What will guests wear to a wedding at a rural midwestern US evangelical church?

My husband and baby and I are going to a family wedding in a few weeks, my 28-year-old cousin’s (her first marriage). She and her parents belong to an evangelical church in rural Iowa, and that’s where the wedding will be. I’ll probably wear a sari for various reasons (family expects it of me anyway; I find saris comfortable and own a variety of beautiful ones; most of all, it’s the only formal wear I own that still fits), my husband will probably wear a coat and tie, and we’ll put the sprog in something relatively dressy, maybe a button-up shirt with vest, sans cartoon characters or sports motifs. But I’m curious: what sorts of things will everyone else be wearing, I wonder?

Can anyone fill me in on current standards of dress for something like this? The ceremony will be on a Saturday afternoon with a “dessert reception to follow” if that makes a difference. Definitely dry ( :frowning: ). The invitation doesn’t say anything about dress code. I am 100% certain that if I ask my aunt, she will tell me that whatever we want to wear will be perfectly fine, and she’ll be sincere; but I won’t know any more than I do now. Knowing more will help me pick a sari (e.g., printed non-wrinkle crepe, or embroidered silk? Brights with gold-thread accents, or subtle colors?) and help my husband settle on which coat (brown corduroy with suede elbow patches, or navy blue wool gabardine?) and which tie (plain red, or family tartan, or tasteful novelty print relating to his degree?) as well as just be less ignorant.

Probably “church dresses.” Knee length or longer, sleeves or a jacket, “respectable” neckline in fabrics that can be washed.

The older women will wear church clothes, either a street-length dress, matching skirt and jacket or pantsuit. Jewelry will be at a minimum. The older men will wear a suit. Younger people will be dressed as if they’re going to a party afterward – no jeans or t-shirts, but not what city dwellers would call “formal.”

Your sari will be exotic enough that you’ll be stared at. If it were my wife, I’d recommend muted rather than bright. Either of your husband’s jackets would work, but I’d go with the navy blue and plain red tie.

At an evangelical church in rural Iowa, conservative always works better.

I would not be surprised if people wear jeans, depending on how rural it is. If I were your husband, I’d wear the corduroy jacket.

I will add the that younger women (like twenties to early thirties) will most likely be wearing sun dresses of the higher end (like, not beachwear) with camisoles.

Find the plainest sari you own, in the fewest colors :slight_smile:

No no no!! :slight_smile: Wear a nice sari, not the highest-end you’ve got because you’d outshine the bride, but something quite nice, not too bright. If you have a silk that isn’t too resplendent that will work. One of those georgettes would also work well. (Not that I know that much about saris, but I know a little.)

I would bet on most people wearing ‘church’ dresses. The last wedding of that sort I went to, I wore a long patterned georgette skirt with a nice top. Everyone was in dresses or skirts. Pretty sundresses will undoubtedly be much in evidence, and heels.

Really, sundresses and camis in the third week of October? Huh.

Re the sari, yeah, I know people will stare – heck, I got stares wearing saris in Austin, which is a fair-sized city. I don’t mind. I’ve been irritating conservatives in rural Iowa with my wardrobe since the 1980s; my family expects nothing less. In 1985, I flabbergasted my cousins by wearing a dress (Mom made me; she even made me buy it at the mall) but *not shaving my legs. * :eek: Nowadays, I think they’re vaguely tickled by having a crazy city cousin.

My very plainest sari is plain primary red silk – don’t think I’ll wear that one! (Is red still the color of hussies in America?) It’s paradoxically one of the most formal ones I own. I actually originally got it to wear at a very very posh Manhattan wedding. I think I’ll wear one of the non-wrinkle georgette ones without any gold work (zari). It’s mostly olive green with a relatively subdued peacock-feather print. I have a matching, conservatively-cut blouse for it and I can wad it up in my suitcase without it coming to harm. For the red one in Manhattan, I carried an iron in my suitcase, which I then had to schlep all over the city – bleargh.

Thanks, guys.

About what you would expect

See also


(warning lots of photos) extended load time.

If you know you’ll get stares, don’t wear it. The other 364 days, you can scandalize the plebs with your fashion, but this is someone’s wedding. You’re not supposed to draw attention to yourself, whether you’re overdressed, under-dressed, or an oddity. The good news is it sounds like it’s time to go shopping. There’s a huge range of outfits that are appropriate for the occasion and can be broken up and incorporated into daily wear.

Being the in rural mid-west though, No matter how many guys are in suits or sport coats, there will be one guy in dark jeans and cowboy boots. Always one. I see them at every wedding and funeral, and I’m starting to wonder if it’s the same guy.

