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2 wedding questions about gift registry and attire


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Ds is getting married and the bride and her family immigrated to the US, so are less familiar with typical US culture. They are relying on me for some guidelines. I am not exactly Emily Post on these things!

 

Two questions: 

 

1) ETA: No registry info on invite (my gut reaction but I was checking to see if norms had changed)  has been confirmed by the Hive, so please focus on the second Q.  It is apparently becoming normal to put where you are registered on or with the wedding invitations. I am old enough to be taken aback by this. I think people my generation (I'm over 60) and above would find that tacky, like a bid for gifts rather than an invitation to a wedding. They have thought about putting "No gifts expected but if you wish to give a gift, we're registered at...."  Am I an old fogey or is it better to put the registry on a wedding website or FB page? 

 

2) Wedding attire. It is a 3:00 wedding with a sit-down dinner reception. ETA:  What wording should they use about requested attire?  Someone downthread suggested "Coat and tie requested" and that that would give the women an idea, too.

 

They don't exactly want "cocktail attire" as that apparently implies suits for men and they are okay with just coat and tie even if it's not a suit. It can include short dresses for women which the bride thinks are less formal than knee length. Also she doesn't want women to wear  "sundresses." To me, that seemed to be prescribing things a little too specifically. ETA:  She is asking me for advice since she can't ask her mother and will readily accept it if I say you can't be that specific.  Ds thought maybe "Sunday best" would be a good descriptor. What do you think? 

 

We are in the Southeast US if that matters. 

Edited by Laurie4b
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#2. I don't think "Sunday best" would be likely exclude sundresses around here (in the summer), but I'm not sure it's actually possible to get that specific with a dress code. It might keep the sundresses 'classy'.

 

#1. I'm not modern enough either, but I think that there was a phase where registry info on the invite (or on a separate card in the invite) stopped being tacky and was considered normal. At this point, however, I think most young people create a whole website for the wedding, which eliminates the need to include those kinds of details on the invitation itself. (I think online rsvp-ing has largely replaced physical cards too.)

Edited by bolt.
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I would include neither registry info nor wardrobe instructions on/with the invitation itself. Those things can be spread word of mouth or via website or social media IF ASKED.

 

FWIW, I agree with you that the bride is being too picky in requesting no sundresses and that in the south, "Sunday best" definitely includes them.

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I think "formal, black tie optional" might cover the wording for the expected guest attire (suit and tie and dresses)

Or "semi-formal" (suit and tie and cocktail dresses).

 

Back to the wedding invitation...I think it is appropriate to have a wedding website and include registry information there. I'm reading in a few places that it is not appropriate to put registry info in the wedding invitation, but do put the web address of the wedding website on either/both save the date and invitation.

Edited by Gaillardia
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Ds is getting married and the bride and her family immigrated to the US, so are less familiar with typical US culture. They are relying on me for some guidelines. I am not exactly Emily Post on these things!

 

Two questions: 

 

1) It is apparently becoming normal to put where you are registered on or with the wedding invitations. I am old enough to be taken aback by this. I think people my generation (I'm over 60) and above would find that tacky, like a bid for gifts rather than an invitation to a wedding. They have thought about putting "No gifts expected but if you wish to give a gift, we're registered at...."  Am I an old fogey or is it better to put the registry on a wedding website or FB page? 

 

2) Wedding attire. It is a 3:00 wedding with a sit-down dinner reception. They don't exactly want "cocktail attire" as that apparently implies suits for men and they are okay with just coat and tie even if it's not a suit. It can include short dresses for women which the bride thinks are less formal than knee length. Also she doesn't want women to wear  "sundresses." To me, that seemed to be prescribing things a little too specifically. Ds thought maybe "Sunday best" would be a good descriptor. What do you think? 

 

We are in the Southeast US if that matters. 

 

1. Do NOT put registry information on the invitation. Do NOT put "No gifts expected..." on the invitation. Don't. Just don't. People who cannot figure out what newlyweds need to set up a home will call them and ask.

 

2. It is not the job of the happy couple to tell their guests what to wear. It is rude. Don't do it. It doesn't matter where you live, either.

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I am a decade younger, and I, too, do not like wedding registry information to be included with a wedding invitation.  I don't think the "no gifts expected..." wording makes it any better.  

 

Will there be a wedding invitation that also includes the reception invitation?  Or will there be two separate cards--one with the wedding invitation and one for the reception invitation?  I would not put attire on a wedding invitation.  If there is a separate reception invitation I might put "coat and tie"--which would indicate that a coat should be worn by men, but it does not have to be a suit.   That would set the formality for women to dress appropriately.  

 

I think the word "sundress" could mean different things to different people.   I don't see how you could easily put "no sundresses" any more than you could put "no sandals" or "no tennis shoes" on the invitation.  The only way I would put something regarding the type of dresses that should worn would be if the wedding is held in a location that requires women to have their shoulders covered or some other requirements that those being invited may not be aware of.

