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Apr, 4 2023

How to Make Sure Wedding Guests Follow Your Dress Code

bride and groom on wedding day

The dress code you choose for your wedding plays a big part in your event’s style and theme. With that said, you will undoubtedly want to make sure that family and friends come dressed appropriately for your big day. But since you can’t pick out everyone’s attire in advance, how do you ensure they follow your guidelines? Here are some tips from top wedding planners to make it easier for you.

Educate Your Guests

Groomsmen on wedding day

Put it on your invitation. The dress code is a crucial detail of your big day, so include it on your wedding invitation. Dress code details usually go to the bottom of the invite in the left-hand corner, and you might want to bold that info to make sure it doesn’t go unnoticed.

Set up a wedding website. Since you can’t include everything in your invitation suite, make sure you have a wedding website and include its address on your save-the-dates and on a details card with your invitation, recommends Wendy Kidd of Each & Every Detail. Since you aren't limited to what you can say on your website, you can include as many details as you can on all of your wedding details, including the dress code.

Be specific. There are some dress codes that are well-known among guests (think black tie). Then, there are ones that are ambiguous and unclear for your guests to understand, such as "beach chic." If you decide on a lesser-known dress code, you must explain what is expected of your guests in detail.

Give examples. Feel free to post photos of ideas for guests that can help promote the style you want them to have. You can do it on your website or even on social media. However, don’t criticize possible outfit choices—just promote the positive, says Kidd. Couples can take it a step further if they believe it to be helpful, such as "suits or morning jackets for men and evening gowns for women" or simply "no jeans and sneakers" if the wedding is more casual.

Include all wedding-related events. If you are planning multiple events surrounding your wedding day, such as welcome parties, farewell brunches, etc., Nudo recommends confirming a dress code for these events as well. Even if the attire is just casual, as a courtesy, be sure to share that information with your guests, so they can plan accordingly.

See Men’s Wedding Dress Codes

Talk To Your Guests About Your Dress Code

groom & groomsmen on wedding day

Check in with possible rule breakers. According to Mary Angelini of Key Moment Films, some guests may tend to push the boundaries. Couples can check in with these folks ahead of time and remind them of the dress code, making it clear how much it means to the couple. Just remember to do it in a respectful and loving way!

Don’t overcomplicate things. You don’t want to overwhelm your guests with too many dress code guidelines. “Sit down and get realistic about your expectations & vision, and then think through a few scenarios that can be a universal fit,” says Jen Sulak of Weirdo Weddings.

Contact gender-fluid or non-binary folks. It's important to be inclusive and accommodating to all guests, including those who may not identify with traditional gender roles. “Couples can offer guidance or suggestions or, if needed, provide resources for finding gender-neutral or non-traditional wedding attire,” shares Angelini.

Ask someone to take the lead. Sulak recommends giving someone (like the maid of honor or best man) the task of making sure everyone understands what the expectations are. They can be the ones to reach out to any potential rule breakers or field questions from confused guests.

Notify your vendors. Your wedding guests aren’t the only people who should know about your dress code. Let your vendors know about it but have realistic expectations of what they will wear on the big day, explains the pros at CityLux Studios in Boston. “Be aware that some of these vendors are working hard all day in the heat and might dress more comfortably for a reason, so it is good to talk that out.”

Be considerate. It’s a nice touch to let guests know you will have some things on hand in order to keep them comfortable throughout the event. For example, you might want to provide pashminas or wraps in case it gets chilly later in the day, have a basket of flip-flops in a variety of sizes on hand for a beach wedding, or umbrellas ready if it’s going to be a rainy day. “These little details can make a huge impact in making sure your guests know their comfort is a priority,” says Nudo.

Not sure which dress code you want for your wedding day? Browsing through our selection of suits and tuxedos, shirts, ties, and more just might inspire you! And when you finalize your plans, don’t forget that grooms receive their tuxedo or suit rental 14 days before the big day to test drive it with our Free Home Try-On. And guys with five or more people in their wedding party who use Generation Tux can even qualify for a free suit or tux rental.

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