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You have decided to take that big step and get married. There is a lot of planning ahead and deciding how the style of your wedding is going to be is one of your first decisions. This is a very important aspect to many of the other decisions that will follow. Where you are holding your wedding can be a big part in the choice of attire for your guests. Obviously the Bride and Groom will be dressed up, but are all of the friends and relatives going to be following suit (no pun intended). Here are some pointers that may help answer this question.
If you are holding your reception at a five star restaurant or hotel than this question is already answered for you. You will be paying top dollar for an elegant event and can expect your guests to be well dressed. The one problem is that sometimes your idea of well-dressed doesn’t coincide with other people’s ideas of well dressed. To avoid any kind of confusion, note on the invitations that a jacket and tie are required. This will alleviate any confusion as for what to wear. The ladies will also know to follow with their attire. Keep in mind that your choice of an elegant wedding may keep some of your invitees from attending. Many people feel uncomfortable in this kind of setting or do not have a nice suit or cocktail dress to wear and may not be able to afford one. If you choose a setting that is less formal than you can expect some of your guests to show up in less than expected attire. Just be aware that this can happen and if you are not comfortable with that situation than once again, let your guests know on the invitations.
As mentioned above, if you are serving a five course meal at your reception with the servers dressed in tuxedo shirts with bowties than your dress attire is already chosen for you. However, if you choose a less than formal menu than your guests can be more relaxed in their dress. I have seen a lot of weddings where the bridal party dresses up for the ceremony, then change into less formal wear for the reception. This option takes pressure off your guests.
If you know that a majority of the people you are inviting to you big day are more prone to barbeques than formal dinners, then take this into account from the very beginning of your planning. A semi casual event can be a lot of fun as people tend to be more relaxed.
Don’t feel like you have to decide the tone of your day for your guest’s enjoyment, but do realize that the venue you choose can affect the outcome of who attends. For the most part, your guests want to be there for the two of you and getting dressed up for your wedding should not be that big of a deal, but in some cases it can be.