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Author Topic: "Semi-formal outdoor"  (Read 8968 times)

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gellchom

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"Semi-formal outdoor"
« on: May 07, 2015, 02:32:51 PM »
We are invited to a wedding in southern California in June.  I need your advice on what to wear.

The invitation didn't say anything about attire, but the web site says "Semi-formal outdoor."  I looked up the venue, and it is an event space, I think it used to be a private estate.  I think it will be a religious ceremony.  It begins at 4:15.

The invitation wasn't formal, but it wasn't super-casual, either. 

That's all I've got to go on.  To me, 4:15 in June seems too early for evening wear, but I do see people wearing evening clothes to weddings at that time, I guess because the reception goes into the evening.  I don't know what they do in LA, though.

So what would should I wear?  Cocktail dress?  Daytime dress?  Dressy dress that doesn't quite have evening fabrics/details?  I do have a couple of very versatile dresses (of course including LBD!) that can look dressy if I put party shoes and dressy jewelry with them, and that's of course a very safe choice that for sure will be okay (I can bring choices of accessories and decide when I get there). 

But I always try to wear what the hosts are hoping for, and if that's evening clothes, that's what I'll pack.  So I'm trying to decode that on this invitation.  I'd love to hear what you think. 

The groom's parents are dear friends, and the groom and our son were classmates and friends.  Ordinarily I'd ask the MOG, but her father just died, so I don't want to bother them about this now.  We don't know the bride or her family and probably none of the other guests (I know that sounds funny for good friends, but we are talking about three continents here).

Thanks in advance for your ideas.

HannahGrace

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Re: "Semi-formal outdoor"
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2015, 02:42:08 PM »
By southern California, do you mean in or near LA?  Based on having lived there for a few years, pretty much nothing except a red carpet event requires formalwear.  I would suggest flat sandals and a flow-y dress with some nice jewelry.

gellchom

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Re: "Semi-formal outdoor"
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2015, 02:58:38 PM »
Yes, it's outside of LA.  I think the couple lives in LA.

It feels to me like the use of "outdoor" could signal more casual, but it could also mean "we want dressy but we're warning you about shoes."
« Last Edit: May 07, 2015, 03:00:21 PM by gellchom »

wordgirl

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Re: "Semi-formal outdoor"
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2015, 03:01:54 PM »
When in doubt, I just call and ask ... especially when it's something the HC has apparently put a good bit of thought into, but which is still fairly cryptic.

gellchom

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Re: "Semi-formal outdoor"
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2015, 03:08:25 PM »
When in doubt, I just call and ask ... especially when it's something the HC has apparently put a good bit of thought into, but which is still fairly cryptic.

Ordinarily, that's exactly what I'd do, but the only one I could ask is the MOG, and her father just died, so I don't want to bother her, especially with such a frivolous question. 

(She may not know, anyway -- she and FOG have lived overseas for many years.)

Outdoor Girl

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Re: "Semi-formal outdoor"
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2015, 03:12:00 PM »
Yes, it's outside of LA.  I think the couple lives in LA.

It feels to me like the use of "outdoor" could signal more casual, but it could also mean "we want dressy but we're warning you about shoes."

The bolded would be what I would go for.  No spiky heels but dressed up.  I'd go with an LBD or equivalent in another colour and some more casual shoes without spiky heels, with matching accessories.
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PastryGoddess

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Re: "Semi-formal outdoor"
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2015, 03:20:35 PM »
A lovely maxi dress or cocktail length dress in a dressy fabric.  Wedges or dressy flats.  Sparkly jewelry.  A wrap in case it gets a little chilly

Sheila Take a Bow

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Re: "Semi-formal outdoor"
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2015, 03:26:54 PM »
LA resident here.

To me, the dress code says a dress but dressier than a sundress. Not necessarily evening wear - in my head i see the outfit my sister-in-law wore to my wedding - a strapless Lily Pulitzer dress, flats, a bold bracelet.

Definitely wear flats or wedges.

