(Closed) Putting proper attire in the invitations?

posted 5 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 4
11356 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

@s2bmrscook:  It’s actually not  considered to be perfectly fine to put “adults only,” although many people do choose to do that.

Regarding your question, I’ve seen advice to the contrary since I’ve been a member of the Hive; however, the etiquette experts with whom I consulted when developing the wording for my own formal, engraved invitations advised me to use “Black Tie Optional,” which I did.

Post # 5
565 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013 - Pavilion at Rocky Neck State Park

Honestly, I have no idea how to even put that into an invitation. However, you are not a bridezilla. I have the same problem with my Father-In-Law. So trust me when I say, you are not a bridezilla for wanting people to look nice when they attend your wedding. Now if a bride were to throw a temper tantrum because of it, then they’d be a bridezilla. 

Post # 6
404 posts
Helper bee

I think you can’t tell people how to dress, but you can tell them the theme and feel so they get the idea of what would be appropriate.

Post # 7
524 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2013 - Callanwolde Fine Arts Center

I completely forgot to add a line about attire on our invitations and I have had a bunch of people ask me about it. Most people want to be dressed appropriately for an event, so including a line about the correct attire would be helpful.

Post # 8
1846 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

I just wanted to say, that while it may sounds nuts to some people, I totally get where you’re coming from. The last wedding I was at looked like a a circus sideshow, the way some of the guests were dressed. (this was an outdoor wedding, during the day, but still!) my aunts Husband worn bright blue track pants, and a green stained/dirty t shirt with holes in the armpit. To a wedding!! 


We aren’t telling anyone how to dress, but since our wedding has a theme (1940’s/old hollywood) my Fiance is making cute little cards to stick in the invite package to let people know they are welcome to dress in the time period if they want. 


Its a tricky one tho. I’d put black tie optional or some such Thing.

Post # 12
209 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

I’ve read that traditionally you shouldn’t write “adults only” or tell people what to wear, but times have changed and it’s becoming much more common to tell people how they are to present themselves at your wedding.

Putting “Formal” or “Cocktail” attire is acceptable now, and it’s recommended that this instruction go on the response card only.  I would avoid using “optional” because that could be confusing for some guests. 

Word of mouth is also a good way to spread the word (if you don’t want to put it on your invitation), but make sure those spreading the word understand what you want people to wear.

Quick Story: We were invited to a wedding that requested we dress in “beach formal”, what exactly does that mean??? No one really knew, all we did know was that the wedding was on a beach and the ceremony was at a community centre, so all we could do was guess. Well, the groom was wearing a tux with tails, and the bride had on a beautiful ball gown. I wore a summer dress and my FH wore beige dress pants and a dress shirt. Not sure if it was correct, but they had people in full formal ball gowns and people in shorts.

Post # 13
2968 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

we put “cocktail attire requested” on the bottom of our reception card. and on our website we went into a little more detail- we asked that the t-shirts, sneakers, and baseball caps be left at home.

we still had people show up like they were going to a barbecue :/

what was worse was seeing what some girls wore to our catholic ceremony- mini skirts, strapless dresses…i was mortified. i should have encouraged more modesty for the ceremony on our website.

i don’t think asking your guests to dress appropriately is bridezilla behavior. i totally understand. i was raised to always dress appropriately, whether it was for church, school, dinner, or whatever. unfortunately, some people don’t know any better even when it’s been spelled out for them mulitple times :/

Post # 14
9550 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

I think it is perfectly fine to put “Black tie optional” on the invitation. And put it on the website. And use word of mouth to let people know it’s a formal event. Having very formal invitations will also help.

All that being said. It is very likely that someone will show up in attire of which you do not approve. I think you need to be prepared for that and act graciously. I’m not saying it won’t be their fault. But it’s really really really not worth getting upset on your wedding day because somebody wore jeans. I’m not saying this because I think they should be able to wear what they want. I’m saying this because I want you to enjoy your wedding day and not freak out if someone is in jeans. So do what you can to let people know it’s a formal event. But on wedding day, don’t be scouring the crowd checking people’s attire.

Post # 16
625 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

Since our reception will be outside, cookout style and will include a softball came, I put that they can either wear casual attire OR bring a change of clothes if they want to participate in the game. I figure it will be hot (August) and fairly small, so I didn’t want people putting on their best suit to come sweat with us at my wedding, lol.

My point is, I want them to know what the setting was and what was appropriate. I don’t feel that you are telling them what to wear, you are just telling them what kind of occasion it is. I also think if you don’t put it, you will probably get people calling you asking, anyway.

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