Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Wedding dress

This post is not about a wedding dress; it's about how you dress to attend a wedding. Eric and I recently attended a local wedding, and though as a planner I'd determined my ensemble well in advance, at the last minute I was debating about what Eric should wear. I settled on a dress shirt, khakis and tie. You can see in the photo that the tie did not make the cut for my ultra-casual husband--who does not, ahem, own a suit!

Because it was an evening wedding, I was under the impression it would be somewhat dressier than a morning or afternoon wedding, and I tried unsuccessfully to convince Eric to wear the tie. But when we pulled into the parking lot, the guy next to us was wearing jeans. I couldn't believe it! And inside, I saw another young man wearing shorts. But the most eye-opening was a young woman wearing casual shorts topped by a V*ctoria's S*ecret sweatshirt. What?! Upon seeing these outfits, Eric was even more convinced that "no tie" was the way to go. Sigh. =)

I'm curious, especially those of you who live in places other than the rural Midwest--what would you generally wear or expect others to wear to a wedding? (And what about men?!)

In case it's interesting to you: The skirt and cardigan I'm wearing in the photo are what I wore to our wedding rehearsal six years ago! And the necklace, earrings, and shoes in this picture were what I wore on our wedding day.

15 comments:

Wendi said...

I would expect the guest to be dressed just as the two of you are. I went to an outside wedding last year. It was hot! I wore a shirt and hubby wore shorts and a polo type shirt. I thought hubby might be under dressed but like Eric my hubby is casual and like I said it was hot. We got there and were over dressed. Some people looked like they had stopped doing yard work and came on over. I was shocked and embarassed that they would go to a wedding looking that way.

BTW... Chuck doesn't own a suit either.

Wendi said...

I meant I wore a *skirt* oops!

mer@lifeat7000feet said...

The South is NOT a place for casual attire. Seems folks dress to the nines most of the time...and that's why I love Colorado. It's so laid back here.

I'd have probably dressed up myself if I were going to a wedding. It's a huge change for me as I usually wear jeans or pants to church!

kelseylynae said...

Oh Carrie...As soon as I began reading this post I knew where it was going because we have attended a few of these weddings recently!! Yikes! The last wedding we attended in Louisville consisted of ties, suits, and cute/fancy dresses... the last wedding we attended here [rural midwest] was much as you described [minus the victoria secret sweatshirt!]

I know Kali feels like she doesn't own anything fancy enough to attend weddings in Nashville :) It's interesting how "the norms" like this come to be :)

Interesting post. Hope you all are doing well :)

Carrie said...

I, too, would expect that wedding guests would wear what you two wore. Here in the NW I typically see people dressed the way you two were. Skirts, sometimes dressy slacks with a very nice top, etc. It probably leans more on the casual side but I've not ever seen SHORTS and certainly not a sweatshirt!!!! (And I'm a wedding photographer and have seen plenty of outdoor weddings around here. I'd be shocked if I saw someone dressed in shorts!!)

Leah in Iowa said...

Living "just down the road" from you, I was surprised to read about the shorts and sweatshirt attire of some. But the next generation sure does surprise me sometimes! Maybe I'll try to sneak a secret photo of the most casual dresser at our family's wedding next week for you. Should be fun!

Anne Marie@Married to the Empire said...

A suit for men! Always a suit! The only time I let Steven attend a wedding without his suit jacket (although he still had to wear the long-sleeved shirt and tie) was when it was 108 degrees out. I'm mean, but I'm not THAT mean. ;-)

I always wear a dress.

We're attending a wedding on Saturday. The first maternity clothes I bought were 2 dresses. Good thing! Guess I should make sure my husband's dress shirt is ironed...

Mrs. Claus said...

I have shot (photographed) several weddings in South Arkansas and from what I have seen "anything goes". From full hair/nails/heels to shorts and even a swim suit top (or at least that's what it looked like to me). I don't know if the southern ladies have all died and gone to heaven, or if they are just too tired to argue anymore.

But even the groomsmen are switching to casual. Long gone are the tuxedos and sometimes a suit for a groom is a stretch.

It IS hot here, I'll give you that, but if you don't dress up for your wedding . . . when do you?

Anonymous said...

Carrie, as a recent Mother of the Groom and recalling all the planning and details put forth into providing guests with a beautiful reception, I always took it for granted that those invited would attend in semi-formal attire and with the exception of one gentleman, the guests were all dressed up for the occasion. We attended a family Wedding this past weekend and likewise the guests were surrounding the Bride & Groom in wardrobes befitting such an important Ceremony - suits for the men and mutual 'Sunday best' for the ladies..... I think it is fun to dress up seeing that these occasions don't come along everyday - for me it just says that the Day is special and in keeping with how lovely the Bridal Party and Bride & Groom dress, why not care enough to set aside our casual attire.....(Just my 2 cents worth) :o)
God Bless,
Barbra

Mom said...

You and Eric look very nice (and I recognized some of what you are wearing from your wedding weekend!). I am shocked that someone would wear shorts and a sweatshirt to a wedding. I'm all for comfort and being casual most of the time, but there are some occasions that call for more dressy attire. Even here in Colorado where people tend to be more casual, I've never seen anything that inappropriate! Unless the wedding invitation stipulates formal or casual attire are appropriate, I would expect everyone to arrive looking like they were attending a special event rather than like they were going to the gym. Interesting topic -- thanks for sharing! love, Mom

Anonymous said...

Hi Carrie;

Perhaps I am "from the old school", but I certainly agree with Barbra, that a wedding is worth dressing up for. I realize not everyone feels this way, but in my book, one should wear their very best to a wedding. (Unless of course the invitation states "casual attire" or it is extremely hot as Anne Marie stated.)

In today's world, Eric was very appropriately dressed.

Love you, Grandma

Abbey said...

I rarely comment on blogs anymore, but I was so interested in your post. We're moving back to the US this summer and will be attending quite a few weddings! I can't imagine anyone wearing shorts, jeans or a sweatshirt to a wedding! Maybe it's the 'urban' weddings we attend, but it would be unheard of in Chicago to wear anything but dresses and suit/tie. We're moving back to Washington DC and I'm sure it's the same. Now I'm even more excited to attend some of these weddings and see what people wear. ;-)

becka said...

My husband teaches in a University here in SC and we go to a lot of weddings. (We have been to three so far this summer!) Nearly everyone here dresses nicely--the women wear dressy (not formal) Sunday type dresses and the men wear coats and ties unless it's extremely hot and then they might forgo the jacket. The children seem to love dressing up for these events.

Alice said...

I love this post. It made me think about a time I attended a conference in Connecticut. Two ladies stopped my friend and I and said that they KNEW we HAD to be from the South because of the way we were dressed up for dinner. Bingo: We are from south Louisiana. Your wedding attire would pass here (although probably more common for an afternoon wedding), but not the others you described. Also, I think you are completely correct in your expectations. Evening would require something a little dressier. Most men here would wear a tie, at least, to an evening wedding and women would probably wear a cocktail dress with heels.

Kara K said...

I completely agree that a dress shirt and dress pants are wedding appropriate. There are times when I see people wearing jeans to weddings and I think that it's disrespectful to the bride and groom who have obviously went to great lengths to look nice for their special day. Of course, I am also the person who would rather err on the side of being overdressed than undressed!