What NOT to wear to a wedding

What NOT to wear to a wedding

Did you look in the mirror before you walked out the door? On more than one occasion I have witnessed groomsmen dressed in half of a tuxedo, female wedding guests wearing backless and frontless dresses, and wedding vendors dressed unprofessionally. So, I say to myself, did these people look in the mirror before they walked out the door?

Just recently, I was asked by an engaged couple if there was a “cute and catchy” phrase that they could put on their wedding invitation that would get their guests’ attention in regards to wearing the proper attire to their ceremony and cocktail party reception afterwards. The bride told me, “We went to a wedding two weeks ago, and you should have seen what some of the people wore! We don’t want that! We want our guests to have a good time at our reception, but we also don’t want them to wear clothes that look like they’re going to a dirt bike race after they leave our reception.”

Remember June Cleaver of “Leave It to Beaver” fame? She wore pearls around her neck and a dress when she vacuumed her living room. Remember when a man used to wear a jacket and tie when he boarded an airplane? When, and how, did people go from dressing appropriately (or even over-dressing) for the occasion, to “anything goes?” If we look back, it happened when the public schools eliminated or relaxed their dress code and businesses started “Casual Friday,” which eventually turned into “Sloppy Friday.”

Here it is 20 years later, and no one should be surprised to see the following questions in a bridal magazine or in a wedding advice website: “Is it okay to wear jeans to my court house wedding?” or, “Do I have to wear a suit to my friend’s wedding?” Instead of wondering, “Where have all the flowers gone?” maybe we should be asking, “Where have all the nice clothes gone?”

A wedding is a grand and glorious social event. It is supposed to be a very special day in two people’s lives. Yet, when brides and grooms, and their parents, guests, and vendors, treat it like any other day in their life, that’s sad and shameful. 

I make a genuine effort to take at least one photograph of every one of the weddings, renewals of vows, or other special events that I am associated with. As a result, I have accumulated a big book of memories. Yes, I have lots of photographs of “prim and proper” brides and grooms. However, I also have a picture of a groom who didn’t comb his hair on his wedding day (even when I offered to give him a comb). I have a picture of a bride who wore a black turtleneck top and Daisy Duke shorts on her wedding day. I have pictures of guests who wore “top hats and tails” as a joke to a ceremony. I have pictures of several vendors who wore faded jeans, advertising T-shirts, and boots while they set up and worked during the event.

So, if you are wondering what not to wear to a wedding, here’s a list:

Camouflage anything

Hats with fishing lures attached to them

High heels on grassy lawns

High heeled strappy sandals on soft sand or beaches or marshlands

Jeans (unless the event has a cowboy or rodeo or western theme)

Dresses or blouses that expose more skin than they cover

Tennis shoes (old or new)

Bib overalls

Quilted vests

Combat boots (it’s a wedding not a war)

Hunting boots (we’re not going to stalk anything)

Cargo shorts and cargo pants (there’s no need to bring a pair of pliers, a hammer, or a sandwich to a wedding)

A blue checked shirt with a brown pinstripe jacket and gray slacks

Anything sharkskin

Panama hats, tropical shirts or grass skirts (unless this is a Hawaiian themed event)

Black leather vests and/or black leather pants and biker boots

Bowling shirts

Shirts that identify whom you work for (unless you are the contracted vendor at this event)

A white ruffled shirt and a baby blue tuxedo jacket with brown chinos

Flip flops (unless the ceremony is taking place at the beach)

Black satin shirt, black satin pants, and a red satin tie

Madras plaid anything

Big floppy hats (no one can see you or the bride)

Fuzzy bedroom slippers

Skin tight anything

Men’s white socks

Old and very old prom gowns

Wrinkled and/or faded tuxedos

Costumes (unless this event takes place on October 31)

A diaper

It’s no matter whether this is your wedding or your cousin’s wedding. When you get “all dressed up,” you feel better and you look better. Take pride in your appearance every single day!