There are many things to consider when building out your wedding website and preparing to send out invitations; dress code is one of the tops. Even on the most minimalistic of invites, clear, thorough information will ensure your guests feel prepared for the event and also limit the number of questions you and your fiance have to field. One of the areas guests often have the most questions surrounding is the dress code. Before you loop them in though, you and your spouse-to-be have to determine what dress code you want for the day. We have the top four things to consider when selecting the best dress code for your wedding. If you missed it, click here for our Wedding Dress Code 101.
Location, Location, Location
While there are no hard and fast rules on pairing dress code with location (save for some restrictions based on religious venues), the location of the wedding may be the biggest driver of your dress code decisions. A rustic barn wedding with gravel paths or a beachside bash might be better suited to lighter, airier looks (and shoes) that are easy to navigate with a more laid-back dress code like dressy casual, tropical, or semi formal. On the other hand, a soiree at a stately villa or an elegant ballroom would be great places to whip out that ultra-chic white tie or black tie dress code. If your location leads you to determine a black tie or white tie dress code is best, you'll want to lean more towards a plated dinner than a buffet, and a later start time as these things help set the tone for such regal dressing.
Starting as early as when you send out the save-the-dates and invitations, you and your fiancé can start to set the tone for the event. This will begin to inform guests on what to expect as far as dress code - in fact aside from the wedding website, your invitation will be the place to let your guests know what to wear. Will the aesthetic of the day be eclectic and colorful, laid-back and breezy, or is it a classic, buttoned-up affair fit for royalty? Using that aesthetic decision as your guide, you can begin to identify how you envision your nearest and dearest fitting into that. There's something to be said for juxtaposition, but pairing a super casual dress code with a regal location and vice versa can feel a bit disjointed. If you're unsure of what look will be most cohesive, you can take a peek at the venue's past weddings and gauge what dress codes worked well for others before settling on your own.
The Four Seasons
When it comes to selecting your dress code, seasonality doesn't have to be a huge deciding factor, but can instead be a thoughtful consideration. There are great options in most dress codes no matter the weather, however your decision may have an impact on guests' comfort. We've all been to events where we've spent the entire night adjusting and squirming because of our wardrobe choice. Consider that when deciding if full black-tie attire makes sense for an outdoor event in stifling climates. Semi-formal or dressy casual attire can be great options to ensure folks wear something nicer than their day-to-day, while still ensuring they care able to factor in their comfort level. If you're still committed to your guests rocking something a bit jazzier for a warmer season, cocktail attire is a great middle ground to ensure they serve some looks while still being mindful of their comfort.
If you are planning a wedding where there will be a cultural fusion, or if folks of a variety of cultures will be in attendance, consider making note of the various options available to them on the invitation. If this isn't your wheelhouse, it's a perfect time to consult the family you're marrying into, or discuss it with guests on an individual basis to be as inclusive as possible. The experts at The Knot broke down the details of what to wear to an Indian wedding, but that's just one example of the myriad of cultural considerations you may want to include for your guests. In this scenario it's always smart to clearly convey to your guests what the expectations are and open yourself up to questions if people are unsure.
While none of the factors above require hard and fast adherence to a specific dress code, they're great jumping-off points. If you simply can't imagine the idea of breaking with your dream dress code for anything, consider providing a few additional perks for your guests. For example, if you're dead set on that black tie attire in the steamiest months of the year, or are full steam ahead for cocktail dress on the beach but are afraid of wind and sand, and uneven terrains - there are solutions. Provide guests with items like fans, water stations, shawls to block the breeze, and baskets of flip flops for quick changes to step from one space to another. Once you've decided on your wedding dress code, pop it up on your wedding website and add it to the invitations. The more places you can share it (bonus points for additional info on the website!) the fewer questions your guests will have, and the more time you and your fiancé can devote to the fun of wedding planning and enjoying your engagement!
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