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Bride gives wedding guests a dress code for themed wedding: 'DIY a costume.' AITA?

Bride gives wedding guests a dress code for themed wedding: 'DIY a costume.' AITA?


"AITA for giving my wedding guests a dress code?"

I (F29) am getting married to my partner (M30) and we have planned a fantasy/renaissance themed wedding. We are massive fandom nerds, books, video games, movies, comics etc and actually met at a ren faire and wanted that to be part of our wedding.

We discussed it with our close friends and everyone thought it was a great idea. So we sent out the invitations plus an attached letter that explained why we wanted to have a themed wedding and examples of the type of things we wanted people to wear (just Google Ren Faire if you want to see).

We included photos, descriptions, budget categories that went from how to DIY a costume using old/thrifted clothes to just straight out buying something online. We also asked people to reach out if they had any worries so we could work something out.

I have received a few messages from my closer friends saying they've heard other people, including some me and my partners family members calling me a bride-zilla. Saying we are being unreasonable, that this is ridiculous, that they don't want to go if I'm going to get all up in arms over clothing.

My soon to be MIL (F59) and SIL (F26) is especially pissed. I reached out to them after their names were mentioned and they said I am ruining what is supposed to be happy day by demanding people dress up like idiots. They said everyone should be allowed to dress in what makes them feel comfortable and I am being very controlling. My partner says not to listen to them but there are so many people saying it.

I'm feeling pretty hurt by all this. I assumed people would react like this if I said everyone needed to go out and spend hundreds on costumes, but we went out of our way to include pictures and suggest as many very low budget options as possible. I honestly didn't think it was a big deal, but now I am having second thoughts about the whole themed wedding idea. Am I the ahole?


We put in the invitation we don't expect or want people to buy us wedding gifts and would rather they keep their money for themselves or use it for their outfit. One of the 'low budget options' was things like a normal floral spring/summer dress many people would already own, with the addition of like a flower crown or belt or something.

It went up from there. For more masculine stuff it was like a linen shirt with a piece of fabric tied around your waist or a belt. It's quite lowkey and I'm not super strict about it, just not things like a cocktail dress or a bodycon dress or a formal suit and tie.

Also just going to add, excluding SIL and MIL our closest family and friends haven't complained and several people have said they are looking forward to it. It is more so cousins, aunts/uncles or those sort of level friends, they have also not directly contacted us with their concerns and we are hearing it through the grapevine.

Here's what top commenters had to say about this one:

MindingUrBusiness17 said:

NTA. People give dress codes for weddings all the time. Yes, it's strange to people not of the community. I am not into dressing up or "nerd" interest, but if someone I cared about wanted wedding photos to fit a theme, dang it, I'm matching the theme.

I know someone who had a Halloween wedding. Did I want to wear a costume to a wedding? No. Did I? Yes. Unless someone expects me to drop hundreds of dollars for a 1 time outfit, I'm doing my best to support their dream day. I think all weddings can be a stupid waste of money so I say make it what you want. It sounds fun.

91901bbaa13d40128f7d said:

NTA but I hate this kind of sh*t and would politely decline to attend your wedding. So be aware that this isn't something everyone wants to participate in.

Internal_Progress404 said:

Themed weddings like that are fine as long as it optional. Most of those people will never wear that outfit again; it's great that you're including low budget options, but thrifty and making a costume takes time, and either the time or the cost is asking a lot. You can have the wedding themed as you want but have it optional for people to come in costume. Soft YTA for making your guests uncomfortable.

drivingthrowaway said:

YTA. But deleting the overly-demanding dress code doesn't mean you can't have a themed wedding. Remember, the *ren faire* doesn't have a dress code. People can wear full regalia, modern clothes, or Star Trek uniforms. It's still on theme, and it's still fun.

Send a follow up invite clarifying that dressing up is encouraged, but not at all required, and that everyone can of course wear semi-formal/garden party/whatever is appropriate for the time of day/venue.

Have a big wedding party and ask them to go all out. They can be the equivalent of the renfaire performers as opposed to the patrons (your guests are the patrons and they get to wear what they want). That way you can have a decent number of people fulfilling the theme.

Provide a rack of capes, hats, flower crowns, fairy wings, etc that guests can grab as they arrive if they want to get in on the fun. Flower crowns are an especially good idea as they'll go with normal dresses and won't make people feel too silly.

LadyCass79 said:

Mild YTA. Have your wedding party stick to your theme. Invite your guests to participate if they desire to. Otherwise, standard wedding guest attire also allowed. It's much more reasonable and allows guests to use dressy clothing they already own if needed. Guests are often already shelling out money on a gift. Having to purchase specialized clothing that you have no use for if you aren't into it is unattractive. I say this as a geek who did a gaming themed wedding.

Hungry-Industry-9817 said:

NTA themed weddings are fun. You gave them budget friendly options. I have seen many of these themed type weddings and they are really fun. It is only for one day, not sure why they can’t go with the flow. They have the option of not going.

fishmom5 said:

Honestly, I am a giant nerd like you, OP, and I am sorry to say YTA. A faire themed wedding sounds amazing, but dressing up should be optional. It sounds like your families are normies and are uncomfortable with the idea. You don’t want your guests put out- I’m assuming you’re inviting them because you want to continue to have a relationship. Honestly, it’s an easy fix. Send an email and clarify that the dress code is optional, but you’d love to see everyone in their dorky finest. The people who would have fun with that will do so, and the rest can tolerate a bunch of nerds for a few hours.

Careless-Ability-748 said:

Nah it is your wedding, so my default is it's your decision. Personally, I would not attend. I'm not interested in diying a costume, especially since I'm never going to wear it again, and I would be completely uncomfortable in those clothes at the wedding. That's all way too much work.

AdFinancial8924 said:

Soft YTA because it depends on how strict you’re going to be with it. I really don’t have time to go shopping for a special outfit if I’m a regular guest at a wedding, but i think it’s okay to have a theme and let guests know. For example, you wouldn’t want people showing up in sequined cocktail dresses and that’s okay. But, could I possibly just wear a regular floral dress if that’s what I have? It sort of fits your theme, but not on your list.

While the opinions were fairly divided for this one, most people weren't on OP's side. What's your advice for this bride?

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