Wedding Etiquette Forum

Help me settle an argument re: dress codes

hambaobaohambaobao member
First Anniversary First Comment
edited March 2015 in Wedding Etiquette Forum
Hello!

Longtime lurker currently arguing with a friend about whether it is more considerate or less considerate to have a stated wedding dress code.

I stand by the argument I've read on here: that unless you're having a true black tie event, there is no need to state a dress code--guests are adults who can dress themselves, and are smart enough to determine what to wear/what makes them comfortable based on time/venue/season etc. 

My friend says that having no dress code actually causes guests more stress: that there are so many different types of weddings these days, people don't know what to wear, and it makes their lives easier to just have it printed on the invitation rather than having to call around and figure out what others are wearing. She argued that it was analogous to having having a seating chart, which makes guests' lives easier by not having to stress about where to sit (which I agree with).

I admit I see her point--I myself HAVE stressed out in the past about what to wear to specific weddings, and it was a pain (having to pack multiple outfit options, etc). At the same time, I feel like if you're having such an unusual wedding that guests can't figure out what to wear based on normal common sense, you're probably not being the most thoughtful host in the first place. Maybe?

I know this gets discussed a lot on here, but usually from the host's perspective. From a guest's perspective--it is sometimes just easier to make a dress code explicit?
«13

Re: Help me settle an argument re: dress codes

  • ...and I have a typo in the title of my very first post. Argh!
  • The only times I think it makes sense are when the event has an attire requirement (actual black tie or jacket required per venue) or when the event is going to be outside the norm for guests. @lyndausvi had a wedding that fit into the latter. And they explained that to their guests.

    That doesn't mean I think the B&G should host a wedding in a barn full of feces and just tell guests to wear comfortable shoes though. If you're deviating from what your guests expect, it still needs to be in good taste.
    PrettyGirlLost
  • I've never had a difficult time figuring out what to wear to a wedding -- the formality of the invitation, the time of day, and the location of the ceremony/reception should be all that is required to alert the guests to the formality of the wedding which in turn will direct them to the level of clothing. 
    image
    PrettyGirlLost
  • I've attended many weddings and I've honestly never had a hard time figuring out what to wear.

    Your first inclination was the right one - unless it's a true black tie event, you don't mention a dress code.
    indianaalumPrettyGirlLostAmanderson1290
  • It's really not that tough of a decision to figure out what to wear.

    If I wore a ballgown and the rest of the guests wore jeans, I would feel like an idiot, but in that scenario I clearly failed to pay attention to the level of formality implied by invitations, venue, time of day, etc. Other than this extreme example, there is a huge spectrum of formality and it's kind of hard to go terribly wrong.

    As in, I feel like it's a bit on the casual side so I wear a cute cocktail dress and flats. It ends up being a little more formal. Who cares, I'm still dressed nice. It ends up being a lot more formal and a lot of the ladies are wearing long dresses. Still, who cares? Not a big deal. Ends up being more casual and some people wore jeans? Who cares. I wear dresses all the time anyway. I'm still comfy and not too dressed up. Did I ruin the wedding? Is my fun ruined? Have I upset people? Will I have a terrible time now? Nope.

    If I see that the venue is a ballroom vs a beach that says a lot about what to wear. Always pay attention to venue. If it's on the beach in the summer at 11am I know exactly what to wear. Always look at time of day and season. I don't get why any of this would be difficult for people.
    image
    AprilH81
  • lyndausvilyndausvi mod
    First Anniversary First Answer 5 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited March 2015
    My wedding was a beach wedding.   BOTH sides of the family had ONLY attended Catholic church weddings.   Receptions varied between church halls, luxury hotels or CC.  In all cases attire were dressy affairs. Men always work a jacket, tie or suit.  Woman always in dressier dresses.   


    Then enter us.  The couple who lived in the islands who wanted a non-church wedding on the beach in NJ.   They seriously had no idea what to wear.  Then add in DH refused to wear a suit, tux, jacket or tie.  NOT HAPPENING.  He wore a Tommy Bahama shirt, linen pants and flip-flops.   

    Then to confuse people even more.  We had a sunset wedding, with a sit-down dinner, open bar.   Saturday night weddings = more formal attire.  They just naturally are in our circles.

