Etiquette

5 Things I Learned as a Hired Bridesmaid by Jen Glantz
by Christina Child

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We're thrilled to have Jen Glantz of Bridesmaids for Hire back as a contributor to the Wedding Party blog!  In this installment she shares five things she's learned as a hired bridesmaid... Enjoy!

When I started Bridesmaid for Hire, two years ago, I never imagined that the strangers who welcomed me as a part of their wedding day would be the people to rock my view on life, love, and the endless pursuit of happiness. I also never imagined that working weddings, as a professional bridesmaid would completely shake up the fairy tale view I held onto for years about how my own wedding would look one day when I finally locked arms with the man of my dreams. After watching over 40 couples say I Do, some stomping on glass to kick off the marriage, and others just swapping a kiss, I’m ready to share with you the top 5 things I have learned so far as a hired bridesmaid.

1. Bridesmaids Need to Chill Being a bridesmaid is no easy feat and often times it’s a role that’ll cost you too much money, time, and a bit of sanity. But the easiest way to make it through your own personal bridesmaid adventure is to realize that the wedding you’re about to walk down the aisle at isn’t your special day, so you may be asked to do things and wear things and go places that you don’t particularly fancy. If all of that bothers you from the start, skip out on being a bridesmaid and instead be the ultimate wedding guest. If you’re okay with giving up a few of your weekends here and there and wearing a polyester dress you never dreamed of wearing, even in your worst nightmares, then leave your negativity, eye rolls, and even bridesmaidzilla attitude at home.

2. Laughter Cures All The morning of the wedding, when the bride is getting her glam on, and the wedding vendors are off making everything look like her not so hidden Pinterest board, things can and will feel stressful. The best thing anyone near the bride can do is make her laugh. It’s free, easy, and truly the only way to survive the hours before it’s time to walk down the aisle.

3. Old School Traditions Need to End If you don’t know why or don’t like why you “should” wear white to your wedding, toss the bouquet, or wear a veil, it’s okay to leave it out of your celebration. Old school traditions are old. Plan the wedding of your dreams, even if those dreams are a bit wild from any wedding you’ve ever been to before.

4. Weddings are Expensive When I’d go to friend’s weddings as a bridesmaid, I never knew how much of a tab they ran up to throw such a lavish party for 8-hours. But working with brides closely and seeing how much they spend on the venue and their vendors has made me realize that weddings cost more than most people pay for a car, a down payment on a house, or to attend college for four years and that is just oddly ridiculous.

5. People Get Married for Reasons Other Than Love It’s the truth, sometimes. I’ve seen it all. Extreme cases of cold feet. Brides admitting they aren’t marrying “the one” but just anyone. And even once a bride who told me that she was marrying a guy that was gay for reasons that didn’t quite make the most sense to me (you can read that whole story here).

Jen is the author of the new book Always a Bridesmaid (For Hire) and the founder of the head-turning business, Bridesmaid for Hire. She can often be spotted wearing old bridesmaid dresses to the grocery store or on first dates. You can follow her adventure here.

A Genius Idea for Thank You Notes that Feel Super Special!
by Christina Child

A genius idea for writing thank you notes that feel super special | via Wedpics.com
A genius idea for writing thank you notes that feel super special | via Wedpics.com

I recently attended a wedding (the 7th of this year, in fact!).  A few weeks later, as expected, I received a card in the mail.  I fully expected the standard thank-you-for-the-crockpot note, but I was surprised to find a super thoughtful addition inside the envelope.

There was a printed photo of me and my date dancing at the wedding... a photo that I had yet to even see online.   The handwritten note was written on the opposite side.  What a great idea!  With photo prints costing less than they ever have, you can create a special custom wedding thank you card and include a personalized, special touch that will really set you apart!

Plus, if you used WedPics at your wedding, you will no doubt have lots of great photos to choose from of all your guests.

