Wording Your Wedding Invitations So Your Guests Know How To Dress

Weddings have changed so much over the last decade. Ceremonies are as likely to be on a beach or garden as they are in a church or synagogue. Wedding receptions may be a formal affair in a ballroom or a picnic in the park. How do you tell your guests what to wear? Its all about the invitation.

Invitations should set the tone for the event. The look itself gives lets the guests know what they have to look forward to for the evening. So when selecting your invitation, consider what impression your guests will have when they open the envelope. The traditional, engraved invitation should be used for a formal wedding, not for a barefoot ceremony on the beach.

If you are concerned that the look of the invitation is too subtle a hint, consider putting your fashion requirements right on the invitation.

  • Black tie invited or black tie optional is a cue to your guests that the men should be in a tuxedo or dark suite, and the ladies should wear evening gown or formal dress.
  • Semi Formal indicates that the men should be in a suit or jacket and the ladies should be in an elegant dress or dressy suit.
  • Cocktail Attire indicates that the men should wear a dark suit and the ladies a pretty cocktail dress.
  • Casual Attire indicates that the men should wear nice pants and a collared shirt and the ladies may wear a simple dress or nice pants.

In addition to the above, I usually suggest giving more information if your wedding is taking place in the sand or in the grass, both of which can reek havoc on shoes, consider adding: We will be celebrating on the beach so be prepared to feel the sand in your toes, or Dinner and dancing will take place in the garden under the stars and in the grass. These are both clever ways to warn your guests to stay away from stilettos and ultra-expensive shoes.

Please remember that no matter how clearly you spell out exactly what you want your guests to wear, you will have some that will show up inappropriately dressed. My best advice is to forget it! Relax and enjoy your wedding day and ignore the couple in jeans.

Happy Planning!