Hey guys! How can I politely tell my guests to dress up nicely?

I tested out at my engagement party if my guest would follow the cocktail theme, but most rocked up with what I'd consider something you'd wear to a 21st or a night out. I want my event to be super formal and everyone look accordingly but not sure how to word it nicely. Thank you :)

Bianca W

Question Asked: 12/12/2021

Wedding Date: 22/10/2022

Most Helpful Response

Made To Measure Suits

(0) · ACT and surrounds

Posted: 12/01/2022

Hi Bianca,
It can be difficult to 'politely' ask you guests to follow a dress code. It may be more helpful for you to suggest the dress code is 'strictly formal'
Examples and Suggestions for Wording your Wedding Dress Code

Mentioning a dress code ensures your event stays as formal or as casual as you want, and it’s helpful for guests to know exactly what is expected of them for attire. Here you will find some helpful ideas for wording your Dress Code whether you’re hosting a formal or casual wedding.

Where to include your Dress Code

If you want to be specific about the dress code there are three main places you can do so:

Your Wedding Invitation

You can include your Dress Code on the lower left or right-hand corner of the invitation. Alternatively, place the Dress Code at the bottom centre of the design.

A separate Information / Details card

If you are including a Details or Information card with other important information for your guests, use this to list your dress code as well as it keeps your invitation nice and simple. It also allows you to expand on your dress code with suggestion of what you'd like your guests to wear.

Your Wedding Website

If you are already providing a wedding website for other details and important information for guests, use this space to also list your dress code.

Just remember the day is about you and your partner and what you want to make of the day.


Answered by: 3 Experts

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Suitably - Custom Tailored Suits

(39) · Australia Wide

Posted: 12/01/2022

Hey Bianca. 

That's a great question that actually goes into a few different debates when it comes to the concept of dress code. As a general rule of thumb, you can break down most dress codes into formal, semi-formal, informal and casual. Within these, you will have subsections such as "black tie", "white tie", "business casual" etc. The problem here is that whilst there is a definitive meaning to these codes, it's not realistic to expect all your guests to understand what they mean. What's more than that, different people will have a different understanding of what these codes actually mean which adds to the confusion. 

My generally advice is to suggest the macro-level code (formal, informal, etc) and then add an I.E. with what you are anticipating, followed by what is not acceptable. For example: 

Dress code: Formal (I.E. suits for men, gowns for women. No chinos or jeans please) 

It's a mouthful but at least nothing gets lost in translation. In the above example, suggesting no chinos or jeans immediately rules out things like shorts and other less formal attire which helps to direct your guests to dress the way that you would like them to. 

Try not to overcomplicate. Give the cues and the macro-level and try to do enough on this level that you don't need to get into the nitty gritty. 

Hope this helps! 

Alexander @ Suitably

Black Tie By Xavier

(44) · Australia Wide

Posted: 12/01/2022

Hi Bianca

A dress code for the guests is a great way to suggest what you are looking for and using words like "Strictly" and "No chinos/shorts/jeans/sneakers" etc go along way.

You could suggest for the men black tie, or black or navy lounge suits only. This is very strict but sets the tone and keeps range very small to choose from.

There will always be the small few who like to test the rules of respect, but life goes on :)

Remember its your big day, not theirs. Enjoy!



Black tie by Xavier

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