Q: I’m planning a nautical themed wedding and I really, really want all of my guests to wear either navy or green. I know it seems silly, but I think a cohesive look will really tie everything together. Can I note this request on my wedding invitation? Is this acceptable? — Veronica in MA
A: Um, no, not really. I’m not sure when dictating what guests wear to weddings became a trend, but it’s not a very courteous thing to do. They are your guests, not your bridal party. I understand what you are trying to achieve and why you’d love to look out at your guests and see a perfect sea of navy and green, but making a request like this is going to make you sound like a diva. Let’s face it, even Kim Kardashian came off as a control freak when she enforced a strict black and white only dress code at her wedding to Kris Humphries.
Let’s take a step back for a second and put yourself in one your guest’s shoes. Let’s call this guest Amy. Amy recently bought a to-die-for yellow dress that she adores and she’s excited to wear it to your wedding. Then, your invitation arrives. She’s upset and discouraged to see a dress code of only navy and green noted. She splurged on the yellow dress and doesn’t have enough money to go buy another dress specifically for your wedding. She’s left feeling resentful and facing the decision of wearing the wrong color to your wedding or not attending altogether. How do you feel about this little scenario? It’s likely to happen to more than one guest if you go this route. Hopefully, you want your guests to feel welcome and wanted at your celebration. Aim to make them comfortable and happy, not bitter and disheartened.
If you already have your heart set and your mind made up, then at least carefully consider how you word this request. I would recommend listing this information on a reception/accessory card rather than on the wedding invitation itself. Try to sound as friendly and “un-bossy” as possible. Instead of saying, “navy and green only” or “please wear navy or green”, opt to make your request optional. Martha Stewart Weddings suggests using a phrase like, “We invite you to join in the wedding’s color palette by wearing a shade of navy and green.” I think this wording is much more suitable and likely to offend fewer people.
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