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Rockstar December 2022

Thoughts on no dress code listed?

Michelle, on June 25, 2022 at 4:59 PM Posted in Community Conversations 0 12
Proper etiquette for those who still follow it say that it is impolite to mention dress code on the invitation (and websites which not all couples make) because guests are considered to be adults capable of dressing themselves and guests are not props. And default dress code for many social circles when nothing is listed is semi-formal/cocktail. The exception being when black tie is required by the venue before anyone can enter.

When dress code is not listed anywhere, does it stress you out or does it relieve you?


Latest activity by S, on June 27, 2022 at 10:11 PM
  • Imani
    Rockstar July 2022
    Imani ·
    • Flag
    I guess a bit of both. If there’s no listing I’m okay but a bit nervous that I’ll be overdressed. If there is a dress code I’m relieved, because I can wear what I want and be comfortable. I like to dress up anyway, so either way I’d think I’d be fine.
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  • Cece
    Rockstar November 2022
    Cece Online ·
    • Flag
    I prefer a dress code to be listed. Back in the day there was a lot less variety of dress code options, and pretty much everything fell into casual, semi-casual, and dressy. Nowadays there are sooooooo many other options. Fashion has progressed and evolved leagues since our parents and grandparents got married. And there are tons of different styles/vibes at different venues. By listing suggested attire, it takes the guess work (or actual work of me having to research the venue) out of it, and makes wardrobe selection easy. I’m all about making the experience easy & convenient for guests, so I always appreciate suggested attire on wedding sites.
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  • S
    Dedicated September 2022
    Sara ·
    • Flag
    I kept getting asked what the dress code is, so I decided to list it on my FAQ page on my website. Honestly, I didn’t really have a dress code so I just said “cocktail”. I’m not going to kick anyone out if they show up in casual wear (I have some family members who just might 🤦🏻‍♀️) but this way, I might get less questions about what people should wear.
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  • Hannah
    Master July 2019
    Hannah ·
    • Flag
    I've never really been that stressed out by it, but the semi-formal/cocktail attire is a pretty standard dress code in our social circle.
    • Reply
  • Orianna
    Devoted December 2022
    Orianna ·
    • Flag

    Gimme me a dress code! One of the reasons I'm not a fan of surprises, is that I hate not knowing what to wear. Being appropriately attired for the occasion is a big cause of stress for me, so personally, we're putting the dress code on our invite with an explainer of what it means on the website. We have had several family members specifically ask us what we mean when we say "black tie optional" so we have an explanation on the website.

    I think having a dress code mentioned is always helpful. I would never want someone at my wedding to feel like they are over or under dressed.

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  • Michelle
    Rockstar August 2021
    Michelle Online ·
    • Flag
    Even the White House will specify black tie or white tie for state dinners. When the Queen of England was last here, it was white tie but I'm unsure who actually dictated the attire. I'm not offended if there's a dress code specified. There are many different types of weddings and fashion now. You cannot assume culture or a person's possessions either. I've only been to formal weddings, no garden or even casual weddings, so then I would be worried. When I asked my husband, what he might assume to wear to a yacht club wedding, he thought polo; if specified "semi formal", then a sport coat. If formal, suit and tie. He does not own a suit, so that would take planning. I would not want my guests to be uncomfortable upon arrival, so I list "preferred" dress code so others can plan.
    • Reply
  • Pat
    Expert May 2023
    Pat ·
    • Flag

    I am "Team Dress Code" ! Our's is a beach wedding, BUT I don't want people to think they can show up in shorts and t-shirts, so I definitely have a "smart casual" dress code listed on both the invite and the wedding website *(with an explanation of what smart casual means) I certainly won't "kick someone out" for not following our wishes, but it sure will make me unhappy. As for me? I get totally stressed not knowing what the expectations are, so I appreciate the guidance.

    • Reply
  • mrswinteriscoming
    Rockstar December 2021
    mrswinteriscoming ·
    • Flag

    In my circles, a dress code is so often listed on wedding invitations that it is second nature to me to list one (in fact, I didn't know it was an etiquette 'faux pas' until I came across WeddingWire).

    If anything, it really irks me when there isn't a dress code listed because I prefer to dress appropriately for big events like weddings and no dress code means fretting that I will be under or over dressed.

    The way I see it, a dress code is not some mandatory rule aimed to stage guests as decorative 'props' but rather a guide as to how I wish to dress and unless it was something very specific (i.e. 'all white') I have zero issues with a dress code.

