Wedding Etiquette Forum
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F/U: Black, White or Purple Weddings

I typically lurk but the Black wedding got me thinking. Is it EVER ok to dictate guests attire?For instance, over the summer my friend had a lua (sp?) themed wedding so the invtie said "casual dress requested" then something about "wear your favorite Hawaiian shirt."I didn't think anything of it at the time and FI bought a Hawaiian shirt. I was in the wedding so I wore my BM dress. Now it has me thinking, did she make an etiquette faux pas? Is ok to tell guests to dress casual or in "black tie"?

Re: F/U: Black, White or Purple Weddings

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    There are ways to get across it's a Hawaiian themed wedding without telling people to wear sundresses. Having it at a beach, having beachy invitations, handing out leis, roasting a pig on a spit. Invitations are supposed to clue your guests into the wedding theme, no?
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    I think its ok to set the mood for the event you planned by giving your guests an idea of the formality or theme. Unless there is a dress code at your venue, then you really shouldn't come across as requiring a certain type of attire. I appreciate knowing if an event is black tie or not, because I will look like a fool wearing jeans. However, I don't think that stating the formality or theme is in any way requiring your guests to conform to it.
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    I also think there's a difference between a general theme (such as casual dress, black tie) and a specific item/color of clothing (such as a black outfit, all white, etc). Also, a difference between request and require. To be honest, I wouldn't have been happy about buying a Hawaiian shirt if I didn't already own one. And it makes it seem very costume-y/Halloween-y to me. NMS at all.
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    We advised by word of mouth when asked by guests what to wear that we were having a casual dress wedding. But only when asked. And someone still showed up in a suit.
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    I think she did commit an etiquette faux pas, not not one that I'd be really upset or offended about. 
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    I think if they were saying that it's casual and you can wear a hawaiian shirt than that's basically just telling you that it's not business casual... I'm sure that the invite was informal as well.I think it's different to request rather than imply though. Implying a certain formality of dress is probably more acceptable.Black tie seems to be the only time it's ok to set a dress code? this is fuzzy area for me, I'm not that klassy.
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    Technically, I think yes she did commit a faux pas.  The style of the invitation and word of mouth should have been how she got the message across that the wedding was going to be casual.
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    Yeah I've been surprised at some of the responses to the Black wedding things.  I would have thought for theme weddings it was ok to let people know what the theme is and ask that everyone participate.
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    I'm with merymac.  The invitation dictates the formality of a wedding, and I usually try to take that and run with it. Something like "black tie required," IMO, is fine because it's not you making the request, usually, it's the venue.  Some country clubs and such have dress codes.I'm also fine with wardrobe suggestions for religious reasons.  Some denominations want arms covered, heads covered, skirts on women, whatevver--that, too, is fine with me.If it's just to match the venue or theme, I'm going to be annoyed.
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    Dh has friends who a similar Hawaiian-themed wedding at-home reception (after a Blue Hawaii Elvis wedding with just them and another couple in Vegas). It said something on the invitation about wearing a Hawaiian shirt (or something like that). I think it worked in that case because the reception was extremely casual, it was almost all friends (very few family), it was intentionally kitschy and their friends appreciate that kind of thing. So it CAN work, but you really need to know your crowd. Re black tie and black tie optional -- they're pretty standard in my crowd and always indicated on the invitation. There could be two weddings at exactly the same place, time, level of formality, etc. and we know that if it says black tie, you wear a tux/gown; if it doesn't, you don't dress quite that formal. Literally the only way you know in my crowd is if the invitation specifies black tie or not. But for the most part, I don't see any need to indicate dress. I know how to dress for most occasions so I don't need to be told how to dress unless there's something very weird or unexpected that can't be conveyed in any other way.
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    FI never owned a Hawaiian shirt but bought one anyway and he was happy he did. Only about 5 people at the whole wedding didn't have one on. (out of 120, including DJ and photographer) The invites definitely dictated casual event though.
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    We had a  FYI card that guided people to the formality of the wedding. Our wedding was totally different than what any of our families had every been to.  They are semi-formal/formal type people.  DH did not even wear a suit or tie.We got a lot of compliments on the card and people were happy to have been guided in the right direction.Ours was just a 'suggestion'.  Not a demand.  Which is different.   Requiring everyone to wear a certain color is different than saying the wedding is going to be causal.






    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. 
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    I agree with Sarah - if someone said "you MUST wear this color/style/outfit" I'd be annoyed if I didn't own it. Most adults have outfits for many different occasions, though, like black tie, business suits, etc. And if I had to expand my wardrobe to fit one of those categories so I had something appropriate for a wedding, I'm sure the outfit would get some use at some other point. Which isn't necessarily the case with a Hawaiian shirt.
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    In this day and age of DYI invitations I do not think invitations dictate formality.   I know people who create pretty formal invitations for causal events.    






    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. 
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    I think with the Hawaiian theme she was probably just saying "If you want you can wear your favorite Hawaiian shirt"  Not that it was required.  We didn't tell people what to wear, but on our wedding website under attire I put semi formal.  I didn't care what people wore.  If they wanted to wear jeans that was fine, if they wanted to wear a black suit that was fine to.  I knew that the wedding party was going to be formally dressed so that was basically just to give a heads up of what people might want to wear.
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    I also work at a luxury resort in the islands.  Some brides are very formal with GM's in full tuxes (poor guys are dying) and woman in long dresses.  Other brides choose the 'island fancy' look of button down silk shirts and sundresses.Same time, same location.   If the wedding is outside your circles norms, you might not know.






    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. 
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    That's true with the DIY invites. I plan to make mine, so I'll post pictures so you ladies can make sure I'm not doing anything wrong! I do want a semi-formal/formal wedding but I also know some of my relatives will show up in jeans and I don't mind because like others have said, it's their choice and that's what they always wear.
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    Of course it's ok.
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