Tips to handling your mother-in-law during wedding planning (and starting off your relationship right!)
by Aleisha McCormack

Are you struggling with the in-laws? Wish you had an easy solution to family disharmony? Is your mother-in-law driving you bananas? Okay, I'll stop that now because it's reading more like an infomercial...

I really hoped I could open this article with a historically accurate yet hilarious anecdote about how and why in-laws, (especially mother-in-laws) have established themselves as the Kim Jong-Un of family members... but I can’t.

I’ve just found lots of angry websites where people can vent anonymously about their awful in-laws stories, so I’ll move on.

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The one thing I do know, is that I’m going provide you with some deep breathing exercises and steps to keep calm and hopefully nurture your relationship with your in laws (you mother-in-law, MIL, in particular). Hopefully these tips help you to enjoy the wedding planning process together, so you can go back to trying to figure out how to get your hair to grow faster so that you can achieve that luscious fishtail braid that you spotted on Pinterest.

1. Block it out

OK, this isn’t the most mature piece of advice to kick it all of but bear with me. I’m hoping if you are planning a wedding, you have chosen to marry your partner because you like them (hopefully a lot!). You laugh at the same stuff, your comfortable sitting around un-showered in stretchy pants without wearing a bra, you acknowledge that you lie to each other about how often you floss your teeth… These are all aspects of your relationship that make you the most fabulous couple ever. You get each other.

You aren’t marrying your MIL. This isn’t her wedding and no matter how much she might try to make it about her… ahem, it ain’t. So, take any unwelcome wedding planning comments and let them slide. Block it out!

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Your wedding day is about celebrating these oddities and the love and commitment that you shared together. However, a big part of these oddities (and probably where they came from in the first place) is family. Which leads us to our next step...

2. Patience.

Uniting two families really is ‘worlds collide’. You're bringing people together that probably wouldn't be friends or know each other in everyday life. Each family has different ways of doing things, different history, different traditions, different belief systems, different sports teams and certainly different expectations of their child's wedding day. So, whenever you are confronted with an odd statement, a muttered ‘That’s not what I’d do", or "In our family we only eat yellow things", take a special moment, deep breath and ask yourself: why they acting this way?

Now, the simple answer could be just that MIL is an A-hole who deep down believes that you are "stealing her son" who "should have married Brittany when he had the chance". But guess what MIL? Brittany already has a husband, so move on already. Move on.

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However, if you peel back the layers of advice and bossiness, I’m betting the MIL really just wants to be a part of wedding planning, and doesn't really know how to communicate that sentiment without making you want to take an extra Ambien (or three).

3. Get them involved

Now I'm sure a few of you are reading this thinking "Lady, the problem is that my MIL is already far too involved and I need her to back off! This is terrible advice". But stick with me.

We’re going to use a little bit of reverse psychology, whereby you massage the situation by helping MIL feel like she’s making decisions. But in reality, you are really just allocating her jobs and organizational tasks that will allow her to feel involved (and appreciated) without taking over.

For example, invite you MIL to taste the cake, or if you really like her, share a special moment like the dress fitting with her. If she’s really keen to "be more hands on", get her to fold every one of those goddamned DIY origami, pop up Save the Date cards that you bought on Etsy and thought would be easy (but actually requires a masters degree).

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Other thoughts: maybe MIL is a whizz-bang cook and would love to cater your engagement party or host your Bridal Shower for you. Find her talents or areas of expertise and find a way to incorporate it into your wedding process — it's a win-win situation.

4. Communicate and work together

A lot of the time issues happen because people don't realize how they behaving. Sometimes you've just got tell them. I'm not talking about being rude, I’m talking about being assertive.

If your MIL is being overly opinionated and you are struggling to share their view, you can ease into the conversation by using phrases like: "Now, MIL, you really mean a lot to me", or "MIL, your advice/opinion is really valuable" BUT "we’ll have to take some time to think about having our wedding in your garage" or "I really like your second-cousin-once-removed Darleen, but I don’t really know her well enough to be a bridesmaid in our wedding".