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  • Erin
    Devoted May 2022
    Erin ·
    • Flag
    I don’t think I’ve ever been to a wedding where the dress code was listed on the invitation, so it doesn’t bother me too much. I just stick to “Sunday best” and make sure not to wear white.
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  • Jasmine S.
    Rockstar May 2022
    Jasmine S. ·
    • Flag
    I always heard that if there's no dress code, you should default to cocktail attire. Apparently a lot of my guests (mostly my friends so younger adults) didn't know this, because they asked me anyway. As a guest I absolutely don't mind when there's nothing listed on the invite. Black tie/formal weddings are common in my circle and the hosts always let us know if that's the case.
    • Reply
  • Paige
    Rockstar October 2022
    Paige ·
    • Flag

    I never knew listing the dress code was an issue, and I think listing one is actually more courteous than not listing one. That way none of your guests feel over/ under dressed, nobody feels like they're getting the side-eye for their choices (at least due to being unaware of the formality), it cuts down on the "what should I wear!?" phone calls, and nobody has to spend time researching what is or isn't appropriate.

    Dress codes are basically guidance on formality levels, not a strict dictation on what to wear. Adults are capable of dressing themselves, but just because you CAN pull on a pair of jeans doesn't mean it's something you SHOULD do for a formal event. Conversely, I wouldn't want to wear a formal floor-length gown to a less-than-formal wedding where the bride is wearing a knee-length dress either. Having and communicating a dress code solves that issue. We can assume guests are capable of making reasonable choices, but people are all raised with different ideas and understandings, which is another reason providing guidance is a great idea.

    I've never been to a wedding where anyone got tossed for not dressing up enough, but I have seen weddings where not having a dress code led to some questionable choices. Guests are welcome to wear what they want, but I don't think providing guidance so they don't feel out of place is a bad thing.

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  • S
    Dedicated September 2022
    S ·
    • Flag

    My fiance and I always get stressed when a dress code isn't specified for a wedding - I'm the type of person who loves to get dressed up, but it's helpful to know where the expected barometer is on how dressy to get. I wouldn't want to show up too dressy to a wedding, like a PP mentioned, where the bride is fairly casual and all the ladies are in a sun dress versus I'm in a floor-length gown - this would make both myself and the bride feel uncomfortable I'd imagine. I know etiquette boards mention how guests should infer the level of formality by the invitation and venue, but I literally never research venues of weddings I'm invited to, and I've been invited to weddings where the dress code was formal but I didn't consider the invitation to indicate that (i.e., invitation looked more semi-formal). [Also, what kind of invitation would indicate "formal"? - I struggle with this again because I picked stationary that I considered to be the classiest/most formal I found in our budget, but because we would rather spend the extra budget on things like food/open bar/subsidizing cost of accommodations for guests (elements our guests will actually benefit from), we didn't want to spend excess to get details like handmade deckle edge paper or letter pressed text - I know these things would make it more formal, but not everyone wants to throw money at stationary.] We personally always appreciate a dress code so that we can make sure we don't stick out like a sore thumb. Like another PP mentioned, dress codes often are just a general guidance and still give us all freedom to dress ourselves - I don't find the concept of having a dress code as being offensive or insinuating the people don't know how to dress themselves.

    For our wedding, we personally decided to include the dress code on our invitations (did this instead of on a detail card because, again, we just don't believe in paying tons for stationary since everyone throws that stuff away anyway - so we only had the invitation with an attached but removable RSVP card and worked with what we had) because in my personal experience, I never look up the couple's wedding website until just a couple weeks before the wedding when I've remembered that I should get them a wedding gift off their registry and double check the details - sometimes this is kind of late in the game for figuring out my outfit, so we thought it's just more straightforward to include dress code on the invitation. I'd initially created a Pinterest board in case people had questions (I know that the guidance can also be conflicting online sometimes), but I didn't want anyone to think I was being super controlling so I hadn't posted it on our website. Once we sent out invites, we had two guests reach out asking what we meant by "formal attire", so I went back and added my board to our website. Since then, I can't tell you how many of our guests have told us how helpful the Pinterest board has been to them - I didn't think it'd be such a hit, but it turned out to be so! I vote to do whatever seems to fit best in our modern times and ignore the old etiquette rules if they don't work for you.

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