Outdoor Weddings

Wording for Information about Outside Wedding

I'm trying to figure out a nice, concise way of including the following pieces of information on the insert for the invitation.

-Our July wedding reception is going to be taking place outside in the evening.  I want to make sure people are dressed comfortably for warm weather, but I don't want to word it in a way that would encourage people to show up in casual attire.  (It's a backyard wedding, but it's somewhere in between a bbq and a formal affair.)

-Also, we'll be serving the food buffet-style.  The food is mostly hors d'oeuvres and things that can be eaten with only a fork, but we plan on having enough that people could eat a meal's worth.  Mainly I want to make sure people are not expecting a seated dinner, but they don't feel like they have to fill up on an early dinner before coming to the reception.

I appreciate any suggestions!

Re: Wording for Information about Outside Wedding

  • Avion22Avion22 member
    2500 Comments 5 Love Its
    I would put this somewhere on your wedding website, and not with your invitations.

    Not sure of a good way to word it.  Maybe you could do a Q&A section of your website.  Q: What should I wear?  A: Come dressed for a semi-formal outdoor cocktail party, but keep in mind that average temperatures are XX degrees, so please dress comfortably.     Just realize that if you put "picnic" or "BBQ" anywhere, you'll get people in sun-dresses, polo shirts, possibly even shorts or jeans.   So if you want people to wear anything dressier than that, avoid those words.

    I know it sounds weird, but people will take their cue on what to wear from how fancy the invitation is. 
  • I agree with pp.

  • Ditto on the wedding website, I have had a similar issue.

    Secondly, DEFINITELY do a word-of-mouth campaign, particularly closer to the wedding date.  I sent out an email to our parents and to the bridal party asking them to share this info with their respective families when discussing the wedding.  I also made sure to drop hints/reminders at my shower.

    I am also going to send out a weather email to the parents in the few days before the wedding.
  • I am having a semi-formal wedding. The ceremony will be outdoors. So on the wedding website, I just put "Ceremony will be located outside, please dress accordingly"
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  • For the food, I would suggest putting "heavy hors d'oeuvres". A friend put this on her invites and everyone understood there would be lots of food, but not a dinner.

    For the dress, I would put it on your wedding website if you have one. Under the additional information tab we put "We request that guests do not wear jeans, but khakis and skirts are acceptable." You could rearrange the wording to what you want your guests to wear.
  • Are you getting married in Baltimore?  If so, it's likely going to be hot, even in the evening, so it will be difficult for people to find something cool enough to wear that constitutes 'semi-formal'.  I'm not trying to be mean, but I think that you should realize that there may be guests that aren't dressed as formally as you'd like, and that it's not the end of the world.

    As PP said, let the formality of the invitations dictate the formality of the event, and avoid saying barbecue or picnic because those words are misleading for your event.  If I read either of those words, I would probably show up in a nicer sundress, and my DH might be wearing nice shorts or khakis with flip-flops.  Heavy app receptions are becoming more popular, so I think you'll be fine writing 'heavy hors d'oeuvres to follow' on your invitations.
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  • Ditto to putting it on your website instead of the invite.  We are saying "fun and festive summer attire" for our wedding... here's an attire guide to explain what that is and maybe point you in the direction of some wording:


    I think saying heavy hors d'eouvres is fine, but honestly I don't think you need to say anything... as long as people have enough to eat people won't be upset if there's no sit down dinner.
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  • chrmunchrmun member
    We'll be putting something along the lines of, 'garden party attire encouraged' on our website.
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  • No offense, ladies, but if I was told to wear "fun and festive summer attire" or "garden party attire" to a wedding, I would have no clue what that meant.
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  • edited May 2011
    Our invitations say "please join us us we unite in marriage in an outdoor ceremony."

    The timing of the event will let them know it's in the evening.

    As for attire, I believe you are not really supposed to say anything about attire on an invitation, but if you have a wedding website definitely put a note about it if you'd like.
    Most people are familiar with how to dress for weddings. They will take their cue from both the invitation and the setting. Personally I'd take mine more from the setting. Outdoor events you are going to get a lot more sundresses from the women and some men will likely be tie-less and some even jacketlsss.
    But unless you really care about how your guests are dressed I doubt you will even notice.
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