If the polite ‘no thanks’ aren’t working then use my favorite assertive phrase: "That’s not going to work for me".

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It’s to the point and when said with a smile, confuses MIL long enough for you to run away and poor a chardonnay. Remember, keeping the peace doesn’t have to equate to being a push over. And remember to set your boundaries early; this is your opportunity to get it sorted now because (hopefully) you’ll be hanging around with your MIL for a loooong time.

If your MIL can see that you are a strong person, someone who won’t be bullied or manipulated, who loves their son or daughter and who’s on the same team as them, then that is the best you can do. Get your partner on board and rock the hell out of it.

P.S. - October 23, is Mother-in-Law Day… mark it in your diary folks!

Aleisha McCormack is a comedian, author of the Save The Date Guide to Getting Hitched and Host of the #1 Podcast about all things wedding-y, Save The Date. Two shows per week, bringing wedding experts, advice and trends straight to your ears! Visit her blog, follow her on Twitter, and subscribe and download the bi-weekly podcast for free here.

9 old fashioned wedding traditions to break on the big day
by Jessica Zimlich

Wedding traditions, they are aplenty, no? I think it's high time for these unwritten wedding rules to be broken and I'm here to tell you that if a particular wedding tradition doesn't fit your style, you don't have to do it! Your wedding day is just that, yours. I'm a firm believer that you will appreciate the day more knowing that every detail was a true reflection of you and your partner.

With that being said, I'm giving you the OK on nine wedding traditions to break, listed below!

Tradition #1: You must have a wedding book attendant

Nearly every wedding book attendant I've ever come across has mentioned that they felt like they were being given that position simply because the bride and groom didn't want them to feel left out. The reality is, most of them would rather be able to kick back, relax and enjoy the show!

Come to think of it, do you really think you are going to read through the names of all the people who attended your wedding years down the road? With technology progressing the way it is and wedding hashtags becoming all the rage, my guess is no. Wedding books are just an extra expense that could be allocated toward something else that is important to you - hello, photographer!

Tradition #2: The bride and the groom must shove cake in each other's face

All I see is a big huge mess and a waste of cake. Anyone who knows me knows that the latter situation would be considered a tragedy! Sharing the first bite together is a much safer route and it leaves you free to eat the cake you paid good money for.

Tradition #3: You have to be married by a religious authority figure

Times are a changing and if you want a family member or close friend to marry you, go right ahead! I personally think it makes the ceremony that must sweeter and adds a personal touch you wouldn't otherwise get from someone you don't know on that level.

Tradition #4: Your wedding reception playlist has to include the chicken dance and the electric slide

Photo by  Raquel Reis

Photo by Raquel Reis

You don't listen to those songs any other day of the week, why would you feel pressured to on your wedding day? Play the music that makes you happy and I can assure you, your guests won't be watching from the sidelines!

Tradition #5: You have to register for "typical" wedding gifts, such as home goods

Photo by  Molly Zaidman

Photo by Molly Zaidman

This probably won't come as a surprise to you, but a lot of couples choose to live together well before they get married or even engaged for that matter. Do you know what that means? They're most likely set in the kitchen department and can't bear the thought of adding another set of towels to their collection. Weddings are expensive and gifts are meant to be indulgent. Register for things you truly want and need!

I, for one, don't think there is anything more disappointing than knowing the gift you plucked off the registry is going to sit unused or worse off, returned. I would much rather contribute a unique wedding gift that truly brings joy to the new couple - such as a contribution to their honeymoon or that killer handbag the bride has had her eye on, but hasn't purchased because of wedding expenses.

Tradition #6: You must have the same number of bridesmaids and groomsmen

Unless you're a stickler for symmetry, this is one of the most common ways new brides are breaking old traditions. You want only the best of the best standing by you on your big day and if that looks like five bridesmaids and four groomsmen, so be it.

