Wedding Tips | Letting Your Guests Know How To Dress

    So here’s a wedding planning tip that we haven’t really thought of in great detail until now.  Although as wedding photographers, we have seen the odd wedding guest here and there, who look like they may as well have come from yoga class, or from a redneck convention, or maybe even just rolled out of bed…so how do you tell your guests how you would like them to dress for your wedding?

    While we are planning our wedding, we have been asked by a few of our guests now, what should we wear?  So we have been researching, and thinking…how do we want our guests to dress, because, well, we haven’t really thought about it!  So, here are a few tips that we have learned :)

    A large group photo at a wedding

    1. Think Venue.  Where is your wedding ceremony and reception taking place?  Indoor or outdoor?  We are getting married at a Guest Ranch and both the ceremony and reception will be outdoors.  Our ceremony is in a mowed hayfield, so we aren’t recommending that our guests wear high heels that might be difficult to walk in on that sort of ground.  The rest of our venue is dirt and gravel, with the reception being on more of a lawn.  Now, for some people, when they see “guest ranch” they may think they need to dress in a cowboy hat and boots, so you may need to clarify that they aren’t required to “dress the part”, while our wedding is in a “country setting”, we aren’t going for a full-on “cowboy” style.

    2. Think Style.  So this brings us to the “style” or “theme” that you are going for for your wedding day.  I think it is important for your guests to know what your wedding style will be; are you going for modern chic, classic,  rustic, vintage, beach, offbeat wedding style?  One of the best ways to share your wedding style plans with your guests is with your wedding invitations and/or your wedding website.  Keep your style/theme consistent.  For example, if your wedding invitations are fancy, 5-pieced with calligraphy, your guests may assume that it is quite a formal event.  Our wedding invitations are more simple, with burlap and lace accents, simple wording, and less “swirly” fonts, which would portray a more casual event.

    3.  Think Easy Clarification.  What exactly is “semi-casual”?  Does everyone know what this is, or will some of us have to Google its meaning?  Or will some of us assume it means something and then be wrong?  Avoid using these phrases, such as “casual”, semi-formal”, etc.  Instead, on your invitations and/or wedding website, explain where your wedding will be.  Let your guests know if there will be lots of walking, what the ground will be like (if that is an issue), and whether it is indoor or outdoor.

    4.  Think Weather.  Obviously, some of your guests will look at your wedding date, venue, and whether your ceremony/reception is indoor or outdoor and have it all figured out, but some guests just won’t.  You’ll want to clarify things like “Our late September wedding should feel summery during the day but will cool off quickly in the evening…and although we have tents as an option for rainy weather, be prepared and have clothing options just in case.

    5.  Think Comfort.  If you are wanting your guests to be dressed in full formal attire, comfort may not be something to bring up.  If your reception will be a big party with lots of dancing and games, it won’t hurt to bring this up to your guests.  We want our guests to have fun and be comfortable.

    6.  Think Photos.  Of course, this is my number 1 tip.  I want to make sure that my guests know that there will be a photographer and they will be in photographs.  My goal is to have our guests blend in together so no one’s fluorescent pink dress takes the attention of anyone looking at our wedding photos.  I think this is important in any wedding, no matter how fancy or low key your wedding is.  If you are ever a guest at a wedding, dress in more neutral colours…this will ensure that you blend in nicely with everyone.  We once had a couple who had a very colourful wedding…literally.  The bride informed all of her guests that they were to wear bright colours and it looked beautiful.  But the last thing you want is to be the only guest wearing a bright red dress when everyone else is wearing neutral colours, so it’s great to play it safe.

    7.  Think Sanity.  Once you have set out your wedding day “dress code” to your guests, either verbally, on the invitation, or on your wedding website, just sit back and relax.  You have done all you can do.  Unless you are going to have a designated “fashion police” standing guard, there will always be someone (probably family) who shows up with an old grubby baseball cap or a Hawaiian shirt, or maybe that guest who just wants to dress up no matter what your dress code is and shows up to your country wedding in a sequined gown like she’s heading up a fundraiser gala.  Ultimately, your guests will dress themselves!

    Here is a sample…exactly what we wrote for the “What to Wear” section of our Wedding Website:

    As photographers, of course, we have a “What to Wear” section for our guests!  The most important thing to us is that our guests are comfortable, have fun and, of course, you need to look great in our photos :)
    Here are some details about our wedding that will help you choose what to wear:
    *Our wedding ceremony and reception are both outdoors.  We do have the option of tents if the weather is rainy, but if at all possible, or reception will be under the stars!
    *Our ceremony is in a wide-open, mowed hayfield, with hay bales for seating (mini-skirts may not be a great idea…for many reasons).
    *The ground throughout our venue is as rustic as the rest of our wedding;  fields, gravel, dirt, grass…please choose footwear accordingly (also think of maybe having a rainy option)
    *Our wedding colours are very neutral.  For photo’s sake, we’d love it if you avoid bright and flashy colours
    *Although our wedding venue is very “cowboy”, the style of our wedding is more rustic, vintage, country…jeans are completely fine, but there is absolutely no need to go out and buy cowboy boots and hat to look the part.  We want you to be you :)
    *There will be dancing! 
    *With a mid-September Okanagan wedding, the weather should be summery during the day, but it does cool off quickly in the evening.  So bring some warmer options for the latter part of the day :)
    *We have a professional photographer covering our wedding day, and I’m sure we won’t be able to contain ourselves from snapping a few too, so you will be in photos!  Make sure you feel great in what you are wearing so you are comfortable being in our photos :)

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