Deciding what to wear as a wedding guest can be surprisingly tricky. Most guests don’t want to upstage the bride or upset the wedding party by wearing the wrong thing. While most wedding guests know to avoid certain colors, for example, white or black at Western weddings and red and gold at Chinese ones, knowing what colors are okay can still be tricky.
These days, couples are more open to giving guests guidance. Letting guests gently know what colors you’d like to see them in for a matching aesthetic or what colors to avoid so that they don’t clash or blend with the bridal party is a great way to avoid any awkward moments.
Here are how our wedding photographers recommend you go about requesting guests wear something particular.
Be Upfront from the Beginning
If you’re going to request a certain dress code or color from your guests, be upfront about this from the beginning. That means notifying them of this on the invitation or even the save the date. This gives guests time to find an appropriate outfit or bow out if they’re not able to follow it. List it next to the dress code. For example: “Formal attire requested. Please wear shades of blue.”
Be Clear and Concise
If you’re going to be making a clothing request for your guests, you need to be extremely clear and concise in what you’re asking of them. If you want them to stay within a certain color palette, be sure to list out the acceptable colors and even provide a picture of them! If you want them to avoid certain colors, for example, the bridal colors, so guests don’t end up looking like accidental bridesmaids, be clear about that as well.
Some guests may feel stifled by a specific color request, so be sure to leave some room for them to find something appropriate and show off their personality. For example, if you want all guests in black, that’s fine since most people have a black outfit. However, requesting everyone to come in a bright shade of yellow is a harder ask. A more appropriate ask would be “shades of blue” or “soft pastels,” or even “burgundy, black, or gold,” as this gives guests some room to find something.
Consider Guests Preferences
It’s important to keep in mind that not everyone is comfortable in the same style of clothing. While some people might feel great in a bold colored dress, others may prefer neutrals. If you’re going to request a specific color, try to pick something accessible that flatters most skin tones and body types.
Make Exceptions as Needed
When you make outfit requests for wedding guests, be prepared for some pushback. In addition to those that just won’t enjoy being told what to wear, you may also have people that have valid reasons for not being able to follow it. Maybe they can’t afford a new dress in that color, or maybe they feel wearing it doesn’t align with their culture. Either way, be ready to make exceptions, or at least don’t be upset if people bow out because of it.
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