Tradition #7: You have to have a bouquet/garter toss

Photo by  Coco Tran

Photo by Coco Tran

If the idea of your husband crawling on his hands and knees to take your garter off with his teeth gives you anxiety, you aren't alone. I think this is one of those traditions that everyone would appreciate doing away with - isn't that right, Grandma and Grandpa? If this isn't really your thing, you won't be hurting your guests' feelings.

Tradition #8: Your guest must send you off before the reception is over

Why not have an all-nighter wedding partying with your closest friends and family members? You two lovebirds have the rest of your lives together, but this night only happens once and you don't want to miss a thing!

Tradition #9: You must send out RSVP cards with invitations

Allowing your guests to RSVP online is not only cost effective, but it's also hassle free for both parties! Your guests don't have to worry about misplacing the card and you don't have to worry about tallying them up as they come in. Sounds like a win-win if you ask me.

What wedding traditions are you planning to skip on the big day? I'd love to hear!

Jessica Zimlich
Jessica Zimlich

Jess Zimlich is a Kansas City based lifestyle blogger at 26 and Not Counting where you can expect to see a heavy emphasis on personal experience and life adventures. When she isn't working on her fitness, you will most likely find her enjoying brunch (mimosas included!), catching up with her best friends or flipping the pages of her latest read - she's old school like that. She isn't engaged, yet, but she looks forward to the day when she can put that Pinterest Wedding Board to work!

How to register for cash without looking tacky
by Stephanie

One of the biggest questions we get from brides is how to tastefully ask for cash. It's frowned upon, but if you already have everything you need for your new home, why register for even more items that'll just be clutter? In this post, the resident registry experts at Zola will tell you everything you need about how to register for cash in a tasteful way.

Zola Logo
Zola Logo

For your wedding day, your friends and family want to give you a gift you will love.

It is typical for the modern couple to have already accumulated appliances, dinnerware, and home décor. For many couples, the gift that would make them the happiest is cash. Monetary gifts are much more commonplace and definitely more acceptable today than they have been in the past.

But while it’s no longer frowned upon for couples to create cash funds, there’s certainly a right way to go about asking for money without making your guests feel uncomfortable. Here are a few tips that will help you when asking for cash.

1. Choose a Registry with Good Cash Options

Photo by  Sarah McKenzie

Choosing a cash fund that’s easy for your guests to access and use is important! Make sure everything is in one place. Zola Registry not only makes the process easy for you and your guests, but they also allow you to keep gifts, funds, and experiences all in one place. This is not only convenient, but it will make everyone feel more comfortable with the asking and giving of money.

2. Spreading the Word

Let this happen as organically as possible. Tell your family, closest friends, and other guests you see that you’d prefer cash to celebrate your big day. They’ll help spread the word. If people hear that you’re looking to invest in a home, buy a car, or want help paying for your wedding, they’ll feel more comfortable contributing and you won’t feel tacky asking!

3. Be Specific

There are tons of different ways that guests can contribute cash these days. There are honeymoon funds, experiences funds, and funds for your future (like a home renovation or down payment). Make it clear what you are spending the money on, and think about what funds will have the most impact on your newlywed life. This will help your guests feel more connected to their gift they’re giving you! On Zola, you can make a series of cash funds, label them all clearly, and keep them all on one page.

4. Offer Varying Price Points

Photo by  Valerie Busque

Allow your guests to contribute at different price points. This will not only allow more of your guests to contribute, but it will also make them feel more comfortable. Many cash funds allow guests to contribute as much as they’d wish, or allow you to divide your gift into fixed contribution amounts. Not everyone will want to (or be able to) contribute in multiples of $100, so be sure to provide a few options that are suitable for all different budgets.

Love this advice? Read more on Zola here:

Unique Wedding Gifts: Our Top 5

Wedding Registry Etiquette

Best Wedding Gifts of the Spring: Zola Couples’ Favorite

Wedding advice: 5 ways to share your wedding registry with guests
by Stephanie

Photo by  Marisa Holmes

Photo by Marisa Holmes

Wedding registries are often some of the trickiest pieces to the wedding etiquette puzzle. Sure, you've registered for gifts and your guests want to be able to buy you a thoughtful wedding present... but how do you tell them about your registry without seeming gift-grabby? The line between helpful and tacky can be a fine one to walk — luckily, the registry experts at Zola are here to demystify this detail so you'll be able to share your wedding registry with guests without a fuss!

