Wedding season is in full swing, and after a year of Zoom ceremonies and loungewear-clad guests, couples are ready to go all out for their big days. With the return of in-person celebrations, wedding dress codes have become increasingly explicit and essential in guiding guests on what to wear. No longer relegated to tiny font at the bottom of invitations, dress codes are taking center stage on wedding websites, setting the tone for the entire event.
Rebecca Davis, a bride-to-be, decided to leave no room for confusion about the dress code for her wedding at the Picnic House in Prospect Park. She wanted to avoid guests showing up underdressed for her “festive formal” affair. To illustrate her vision, she created a Pinterest board featuring style icons like Liza Minnelli, Bianca Jagger, and David Bowie in flamboyant outfits, giving attendees a clear idea of what to expect.
The need for such explicit dress codes has emerged because dressing up for events has become increasingly rare. In the past, it was assumed that guests would know how to dress for a wedding, but now, with no clear norms in place, couples feel the need to provide guidance.
The modern wedding has taken on elements of fantasy and role-playing, similar to costume balls. Dress codes play a crucial role in creating a scripted fantasy, setting the stage for guests to fully immerse themselves in the celebration. This shift towards more elaborate dress codes has been embraced by many couples and their guests, as they are eager to make the most of their return to in-person gatherings.
Some couples have even themed their weddings, like the Bridgerton-themed celebrations that have gained popularity. Guests seem to enjoy the opportunity to dress up and become part of the fantasy world created by the couple. The desire to capture and share these unique moments on social media has also fueled the trend of specific dress codes, as the resulting photos make for captivating content.
Wedding planner Nathalie Cadet-James notes that Instagram-worthy moments are a key motivator behind the rise of detailed dress codes. The images of guests dressed to match the theme or code contribute to the overall visual story of the wedding. It’s a chance for guests to showcase their creativity and style, and these photos often become the highlights of wedding albums.
While some may scoff at the idea of dictating the exact shades and styles of attire, others appreciate the clarity it provides. Nicole Jarbo, a bride who specified shades of blue and green for her wedding, found that her detailed dress code made it easier for guests to select appropriate attire, reducing confusion and stress.
Despite the effort that goes into creating detailed dress codes, there’s no guarantee that all guests will adhere to them. Ultimately, the most important aspect of any wedding is celebrating love and joy, regardless of what guests choose to wear. The return to in-person celebrations is a reason to rejoice, whether it’s in formal attire or the comfort of your own skin.