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I'm 40.

 

Registry goes on the website or is spread by word of mouth by moms.

 

Dress should be simple on the invite: black tie, semi-formal, business casual, beach formal, theme, but you should be able to encapsulate it in one word and you really don't get to choose skirt length, sorry.

 

But oh well. Apparently they're doing it on their own and didn't think to consult a wedding book. Maybe they're young. People make mistakes.

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the formality level is expressed via the invite itself, the venue, and the time.

 

Bride should not bother trying to dress the guests; some will wear the one outfit they have whether it fits the desired formality level or not.  Others have medical issues and will wear what works and don't appreciate the criticism.  Bride should be reminded that the pleasure of their company in celebrating the occasion is what is important.

 

:001_wub:

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1. Do NOT put registry information on the invitation. Do NOT put "No gifts expected..." on the invitation. Don't. Just don't. People who cannot figure out what newlyweds need to set up a home will call them and ask.

 

2. It is not the job of the happy couple to tell their guests what to wear. It is rude. Don't do it. It doesn't matter where you live, either.

I read this on my iPad and the name/photo of the poster did not show on the screen. I said to myself, "This Has to be Ellie." I scrolled up and there you were, lol.

 

Thank you for your unfailingly good advice!

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the formality level is expressed via the invite itself, the venue, and the time.

 

Bride should not bother trying to dress the guests; some will wear the one outfit they have whether it fits the desired formality level or not.  Others have medical issues and will wear what works and don't appreciate the criticism.  Bride should be reminded that the pleasure of the guests' company in celebrating the occasion is what is important.

 

Bride is very sweet ,, just not as experienced in the culture of US weddings. 

 

I'm 40.

 

Registry goes on the website or is spread by word of mouth by moms.

 

Dress should be simple on the invite: black tie, semi-formal, business casual, beach formal, theme, but you should be able to encapsulate it in one word and you really don't get to choose skirt length, sorry.

 

But oh well. Apparently they're doing it on their own and didn't think to consult a wedding book. Maybe they're young. People make mistakes.

 

They wanted a really simple wedding. Bride's mother wanted a fancy wedding. They are doing a fancy wedding and consulting me and internet websites, not doing it on their own. I was just here checking my own experience with the Hive. The invitations have not gone out yet. Please save the snark. 

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It saves on postage...one puts the directions to the venue, the hotels, suggested eateries, etc on there as well as links to the registries. It may have a rsvp manager and seating chart helper.

 

Its very impersonal, and makes you , as a guest, feel that you are being shaken down for gifts, especially if there is no receiving line after the ceremony.  People do appreciate photos posted though.

 

This will not save on postage at all. We are talking about different things.

 

Old fogey that I am, I love wedding websites because I have an easy-to-find place to remind myself of details. . The website doesn't replace anything. It supplements the traditional. They are sending invitations etc. 

Edited by Laurie4b
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Will there be a wedding invitation that also includes the reception invitation?  Or will there be two separate cards--one with the wedding invitation and one for the reception invitation?  I would not put attire on a wedding invitation.  If there is a separate reception invitation I might put "coat and tie"--which would indicate that a coat should be worn by men, but it does not have to be a suit.   That would set the formality for women to dress appropriately.  

 

That is a good idea. "Coat and tie" describes male attire that they want very simply. 

 

 

I think "formal, black tie optional" might cover the wording for the expected guest attire (suit and tie and dresses)

Or "semi-formal" (suit and tie and cocktail dresses).

 

 

 

What are the other connotations of "Formal" ? I would think that would mean long dresses. 

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It saves on postage...one puts the directions to the venue, the hotels, suggested eateries, etc on there as well as links to the registries. It may have a rsvp manager and seating chart helper.

 

Its very impersonal, and makes you , as a guest, feel that you are being shaken down for gifts, especially if there is no receiving line after the ceremony.  People do appreciate photos posted though.

 

I disagree.  I find wedding websites so helpful. Since all my life I've understood it is a custom to give gifts, I like a little guidance.  And it's been years since I've been to a wedding with a receiving line; not sure what your point is about that?  At recent weddings I've been to, the bride and groom, and their parents, circulate among the guests to greet them.  I so much prefer that to standing in a receiving line.  

 

Just a side note: I know someone who included on their wedding website (not invitation)  a little poem about how they didn't expect gifts.  A lot of guests took them at their word and didn't send/bring gifts.  Guess what? The bride and groom were upset that they received so few gifts.   

 

ETA: It can save on postage in the US.  Invitations that include an inner envelope, response card, envelope for that, and a map to the venue are heavier and can go over the limit for the typical letter.  I remember paying for extra postage on my wedding invitations. Now, invitations I receive may or may not include an inner envelope, and instead of a map and response card/envelope, have a  little card with the website information, including how to respond to the invitation.  Less paper, possibly less postage, and no stuff for the guest to  lose.  What is not to like?