    Yep, basically our own planning confused the fuck out of the guests.   Now I did not care what people wore, but yes I knew some men would feel weird being dressed more formally then the groom.

    So we put a FAQ insert.  It basically said the wedding was on the actual beach and there would be a shoe valet available for those who wanted a place to keep their shoes.  I.e. - you will be walking on a sand.

    We also said jackets and ties are not necessary.  I.e  this is not a formal affair.  Don't feel like you have to get dressed up.  We never said what they should wear, just letting them know it's not as formal as they are use to attending.  


    We got SO many compliments on the FAQ.   Mostly from men thanking us for not "making" them wear a suit.  They didn't really mean we would make them, more like, wearing suites is what you wear at weddings.  So that is what they would wear because it's excepted.  

    I use to work at a luxury resort in the islands. We had over a 100 weddings a year. Some weddings were casual, some were formal.  SAME LOCATION, just different styles.  So I do not think the standard "you can tell from the location the formality" is correct.    Sure a lot of times it can be. It's just when you take people out of your typical church, country club wedding it does start to get murky.

    If I had a Catholic wedding  I would have never thought about mentioning attire.  Had I had a country club wedding I would not have either.   DW at the beach?  Not necessarily a bad idea.   

    While it make no sense,  I would never try to dress up guests.  But I didn't have a problem of letting them know it's not as formal as they might assume.  I know, I know.  I guess it's more that in our circles, dressing up for a wedding is standard, so there is no need to tell them.   Having  a casual wedding is so unheard of they would never think about it being an option.  

    I was married 6 years ago.  None of our families have been to a casual wedding since.   Because of that I stand by our choice to mention it's not a formal as they are use to attending.






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
    rcher912happybridetobe1987destinationtake2
  • I have never had trouble choosing something appropriate to wear to a wedding. It's on the hosts to make choices that guide that decision - don't go for the fancy letterpress invitations if you're having a BBQ in a park, or cheap home-printed ones if you expect me in a fancy cocktail dress. Golf courses and banquet halls can all have varying levels of formality, especially those with outdoor areas, so I rely a lot on the invitation style.

    I have no problem with things like "shoes optional" for a beach wedding. Conveys that it is in fact in the sand versus a pier/patio, and I'll assume the whole thing is more casual. Black tie optional though, no. "Smart casual," "beach chic," any type of vintage/rustic/color suggestion, hell no.

    image
    image
    Dreamergirl8812novella1186PrettyGirlLostJennyColada
  • I always appreciate blurb on a wedding website that mentions where guests will be walking/sitting if it's not a church wedding. For example, we mentioned that our ceremony would be outdoors and that there would be brick pathways leading to the ceremony space. Very few (if any) of our guests wore stilettos. 

    DH and I went to a wedding a year before ours that didn't mention anything, but the invitations were very formal, and the website only included images of an indoor ballroom space - I wore heels, which got completely ruined as we had to walk a long way in very loose gravel to get to the ceremony site (and then back again), which was outdoors with no shade at 2:00 pm in July. Had I known that, I would have dressed a bit differently (and I wasn't the only one - there were a lot of grumbly guests at that wedding).

    So I would say that while I don't think it's appropriate to tell guests how to dress ("you have to wear X"), it is considerate to give them a sense of what the venue/terrain/etc. will be like (if there will be anything that might affect their comfort), so that they can plan accordingly.
    image
  • banana468 said:

    The only times I think it makes sense are when the event has an attire requirement (actual black tie or jacket required per venue) or when the event is going to be outside the norm for guests. @lyndausvi had a wedding that fit into the latter. And they explained that to their guests.

    That doesn't mean I think the B&G should host a wedding in a barn full of feces and just tell guests to wear comfortable shoes though. If you're deviating from what your guests expect, it still needs to be in good taste.

    @banana468 - your babies are adorable!!!
    SP29banana468themuffinman16
  • Your friend sounds like my MIL. Woman cannot seem to decide by herself whether an outfit is appropriate.

    Anyway. The only time I ever struggle with knowing what to wear is when some idiot puts "Black tie optional" on an invite. Because 9 times out of 10, that label is used to try and get people to "step it up a notch" (which is not actually what it means). So if DH and I show up in a tux and gown appropriate for Black tie, we always grossly over dressed and we're at an event that's definitely NOT black tie. I've just started judging/ignoring "Black tie optional" since I've never seen anyone use it the way it's meant to be used.

