Wedding woe: Are dress codes OK?

20:10, Aug 13 2013

I can't say the thought ever crossed my mind so I might need your helpful suggestions for this one: 

Hi Greer,

I just read your post on Stuff about posting photos to social media during a wedding. I have a question for you.

We are looking at getting married in autumn or spring next year - what are your thoughts on having a colour dress code for the wedding, as in we only want neutral colours white/ cream/ beige/ navy/ black... Is this too much to ask?



First, congrats at your engagement and I hope you're enjoying the wedding planning!

As I have never personally thought of asking such a thing of guests, my first thought is to come at this from a guest's perspective.


If I was to receive any invite that specifically mentioned the colours the couple would like their guests dressed in, then I don't think I'd be too fussed - especially if they were the "acceptable" colours listed above.

If the colours were "lime green, pink polka dots and purple stripes" then I'd probably take issue, given that it would then become a stressful task for me to attend.

In Western culture, I'm sure some readers will deem the request as highly offensive and over the top, but these kinds of requests would be quite common in some other cultures.

You might get a few raised eyebrows given that it's something of a personal request, but it terms of it being "reasonable", I think it definitely is.

Trawling through "real life" weddings on the internet, especially from places like the States, it's quite common for guests to come in theme - whether it's an all-out dress-up theme or just a simple colour dress code (I've seen guests all in neutral whites/beiges etc at a beach wedding, for example).

Couples sometimes request guests to wear cocktail attire, formal dress or "jeans and jandals" at their big day, so giving them a list of colours to help your vision of your day would be in a similar vein. 

The one thing I would warn you about, though: people not complying. How will you feel if all of your guests comply with the dress code except two who turn up in matching bright pink dresses? Will it annoy you? Will they be left out of group photos? Are there guests who would deliberately not turn up in "theme"? 

It's worth thinking about because if it is that important to you that it would ruin your whole day if your vision doesn't come off, then you might want to relax your own thoughts around this.

Just an idea.

What is your advice for Dan? Would you dress up "in theme" for a wedding if a couple asked? Is it OK to ask guests to dress in a specific colour(s)?

You can also email Greer here and share your wedding woes, feedback or questions. 

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