 

 

Edited by marbel
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Re: dress code - I think no matter what you do, people are going to wear what they want.  Last summer I went to a few weddings with "cocktail attire" on the invitation and there were men in jean, women in capris and flat sandals, and other casual clothing.  Not sloppy-casual - no graphic tees or cutoffs that I recall.   

 

Certain phrases, like "sunday best" or even "church attire" are pretty meaningless now, I'm told. 

 

I just wouldn't bother putting dress code or suggestions. It's not going to matter anyway.  

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That is true.  In my country, adding weight to an envelope with extra paper to include directions, etc will add to postage.  Apparently it doesn't in yours. 

 

Paper RSVPs include a smaller card,  return envelope and a postage stamp. 

My practical experience has been that these are often ignored!

A postcard RSVP is cheaper, or using a wedding website (like TheKnot.com), or texting to a phone number streamlines the process, but is also often equally ignored.  :)

 

My current advice is to send the paper RSVPs in the invites to the older generation, and the website to the younger.

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For people who don't know about them ...  Most people I know have a wedding website now when they get married, something like theknot.com or weddingwire.com.  I find them helpful, and you can list as much or as little as you want on them.  But if nothing else, people can rsvp on them.  You can also provide links for gift registries on them.  I used to not like registries and would ignore them.  Then my ds got married (without a registry) and they received about 20 books on how to have a happy marriage because people didn't know what else to get them.   :D  I really appreciate knowing ahead of time now what the couple could use, unless of course I have something special in mind already, and that's fine too.  

 

You list the wedding website on the invite somewhere.

 

I wouldn't list a dress code on the invite.  Unless all the guests were close friends who thought it would be fun to know exactly how to dress, it might come off as little snooty.  On the other hand, I suppose you'd have to list it if a dress code is absolutely required (the venue wouldn't even let them in if they didn't have on the proper attire), or even if they'd be uncomfortable or feel really awkward in dressy clothes and should wear casual or beach clothes or something like that.   But if it's not specifically a requirement or would affect their comfort, then I wouldn't list it.  BUT, on the wedding website, you can always include a couple pictures of the wedding venue if you want, and if it's at a formal place, people will probably get the idea.  Or if it's a private, backyard wedding, I still think most people will dress up, especially if dinner is included.

 

I've found that most people do dress up for weddings, though there might be a few sundresses.

 

Both of our weddings so far have been international (children married someone from another country).  I think the mix of traditions at weddings is fun!  (And coincidentally, it looks like yet another child might be heading in the direction of an international wedding down the road...)

 

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I am curious as to how many people would have difficulty finding where a couple is registered if it isn't on the invitation or a website.  Personally, I have never had trouble with this.  Maybe it is where I live.  In my small hometown there is one nice gift shop where everyone registers.  Since I have moved away, every couple I have wanted to purchase a gift for have been registered either at Target or Bed, Bath, and Beyond.  Or, I might check the registries of the local department stores.  

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What are the other connotations of "Formal" ? I would think that would mean long dresses. 

 

I believe the most formal wedding is in the evening, in a church. Yes, that would be long dresses for the ladies and white tie for the men. An outdoor wedding would not be as formal (and there's nothing wrong with not being as formal).

 

I found this article (not really an "article," but a Q&A) from Miss Manners..

 

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband and I will be attending the wedding of the son of a close friend. The wedding ceremony will be at 6 p.m. with a reception to follow. While the invitation does not say “black tie,†I have just found out from the mother of the groom that the bride is expecting wedding guests to wear long dresses/tuxedos.

 

When I mentioned that the invitation does not mention a dress code, the mother of the groom said, “The bride assumes that everyone will know that a 6 p.m. wedding is a formal event and dress accordingly.â€

 

The wedding is out of state with a two-day hotel stay required in a fairly pricey city. We were not planning on purchasing/renting formal attire. If the bride wanted a “black tie†event, shouldn’t the invitation have communicated that? Will we be in error if we do not dress formally?

 

GENTLE READER: Although Miss Manners agrees that it is reasonable to assume that a wedding is a formal occasion, she has also noticed that brides who make too many unwarranted assumptions about their future life are more likely to come to a bad end.

 

Here, her assumptions about tradition are lacking. When formality was taken for granted, it meant white tie and tails, not black tie. To wear a dark suit, rather than a dinner jacket, should be acceptable. As the other guests may have even less information than yourself about the bride’s expectations, that may even be the safer course.

 

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Ds is getting married and the bride and her family immigrated to the US, so are less familiar with typical US culture. They are relying on me for some guidelines. I am not exactly Emily Post on these things!