    All all other weddings, I look at three things: 1) is it indoors/outdoors; 2) the time of year/weather and 3) formality if the invites and venue. Those 3 things tell me: sun dress, average wedding cocktail dress, fancy cocktail dress or gown.
    *********************************************************************************

    image
    PrettyGirlLost
  • hambaobao said:

    Hello!


    Longtime lurker currently arguing with a friend about whether it is more considerate or less considerate to have a stated wedding dress code.

    I stand by the argument I've read on here: that unless you're having a true black tie event, there is no need to state a dress code--guests are adults who can dress themselves, and are smart enough to determine what to wear/what makes them comfortable based on time/venue/season etc. 

    My friend says that having no dress code actually causes guests more stress: that there are so many different types of weddings these days, people don't know what to wear, and it makes their lives easier to just have it printed on the invitation rather than having to call around and figure out what others are wearing. She argued that it was analogous to having having a seating chart, which makes guests' lives easier by not having to stress about where to sit (which I agree with).

    I admit I see her point--I myself HAVE stressed out in the past about what to wear to specific weddings, and it was a pain (having to pack multiple outfit options, etc). At the same time, I feel like if you're having such an unusual wedding that guests can't figure out what to wear based on normal common sense, you're probably not being the most thoughtful host in the first place. Maybe?

    I know this gets discussed a lot on here, but usually from the host's perspective. From a guest's perspective--it is sometimes just easier to make a dress code explicit?
    See, I agree with the bolded. 

    A funny thing happened with mine- our reception was at a nice restaurant that does have a dress code of "no jeans."  Since it was the venue's own code, I put on our wedding website that, "Per the venue, the dress code is business casual."

    ... I guess some guests took that literally, as a few women actually showed up in business casual. I don't know if they'd normally wear pants to a wedding anyway, so I don't know if that was my bad or not. Most women wore cocktail dresses and a few even wore evening dresses. 

    Honestly? Damned if you do, damned if you don't. I think adults can dress themselves and figure it out for themselves. 
    ________________________________


    PrettyGirlLost
  • SP29SP29 member
    First Anniversary First Comment First Answer 5 Love Its
    Generally I agree with you, OP. Go by the formality of the invitation, venue and time of day.

    I see what you're saying @lyndausvi about the same venue, with different formalities. But either way, I assume a cocktail dress and suit would be appropriate. Similarly, the invitation would help. 

    I DO agree if you are doing something out of the ordinary (particularly for your crowd) that while you still never tell your guests what to wear, it is helpful to tell guests about the wedding.

    For example, "The ceremony will be outdoors on the lawn/ at the beach". "The venue requires a long walk on a dirt/stone path". Etc. 

    Or similarly, if a the B&G share "we're having a smore bar with hot chocolate!" gives me a different picture of a wedding versus "5 course plated meal with passed appies at 11pm". 
  • Generally I agree with you, OP. Go by the formality of the invitation, venue and time of day.

    I see what you're saying @lyndausvi about the same venue, with different formalities. But either way, I assume a cocktail dress and suit would be appropriate. Similarly, the invitation would help. 

    I DO agree if you are doing something out of the ordinary (particularly for your crowd) that while you still never tell your guests what to wear, it is helpful to tell guests about the wedding.

    For example, "The ceremony will be outdoors on the lawn/ at the beach". "The venue requires a long walk on a dirt/stone path". Etc. 

    Or similarly, if a the B&G share "we're having a smore bar with hot chocolate!" gives me a different picture of a wedding versus "5 course plated meal with passed appies at 11pm". 


    I think it's the men that have more trouble.   Most women can wear a dress and be okay. It's highly unlikely they will be dressed more then the bride.    Possible, but unlikely.

    If the groom doesn't wear a suit, then men wearing suits will be dressed more then then groom.  Which is not a  problem, but I can see why someone might feel uncomfortable being more formal then the couple.  That is why why we geared or info to the men.  We didn't say wear this or that.  But let them know it's not a formal as they are accustom to.