Zola Logo
Zola Logo

You’ve created your registry, picked out the gifts you’ve been dreaming of filling your newlywed home with, and are all set to debut it to your wedding guests. Then comes the moment (a sometimes somewhat awkward one) of how to let everyone know that your registry is ready for them. You want to make sure it’s easily accessible to your guests without being too pushy, and most of all, you want your guests to feel comfortable and excited to celebrate this big moment. Here’s how we recommend sharing your registry.

1. Wedding Website

The most common way we see couples sharing their registry is on their wedding website. Guests will naturally be visiting the website to learn about details, so it’s a fitting place for your registry to live as well. Usually couples will set up a section for their registry, so the information is easy to find and guests can come and go as they please. We definitely recommend doing this, but also encourage couples to explore the options below to complement your wedding website!

2. Invitations

The next big place that everyone will look for information regarding your big day is along with the wedding invitations you send. There are various cards in the envelope (directions, RSVP, etc.), so we’ve seen more and more couples include information about their registry, too.

Photo by  WeddingSee.com

 

3. Save-The-Dates

If mentioning your registry in your invitations seems too formal, consider doing so with your save-the-dates. This is an informal invite to the wedding, so it can be a more casual way to nod to your registry.

Photo by  Weddingbee

Photo by Weddingbee

 

4. Wedding Shower

Guests will already be in the gift-giving mood at your bridal shower, so this pre-event is a great opportunity to reiterate where you’re registered. Get your bridesmaids together and make cards to include in a goodie bag or as a small takeaway.

Photo by  Zola

Photo by Zola

One tip: share your registry before this event, too, as some guests will want to purchase shower gifts right off your registry! Get inspired to add shower gifts you like, so you’ll get gifts you actually want, with this Wedding Shower Collection.

5. Remind People In Person

Everyone’s human, including your guests, and some people may forget along the way where you’re registered. If they ask (operative word being ask), don’t be shy about reminding them!

At the end of the day, there’s no one best way to share your registry, but the key is to be polite, gracious, and never make your guests feel like they have to get you something. If you stick to this etiquette you can’t go wrong! Hopefully these tips will give you a good starting point.  Have any tips yourself for ways to share your registry? We’d love to see them in the comments below!

Like this post? Get more of Zola's helpful tips here:

1. The 10 Most Common Registry Concerns from Newly Engaged Couples

2. Gifts at Every Price

3. 10 Registry Gifts to Use at Your Wedding

How to choose your bridesmaids & the coolest ways to ask them!
by Lauren Sinton

Photo by  Melissa Gidney

Once you are engaged your head will start racing about who to pick for your bridal party. There will be people that you want to ask right away, and others that you are unsure about. There will be some people that expect to be asked, even if you aren't close with them anymore. It is definitely hard to decide how you should choose your bridesmaids. All of the expectations about who you should ask and who you want to ask may start to overwhelm you. We have 8 pieces of advice for you that we hope will help you decide who your perfect bridesmaids for you will be!

So read on, and then once you know who you want to ask use one of our 5 favorite ways to propose to your bridesmaids!

1. TAKE YOUR TIME:

Take plenty of time to think and talk to your fiancé before immediately asking your favorite people to stand up with you at the altar. It is really exciting when you first get engaged, and you may want to share that with your favorite ladies (or men), but it's important to think about the details before you ask someone (that you may later regret). Think about, how big your wedding is and if you want to have a matching number of groomsmen and bridesmaids.

2. DON'T FEEL OBLIGATED: 

Photo by  Laura Nelson

Photo by Laura Nelson

Definitely don't feel obligated to ask anyone. Just because you were in someone else's wedding 4 years ago (and have subsequently lost touch) doesn't mean you owe them anything. Sure there are always going to be political reasons to have someone in your wedding, but only do it if you know you will be happy seeing that person in your wedding photos for years to come.

