So you want to tell your guests what to wear, but you don't want to be overbearing, and ideally you'd like to be a little bit clever about it. You're certainly not the first to find ways to artfully explain a dress code to your guests .
Let's look at my five awesome, non-bossy ways you can give your guests some dress code guidance:
Include a brief PS on your wedding invitations
Ok, first things first: If it's clear from your date and venue name that the wedding will be outdoors, you may not need to say anything. For instance, most guests at a summer wedding located in a garden will assume that they'll be outdoors and can (probably!) be trusted to dress themselves accordingly. Similarly, if your invitation makes it clear you're getting married on the deck of a sailboat, guests will likely understand that they might want to bring a light sweater.
If clothing comfort factors are not obvious from your venue or wedding date AND your dress code is relatively straight-forward (which yours is), you can include a simple PS on your wedding invitations. Something as basic as PS: The ceremony & reception will be on the lawn; choose your footwear accordingly! would do the trick. no need to be cute, cute can be confusing. You want straightforward.
Including a PS on your invitations works best for dress code guidance that is simple and important… heels on a lawn are one example. Outdoor ceremonies during the winter or late summer might be another: "The ceremony will be outside, so make sure you dress for the weather." Your invitations are not the place to get into elaborate discussions about the difference between Steampunk and Renaissance attire.
The location of the PS totally depends on your invitation design. If it's a short line, you could include it at the end of your actual invitation. If you're doing a separate card anyway for directions, you could include your dress code note there.
Address the issue in your wedsite's or wedding blog FAQ
Lots of Brides go this route using all sorts of adorable wording. Keep in mind that not everyone will read your website, so this isn't a good solution for super urgent dress code stuff like "The ceremony will be outdoors on a ski slope, so don't wear a short dress or you will freeze to death."
FAQs can be a great place, however, to get into the details of creative attire — especially for theme weddings! FAQs can also be the place to get creative. Here are a couple real-life examples from our Brides:
Q What will I wear!?
A The event is semi-formal, but anything you want to wear we are sure will be ok. The bride requests you refrain from wearing a wedding dress, but if that's really all you have to wear, she prefers that to you going naked .
"Our style is going to be Victorian & Tim Burton-esque. Classic Victorian/gothic dress is more than welcome (and encouraged!) for the Ceremony. Or if you'd rather keep things simple, semi-formal attire is requested. You know us – we're not uptight. We only ask that you keep it classy for the Ceremony."
Show them what you mean
If a picture is worth a thousand words, some visual guidance about attire is the best possible way to get the message across. Creating a Pinterest board may be the easiest way to give guests visual cues about wedding attire, but it's certainly not the only way!
While you can never demand that anyone wear (or not wear) anything to your wedding, some couples have offered amazing incentives to encourage them to dress to theme. My favorite example of this is when one couple encouraged their guests to "outshine the bride":
Finally: Encourage, don't enforce
Above all, remember this: while you can offer encouragement to your guests, it's just not going to feel very good to enforce. You've got enough to do at your wedding without stepping into the role of fashion police. Ultimately, your guests will dress themselves.