Wedding Dress Codes & Why You Need One

Ladies (and Gents, if you're reading), I ask you now to consider the dress code you'd like followed by guests on your wedding day.  Do not brush me off, or decide that it's a boring and un-necessary detail, maybe too formal for the day you're planning.  It's important, and I'll tell you why... 

Put yourself in your guest's shoes (whether they be Jimmy Choo's or Havaiana's).  You receive a wedding invitation, hurrah!  You pop the details into your diary and your thoughts naturally turn to what you might plan on wearing to this particular soiree.  But the invitation doesn't divulge too much about what to expect and there's no dress code indicated.  This is a problem now.  You don't want to be over or under-dressed compared to other guests, you want to fit in, know you look fabulous, and dance the night away.  You go and stare into the abyss that is your closet, full of clothes, and yet you have nothing to wear.  Maybe... Nope!  The classic Aussie girl's staple of 'jeans and a nice top' will not suffice here. 

Brides, if there was any kind of dress code listed on your invitation your guest would not be panicking right now and actually dreading your special day in case she gets it wrong.  We've all been there, and it's not a great feeling right?  So let me run you through the options and probably save you a whole lot of emails and calls when your invitations hit those letterboxes.  

Firstly, you don't have to stick to the more traditional ideas, you can have whatever you want (without being too weird.  Nobody wants to wear a toga to your wedding okay).  It could be Gatsby Chic, A Touch of Red, or Cowboy Boots Welcome.  If you're going for an alternative like this try to make it fun and easy, rather than stressful.  And word it so that it gives guests an out if they don't actually own a pair of cowboy boots.

If you want to go for a more traditional dress code but you're not sure exactly what to choose, here's a list of what they mean exactly -
* White Tie - (not often seen in Adelaide, but there are some venues where this would look fabulous)  For the gentlemen it's a tuxedo, a long black jacket with tails, a white vest and a bowtie.  Black formal shoes and even white gloves wouldn't go astray.  For the ladies this will be a formal, full-length ball gown in a neutral colour like dark brown or black.  Glam hair & make-up and dramatic jewellery are all appropriate.
* Black Tie - A tuxedo, black bow tie and patent leather shoes for the men.  Tradition also says a cummerbund but I can't stand those things, so No.  Just No.  A chic cocktail dress or a long evening gown, again in a dark colour, with all the hair, makeup and jewellery you like will work for the women.
* Formal (Black Tie Optional) - Men could pop on either a tuxedo or a formal dark-coloured suit.  Definitely with a tie to match.  Women could wear a long dress, a dressy suit, or a formal cocktail dress in a dark colour.
* Semi-Formal/Cocktail - Lads, a suit and tie in any colour will work for this one depending on the season and time of day.  Ladies, a cocktail dress or a dressy skirt and top are the items to go for here.
* Beach Formal - Guys can wear a summer suit with linen shirt, and skip the tie.  Linen pants or khakis, and sandals complete the look.  Girls will need a formal summer sundress with flat sandals, and everyday hair and makeup.
* Garden Party - For him, a summer suit, boat shoes and optional tie is appropriate.  For her, a tea-length sundress with strappy sandals works well.
* Casual - I usually like to try and word this one differently because it runs the risk of a lot of denim and flannels showing up (unless that's what you want and then hey, go for it).  Dress pants and a button-down shirt or polo for the guys, and either a sundress, or skirt or pants with a top for the girls.  Nothing too fancy in the hair and makeup department.

See, it's not so hard.  It's actually kinda fun.  No?  Just me?  Okay, well I hope at least I've shown you how much easier you can make things for your guests if you spend a few minutes thinking this one through.  It's one extra line on your invitations, and I think it's just the considerate thing to do.  Happy Days! xo