3.  FORGET ABOUT THE RULES: 

Photo by  Steve Cowell

Photo by Steve Cowell

If your best friend is a guy, or you are incredibly close with your brother, go ahead and ask him to be your Man Of Honor! Who cares that tradition says your bridal party should be all female?! What is most important is having the people who are most important to you standing at the altar with you. That also goes for match bridesmaids with groomsmen, if you have a mismatched number that's okay! It's better to have a mismatched number of bridesmaids to groomsmen, then to have someone you don't care about standing at the altar with you (just so you can match).

4. ASK YOURSELF, HOW LONG HAVE WE BEEN FRIENDS?:

It is probably best to ask your closest friends that you have known the longest first. Asking the friends that you know are caring and loyal will prove useful when things get really stressful as the wedding day approaches. Be cautious when asking newer friends. That new friend you have known for 4 weeks might be super close to you right now, but you don't know how they are under pressure, or how loyal they really are.

5. INCLUDE YOUR FAMILY: 

For most people this is probably a no-brainer. Though there may be some people who don't get along with their siblings (or soon to be sibling in-laws), but including them in your big day will definitely help avoid unpleasantness. At the end of the day they are your family, and nothing is going to change that!

6. DOES THIS PERSON SUPPORT YOUR MARRIAGE?:

This one also seems rather obvious, but if you have a close friend who doesn't support your union with your partner then they might not be the right fit for your wedding. The people standing at the altar with you are essentially saying that they approve of this union. If you feel like your friend doesn't approve then  he/she shouldn't be standing at the altar with you pretending that they do.

7. DON'T BE UPSET IF SOMEONE DECLINES: 

Being a bridesmaid is a big time commitment as well as a large financial one. Not everyone is up to the task. If you have a friend who you know is stretched thin financially don't be upset if she declines your invitation to be a bridesmaid! Remember that it doesn't mean they don't treasure you as a friend, but really they are saving you from the stress of having a bridesmaid who doesn't actually want to be one!

8. DO WHAT MAKES THE MOST SENSE FOR YOU:

At the end of the day it is your wedding, and you should do what you feel the happiest about. Only ask people you know you will want up at the altar with you. Don't worry about politics or rules or anything else, just pick the people who mean the most to you. If you go with your heart you are certain not to regret it!

Now here comes the fun part! Finding the best (and most fun way) to propose to your bridesmaids. Here are a few of our most favorite ways to 'pop the question' to your bridesmaids:

Photo by  Etsy

Photo by Etsy

1. By 'popping the question' 

2. With an honest card! 

3. With a bottle of bubbly! 

4. With an adorable coffee cup. 

5. With an adorable handmade handkerchief in case she gets weepy eyed at your ceremony!

So what do you think brides to be? Do you know who your are going to ask and how you will ask them? Let us know what inspired you in the comments!

Lauren Sinton is a recent graduate from UC Davis with a degree in English and an emphasis in Creative Writing. She is a prolific poet and loves absolutely everything about writing and reading poetry. She has also been planning her own wedding since she was in the 2nd grade, which is now finally coming in handy since she is recently engaged.

Wedding dress code etiquette: what to wear to your friend's wedding
by Lauren Sinton

Photo by  Rog Walker

Photo by Rog Walker

Weddings are so much fun and if you aren't the one planning it, there isn't much to stress about. Although with today's wedding trends changing so rapidly it can be hard to know what to wear to your friend's wedding. With Celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Solange Knowles instructing their entire bridal party and even their guests to wear white, it can be anxiety inducing to know what is and isn't appropriate to wear to a wedding.

Is white still off the table? What about red, or black? What does black tie optional mean? And the most frightening of all, what if there is not dress code attire specified on the invite? We have created a dress code etiquette guide that will reduce anxiety and keep a smile on your face all the way until the last song is played at your friends wedding!