 

Two questions: 

 

1) ETA: No registry info on invite (my gut reaction but I was checking to see if norms had changed)  has been confirmed by the Hive, so please focus on the second Q.  It is apparently becoming normal to put where you are registered on or with the wedding invitations. I am old enough to be taken aback by this. I think people my generation (I'm over 60) and above would find that tacky, like a bid for gifts rather than an invitation to a wedding. They have thought about putting "No gifts expected but if you wish to give a gift, we're registered at...."  Am I an old fogey or is it better to put the registry on a wedding website or FB page? 

 

2) Wedding attire. It is a 3:00 wedding with a sit-down dinner reception. ETA:  What wording should they use about requested attire?  Someone downthread suggested "Coat and tie requested" and that that would give the women an idea, too.

 

They don't exactly want "cocktail attire" as that apparently implies suits for men and they are okay with just coat and tie even if it's not a suit. It can include short dresses for women which the bride thinks are less formal than knee length. Also she doesn't want women to wear  "sundresses." To me, that seemed to be prescribing things a little too specifically. ETA:  She is asking me for advice since she can't ask her mother and will readily accept it if I say you can't be that specific.  Ds thought maybe "Sunday best" would be a good descriptor. What do you think? 

 

We are in the Southeast US if that matters. 

 

They may not properly tell their guests to wear specific clothing.  Their job is to dress themselves and their attendants, not the guests. Please encourage them not to do that. They should just be thrilled as punch that people care enough to attend.

 

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Ds is getting married and the bride and her family immigrated to the US, so are less familiar with typical US culture. They are relying on me for some guidelines. I am not exactly Emily Post on these things!

 

Two questions: 

 

1) ETA: No registry info on invite (my gut reaction but I was checking to see if norms had changed)  has been confirmed by the Hive, so please focus on the second Q.  It is apparently becoming normal to put where you are registered on or with the wedding invitations. I am old enough to be taken aback by this. I think people my generation (I'm over 60) and above would find that tacky, like a bid for gifts rather than an invitation to a wedding. They have thought about putting "No gifts expected but if you wish to give a gift, we're registered at...."  Am I an old fogey or is it better to put the registry on a wedding website or FB page? 

 

2) Wedding attire. It is a 3:00 wedding with a sit-down dinner reception. ETA:  What wording should they use about requested attire?  Someone downthread suggested "Coat and tie requested" and that that would give the women an idea, too.

 

They don't exactly want "cocktail attire" as that apparently implies suits for men and they are okay with just coat and tie even if it's not a suit. It can include short dresses for women which the bride thinks are less formal than knee length. Also she doesn't want women to wear  "sundresses." To me, that seemed to be prescribing things a little too specifically. ETA:  She is asking me for advice since she can't ask her mother and will readily accept it if I say you can't be that specific.  Ds thought maybe "Sunday best" would be a good descriptor. What do you think? 

 

We are in the Southeast US if that matters. 

'

I prefer Miss Manners myself.

 

one reason registries are getting more popular is people aren't marrying from their parents home where they have nothing. and people really are more spread out so it's less common to talk about the "i need __ to set up a household".   I just sort of close my eyes and sigh- and try to focus on the very practical reasons.  (some couples are greedy, others are just trying to be practical and avoid three toasters.)

I also included a "mail box" - that was closed so other people couldn't see inside, for guests to drop cards into.  some prefer to just bring a gift card and no gift.   I find money trees tacky (I understand they are common in some cultures) as they are expected the guests will put money on them, for everyone else to see.

 

a small insert of paper with the registry in the envelope with (not ON) the invitation works.

and people can look for registries, in the store or online, with just the bride's/groom's name and wedding date.   I've found registries that way.

 

as for attire?  business dress?  - that's for people who ask.

 

 

Edited by gardenmom5
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I would not put the word "requested" in any dress information.  "Coat and tie" gives the guests information about how they should dress to feel comfortable in the setting (which should be the purpose of communicating dress information/formality).  Communicating dress information should be limited to benefiting the guest (letting them know if a church setting precludes certain attire, for example); the purpose is not for the bride and groom to request guests to dress in a certain style.  

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I am curious as to how many people would have difficulty finding where a couple is registered if it isn't on the invitation or a website.  Personally, I have never had trouble with this.  Maybe it is where I live.  In my small hometown there is one nice gift shop where everyone registers.  Since I have moved away, every couple I have wanted to purchase a gift for have been registered either at Target or Bed, Bath, and Beyond.  Or, I might check the registries of the local department stores.  

 

if they are registered - it will be on that store's website.

common ones are amazon and bbb.

 

there was some website dd had that included registries - but also maps and directions, dates to both festivities (in different states)  so people didn't get lost.

 

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'

I prefer Miss Manners myself.

 

one reason registries are getting more popular is people aren't marrying from their parents home where they have nothing. and people really are more spread out so it's less common to talk about the "i need __ to set up a household". .

