6 Tips to Help Wedding Guests Know Your Dress Code

A young woman wearing a blue floral dress at a wedding reception.

Enforcing a wedding dress code is no easy piece of (wedding) cake—mostly because people can easily interpret terms like “business casual” or “black tie optional” in a myriad of ways. For some guests, “business casual” might mean wearing a pair of jeans with a nice top—which may not be exactly what you have in mind. Likewise, one guest might choose to wear a short summer dress as “black tie optional,” which might not be appropriate in a sea of more elegant gowns. It’s not the end of the world if your guests don’t dress according to your dress code, but you definitely want them to fit the vibe of the day or evening. After all, you don’t want anybody to feel uncomfortable or out of place!

So, how do you make sure your guests know your wedding dress code without being totally overbearing? For starters, remember that it’s your day; you’re allowed to establish a dress code! Secondly, keep in mind that helping your guests stick to the dress code will only make it easier for them to choose an outfit and feel more aligned with the celebration. Read on for tips on making sure how to get your guests and their wardrobe coordinated with your big day.

1. Have a Themed Wedding

Throwing a themed wedding is a pretty easy way to get everyone to dress cohesively. Whether it’s a Great Gatsby soirée or a ’90s prom throwback, asking your friends to be involved in this way is a great way for them to stick to a dress code and have fun while choosing the perfect outfit for the night. Plus, having a theme is both specific enough and open enough for wardrobe choices.

2. Be Specific in Your Wedding Invitation

Include the dress code on your wedding invitation. This is the bare minimum of information that your guests will expect, so don’t leave them hanging!

3. Address the Details on Your Wedding Website

A group of wedding guests at a reception buffet.

Your wedding website is the best place to list everything and anything that’s important for your big day, which includes your wedding dress code. If you haven’t already, consider having a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page where you can list answers to all the routine wedding day questions, including those about what to wear. Be specific and include examples. If you want “business casual,” include a brief note about what that looks like to you. For example, “Long dresses, long skirts, and dress pants are acceptable; jeans and short skirts are not.” If sticking to a certain color palette is important to you, include that in the wedding invitation, too. For example, “Formal Attire in Black, Grays, and Blues. Please refrain from wearing white.”

4. Encourage Guests to Discuss Wardrobe Choices

A group of wedding guests at a reception holding sparklers.

“So, what are you going to wear?” Everyone loves to know what everyone else is wearing, especially when it comes to big events. No one really wants to under- or over-dress. Encourage your guests to share what they’re planning to wear with others so they can get an idea of how their outfit might coordinate with the crowd.

5. Familiarize Yourself and Guests with Dress Code Terms

From “business casual” to “cocktail attire,” there are more than a few dress code terms that not everyone is completely familiar with. If you need a refresher with what “business casual” attire means, don’t be afraid to remind your guests, either. It’s not helpful to assume everyone knows what you mean by “cocktail attire” (especially if you’re not sure what it means, either!).

6. Share a Pinterest Vision Board

If your guests are visual learners, it couldn’t hurt to share a Pinterest vision board of what you’re imagining your dress code to look like to help inspire them and plan accordingly.

When it comes to making sure your guests know your wedding dress code, having parameters and being specific isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it helps people understand what you’re expecting of them and makes it easier for them to choose the best outfit for your big day.

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