White:

Generally the answer is still no. White is pretty much off the table, unless you have been directly instructed by the bride to wear white. If you are a bridesmaid (or even a family member) there is a chance you will be asked to wear white, as it is a very stylish trend! Even if you know that the bride is wearing a wedding dress that isn't white, you should still steer clear of the color (because maybe her bridal party is donning the color).

Photo by  Sara Lazaro

Photo by Sara Lazaro

Some White:

Wearing some white is generally okay, especial if it is mixed in with your dress (or skirt). What you want to avoid is looking bridal, so if the white is overshadowed by other colors, then you have nothing to worry about! Although if you are worried about it, you can avoid white altogether, so you have less stress and enjoy your friends big day!

Photo by  Pink Peonies

Photo by Pink Peonies

Red and Black:

The answer is yes red and black are both okay (together and separately). Generally wedding guests have been instructed to avoid red because it is too sexy and to avoid black because it is reminiscent of a funeral. Though both colors can be worn in ways that avoid these faux pas's. If you are attending a wedding in a church it would be best to avoid a tight red dress with a plunging neckline. When wearing black dress it up in fun ways with pops of color, in order to dispel any notion that you may be in mourning.

Photo by  Viva Luxury

Photo by Viva Luxury

Photo by  Pink Peonies

Photo by Pink Peonies

Black Tie Required:

Black tie required (specified on the wedding invites) generally means very formal. This means long evening gowns for women and tuxes for men. If you must wear a shorter dress (no shorter than knee length) wear darker colors for a fancier look. Generally though with a wedding this fancy it's just better to stick to floor length.

Photo by  Lilian Haidar

Photo by Lilian Haidar

Black Tie Optional:

Black tie optional is a bit more flexible and casual than black tie required. It generally means that the bridal party is wearing evening gowns and tuxes, but as guests you can get away with more formal shorter dress and nice (darker) suits. Although it does mean that if you have a long evening gown you have been dying to dust off, you should feel totally free to wear it!

Cocktail Attire:

Cocktail attire is much more casual than black tie, and generally specified for outdoor summer (and afternoon) weddings. For weddings with this type of attire women can wear short fun dresses and men can wear light colored suits without ties if they please.

Beach Formal:

Beach formal means dressy but also prepared for sun, sand and the ocean! Think fun but formal short dresses for women, and linen dress shirts and pants for men. Also for footwear go with dressy sandals, or shoes that are easy to take on and off! You will most likely be going shoe-less at some point, so keep that in mind.

Attending a beach formal wedding? Read our guide on what to wear!
Attending a beach formal wedding? Read our guide on what to wear!

Casual Attire: 

When the bride and groom specify casual attire on the wedding invitation it generally means anything goes. That being said I wouldn't show up in sweatpants and a t-shirt. Generally a comfy casual dress, or a dressier pant and top combo would work. If you have a nicer pair of jeans, you could wear that with a dressy top (because who knows the groom may even be in jeans)!

Photo by  MILOU + OLIN

Photo by MILOU + OLIN

No dress code specified: 

Honestly for me this is the hardest type of dress code to manoeuvre. When I have no dress code direction I start to get worried and confused that I will either be underdressed or overdressed. Although remember it is always better to be over dressed! The other thing you can do in this situation is either contact someone you know that is close to the bride or groom, or contact the bride or groom and ask. Normally you want to avoid pestering the bride and groom before their wedding, but in this case I would say a quick call or text message is okay.

We definitely hope this clears up all of your wedding dress code questions, and if you still have more questions feel free to ask away! We would love to hear what other wedding attire faux pas you think people should avoid, or what new trendy style you want to wear to weddings! Let us know.

laurensintonbio

Lauren Sinton is a recent graduate from UC Davis with a degree in English and an emphasis in Creative Writing. She is a prolific poet and loves absolutely everything about writing and reading poetry. She has also been planning her own wedding since she was in the 2nd grade, which is now finally coming in handy since she is recently engaged.