    In St Thomas most brides wore a gown of some sort.   The grooms were all over the place.  Full tux with tails, regular tux.  Suits, linen pants with button down, even shorts.      All at the same luxury up to $10K a night resort.






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • hambaobao said:

    Hello!


    Longtime lurker currently arguing with a friend about whether it is more considerate or less considerate to have a stated wedding dress code.

    I stand by the argument I've read on here: that unless you're having a true black tie event, there is no need to state a dress code--guests are adults who can dress themselves, and are smart enough to determine what to wear/what makes them comfortable based on time/venue/season etc. 

    My friend says that having no dress code actually causes guests more stress: that there are so many different types of weddings these days, people don't know what to wear, and it makes their lives easier to just have it printed on the invitation rather than having to call around and figure out what others are wearing. She argued that it was analogous to having having a seating chart, which makes guests' lives easier by not having to stress about where to sit (which I agree with).

    I admit I see her point--I myself HAVE stressed out in the past about what to wear to specific weddings, and it was a pain (having to pack multiple outfit options, etc). At the same time, I feel like if you're having such an unusual wedding that guests can't figure out what to wear based on normal common sense, you're probably not being the most thoughtful host in the first place. Maybe?

    I know this gets discussed a lot on here, but usually from the host's perspective. From a guest's perspective--it is sometimes just easier to make a dress code explicit?
    I think it's better NOT to state a dress code, mostly because it's super-likely a made up dress code.  "Smart Casual", "Dressy Beach", and "Country Picnic" are not dress codes.  Stating those as your required attire WILL confuse people.
    PrettyGirlLosthuskypuppy14
  • The only two cents I have to offer is that the formality of the invitation itself isn't necessarily helpful....the information on it, such as the time of day and the venue location are better indicators of dress code.

    I say this because 1. My EX-boss (!!!!) had her wedding at a country club, dual plated entree of stuffed lobster tail & filet mignon etc, and her invitations looked kinda cheap (both in cost and construction). 2. I have seen multi-layered invitations with the raised lettering, embossed gold typeface that fold and are sealed with a ribbon that probably cost more than the reception venue fee with a cash bar, because those are "what wedding invitations are supposed to look like."

    Moral of the story: the invitation design isn't always indicative of the event's formality level, because some people just don't get that a formal event should have more formal invitations. The info on the invitation is more important.
    charcoalandblushfuturemrshp
  • adk19 said:

    hambaobao said:

    Hello!


    Longtime lurker currently arguing with a friend about whether it is more considerate or less considerate to have a stated wedding dress code.

    I stand by the argument I've read on here: that unless you're having a true black tie event, there is no need to state a dress code--guests are adults who can dress themselves, and are smart enough to determine what to wear/what makes them comfortable based on time/venue/season etc. 

    My friend says that having no dress code actually causes guests more stress: that there are so many different types of weddings these days, people don't know what to wear, and it makes their lives easier to just have it printed on the invitation rather than having to call around and figure out what others are wearing. She argued that it was analogous to having having a seating chart, which makes guests' lives easier by not having to stress about where to sit (which I agree with).

    I admit I see her point--I myself HAVE stressed out in the past about what to wear to specific weddings, and it was a pain (having to pack multiple outfit options, etc). At the same time, I feel like if you're having such an unusual wedding that guests can't figure out what to wear based on normal common sense, you're probably not being the most thoughtful host in the first place. Maybe?

    I know this gets discussed a lot on here, but usually from the host's perspective. From a guest's perspective--it is sometimes just easier to make a dress code explicit?
    I think it's better NOT to state a dress code, mostly because it's super-likely a made up dress code.  "Smart Casual", "Dressy Beach", and "Country Picnic" are not dress codes.  Stating those as your required attire WILL confuse people.
    I do agree with that.   Don't state the dress CODE, but do state when you're deviating from one.

    I'd want to know that there's a shoe valet and that my strappy heels have no place because they'll just sink into the sand.   And I want to know that a maxi dress with fun jewelry could be formal enough.

    But if you tell me that the dress code is business casual I'm going to wonder if that means that I should wear a cocktail dress and should DH just wear khakis but no tie?     

