Wedding Etiquette

Dear OSB: Wedding Attire Issue

Dear OSB: Should we tell our guests what to wear at our wedding?


If you want to avoid awkward fashion moments at your wedding then the answer is YES!

That said wedding dress codes are open to all sorts of interesting interpretations, so we suggest sticking with well-known dress codes like the following:

White Tie – This is definitely the most formal attire for a wedding. Gents should wear a tailcoat, a formal white shirt, white vest and tie, white or grey gloves, and shoes without laces. Ladies should wear formal floor-length evening gowns.

Black Tie – For gents this means black tuxedo or evening jacket and matching trousers. It can also mean black tie, black vest or cummerbund, and suspenders. For ladies this means wearing a formal floor length gown or a short cocktail frock.

Black Tie Optional – Guests can wear the same attire as for a black tie event. For guests who want to go a bit more casual, gents can wear a dark suit with a white shirt and conservative tie. Ladies can wear dresses and even dressy separates.

Creative Black Tie – Gents can wear a tuxedo with a fun twist, such as a colourful tie. Ladies can wear a floor length gown or a cocktail dress with a fun twist, such as a colourful shawl or bold piece of jewellery.

Semiformal – Gents can wear a dark suit with a white shirt and conservative tie. Ladies can wear a cocktail dress or a long dressy skirt with a top.

Casual – Gents can wear a button-down shirt with tie and a sport jacket, plus trousers. For the ladies, think sundress or maxi dress.

In the end, definitely define your dress code with examples on your wedding invitation or wedding website and try to avoid ambiguous and confusing dress codes like “boho chic”. I mean really, who knows what the heck that means!

{Image via BHLDN}

Dear OSB: Weddings & The No Children Policy

Dear OSB: How do I tell my wedding guests that we don’t want children at our wedding?


Okay, so there’s no denying it, this one is definitely a minefield because there is no proper way to tell adults that their children aren’t invited to your wedding.

We suggest addressing the invitation only to those invited, giving your guests plenty of time to find a babysitter, and using the term “No children please” on the invitation.

Once invitations have been sent, follow up by calling guests that have children and explaining your “no children policy”. You could say something along the lines of “We’ve just sent our wedding invitations and I just wanted to let you know that we’ve decided not to include young children. I wanted to tell you early so that you have time to find a babysitter. I hope you can make it, we would love to have you at our wedding.”

It’s then up to you whether or not you give your guests an explanation for the decision. If you decide to explain the decision away, here are a few ideas:

  • Venue restrictions i.e. liquor license does not allow minors or due to venue space limitations you are unable to invite minors.
  • Limited budget.

Lastly, remember that “no children means no children”! If you make an exception to the rule, keep in mind that you may just open the floodgates!

{Image via Bombaroos Boutique}

Dear OSB: Bridesmaid Issue

We’re having a small wedding with about 50 guests and I’ve decided to have my two sisters as my bridesmaids. Problem is, my fiance is insisting that I also ask his sister to be a bridesmaid, yet I don’t really know her and I also think two bridesmaids are enough for such a small wedding. Should I ask her or shouldn’t I? Please help!


Oh that’s certainly a tough one because it’s a question that depends on numerous factors. For instance, is your bridal party big enough already, is it important to your fiancé, would it make you feel overly uncomfortable, would she be interested in being a bridesmaid anyway etc.

As far as tradition is concerned, there is no etiquette rule that says you “must ask your fiancé’s sister to be a bridesmaid.”

But here’s what we think – You certainly don’t have to ask her, but for the sake of family harmony it may be best to include her. Whether you’re close to her or not, asking her to be a bridesmaid is a wonderful way to integrate her into your celebration.

It would also be an extremely nice gesture and help you get to know her better; after all she is going to be your sister too. Also making her a bridesmaid will win you tonnes and tonnes of wonderful in-law brownie points.

Alternatively, you could give her another “important” wedding role, so that she feels included.

That said, we would advise not including her if she has been overtly rude to you or she has indicated that she doesn’t want to participate.

You never know, she may even turn around and say that she would prefer not to participate, it which case you’ll look good and also be let off the hook!

Do you have a question for our wedding expert? Send your etiquette or wedding planning question to and we’ll post an answer for you!

{Image via KT Jean Designs}

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“I’m Marcela, an Aussie expat living in Hong Kong. This space is where I share my love for weddings and bits and pieces from my family’s life and adventures. I love celebrating weddings, motherhood, family, travel and life’s simple joys.”