Well tbh this makes me less inclined to look at the registry, because for a couple that has already established houehold(s) because they've lived independently for years, it seems more of an "I WANT" list. I bite my tongue, though. Dh and I have a standard gift we like to give, actually there are about 4 things. We decide which of those options suits the particular couple and voila, done. Each of these are nice but easily returnable/exchangeable.

 

Funny, last time we used a registry it was dh's wish to do so. So I just went along for the ride, so to speak. To this day (more than a year down the road) he is still perturbed that he took the time and effort to go out of his way and send just what they wanted, but that gift has been in no way acknowledged. Nada. Now it's back to our standard options.

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'

I prefer Miss Manners myself.

 

one reason registries are getting more popular is people aren't marrying from their parents home where they have nothing. and people really are more spread out so it's less common to talk about the "i need __ to set up a household".   I just sort of close my eyes and sigh- and try to focus on the very practical reasons.  (some couples are greedy, others are just trying to be practical and avoid three toasters.)

I also included a "mail box" - that was closed so other people couldn't see inside, for guests to drop cards into.  some prefer to just bring a gift card and no gift.   I find money trees tacky (I understand they are common in some cultures) as they are expected the guests will put money on them, for everyone else to see.

 

a small insert of paper with the registry in the envelope with (not ON) the invitation works.

and people can look for registries, in the store or online, with just the bride's/groom's name and wedding date.   I've found registries that way.

 

as for attire?  business dress?  - that's for people who ask.

 

You can put registry information on shower invitations, of course. But I would not put one anywhere on the wedding invitation or in the envelope or anything. People can call or email if they want to know.

 

If people ask what to wear, because they can't figure out what to wear to a wedding that is outside in the summer, you just tell them "Something nice." Seriously. I promise that not everyone knows what "business dress" means.

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 And it's been years since I've been to a wedding with a receiving line; not sure what your point is about that?  At recent weddings I've been to, the bride and groom, and their parents, circulate among the guests to greet them.  I so much prefer that to standing in a receiving line.  

 

 

This must be regional or social circle-dependent because we go to several weddings per year and I can't think of any off the top of my head that did NOT have a receiving line.

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This must be regional or social circle-dependent because we go to several weddings per year and I can't think of any off the top of my head that did NOT have a receiving line.

 

Yes, I wasn't really trying to say that my experience is universal, but it was more about this comment about wedding websites:

 

 

 

Its very impersonal, and makes you , as a guest, feel that you are being shaken down for gifts, especially if there is no receiving line after the ceremony.  People do appreciate photos posted though.

 

I just don't get the connection between wedding websites, being shaken down for gifts, and receiving lines or lack thereof.  

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I believe the most formal wedding is in the evening, in a church. Yes, that would be long dresses for the ladies and white tie for the men. An outdoor wedding would not be as formal (and there's nothing wrong with not being as formal).

 

I found this article (not really an "article," but a Q&A) from Miss Manners..

 

clothing instructions have been on formal invitations for years - and they, in themselves (depending upon how they are worded), are perfectly proper.

I was looking for an column from years ago (about the meaning of "white tie", "black tie" and "we're not dressing (business suits) - but is a phrase Miss Manners hasn't used in years for fear of what will happen"), and found this.

 

also remember- while the explicit dress code is for men- there is a just as explicit dress code for women that goes along with it.

 

DEAR MISS MANNERS: We received a wedding invitation that included a slip of paper detailing proper wedding attire in order for us to show respect for the church.

Specifically, women are to wear dresses knee-length or longer, with covered arms and no bosom showing. Hair is to be covered with a scarf or hat (if not, the church will provide a covering). Legs are to be covered with hosiery, and pumps, or a covered shoe with no heel is acceptable. Men are to wear a suit and tie, or sport coat and tie.

Is this appropriate? In our church, we figure that as long as we're neat and clean, God is happy to see us.

We will meet the demands because we love the bride, but it's leaving a queasy feeling.

GENTLE READER: It makes you queasy to think of dressing respectfully to enter a church? Or to attend a wedding?

Why?

Would it help if you let your clothes out at the waist? Miss Manners supposes not, if you really do not understand the part that symbolism plays in society and in religion. Beyond the obvious functions of protection and attraction, clothing serves as a symbolic way of conveying information. Religious texts and directives are full of mentions of clothing, sometimes in regard to modesty, but also in terms of respect for a place of worship.

 

 

 

DRESS CODES

By Miss Manners December 18, 2011

In the interest of a pleasant New Year’s Eve, free of bickering about dress codes, Miss Manners will now hold a Formal Dress Clinic for Gentlemen.

Hosts have done everything they can to create confusion. They waffle (“black tie invited,†‘’black tie optional,†“black tie preferredâ€), or they make up their own terms (“festive attire,†“country club attireâ€) that baffle their guests.

In the sane modern world, if there is such a thing, formal evening clothes are specified on invitations as either “black tie†(black dinner jacket with black satin or grosgrain lapels, pants with stripe down the sides matching the lapels, pleated white shirt, black bow tie) or “white tie†(black tailcoat with satin lapels, pants with a stripe on the outside legs, white pique waistcoat, starched white linen shirt, white pique bow tie).

