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How to word the dress code...

(108 Posts)
MidnightDexy Wed 18-Jan-17 16:17:59

I know dress codes on wedding invitations are a divisive issue, but some of our guests will need a steer. Allow me to explain...

We are having a semi-formal (i would say 'normal') wedding this summer. At every wedding i have ever been to with my family or my friends, men have worn suits and ties (standard business dress) and ladies have worn a dress of some description (with or without a hat/fascinator).

My fiance is from another (European) country. I attended his grandfather's funeral last year at the local church and half of the grandchildren came in jeans, trainers and a jumper/teeshirt. The eldest son (my fiance's uncle) came in stonewashed jeans, a short sleeve lumberjack shirt, and desert boots.

Rightly or wrongly, i don't want this happening at our wedding. My family are very far from 'posh' but they (again, rightly or wrongly) consider dressing appropriately for the occasion to be a mark of manners and respect. My family have never met his extended family and i don't want first impressions on our wedding day to mean they get off on the wrong foot. I can't be bothered with the stress tbh.

Anyway for those reasons we will be putting a dress code on our invitations. If I were only inviting English speakers then I would put "Dress code: Lounge suits", on the understanding that a UK bloke would interpret that to mean shirt and tie, and a woman would interpret that to mean smart dress/skirt and jacket.

What should i write for the women - "evening dress"? "cocktail dresses"? "elegant dress"?

("Smart-casual" is just going to be a recipe for disaster).

Again, appreciate people have opposing views on invitations with a dress code but i am not looking for a flaming, just advice on how best to word this! What the hell is the female equivalent of "lounge suit"?

LTBforGin Wed 18-Jan-17 16:20:06

I wouldn't put lounge suits as my dh lounge pants has the hulk all over them-it could be misinterpreted.

You could put no jeans or trainers please?

PigletWasPoohsFriend Wed 18-Jan-17 16:21:31

Smart dress?

I have visions of the other options you have given, of people turning up as if they are about to go to the captains ball in full at attire.

Gazelda Wed 18-Jan-17 16:22:00

I think the equivalent is 'day dress'.

MidnightDexy Wed 18-Jan-17 16:22:39

LTBforGin: they are very 'literal' people, if i were to go down that route i would have to say "No jeans, trainers, tennis shoes, flip-flops, tee-shirts, jumpers, shorts, leggings, vest tops..." It would end up like the office dress code. You get my drift.

MidnightDexy Wed 18-Jan-17 16:24:16

Gazelda, thanks, you might be right, i will check. The issue is that it needs to be something that we can translate (invites going out in both languages - his family don't speak English).

I might be wrong (and again i'll check) but i have a feeling that day dress wouldn't translate. They would think "Great, i will just wear my normal everyday clothes".

notangelinajolie Wed 18-Jan-17 16:24:19

Don't like dress codes but not going to flame you. Instead of putting something on invites - could your fiance speak to his family directly?

LTBforGin Wed 18-Jan-17 16:24:32

Ask your partner what the best way to describe the dress code would be. Could he spread the word beforehand?

MardyGrave Wed 18-Jan-17 16:24:46

I would only put the dress code on your partners family invites, and say it's being held in the uk and you'd wish for them to adhere to uk customs for wedding dress.

Ultimately you are saying you don't believe the way they dress is good enough and you want them to be someone they are not.

NapQueen Wed 18-Jan-17 16:25:02

Just because they dressed like that for a funeral doesn't mean they would for a wedding though. What does dp say, and what would be the equivalent in his culture?

Jasperthedog Wed 18-Jan-17 16:25:30

How about a photo of a couple in smart clothes? Something that would explain but not appear patronising, if there is such a thing?

AuntiePenguin Wed 18-Jan-17 16:26:08

At a lot of weddings, especially where guests will be travelling from far away, the couple enclose an information sheet with the invite, which explains the local transport and hotel options, gives numbers of taxi firms etc. I think in your position I'd put "lounge suits" on the actual invite then use the information sheet to explain to the overseas visitors what that means. That way you'll have more space to explain it and it will seem like more of a steer on local customs rather than like you're telling people what to do.

ItsLikeRainOnYourWeddingDay Wed 18-Jan-17 16:29:09

Your going to have to spell it out. If you put "women please wear a trouser suit or smart dress" it's open to too much variation. You want to say what isn't allowed, ie "no skirts or dresses above knee, not too low neckline, no denim, no trainers, no boots, no collarless shirts etc

OlennasWimple Wed 18-Jan-17 16:37:31

Could you say where they are from, in case a MNer can help with the specifics of that county's wedding dress customs?

daffodilssoon Wed 18-Jan-17 16:43:10

A similar thing happened to my friend.