Depending on where you are, you may want more than a wrap at night. If you're by the coast it can get chilly and if you're in the valleys it can still get cold at night as well.

My guess, knowing how people dress for weddings here, is that "semiformal" isn't the usual definition but instead a signal that you shouldn't wear jeans and a tshirt.

If you're comfortable PMing me the venue name I might be able to give you more info about what to expect from the venue.

TootsNYC

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Re: "Semi-formal outdoor"
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2015, 03:43:31 PM »
When in doubt, I just call and ask ... especially when it's something the HC has apparently put a good bit of thought into, but which is still fairly cryptic.

I know at least one bride who was really annoyed that people were calling her to ask about their clothes. "You're a grownup--dress yourself!" was her reaction.

I get that the wording is not traditional, but honestly, I wouldn't have much problem with it.

Dressier than the office, not a full-on evening gown with sequins, flats or chunky enough heels for the lawn, a wrap for breezes.



gellchom

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Re: "Semi-formal outdoor"
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2015, 02:09:06 PM »
Wow, great advice and information (and what lovely dresses, Hmmmm -- you have wonderful taste).  Thank you all so much.  This is a big help.

I think my problem is actually shoes.  I have dresses that will work, but they all need high heels.  I am only 5'1" and therefore unsurprisingly do not own any dressy flats.  They look cute with maxi dresses or even slacks and short dresses on tall women, especially young ones, but not on me.  I just look stumpy.  Lots of women my age can't wear high heels, but I can, so all my dressy outfits go with heels.  I think I am going to have to bite the bullet and buy a pair of dressy wedges, even though the dresses look so much cuter with heels.  I bet I can find a pair that won't cost much, and if I get a simple enough style, I can save it for future outdoor dressy events with the same issue -- it's sure to arise again.  I looked at the venue's web site, and it does look like a lot will be on grass.

You know, I wish that hosts would just choose between party attire and grassy (or worse, sandy) venues.  Having both is what makes it tough on guests.  Or anyway short, female ones! 

One dress I thought would work great was this shantung silk one, that I posted about once before:

But I have trouble seeing that one with wedges; what do you think?

The one I'd prefer was a new outfit (the other one is, like, 20 years old -- my daughter had it for years) that I wore recently to a dressy party that was a terrific daytime dress with sky high party sandals and my dressiest blingy evening jewelry.  Here is a picture, but it's in a darker blue than the one I have -- mine is a little closer to a chambray shade:
This one would work better with wedges, but then I'm not sure the outfit would be dressy enough.  The fabric is very simple. 

Any more advice?  Thanks in advance -- you all are the greatest.

« Last Edit: May 12, 2015, 02:16:22 PM by gellchom »

Hmmmmm

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Re: "Semi-formal outdoor"
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2015, 02:42:35 PM »
I love both of those dresses. They are so classic and elegant.

A wedge with a heel like this is great for walking in grassy areas, though I'm not sure how I feel about that bow. I've seen similar in higher heel versions and just having that little bit of arch on the bottom of the wedge dresses them up to me.

http://www.dsw.com/shoe/j.+renee+krissie+wedge+sandal?prodId=324306&activeCategory=102490&category=dsw12cat750002&activeCats=cat10006,cat20034,dsw12cat750002

I also own a pair of Taryn Rose shoes with a block heel. I've worn them to a ton of outdoor events because they don't sink into the grass. I found a photo of one similar to the style I have. They are super comfortable, though not cheap.
http://www.lastcall.com/Taryn-Rose-Fierce-Leather-High-Heel-Pump-Pewter/prod28060000/p.prod?srccode=cii_13736960&cpncode=43-52610771-2&ecid=LCCIShopping&ncx=n&uEm=%25%25CSE%25%25

You might also be able to find a heeled sandal with a block heel.

camlan

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Re: "Semi-formal outdoor"
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2015, 02:55:34 PM »
https://www.thesolemates.com/

These are gizmos that apparently keep high heels from sinking into the ground. I haven't tried them, but maybe they are worth a try?
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