    It's all about offering the right info to your guests but without turning the event into some ridiculous spectacle.   If it's anything costume-like then I may want to punch you. 
    PrettyGirlLosthuskypuppy14
  • Oh, and thank you @kmmssg!!  
    kmmssgSP29
  • The only two cents I have to offer is that the formality of the invitation itself isn't necessarily helpful....the information on it, such as the time of day and the venue location are better indicators of dress code.

    I say this because 1. My EX-boss (!!!!) had her wedding at a country club, dual plated entree of stuffed lobster tail & filet mignon etc, and her invitations looked kinda cheap (both in cost and construction). 2. I have seen multi-layered invitations with the raised lettering, embossed gold typeface that fold and are sealed with a ribbon that probably cost more than the reception venue fee with a cash bar, because those are "what wedding invitations are supposed to look like."

    Moral of the story: the invitation design isn't always indicative of the event's formality level, because some people just don't get that a formal event should have more formal invitations. The info on the invitation is more important.

    Moral of that story is they chose their invitations wrong.
    Well that was my point lol that not everybody knows that invitations are meant to convey the level of formality of the event. If more people knew this, we would see less "black tie optional" on invitations. Hell, I'll admit that I didn't specifically know that wedding invites are supposed to match the formality of your wedding before I started frequenting this board. I just assumed you would select an invitation design/style that appealed to you, matched your color scheme, and any other number of purely esthetic functions that weren't particularly important. I don't doubt that many people think the way I once did.
    happybridetobe1987TerriHuggspockforprezKnottie48804623
  • adk19 said:



    I think it's better NOT to state a dress code, mostly because it's super-likely a made up dress code.  "Smart Casual", "Dressy Beach", and "Country Picnic" are not dress codes.  Stating those as your required attire WILL confuse people.

    We got one a couple years ago - "elegant summer." We wore seersucker (suit for him, dress for me) because that seemed like a slightly silly choice to match a slightly silly dress code.

    Overall, though, I do appreciate a heads-up about what to expect. I do stress out about what to wear before a lot of weddings. Some venues and invites tell you what you need to know but some don't. The most formal wedding I've been to was in a backyard (her parents literally live in a mansion) and one of the least formal was in a very nice restaurant. I like the suggestion that you alert people to ways in which the wedding might be out of the norm for the area/venue/whatever. I also think this can usually be done in a way where you give your guests information and let them make decisions as adults. I don't feel condescended to when an invite or website warns me that the cocktail hour will be on a lawn, or that there is a walk to the ceremony site.

    Even saying "the groom won't be in a suit, so no worries if you don't either" seems perfectly polite. I know H would feel very awkward if he was dressed fancier than the groom.
  • The only two cents I have to offer is that the formality of the invitation itself isn't necessarily helpful....the information on it, such as the time of day and the venue location are better indicators of dress code.

    I say this because 1. My EX-boss (!!!!) had her wedding at a country club, dual plated entree of stuffed lobster tail & filet mignon etc, and her invitations looked kinda cheap (both in cost and construction). 2. I have seen multi-layered invitations with the raised lettering, embossed gold typeface that fold and are sealed with a ribbon that probably cost more than the reception venue fee with a cash bar, because those are "what wedding invitations are supposed to look like."

    Moral of the story: the invitation design isn't always indicative of the event's formality level, because some people just don't get that a formal event should have more formal invitations. The info on the invitation is more important.

    Moral of that story is they chose their invitations wrong.
    Well that was my point lol that not everybody knows that invitations are meant to convey the level of formality of the event. If more people knew this, we would see less "black tie optional" on invitations. Hell, I'll admit that I didn't specifically know that wedding invites are supposed to match the formality of your wedding before I started frequenting this board. I just assumed you would select an invitation design/style that appealed to you, matched your color scheme, and any other number of purely esthetic functions that weren't particularly important. I don't doubt that many people think the way I once did.
    Yeah I get that, but that's why I would rather give the advice that the invitation formality should guide the attire choices, for those here who are still making invitation choices. As a guest, yes there are more things you should look at for guidance, but as a host you should consider that.

    image
    image
  • lyndausvilyndausvi mod
    First Anniversary First Answer 5 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited March 2015
    the problem with relying on invites is home printers. 