Hosts sympathetic with an inability to comply need not advertise this, as it should be assumed that dressing one degree down — black tie for white, a black business suit for black tie — would not attract violent attention from a bouncer.

 

 

 

found what I was looking for:

 

Miss Manners. Dress Instructions Preferred - Make That Required
October 01, 1993|By Judith Martin, United Features Syndicate
 

Peculiar directions are appearing on formal (well, sort of) invitations these days. Wedged in the lower left-hand corner is an instruction apparently regarding the clothing to be worn. Among the examples sent to Miss Manners by baffled guests are:

"Creative black tie"

"Party attire requested"

"Black tie optional"

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"Festive dress"

"Semiformal"

"Black tie preferred"

"Casual elegance"

And Miss Manners' all-time favorite, "Dress optional."

What on earth do these terms mean, Miss Manners' questioners want to know? What are the guests supposed to wear?

What this all means to Miss Manners is that hosts are still vaguely aware of their obligation to let guests know what sort of dress would be appropriate, and are making a stab at providing direction. But they are also terrified lest they ignite a revolt among freedom-loving people, who do not recognize any restrictions on their constitutional guarantee of being allowed to make fools of themselves, so they come up with phrases that can mean almost anything.

What a help that is.

Miss Manners cannot very well decipher a term that has no general definition. She can report that "creative black tie" seems to mean that any gentleman who wears a red tie and cummerbund thinks himself quite an original fellow, and any lady who sports over-the-elbow black gloves harbors a notion that she is both satirizing a previous era's concept of glamor and capturing it at the same time.

 

And Miss Manners can only suppose that "dress optional" gives new meaning to the question that was once used to find out whether full evening dress (white tie) was being worn: "Are we dressing tonight?"

 

Beyond that, it is anyone's guess. Even the more standard terms, "formal" and "informal," are relative. Depending on the customs of a particular social group, they can mean anything from "white tie" and "black tie" to "black tie" and "business suit" to "pressed pants" and "whatever you generally put on when no one else is looking."

 

This is why more specific terms are traditionally used on invitations-but specific terms that mention only the dress for gentlemen, as their fashions change only over centuries, while the accompanying ladies' fashions have been known to reverse themselves overnight.

All this does not mean that the attempt to indicate the expected dress is hopeless. Hosts still want their parties to have a stylistic look. Guests who inadvertently arrive looking out of place naturally feel out of place, and they annoy properly dressed guests who feel they needn't have bothered.

 

Here is what Miss Manners suggests:

 

Forget the word "optional." Of course the dress standards are "optional" unless you employ a popular club's bouncer, who is used to checking clothing before letting people in. "Semi" and "preferred" are also weaselly terms.

If white tie or black tie is expected, you must say so. The absence of such a directive, for example on traditional wedding invitations, was possible only because everyone invited understood which type of formal dress was required.

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In many circles, "business suits" must also be specified. In others, the lack of a need for business dress must be specified, in which case Miss Manners prefers the term "informal" to "casual," which has a come-as-you-are-even-if-you-were-painting-the-garage aura.

 

Newcomers to a circle must, out of simple decency, be alerted to the customs: "Nobody dresses up here on Sundays-we all wear jeans" or "People tend to come to dinner right from work, but the women generally manage some small change to be a little dressier."

Once people know, they are expected to conform, or to apologize for not doing so. But if there is broad resistance, Miss Manners would suggest that the host rethink whether the standard goes against the habits of the community.

 

Meanwhile, she would like to issue a blanket dress instruction for everyone on every occasion: "Presentable."

 

 

eta: - my own comments are tabbed right - everything else is Miss Manners.

Edited by gardenmom5
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one of the more extreme cases of being over dressed - was a woman who brought along a cocktail dress because she was told "drinks would be served" . . .

 

 

.

 

 

 

.

 

 

it was a five-day white water rafting trip.

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You can put registry information on shower invitations, of course. But I would not put one anywhere on the wedding invitation or in the envelope or anything. People can call or email if they want to know.

 

If people ask what to wear, because they can't figure out what to wear to a wedding that is outside in the summer, you just tell them "Something nice." Seriously. I promise that not everyone knows what "business dress" means.

I see the hostess of a shower including registry information very different than the bride and groom including registry information with a wedding invitation.  The hostess of a shower is not requesting gifts for herself.  She is hosting a shower and "requesting" gifts for someone else.  

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:laugh:  :laugh:  :laugh:  Yes, I think one should be presentable at a wedding. (Quoting from Miss Manner's directives in post above).

 

 

"Dress optional" would make me snicker...and perhaps in some places if could be daring to phrase it this way.  :lol:

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Also, I've also discovered that Bed Bath & Beyond offers so many incentives to the bride-to-be, that most couples (with a conventional wedding) have signed up for their registry.

