Wedding Guests

The Ultimate Dress Code Guide for Wedding Guests

This post is in conjunction with  Harry’s . When it comes to etiquette + dress code, I called on the experts to help steer you in the right direction. You’re welcome!

Every wedding is different. The type of occasion you’re hoping to plan will likely influence how you and your guests are expected to properly dress. Getting an understanding of what kind of function it is and the group of people attending, will better your decision-making about how you should stylize yourself among your peers.

Depending on your invitation you’re going to want to decide right away. With that in mind, use our tips below to complete your bad-ass look for the big day.

White Tie vs Black Tie

At the most formal level of a wedding, the expectation is that guests will be asked to abide by either white or black tie standards. Let’s start with white tie. This is the fanciest and most formal of any wedding dress code. It is known to be the “best of the best” look. For men, a tuxedo with tails, a white dress shirt, and a white tie are required. However, be sure to check the invitation as it may list other requests as well. Likewise for women, selecting your most elegant dress as if you’re attending a gala will be your best bet. Many white tie functions have strict restrictions and requirements so just be keen to abide whatever the bride and groom might ask.

On the other hand, black tie weddings are the most common dress code at weddings. While black tie is a step down in formality from white tie, it is still a very formal event. At these kinds of functions, men should be expected to wear their nicest black tuxedo with an accompanying white dress shirt and black tie. If you want to mix it up with a bow tie, try it out as it can add a little pizazz to a pretty standard look. For women, your options are open. Whether you go with a formal gown or a dressy cocktail dress, this will be when you have to evaluate the kind of wedding and make your choice from there.

Formal vs Casual

If black or white tie is not the vibe you’re going for, the next expectation would be a “formal” dress code. The beauty of a “formal” wedding is that you are welcome to dress with a black-tie wedding if you choose. While it’s not entirely necessary, you won’t look out of place. For ladies, there is no real difference between black tie and a formal event. This means you can go with either an elegant dress or something more casual. Heels or flats are both acceptable and can match your outfit perfectly, just remember to keep your comfort in mind.

The same goes for male guests. At a formal even you have the option to either go all out and wear a tuxedo, but if you won’t look out of place if you opt for a dressed-down look in a nice shirt and tie.

Other Necessities

No matter the dress code, there will be other necessities on your checklist that you’ll have to take care of for the big day. While your outfit will be the majority of your look, the “extras” that will make you stand out should not be forgotten, and can truthfully, make or break your outfit.

For men: Facial hygiene will be most important for male guests as they prepare their look. Starting with their hair, you should be sure that your hair is cut and styled to perfection to prevent any messy situations and potential bad photographs. Likewise, make sure your facial hair is just on point as your hair. Whether you choose to tame your beard or completely shave it off, make sure you shave and upkeep with top-line shaving products days before the wedding to give you the best look.

For women: After it comes to picking out your dress, you’re going to want to decide how to accessorize yourself to match your outfit. Starting with jewelry, you’re going to want to pick something that matches the occasion. If it’s more of a formal event selecting appropriate earrings and necklaces to match the vibe make more sense, rather than fun-colored or flashy, which would better fit a more casual scene. 

In terms of makeup, be sure to decide on how you want to do your makeup and make it match the function. For example, if your wedding is outdoors you may want to do less makeup with a more natural look, rather than you would for a wedding indoors. Don’t ever overdo your look and remember that everyone at the wedding is close friends and family so you shouldn’t stress about applying too much.

Photo by Mark Zamora on Unsplash

Reboot ~ Please Don't Come to My Wedding... How Cutting the Guest List Means Cutting the Cord

lanty-251049.jpg

“Please don’t come to my wedding,” she said jokingly, although with a bit of truth behind her words. I laughed with her because I understand how out of control the guest list can become, and when those invitees whom you thought were not going to accept your (strained) invitation decide to grace you with their presence, along with all of those guests you knew were going to come to your wedding, the budget struggle and the lost prospect of an intimate wedding suddenly become very, very real. Bridey, the guest list is probably the hardest part of wedding planning you will encounter because it affects everything. Every decision. Every selection. Every dollar.

