Agonizing over a dress code for your big day? Not sure how to tell your guests about your wedding wardrobe vision without looking like a Bridezilla? Check out this advice from Kristi Charter from Giant Invitations.
Many brides and grooms are often torn about whether to mention a dress code on their wedding invitations. Some brides feel that it may be viewed as controlling or pushy… however, your guests will more often than not be grateful that you’ve taken the guessing game out of it. When you choose to leave out a dress code, your guests are left to decipher your invitation to decide what attire will be most appropriate. No one wants to be under-dressed at a wedding, yet no one wants to be over-dressed either… and it can be a very fine line if there is no clear direction for your guests to follow.
The design of your invitation conveys a lot of information to your guests, and will set your guests’ expectations for your wedding. This includes how to dress, so it is important that if you are not going to add a dress code to ensure you select an invitation that truly reflects the style and theme of your wedding.
The techniques employed in the design of your invitation can also communicate the formality of your occasion. Embossing and calligraphy indicate a formal wedding, while some forms of digital printing can denote a more relaxed and informal wedding style.
If you choose to leave out a dress code, indicators such as your wedding ceremony location and your reception venue will be used by your guests to determine how they should dress. However, it can be difficult for guests to decide how to dress if your ceremony and venue locations differ in theme. For example, if your ceremony is held at a traditional church in the city and then your reception is held at a venue on the beach, there can be cause for confusion.
While you may think stating a dress code is unnecessary if your venues have a consistent theme – like a shorefront ceremony and beachside restaurant – you also have to consider that some of your guests may not have attended a beach wedding before, and may not know the norms for dressing for that style of event. Including a dress code may save you from constant phone calls, emails or text messages from guests who are unsure and are seeking some clarity off you for how to dress.
If appearing too controlling or overbearing is of concern to you, you can choose to be less specific in the dress code information you provide, allowing your guests the freedom to decide something to wear within a less specific range. An example of this is using the term ‘semi-formal’ or ‘formal’ rather than stating specifically ‘black tie’ or ‘cocktail’ attire. If you wish for your guests to dress black tie, but don’t want to come across as domineering, attach the word ‘optional’ to the end of your chosen dress code i.e. ‘black tie optional’. This will appear less harsh and still communicates your chosen dress code. Inevitably, your guests will dress themselves; you are just simply offering them a guide.
For the layout of your invitation, we recommend tha,t if you are going to include a dress code, to add it beneath your RSVP section or have it positioned somewhere near the bottom. Depending on the design of your invitation, the font can vary from the other information contained in your invitation.
If finding space on your invitation is an issue, you can opt to follow the current trend of creating a blog or website for your wedding, accessible to all guests. This trend is most commonly popular with destination weddings, however is a great idea for all weddings to answer your guests’ questions up front. By posting all the dress code details on a blog or website, you can avoid including it on your invitation and save space.
Ultimately, adding a dress code to your invitation is a personal choice, and might not be necessary if your invitations and location illustrate your dress code clearly enough without the need for adding it. However, as the styles of weddings continue to become more diverse, adding a dress code to your invitation simply makes life easier for you and for your guests!
Kristi Charter is an experienced freelance writer with a breadth of knowledge across an array of subjects. Captivated by the wedding industry, Kristi regularly blogs for Giant Invitations. Giant Invitations is a leading manufacturer of designer wedding invitations and wedding stationery based in Melbourne, Australia. Focusing on original and modern stationery designs combined with state-of-the-art technology and great attention to detail, Giant is specialized in creating lifetime memories for all wedding couples.
(All images supplied by author.)