 

I've even stalked the BB&B registry for the wedding date & location. :)

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:laugh:  :laugh:  :laugh:  Yes, I think one should be presentable at a wedding. (Quoting from Miss Manner's directives in post above).

 

 

"Dress optional" would make me snicker...and perhaps in some places if could be daring to phrase it this way.  :lol:

 

shows how terms have changed.   that used to mean suit and tie for men, and a dress for women.

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Ds is getting married and the bride and her family immigrated to the US, so are less familiar with typical US culture. They are relying on me for some guidelines. I am not exactly Emily Post on these things!

 

Two questions: 

 

1) ETA: No registry info on invite (my gut reaction but I was checking to see if norms had changed)  has been confirmed by the Hive, so please focus on the second Q.  It is apparently becoming normal to put where you are registered on or with the wedding invitations. I am old enough to be taken aback by this. I think people my generation (I'm over 60) and above would find that tacky, like a bid for gifts rather than an invitation to a wedding. They have thought about putting "No gifts expected but if you wish to give a gift, we're registered at...."  Am I an old fogey or is it better to put the registry on a wedding website or FB page? 

 

2) Wedding attire. It is a 3:00 wedding with a sit-down dinner reception. ETA:  What wording should they use about requested attire?  Someone downthread suggested "Coat and tie requested" and that that would give the women an idea, too.

 

They don't exactly want "cocktail attire" as that apparently implies suits for men and they are okay with just coat and tie even if it's not a suit. It can include short dresses for women which the bride thinks are less formal than knee length. Also she doesn't want women to wear  "sundresses." To me, that seemed to be prescribing things a little too specifically. ETA:  She is asking me for advice since she can't ask her mother and will readily accept it if I say you can't be that specific.  Ds thought maybe "Sunday best" would be a good descriptor. What do you think? 

 

We are in the Southeast US if that matters. 

 

I have seen dress code information on other event invitations (fundraisers, professional receptions, etc.), but never on a wedding invitation. In reality, I think it's a bit, well, rude, to require guests at any event to dress a certain way, barring specific religious constraints, such as head coverings in a place of worship. I don't think you'll be successful at requesting "no sundresses" in the Southeast US during the summer. It's ill defined and unrealistic.

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Thanks, everyone. I appreciate the input as I've always consulted older women when I wanted to know something like these questions, but my favorite local Miss Manners has passed on. 

 

Anyway, we will refrain from putting info about registry or attire anywhere in the wedding invitation. 

 

FWIW, another ds married a woman from Germany. They put the registry info in all their German invitations (it's standard procedure there and is considered a courtesy to the guests so they don't have to hunt around for it) and not for their invitations in the US.  Different perspectives! 

 

But I needed a US perspective, so thank you! 

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Piggyback question about attire: if the request is formal attire, must this mean a long gown? I’m actually very surprised the attire is formal because the ceremony is outside. I really dont want to buy a fancy long gown for this one wearing.

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Piggyback question about attire: if the request is formal attire, must this mean a long gown? I’m actually very surprised the attire is formal because the ceremony is outside. I really dont want to buy a fancy long gown for this one wearing.

 

Rent the Runway is a great option if you decide to wear a long formal gown instead of something from your closet.

 

Assuming that all goes well with my pregnancy, I will be 8 months for my brother's wedding in October. I'm not buying a maternity dress if I can get away with renting something like this instead. The reviews say it's loose and stretchy so if I'm normally a 10 I think the 14W or 16W would probably fit preggo me ok. 

 

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clothing instructions have been on formal invitations for years - and they, in themselves (depending upon how they are worded), are perfectly proper.

I was looking for an column from years ago (about the meaning of "white tie", "black tie" and "we're not dressing (business suits) - but is a phrase Miss Manners hasn't used in years for fear of what will happen"), and found this.

 

also remember- while the explicit dress code is for men- there is a just as explicit dress code for women that goes along with it.

 

DEAR MISS MANNERS: We received a wedding invitation that included a slip of paper detailing proper wedding attire in order for us to show respect for the church.

Specifically, women are to wear dresses knee-length or longer, with covered arms and no bosom showing. Hair is to be covered with a scarf or hat (if not, the church will provide a covering). Legs are to be covered with hosiery, and pumps, or a covered shoe with no heel is acceptable. Men are to wear a suit and tie, or sport coat and tie.

Is this appropriate? In our church, we figure that as long as we're neat and clean, God is happy to see us.

We will meet the demands because we love the bride, but it's leaving a queasy feeling.

GENTLE READER: It makes you queasy to think of dressing respectfully to enter a church? Or to attend a wedding?

Why?

Would it help if you let your clothes out at the waist? Miss Manners supposes not, if you really do not understand the part that symbolism plays in society and in religion. Beyond the obvious functions of protection and attraction, clothing serves as a symbolic way of conveying information. Religious texts and directives are full of mentions of clothing, sometimes in regard to modesty, but also in terms of respect for a place of worship.