So, what is a bride to do? How do you cut the guest list so that you don’t have to cross your fingers every time an RSVP arrives? How do you do it without hurting feelings? Honestly, you don’t. Somebody is going to be hurt because they weren’t invited even if they had no intention of going to your wedding. That’s just how it goes. And it sucks, but that’s the reality of it. So, I need you to do something for me. Imagine a world where you got to decide who would be in attendance on one of the biggest days of your life. Really think about it. Now, write it down. Who’s on that list, bridey? Close family, friends, etc.. Right? Awesome. Now, stop thinking about who’s not on the list and start thinking about how you’re going to handle your ideal guest list. Because, this is it! And for those who didn’t make the cut? Too bad. Remember, you don’t have to apologize, you just have to understand the consequences of your actions and figure out the balance between the two.

Bridey, the truth? No bullshit? Those you don’t invite will be pissed off and hurt, and potentially hold a grudge against you for the rest of their life (and yours). So, the question becomes, are you willing to cut the cord? It’s completely possible that some of these people will never speak to you again, un-friend you on FaceBook, and fall off entirely. And honestly, this might not be a bad thing. Perhaps it’s even an opportunity to filter out the people in your life you’ve been dying to let go of, but haven’t quite found the right excuse. Well, I’d say that by not inviting them to your wedding you’re pretty much sealing the deal!

Although, what about those who you still adore, but didn’t make the cut simply because by inviting them would mean that you would have to invite the string of relatives associated with them (to keep it “fair”)? Sadly, they might end up being collateral damage, however if you’re able to have an honest conversation about your reasoning, then you could potentially salvage these relationships. But, there is no guarantee, and that is what you have to internalize and decide how important certain relationships are to you. And, only you can answer that question.

Look, I know it’s not easy, be that as it may, it’s still your wedding, and your choice. In my opinion, down the road… you’ll end up filtering out those people who really don’t matter to you or make much of a difference in your life (family or not) simply by living. That’s how it goes. So, why not cut the cord now and mark your wedding day as the day you didn’t succumb to the pressure of being all inclusive even at your own expense (literally and figuratively). Got it? Good! Now, go write your list! And good luck!

Image via Lanty

Please Don't Come to My Wedding... How Cutting the Guest List Means Cutting the Cord

lanty-251049.jpg

“Please don’t come to my wedding,” she said jokingly, although with a bit of truth behind her words. I laughed with her because I understand how out of control the guest list can become, and when those invitees whom you thought were not going to accept your (strained) invitation decide to grace you with their presence, along with all of those guests you knew were going to come to your wedding, the budget struggle and the lost prospect of an intimate wedding suddenly become very, very real. Bridey, the guest list is probably the hardest part of wedding planning you will encounter because it affects everything. Every decision. Every selection. Every dollar.

So, what is a bride to do? How do you cut the guest list so that you don’t have to cross your fingers every time an RSVP arrives? How do you do it without hurting feelings? Honestly, you don’t. Somebody is going to be hurt because they weren’t invited even if they had no intention of going to your wedding. That’s just how it goes. And it sucks, but that’s the reality of it. So, I need you to do something for me. Imagine a world where you got to decide who would be in attendance on one of the biggest days of your life. Really think about it. Now, write it down. Who’s on that list, bridey? Close family, friends, etc.. Right? Awesome. Now, stop thinking about who’s not on the list and start thinking about how you’re going to handle your ideal guest list. Because, this is it! And for those who didn’t make the cut? Too bad. Remember, you don’t have to apologize, you just have to understand the consequences of your actions and figure out the balance between the two.

Bridey, the truth? No bullshit? Those you don’t invite will be pissed off and hurt, and potentially hold a grudge against you for the rest of their life (and yours). So, the question becomes, are you willing to cut the cord? It’s completely possible that some of these people will never speak to you again, un-friend you on FaceBook, and fall off entirely. And honestly, this might not be a bad thing. Perhaps it’s even an opportunity to filter out the people in your life you’ve been dying to let go of, but haven’t quite found the right excuse. Well, I’d say that by not inviting them to your wedding you’re pretty much sealing the deal!

Although, what about those who you still adore, but didn’t make the cut simply because by inviting them would mean that you would have to invite the string of relatives associated with them (to keep it “fair”)? Sadly, they might end up being collateral damage, however if you’re able to have an honest conversation about your reasoning, then you could potentially salvage these relationships. But, there is no guarantee, and that is what you have to internalize and decide how important certain relationships are to you. And, only you can answer that question.

Look, I know it’s not easy, be that as it may, it’s still your wedding, and your choice. In my opinion, down the road… you’ll end up filtering out those people who really don’t matter to you or make much of a difference in your life (family or not) simply by living. That’s how it goes. So, why not cut the cord now and mark your wedding day as the day you didn’t succumb to the pressure of being all inclusive even at your own expense (literally and figuratively). Got it? Good! Now, go write your list! And good luck!

