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Wedding Attire Etiquette


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When it comes to planning a wedding or attending a wedding the one thing people will agonise over, aside from the wedding gift is what to wear to the wedding. If it is your wedding, you need to advise your guests on what the attire is to be and this depends on the type of wedding, the time and the location. Not only will this apply to your guests, but will also apply to what the bride, groom and bridal party will wear. So with this in mind, I posed some questions to Trisha Mary Telford who runs TMT Deportment and Etiquette Academy in Townsville;

1.) What are the different types of wedding attire?

Depending on the formality of your wedding, the location of your wedding, the time or even the mood the couple wants to create will help determine the attire and dress code. To be polite and ensure your guests feel at ease and not over or under dressed you need to state the dress code. Dress codes are governed by the men’s dress codes.

Formal is Black Tie

Semi-Formal is Evening Suit, Lounge Suit & Cocktail

2.) As a guest, if no theme or wedding attire is listed on the invitation what would be the safest option regarding your outfit for the event? (This I am interested to know as a wedding I have coming up – no dress code is on the invitation)

Look at the type of venue, e.g. beach, garden, the Ritz. Also look at the time of day and the weather.

3.) What are some things you need to consider when it comes to deciding on what attire would be appropriate for your own wedding?

The time of the wedding ceremony and reception; so if it is in the morning, afternoon or evening. You wouldn’t have “Cocktail” for a morning wedding as this code of dress is after 5 pm. Do ensure you as a bride and groom are complementary. It seems a contradiction to want guests dressed “formally” and you as a bride in your gorgeous formal gown and the groom and his attendants in open neck shirts and pants.

4.) For the bride - what should you consider when choosing your wedding gown?

Choose a gown that suits your body type and complexion. A gown that compliments your personality and of course the feeling it helps create when you wear it.

5.) When should you wear hats/fascinators to a wedding?

A garden wedding.

For me, with this wedding I have coming up there is no dress code on the invitation but going on the advice from Trisha and looking at the invitation, the wedding is for 6pm at a lovely estate in Toronto. The wedding is in September, so a lovely Canadian summer evening, and as such Semi-Formal will be the attire of choice so now I get to have fun trawling the shops for my outfit!

If you are either attending a wedding or planning your wedding and are at that stage of deciding the attire for the event, there are heaps of resources to help – fashion magazines, etiquette and deportment schools, wedding magazines and planners and advice from Australia’s #1 Wedding and Party Shop. If you can, include the dress code on the invitations and if you are a guest, please, please, please! It is a wedding and as such, and unless it is stated to be the attire of choice – miniskirts, mini dresses, mini mini’s, midriff baring tops, denim, baseball caps, and “stripper heels” (found these whilst searching on-line for some shoes for this wedding) are best left for other occasions. Keep your makeup chic and simple, nothing over the top or scene stealing, remember this is the Bride’s Day and there will be photographic evidence! Also, if it is a garden wedding wear wedge heels as they won’t spike the lawn. For a beach wedding, wear a pair of thongs or go barefoot (but have your shoes at the ready for the photos and reception).

Weddings are a great opportunity to dress up and get your pretty on, and it definitely helps (and avoids unnecessary stress) if you know the dress code!



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