 

 

 

DRESS CODES

By Miss Manners December 18, 2011

In the interest of a pleasant New Year’s Eve, free of bickering about dress codes, Miss Manners will now hold a Formal Dress Clinic for Gentlemen.

Hosts have done everything they can to create confusion. They waffle (“black tie invited,†‘’black tie optional,†“black tie preferredâ€), or they make up their own terms (“festive attire,†“country club attireâ€) that baffle their guests.

In the sane modern world, if there is such a thing, formal evening clothes are specified on invitations as either “black tie†(black dinner jacket with black satin or grosgrain lapels, pants with stripe down the sides matching the lapels, pleated white shirt, black bow tie) or “white tie†(black tailcoat with satin lapels, pants with a stripe on the outside legs, white pique waistcoat, starched white linen shirt, white pique bow tie).

Hosts sympathetic with an inability to comply need not advertise this, as it should be assumed that dressing one degree down — black tie for white, a black business suit for black tie — would not attract violent attention from a bouncer.

 

 

 

found what I was looking for:

 

Miss Manners. Dress Instructions Preferred - Make That Required
October 01, 1993|By Judith Martin, United Features Syndicate
 

Peculiar directions are appearing on formal (well, sort of) invitations these days. Wedged in the lower left-hand corner is an instruction apparently regarding the clothing to be worn. Among the examples sent to Miss Manners by baffled guests are:

"Creative black tie"

"Party attire requested"

"Black tie optional"

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"Festive dress"

"Semiformal"

"Black tie preferred"

"Casual elegance"

And Miss Manners' all-time favorite, "Dress optional."

What on earth do these terms mean, Miss Manners' questioners want to know? What are the guests supposed to wear?

What this all means to Miss Manners is that hosts are still vaguely aware of their obligation to let guests know what sort of dress would be appropriate, and are making a stab at providing direction. But they are also terrified lest they ignite a revolt among freedom-loving people, who do not recognize any restrictions on their constitutional guarantee of being allowed to make fools of themselves, so they come up with phrases that can mean almost anything.

What a help that is.

Miss Manners cannot very well decipher a term that has no general definition. She can report that "creative black tie" seems to mean that any gentleman who wears a red tie and cummerbund thinks himself quite an original fellow, and any lady who sports over-the-elbow black gloves harbors a notion that she is both satirizing a previous era's concept of glamor and capturing it at the same time.

 

And Miss Manners can only suppose that "dress optional" gives new meaning to the question that was once used to find out whether full evening dress (white tie) was being worn: "Are we dressing tonight?"

 

Beyond that, it is anyone's guess. Even the more standard terms, "formal" and "informal," are relative. Depending on the customs of a particular social group, they can mean anything from "white tie" and "black tie" to "black tie" and "business suit" to "pressed pants" and "whatever you generally put on when no one else is looking."

 

This is why more specific terms are traditionally used on invitations-but specific terms that mention only the dress for gentlemen, as their fashions change only over centuries, while the accompanying ladies' fashions have been known to reverse themselves overnight.

All this does not mean that the attempt to indicate the expected dress is hopeless. Hosts still want their parties to have a stylistic look. Guests who inadvertently arrive looking out of place naturally feel out of place, and they annoy properly dressed guests who feel they needn't have bothered.

 

Here is what Miss Manners suggests:

 

Forget the word "optional." Of course the dress standards are "optional" unless you employ a popular club's bouncer, who is used to checking clothing before letting people in. "Semi" and "preferred" are also weaselly terms.

If white tie or black tie is expected, you must say so. The absence of such a directive, for example on traditional wedding invitations, was possible only because everyone invited understood which type of formal dress was required.

pixel.gif

In many circles, "business suits" must also be specified. In others, the lack of a need for business dress must be specified, in which case Miss Manners prefers the term "informal" to "casual," which has a come-as-you-are-even-if-you-were-painting-the-garage aura.

 

Newcomers to a circle must, out of simple decency, be alerted to the customs: "Nobody dresses up here on Sundays-we all wear jeans" or "People tend to come to dinner right from work, but the women generally manage some small change to be a little dressier."

Once people know, they are expected to conform, or to apologize for not doing so. But if there is broad resistance, Miss Manners would suggest that the host rethink whether the standard goes against the habits of the community.

 

Meanwhile, she would like to issue a blanket dress instruction for everyone on every occasion: "Presentable."

 

 

eta: - my own comments are tabbed right - everything else is Miss Manners.

 

 

These "invitations" are not *wedding* invitations, however, except for the first one, where Miss Manners asked whether certain kinds of clothing made her queasy, and did not discuss the actual instructions on the invitation. She was pointing out the foolishness that people have taken to using to tell their guests how to dress.

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