Image via Lanty

But, It's My Day...

I wrote this in 2012 and chuckled when I re-read it today. I have some big plans for Bitchless Bride (you'll see next week!), and while I have several Truth Hurts Tuesday ideas swirling in my head, I haven't had one second to sit down and write them. So, please enjoy this funny and truthful post from 2012 because as far as I know, this mentality (sadly) hasn't changed much in the past few years:

***

We all know it’s your day. You’ve done nothing but remind us and we are really excited for you. But don’t fuck it up. Don’t get so wrapped up in your day that you forget to take care of us. We are your guests. And we count too. So if you are planning on a black tie event in a remote location with a long break between the ceremony and cocktail reception, then we don’t want to come.

Consider what the average guest spends on a regular wedding. Plane tickets, hotel accommodations and a gift… This can cost up to $1,000.00 if not more. But, a black tie event in a remote location can really hurt! Still have the plane tickets, hotel accommodations and gift, but now we have to throw in a rental car, valet parking, tuxedo rental and a new dress. Ouch! So when you keep chanting that it’s your day, you need to respect thatyour day becomes our expense. Don’t get me wrong, we are thrilled to be present as you say your vows and celebrate with you, but we want to feel as though you have considered our needs.

It’s not just the money we spend to participate in your big day. It’s the flow and feel of the wedding. I know that you want to attend your cocktail hour AND take pictures without missing a thing, but to schedule a break after the ceremony and before the cocktail hour leaves us in flux. What are we supposed to do in the interim? Where do we go? What do we eat? What do we drink? NOTHING. That’s what we do. We make small talk with the other guests in the lobby or wherever all well wishing we had a drink in our hand and a hors d’oeuvre in our belly. But nooooo… you had to take pictures for 2 hours, and we are stuck waiting and withering away. Okay, I’m exaggerating, but nobody likes to wait, not even for you.

So be thoughtful. Think about the guest experience. I know that seeing each other before the ceremony is considered a faux pas, but think about it. Take your pictures first so after the ceremony you and your groom can join the party! A lot of my couples are taking this approach so that they can enjoy the whole day, and so can their guests. Trust me, if you’ve made it through the planning without calling off the wedding, seeing each other before you say “I do” won’t be the straw. It’s really simple, treat others the way you’d like to be treated, and stop being a bitch!

The Truth Hurts Tuesday ~ Quit Being an Order Taker!

Bridey, you’ve GOT to stop trying to please everybody! If you are an avid Bitchless Bride reader, then I’m hoping you are well on your way to sane, non-bitchy, non-entitled, wedding planning so please take this to heart, bridey. It’s YOUR wedding and the more you try to “look out” for your guests and/or over accommodate their needs, then your wedding becomes less and less about you and your sig other, and more about becoming an order taker. Seriously, you're one step away from asking, "Do you want fries with that?"

And because being an order taker can be frustrating and exhausting here are five ways to STOP accommodating your guests without being a bitch. I know, how could you??

1. I know it’s crazy, but it can even start with your wedding date. Right? There will always be somebody (you love) who can’t make it to your wedding because of whatever reason so set the precedence and choose the date that works for you! If you listened to everybody and took into account their schedules and their plans, then you’re left with nothing. Okay, maybe not nothing, but definitely not the most ideal wedding date. Getting married on a Tuesday in the fall doesn’t have the same ring to it as a Saturday in the fall now does it?

2. Don’t put it out there. Don’t over promise. Don’t offer your guests too many choices. Tell them. This is what you are eating. These are your hotel accommodation options. This is the attire. And you know what? If they don’t like it, too fucking bad. They are adults, and therefore they can stay wherever they want and eat dinner before the wedding if they don’t like beef or fish (or if they are gluten free, celiac, can’t eat nuts, shellfish, dairy, sugar, cilantro, YOU NAME IT). See what I mean? You provided your guests some choices, and then it is up to them. I mean, there have been several occasions in which my hus and I decided to stay outside of the wedding block offered because we made a choice to do so.

3. Just say “no”. C’mon, you say it to your sig other all the time! But, seriously, get in the habit of just saying “no” to particular guest requests if that’s not what you want. For instance, if a guest calls you and asks to bring her new boyfriend to the wedding…