What I Did:
I simply included a note on my invitations that costumes were strongly encouraged, and let the guests make their own decisions. I offered some costume suggestions on the Website I created for my guests. Some rented elaborate costumes, others made do with what they had in their closets. Everyone dressed up, though, possibly due to a threat I'd made about handing anyone in street clothes a fig leaf and telling them they got to be Adam or Eve.
Costumes worn at our wedding included:
- Mata Hari
- Turn-of-the-Century New Orleans prostitute
- Fidel Castro
- Mulder and Scully (couples costume)
- Medieval princess and Lady-in-waiting (two sisters)
- Marie Antoinette
- Colonial man and woman (couples costume)
- 17th-Century page boy
- Two aliens wearing "Area 51" jumpsuits (couples costume, one of which was the best man)
- Ancient Romans (couples costume)
- Mistress of Darkess
- Top hat and low-cut tuxedo (female costume)
- Two old women (couples costume)
- Commando guy
- Square dancers (couples costume)
- Fairy Geekmother
Obviously, guests' costumes are optional. (Heck, guests' clothing can be optional if you want--it's your wedding, after all.) Your desire for costumed guests (and your guests' willingness to comply) is largely dependent on whom you're inviting. However, requesting that your guests come in costume is a great way to make them feel part of the "party" atmosphere.
- To help jog everyone's creativity, you may want to suggest a theme for your guests, such as "Medieval," "Classic Monsters," or "Fairy Tale Characters."
- If your wedding is a bit more formal, you may wish to simply ask everyone to dress in black.
- Instead of a free-for-all costume party, ask your guests to dress in the costume of a particular period, such as the 1920's.
- Put together a one-page list of quick and inexpensive costume suggestions (check the Links page for costume-related sites) and hand it out to guests who "just don't know what to wear." Emphasize no-sew and raid-your-closet costumes (e.g., a hobo, a cowboy, etc.)
- Keep the locale in mind and remind your guests of any costume limitations. If your wedding is outside in a cooler climate, a guest dressed as Lady Godiva will probably be uncomfortable.