Is it necessary to specify on the invitations that the attire for guests at a wedding is formal?
The wedding will be at night, and at a non-church location. I’d like to hope that since it’s a wedding, men will show up in suits or even tuxedos, and ladies will be in gowns or dresses. However, one of the people getting married keeps saying “black tie affair” at every chance they can.
Are people really that slovenly these days that they’ll show up in t-shirts, jeans and sandals? Or worse?
That way if someone shows up, no one can say ‘well I didn’t know!’ If you’re ‘hoping’ you better believe the bride/groom are really hoping everyone will show by stating the dress requirements. Not everyone is considerate enough to check the rules of guest etiquette and such. Black tie required and black tie optional are different too, the couple could have also opted for a semi-casual wedding too.
It really is amazing what people will show up to in a wedding regardless of the time of the day and their relation to the couple. I was rather surprised to see what some friends showed up to at our wedding (but that’s who they are, and it wasn’t that big of a shock).
I have never been to a wedding where people showed up in t-shirts or jeans. Usually the formality of the invitation and the location of the wedding will clue guests in as to how they should dress. Better safe than sorry though.
If there is nothing specified in the invitation, guests are most likely to assume it’s “semi-formal,” which means dresses or skirts (not evening gowns) for ladies, and ties/slacks/sportcoats for men.
So in your case I think it’s probably necessary and entirely appropriate to put “black tie optional” on the invitations.
Really? If you got an invitation to an evening wedding at a swanky place (I’m assuming it’s not at Bob’s Chicken Shack), you’d have to think about whether to wear a suit or a nice dress? Socially aware adults know that wedding=dress well.
If it’s important to the OP, he should probably specify that “black tie optional,” but it’s hardly rude of him not to.
I’m an adult, but I’m certainly not socially aware or anything. The last wedding I went to, I just wore a jacket and tie and I hardly had the jacket on for a minute. (It’s not on in any of the pictures I’m in.) I don’t even have a suit, much less a tuxedo. If someone wanted me at a wedding that required a suit or better, I’d hope they let me know, in very specific terms. The time and location of the wedding would mean absolutely nothing to me, either. It’s at a swank place? I’ve probably never even heard of it and have no idea it’s swank. Honestly, if a relative was having that kind of wedding, I’d just stay home. From a personal point of view, I’d like you to be upfront about your requirements, so I’d know what to do.
This. There is no “dresses or gowns”. It’s a dressy affair or a very nice dress/gown affair, and if if someone really wants people in very nice dresses/gowns, they best make it clear. Otherwise, a lot of people will show up in “best church clothes”, which is fine for many weddings, even at night at decent places.
True story: my brother had a "destination wedding’, which made the formality level uncertain. My mother asked my future sister-in-law, who responded “well, I am wearing a very simple dress”. My mom assumed that meant like “sun dress”, but my sister-in-law meant “very simple wedding gown”. My mother was underdressed and very embarrassed.
I had friends who I knew only owned jeans and t-shirts, and I was not about to ask them to go out and buy a special outfit just for my wedding. I invited them because they were my friends, and I specifically told them not to worry about wearing jeans. My brother got married on the beach in Costa Rica–and he and the bride were both in shorts. It may not be that people are slovenly or lazy or anything like that, but rather that many people like myself have been to an increasing number of ‘informal’ weddings, so much so that the notion wedding=suit and tie doesn’t immediately spring to mind. In fact, the majority of the weddings I have been to (I’m 35) were NOT suit-and-tie type weddings at all. I think if you want someone to dress a certain way, you should specify.
On reflection, I think that **ZipperJJ **and Manda JO are correct about the difference between normal wedding attire (which around here means nice clothes that you’d wear to church) and black-tie (tuxedos and gowns). If you really want the tuxedos and gowns, you should specify on the invitation. If you just want people to come dressed nicely, there’s no need IMO to specify a dress code. Boors who would wear jeans to your wedding are going to be boors regardless of what the invitation says.
Yes, they certainly are. If you wish for the guests to adhere to a certain dress code, you MUST specify it. Over and over again. And you’ll still get people who show up dressed casually or even sloppily.