Her husband is from another European country and she was worried about other guests turning up in very casual wear. Her DH talked to his parents and they put the word out that English weddings tend to be more dressy affairs that their usual. It worked out fine.

Actually some of the imported wedding customs from his country made it really fun and special.

NapQueen Wed 18-Jan-17 16:43:15

Yeah a little "further info" type card inside the invite is always helpful and I don't see anything wrong with putting

"Due to they style and location if the event he B&G kindly request you refrain from wearing casual clothing/jeans etc, and choose a more formal outfit"

user1475253854 Wed 18-Jan-17 16:43:45

I don't YABU for doing this by the way. I have been to weddings in the Uk with only local people attending and some have turned up in jeans and trainers which is a bit weird when everyone else is dressed up.

n0ne Wed 18-Jan-17 16:50:41

Is your DF from the Netherlands, OP? They totally do wear jeans to weddings, funerals, the office, on the telly, you name it! I would just put the dress code on the 'foreign' invitations, and say 'formal'. I think that's clear. Their version of formal is not very formal so you should end up with smart/casual, which I guess is what you're going for?

I remember so well, when we told the ILs we were getting married, they were really panicking about what to wear! They've seen British weddings on the TV so have an idea it's not the way Dutch people do it. I would imagine at least some of your guests will feel the same way!

therealpippi Wed 18-Jan-17 16:52:02

I am from a European country and had the opposite. The english side were VERY casual, the european very very smart. I had no dress code and I fidn't care as it was a very relaxed small wedding.
Having said that the opposite was for funerals. So you never know, it is about the customs and the individuals too.
What does your fiance say. Surely he'll have an idea of how they'll dress snd how to word it. No?

MidnightDexy Wed 18-Jan-17 16:52:38

Speaking to family direct: can see the logic in this but fiance thinks this would appear patronising / targeted towards that side of family (which let's be honest it is). He favours putting it on invites and that way it's done equally without singling anyone out. I see his point.

MardyGrave: i don't necessarily agree that it amounts to telling them they're their dress isn't good enough and they should change for us. I am not offended by dress codes, i find it helpful personally. I have never received an invite with a dress code and interpreted it as a personal slur!

We will definitely be putting the dress code on our info sheet along with contact details and travel directions etc - not on the actual invitation - if that makes a difference.

It's hard for fiance to know how people from Fiance's country would normally dress for a wedding as I've never been to a wedding there, and because he's never been to a wedding there (he's the eldest cousin so no family weddings yet!) AND none of his friends have been married yet (they tend to have looooooooong uni studies).

Ohyesiam Wed 18-Jan-17 20:36:56

Can't you just put Smart Dress.?

Ohyesiam Wed 18-Jan-17 20:38:06

Sorry, posted early. I'm not due all English people know what s lounge suit is , so that might not work.

VaginaDentata Wed 18-Jan-17 20:51:08

Yanbu. We were a bit taken aback years ago when an old university friend married a Frenchman at the university church, and his entire half was in runners, hoodies and stonewashed denim, while the Irish side were all fascinators ahoy. It looked like some kind of illustration of a culture clash. The marriage lasted less than a year, too. Though the two Paris weddings I've been to were quite formal.

I know some cultures treat the church bit, if any, as extraneous to the 'wedding'. I once shared an airport cab with someone I seem to remember was Dutch, and who was attending an Irish wedding for the first time and running late (hence sharing a cab) - she was wearing shorts and sandals, under the impression that this was fine for the church, and that everyone would then go and change before the reception. When I said things worked differently, she unlocked her case in the back of the cab and wriggled into a dress and heels while the driver tried not to glance in the mirror. grin

The only Portuguese wedding I've been to was very dressy indeed.

Rubies12345 Thu 19-Jan-17 05:45:52

It's hard for fiance to know how people from Fiance's country would normally dress for a wedding as I've never been to a wedding there, and because he's never been to a wedding there

Have you tried googling country name plus wedding to see some examples? Also I would look up examples of their invitations to see if they have a special way of wording it

Ifailed Thu 19-Jan-17 06:06:03

You could put the word out informally to both families, that one side may appear 'over dressed' and the other 'under dressed', but what's important is that they are there to celebrate your wedding.

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