I live in the rural Midwest, and have Evangelical friends. They will probably be dressed rather conservatively, young and old alike. Knee-length or longer dresses on the women, no bare arms, conservative necklines. The older men will probably be in suits, and the younger men suits or nice slacks with a nice shirt. The people I know don’t expect me to follow their dress code if I go to a church function, so I wear pants, but they’re nice pants. I don’t wear sleeveless tops anyway so that’s not a problem, and most of my skirts are shorter than they’d wear so the pants might be a better choice for me, anyway.

In Iowa? In the middle of October? Not a chance.

You are apparently unaware of those people who wear shorts in the Winter if they can get away with it.

I also don’t understand why a sari would get stares. I Googled them, and all the pictures just look like an (overly long) dress. The only problem I can see is the loud patterns, and I’ll agree that that should be toned down.

And, yes, if you draw more attention than the bride, you definitely have committed a faux pas. I’m not sure if the bride is someone you know well (or even whether she’s family or in-law), but it could definitely create some extremely bad vibes between the two of you.

That said, if you ever want to hold a fashion show album thread, I’d be interested. Those saris look pretty cool.

Yeah, you’re probably right, sorry. I was thinking more of rural evangelical churches in the South, with which I am very familiar.

astro: Aha! Exactly what I needed. Thank you. Wow: lots of straplessness on display there.

FYI, those who asked, the bride is my own personal cousin, not an in-law, who happens to share my birthday but is 12 years younger, so we have a little bit of extra connection. That said, I haven’t kept close with her since she graduated high school a decade ago.

I wish I had a photo, but please trust me, the olive green peacock-feather sari is NOT flashy and would not draw any attention anywhere in the US were it a skirt. The blouse that goes with it has elbow-length sleeves. A sari worn conservatively, not the way Bollywood actresses wear them in promo photoshoots you might have seen, is essentially a modest floor-length dress; you can wrap a sari to show your midriff or not, and I’ll wrap it to *not *show my midriff (or much else) for this occasion. I won’t be drawing undue attention, and my beautiful cousin will definitely be the focus. If anything, I’m more worried that my wickedly cute baby will be what everyone wants to look at.

I should maybe have made this clearer: my extended family, including my cousin, will actually expect me to wear a sari and may be disappointed if I don’t. They’ve come a long way since being shocked at female leg hairs in 1985, and I’m proud of them. (Again, to be clear, no leg hairs will be on display on my account at this time.) All the same, I expect some guests (non-relatives) will stare, simply because a sari is not exactly like anything they’ve seen in person before. My experience is that this is the case.

drastic_quench, I’m not going shopping. Don’t wanna, shouldn’t hafta, don’t needta, and can’t afford it anyway. (My folks are paying for our flights. And my grandmother’s frugal farmwife, home-ec-teacher soul would be sad if I spent money on clothes right now when I have “perfectly good things in my closets already!”) Mostly, though, your suggestion is off-topic. If you’d like to *describe *the “huge range of outfits that are appropriate for the occasion”, though, that’d be nifty. That’s what I’m asking about.

I am familiar. None of them are women, that I’ve ever seen. Certainly not a wedding - sun dresses aren’t shorts in nearly every single identifiable way that isn’t “a garment of clothing that reveals the ankles”. Women wear sundresses to be comfortable and look pretty. In the middle of October in Iowa, there are plenty of other options in their wardrobe that fit that bill. Guys try to pull off wearing shorts in the winter - and those are the guys wearing jeans to a wedding.

I doubt very much if Evangelicals in IA have gotten around to wearing sundresses to church yet. If so, I’ve been away from the flock too long.

The stares you get wearing a sari will be the good kind, I’m guessing. It may be a novelty for some. I could understand your cousin wanting you to wear one to add a little exotica to the event.

And that guy in the cowboy boots? His name is Elroy. :wink:

I would recommend the blue jacket for your husband. Either the red or the tartan tie is probably fine, as long as the tartan isn’t in clashy colors. The novelty ties are purely a personal decision, if he’s the sort of person who can carry them off, and the family is the sort who would appreciate them in this setting. Hopefully they’re not any of these ties (NSFW).

The brown corduroy isn’t formal enough for a special social occasion, IMO. It’s more work clothing, for certain categories of jobs.

<mini-hijack> A good friend had a medical issue as a tween, which screwed up her internal thermostat, so now she wears Bermuda shorts year round (In New England).

There’s always the Audrey Hepburn “little black dress”? You can never go wrong there.

oops wrong id