    If you are trying to save a buck the first place you will try is paper.  After it's read it gets thrown out.  So if you (or someone you know) has any type of graphic design talent you will try and do it yourself.  That can mean your invite comes across more or less formal then the event is intended.

    It's not always done on purpose, but that is can be what is conveyed.

    Our invites were pretty neutral.  We were not cheap, but were not luxury.  (we did not do them on our own.  We did pocket folds from Mygatbsy.com )

     Our wedding was on a Saturday night.  We had a full blown raw and sushi bar at $18 pp, not including the 8 different apps and cheese display.   We had an additional sit-down dinner on top of that.  Our food was catered by a 5-star restaurant.  They have been 5 star for 20 years. We also had a  top shelf open bar.     Everything would suggest formal or formal-ish event.  

    Again DH refused to wear a Suit, tux, jacket or tie.   He was 100% on board with giving our guests top food and drink. But there was no way in hell he wanted to have to wear a suit to give them that experience.












    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
    [Deleted User]spockforprez
  • RosieC18 said:

    adk19 said:



    I think it's better NOT to state a dress code, mostly because it's super-likely a made up dress code.  "Smart Casual", "Dressy Beach", and "Country Picnic" are not dress codes.  Stating those as your required attire WILL confuse people.

    We got one a couple years ago - "elegant summer." We wore seersucker (suit for him, dress for me) because that seemed like a slightly silly choice to match a slightly silly dress code.
    I like your style.
  • SP29SP29 member
    First Anniversary First Comment First Answer 5 Love Its
    I think telling guests that the groom will not be wearing a suit is also fine. Again- describing any deviance from the expected. You're also not telling your guests what to wear, they could very well decide to wear a suit if they wanted. DH really likes suits and ties (he has quite the tie collection), so he will often "dress up" (well more than others would dress). 
    PrettyGirlLost
  • RosieC18 said:

    adk19 said:



    I think it's better NOT to state a dress code, mostly because it's super-likely a made up dress code.  "Smart Casual", "Dressy Beach", and "Country Picnic" are not dress codes.  Stating those as your required attire WILL confuse people.

    We got one a couple years ago - "elegant summer." We wore seersucker (suit for him, dress for me) because that seemed like a slightly silly choice to match a slightly silly dress code.
    I like your style.
    Thanks! And now we have matching seersucker.
  • I have never had trouble choosing something appropriate to wear to a wedding. It's on the hosts to make choices that guide that decision - don't go for the fancy letterpress invitations if you're having a BBQ in a park, or cheap home-printed ones if you expect me in a fancy cocktail dress. Golf courses and banquet halls can all have varying levels of formality, especially those with outdoor areas, so I rely a lot on the invitation style.

    I have no problem with things like "shoes optional" for a beach wedding. Conveys that it is in fact in the sand versus a pier/patio, and I'll assume the whole thing is more casual. Black tie optional though, no. "Smart casual," "beach chic," any type of vintage/rustic/color suggestion, hell no.



    SO much this. Make sure the formality you are indicating is actually the formality of the event. FI and I went to a wedding last year and were pretty much the only ones dressed up besides the bridal party. The invitations, while not letterpress, were fairly formal making my first thought fancy wedding. When I looked up the venue, it was a gorgeous vacation rental that matched the formality of the invites.

    I wore a cocktail dress and heels, FI wore a shirt and tie. We got there and it was basically a "rustic chic" kegger. Everyone else was in jeans and tee shirts, even the groom changed out of his suit shortly after dinner.

    image
    PrettyGirlLost
  • I've never struggled with what to wear to a wedding. This past fall, it took me some time to FIND a dress that would work because the wedding was outside in November, and I didn't already own anything that I thought I would be comfortable in, but as far as level of formality, nope. It's not hard.
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
    image
    PrettyGirlLost
  • JennyColadaJennyColada member
    First Anniversary First Comment First Answer 5 Love Its
    edited March 2015
    I've been dressing myself quite successfully for about 28 years now.

    I do think it's acceptable (and sometimes helpful) to provide information on an insert or website about the style of dress that is appropriate IN TERMS THAT YOUR GUESTS CAN UNDERSTAND (meaning no "beach formal"). When my mom asked what to wear I told her to wear what she'd wear to brunch at a restaurant that we frequent.
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