Space Disco Cowboy? Couples ditch traditional wedding dress codes in favor of out-there themes

by Michael Nguyen
1 comment
wedding dress codes

Couples are breaking away from traditional wedding dress codes and opting for unconventional themes like “Space Disco Cowboy,” “Yacht Shabbat,” and “Burning Man Formal.” This departure from tradition has left some guests puzzled about what to wear.

Maggie Long, a resident of New York, attended a wedding in Denver with a suggested dress code of “Dive Bar Semiformal.” Although she loves themed events, she found it challenging to interpret this particular dress code.

To ensure guests are informed, some couples provide mood boards to guide them, even the older attendees. At the dive bar wedding, older guests embraced the spirit by wearing a rainbow tie-dye T-shirt reminiscent of the Grateful Dead.

Other couples have introduced dress codes like “Tropical Formal,” “Snappy Casual,” and “Garden Party Whimsical,” creating confusion for guests like Indya Wright in Washington, D.C. She expressed her frustration on Twitter, yearning for simpler dress code terms like “casual,” “cocktail,” and “formal.”

For those seeking guidance on more traditional dress codes, here are some tips from “Emily Post’s Etiquette”:

  1. Understand the distinction between “black tie” and “black tie creative/festive.” The former requires a black or midnight navy tuxedo jacket and trousers, or a floor-length, understated gown. The latter allows for more color and statement jewelry.

  2. Differentiate between “casual” and “dressy casual.” Casual can include jeans, shorts, T-shirts, tank tops, and hoodies. Dressy casual entails jeans with sweaters or casual buttoned shirts, or casual pants with dress tops.

  3. Traditional semiformal dress codes may call for suits and ties, jackets and slacks, casual long dresses, or formal cocktail dresses worn at or below the knee.

According to Renée Strauss, co-founder and CEO of Wedaways, a wedding planning company in Beverly Hills, the rise of unconventional dress codes reflects couples’ desire to personalize their weddings. She emphasizes the importance of clear communication to avoid confusion.

Guests like Rikki Gotthelf in Los Angeles have embraced these outlandish dress codes, attending weddings with themes like “Space Disco Cowboy” and “Funky Formal.” To decipher these codes, guests often seek advice from stylists like Sophie Strauss, who recommends reaching out to the couple for clarification.

However, Strauss warns guests that these dress codes are not costumes unless explicitly stated as such. Small adjustments to regular attire, such as incorporating accessories or swapping out a dress shirt for a themed pattern, can often suffice.

Wedding themes often hold sentimental value. Madison Smith, a bride-to-be, has chosen a “Black Tie Sunset Glam” dress code to honor her late grandfather. The wedding will take place at the Bonnet Island Estate in Long Beach Island, New Jersey.

It’s important for couples to provide clear descriptions and instructions to their guests regarding nontraditional dress codes. Jove Meyer, an event planner in Brooklyn, advises couples to include a descriptive sentence or two to eliminate any confusion.

While unique dress codes can be exciting, guests should not hesitate to ask the couple for clarification if they are unsure about what to wear.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about wedding dress codes

What are some unconventional wedding dress codes mentioned in the text?

Some unconventional wedding dress codes mentioned in the text include “Space Disco Cowboy,” “Yacht Shabbat,” “Burning Man Formal,” “Dive Bar Semiformal,” “Tropical Formal,” “Snappy Casual,” and “Garden Party Whimsical.”

How can guests interpret unusual dress codes?

Guests can interpret unusual dress codes by seeking clarification from the couple or referring to stylist recommendations. They can make small adjustments to their regular attire, incorporate accessories, or swap out certain items to align with the theme without going overboard.

How can couples communicate their nontraditional dress codes effectively?

Couples can provide mood boards or descriptive explanations alongside their dress codes to ensure clear communication. It is important for couples to offer guidance and be available to answer guests’ questions, as nontraditional dress codes may require additional context and interpretation.

What are some tips for guests navigating traditional dress codes?

For traditional dress codes, it is essential to understand the distinctions between different levels of formality. “Black tie” typically calls for elegant formal attire, while “casual” allows for more relaxed clothing such as jeans and t-shirts. Guests should consider the venue, time of day, and any specific instructions provided by the couple to determine appropriate attire.

Why are couples opting for unconventional dress codes?

Couples choose unconventional dress codes to personalize their weddings and make them unique. These themes reflect their interests, preferences, or sentimental meanings. By encouraging guests to dress creatively, couples aim to create a more memorable and fun atmosphere for everyone involved.

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1 comment

LUV2PARTY June 30, 2023 - 4:26 am

omg! who needs traditional wedding dress codes when u can go all out with themes like “Space Disco Cowboy” or “Burning Man Formal”?! it’s all about havin’ fun and bein’ unique, but like, some guests might b confuzzled. jus’ gotta communicate better, peeps!


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