attire on the invites. You can mention it by word of mouth. Weddings are semi-formal by default and most people are aware of this. If you want anything more formal, then spread the info via word of mouth but be aware that not everyone may have the funds to go out and buy a new formal outfit that they may never wear again.
Post # 12
@Ember78: no its not? even very formal weddings always have in the bottom corner “black tie”
its standard on most invites of the more formal nature.
Post # 13
ember78 isn’t totally wrong here. with strictest etiquette, you wouldn’t include attire on the invitation. you may include it on a separate card, if the venue requires certain dress code. HOWEVER, most brides don’t follow these rules, and you’ll see even the most formal of invitation with “black tie” in a smaller type in the bottom right corner of the invitation. while i don’t necesarily think it’s rude to supply your guests with this information, putting it directly on the invitation is not following the most formal etiquette.
Post # 14
I would suggest using Black Tie Optional and putting it on either the invite or a reception card if you have one. We are doing Black Tie Optional and putting it on the invite since our ceremony and reception are the same location.
I have to disagree with some PPs here. I think guests appreciate as much information as possible, especially regarding attire. If you are having several wedding events leading up to the big day, I am sure guests would want to know which is casual, dressy casual, and semi-formal. It may be regional/cultural though like other posters stated. FI is British, and all of the weddings we’ve been invited to in England ALL have said Black Tie directly on the invite. If both Martha Stewart and Mindy Weiss approve putting dress code on the invite (Weiss in her book), then I have no issues including it on mine 🙂
A sidenote: Our engagement party is this weekend, and I’ve had lots of guests contacting me and my parents regarding dress code (was not noted on the invite). It’s being held at a country club, so you would think it’s somewhat obvious it’s not casual, but people are still concerned enough to ask.
Post # 15
I voted for semi-formal, only because your party isn’t wearing the traditional tuxes and the ladies aren’t wearing floor length gowns. If you are worried that people will not get the message, you can put a section on your wedding website with more information. As a guest, I always take the cue from how formal the invites are. If there’s any question, they’ll ask! 🙂
Post # 16
I stated on my invitation about the dress code. I am having a pretty casual wedding however I think it is rude to show up to someones wedding in jeans or shorts. My Fiance has an uncle who so far to every wedding has worn jean shorts no matter how fancy the wedding is. So since my reception is pretty casual I put on the invites for guests to bring something more comfortable for the reception to change into. Hopefully that made it clear that jeans are not to be worn to the ceremony the reception I don’t really care about.