Open Thread

by Daniel Post Senning on May 8, 2013

Welcome to the Etiquette Daily

This open thread is your space to use as you like. We invite you to discuss current and traditional etiquette. Feel free to ask questions of each other and the community moderators here.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer May 9, 2013 at 1:03 pm

My husband and I are both turning 40 this summer and are hosting a joint party at our home and backyard. I was wanting to make it a black-and-white-themed party, and have a few questions:
1) Since we will be outside, I am stating on the invitation “attire: black & white casual”–is this appropriate? Is it clear that they should wear black and white, or does it need more explanation?
2) As the hosts and honorees, is it appropriate for the two of us to wear a bright color to stand out among our guests?

Thank you for your time!

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Alicia May 9, 2013 at 2:10 pm

Yikees black and white outside in summer. If white your clothes will get dirty being outside and if black will swelter in sun. I think that is very impractical. But you are allowed to do as you wish it is not rude persay but well could very likely cause people to have to go out and buy a new outfit in order to attend or skip following the dress code. If anyone follows the dress code it should be you two. I’d be peeved if i went out and bought a new outfit because of the hosts theme and the hosts themselves could not bother to follow their own theme. You should totally either wear black and white or not request it of your guests. Also likely many guests will not follow the dress suggestion.

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Elizabeth May 9, 2013 at 2:41 pm

I don’t know that requests like this are outrightly rude, but I will say that I find them tedious and presumptuous on all occasions other than Halloween. For goodness’ sake, why not just host a really nice and fun BBQ and trust that your guests will come in whatever clothes they feel comfortable in and are appropriate for the occasion/weather? You and your husband can dress up any way you like. Why do you want to visually stick out? Rest assured, your friends will recognize you and fete you properly!

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Cyra May 9, 2013 at 1:51 pm

Hi Jennifer,

I have a couple of thoughts on this. First, if your invitation states something about a black-and-white theme–and it being outdoors–then guests should be able to decode that on their own. I’m never a fan of hosts overtly stating how attendees should dress; guests should be welcome in whatever they choose to wear. Second, I think you should follow the theme of your party. Everyone will know who you were, so there’s no reason to dress differently. And be careful of calling yourself an “honoree” when you’re the host!

Hope you have a happy birthday when it rolls around!

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Vanna Keiler May 9, 2013 at 2:06 pm

Hi Jennifer. Sounds like you are planning a nice birthday party with a fun theme. For your first question, your attire description seems adequate, but I would add something to the effect that it is a request, not mandatory. For the second question, my only suggestion is for you to wear what you have requested your guests wear, to be in solidarity with your guests. Note that sometimes guests will choose to wear what they feel comfortable in, especially if they do not have a lot of white and black in their wardrobes, and they consider your affair to be more laid back and fun-themed in nature. For example, for Halloween parties, sometimes guests opt out of wearing a costume, and just enjoy seeing how others have dressed. I know the idea behind your party is for everyone to have fun, so keeping it fun and not strict in regards to dress code would be a great way to ensure everyone attends and enjoys!

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