Thursday, March 26, 2009

Wedding Q&A Thursday: Guest Dress Code

Q: Is this week's Wedding Q&A Thursday a little bit different? (you, the reader are asking this, right?)

A: Yes, wise reader, it is. No specific question is being answered this week, but I'm using a post from a former blog to give guidance on an issue similar to something about which I've talked to a few brides recently - guest attire. Brides who want to request black tie often feel pangs of guilt in asking for it, and need reassurance. Generally these are destination brides, as people from Savannah customarily wear black tie to weddings after's more or less understood. I will say quickly, on that basic subject, do not feel bad about putting "Black tie optional" on your invitations if that is what you want. People may not go out and rent a tux if they think that it's too much, but it will guide them in the more formal direction that you desire.

To go further on the subject, here is a post on requesting even more specific attire for guests:

Guest Dress Code

I coordinated a wedding last weekend for which I did not know, until seeing the invitation, there was "Requested Wedding Attire" for the guests. I was not brought on to coordinate until the week before, just so you do not think I am the most oblivious wedding planner alive... It's hard to read the invitation wording above, so I will translate. It is requested that ladies wear black evening gowns or cocktail length, a black dress. It is requested that gentlemen wear black tuxedos and bow ties.

Everyone looked very nice and appropriate for a black tie affair. With a color like black being requested, I don't know if I would have even noticed the uniform palette with so many other things going on. But the request, for me, begged the question of whether or not it is appropriate to request that guests wear very specific attire.

I think it's a neat idea and could really add to the spirit and look of certain events. Really inventive wardrobe requests could foster quick camaraderie in a large group of guests who aren't familiar with each other, and could make guests feel like they are part of your wedding instead of pure observers. Is it something that should be arbitrarily requested for fear that your guests will clash with your chosen color palette for the evening? Definitely, not. But I think it's appropriate, in special cases, to request that your guests dress the part. It is only a request, after all.

This train of thought led me to seek out this Real Wedding that was featured in Martha Stewart Weddings way back when I was planning my own wedding, and I have remembered since. I could only find pictures online, but I clearly recall the detailed write-up mentioning that guests were asked to wear brightly-colored, vintage-looking clothes. The other decor at the wedding was minimal, so the guests, in some sense, became the decor.

Have you planned or been a guest at a wedding where guests were asked to dress in specific attire?

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