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Wedding guest dress & conservative faiths - Page 2

post #21 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrandiRhoades View Post
In houses of worship with specific requirements for dress, it needs to be included in invitations if there's a possibility of offending people. I think Liquesce makes a great point, too, that people typically feel comfortable with other Christian churches if they're Christian. They probably didn't think about asking. I know that for me, while I know what to wear to a mosque, I'd have to ask if I were planning to attend a Jewish ceremony because I don't know as much about requirements for women at a synagogue. If I were invited to a Christian service, I'd be much less likely to ask. I wouldn't show up in a miniskirt because I don't wear them, but I'd never think a thing of wearing a sleeveless dress to a service.
It's interesting, because while I would never think to wear a "sexy" dress to a church service, I would very likely not think about a sleeveless dress being inappropriate (unless it was obviously sexy, with spaghetti straps or something.) Sleeveless dresses just don't register as sexy to me, though I know some denominations feel that way. I guess shoulders are not my thing.
post #22 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tradd View Post
Indie, there is rather a large difference in someone attending a church wedding by invitation/at the request of a family member or a friend and someone who is searching for a spiritual home. If someone who is attending a wedding, as an INVITED guest, can't be bothered to put out the bit of extra effort to dress appropriately for the ceremony, then perhaps they ought to skip the ceremony and go straight to the reception. Or perhaps just stay at home.
I was referring to the poster who mentioned churches that have the dress code posted at the door. I see that I did not make it clear. It was a bit of a side tangent, but I think that is a completely inappropriate thing for a church to do. It is antithetical to the welcoming gospel of Christ. I would never go to a church that would turn a person away because they did not (yet) know how to dress appropriately.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tradd View Post
If a woman has a revealing dress, she can buy/borrow a shawl (many people I know have one they don't wear much). It's surely going to be cheaper than the jacket you ended up purchasing. I have a thin dressy shawl I bought at Target for $13 last fall. She can keep that over the revealing top of the dress during the ceremony. Upon leaving the church, she can take it off and show all to the world.
The price of the jacket was roughly equivalent to the price of a shawl but much cuter. And something that I will actually wear again. I'm not a fan of dresses with spaghetti straps, but it was literally the only thing I could find that fit. It is cute with the jacket and too revealing for my personal taste without.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tradd View Post
A man, instead of showing up in a ratty t-shirt, jeans, and dirty sneakers, surely has one basic button front shirt, non-jeans pants, and clean shoes. Heck, even a polo shirt and khakis are much better.
I'm not advocating dressing like that and have personally never seen that at a wedding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tradd View Post
It's a matter of showing respect and consideration for both the event, as well as the couple who are getting married. If someone can't do this, it begs the question of if they show up dressed appropriately for a job interview or work.
They may or may not. But I think it is more of a gray area because expectations are not the same at each church. I would venture to say that the overwhelming majority of cases of inappropriate dress are not disrespect by rather ignorance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tradd View Post
And as for the "too many details on how not to dress" in the invite, well, given what people ARE wearing, they obviously need specific instructions on what NOT to wear. I even see that in the dress code in my office. Some women are frankly almost totally clueless about what's appropriate for an office and have to be told specifically, "You can't wear this, but you can wear that."
I'm talking about what is appropriate from an etiquette perspective. It is certainly appropriate to give your guests details as needed on your wedding site, when they RSVP, etc. But the invitation should not have a big long list of what not to wear. When the information is communicated, it needs to be done in a manner that is not rude.



After reading the other thread where someone mentioned measuring from the collar bone to the neckline of the dress I now realize that my dress may have, after all of the precautions I took, still have been considered inappropriate to certain people. That's just the thing. Modesty is so subjective. If the whole point in asking for modesty is that the wedding is a religious service, we should balance our desire for modesty with our desire for folks to come out of that religious service viewing the church as a welcoming place rather than a shaming place.
post #23 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tradd View Post
Friends who have visited Russia and the Holy Land in the past year or two report that if a woman attempted to enter a church dressed inappropriately (no headcovering, bare shoulders/arms, shorts, short skirt, cleavage) would be given a scarf for their hair, a long wrap-around skirt (in some places) and a large scarf to cover shoulders.
Similar for men. In both the Holy Land and Russia, I made a point of carrying either a wrap-around or easily pulled on skirt in my bag, so that I could dress properly when entering a holy site. I could not get my (now ex) husband to understand that he could NOT approach the Wailing Wall or enter the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (for example) wearing shorts. He was asked to leave both, as well as other, places. He was ticked. Oh well. When in Rome, is what I say.
post #24 of 114
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by indie View Post
I'm talking about what is appropriate from an etiquette perspective. It is certainly appropriate to give your guests details as needed on your wedding site, when they RSVP, etc. But the invitation should not have a big long list of what not to wear. When the information is communicated, it needs to be done in a manner that is not rude.

If the whole point in asking for modesty is that the wedding is a religious service, we should balance our desire for modesty with our desire for folks to come out of that religious service viewing the church as a welcoming place rather than a shaming place.
Regardless of how it's worded, I suspect there would be *someone* who would be offended - either at the wording itself or the fact that they might not be able to wear what they preferred. The "you can't make everyone happy" thing.

I'd done some reading online recently and found that for both Muslim and Orthodox Jewish weddings, it's quite common for men and women to be separated at the reception, either different rooms by some sort of a divider. The dress requirements for guests were even more strict - and there is no difference in modesty requirements for ceremony and reception - heads covered for women, long sleeves, ankle length skirts, necklines have to be very close to the base of the neck, etc.

I get the vibes off some posts that pp are offended with being told how to dress for a Christian wedding, but what if you were a guest at a Muslim or Orthodox Jewish wedding with an even stricter dress code (than a Christian wedding) that's quite specific? And were told that you'd only be partying with women?

See, for these folks, it's not a "shaming" thing, modesty is a huge part of their way of life. When many average Americans think of a Muslim woman, the covered hair and long dress is the first thing that often comes to mind. Would you tell such a bride or her family that requiring their wedding guests to cover up is a shame thing and they have to be welcoming - at their event - of people who are dressed in ways that totally offend their religious sensibilities?
post #25 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tradd View Post
I'd done some reading online recently and found that for both Muslim and Orthodox Jewish weddings, it's quite common for men and women to be separated at the reception, either different rooms by some sort of a divider. The dress requirements for guests were even more strict - and there is no difference in modesty requirements for ceremony and reception - heads covered for women, long sleeves, ankle length skirts, necklines have to be very close to the base of the neck, etc.
I'm curious where you're reading?
post #26 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tradd View Post
I get the vibes off some posts that pp are offended with being told how to dress for a Christian wedding, but what if you were a guest at a Muslim or Orthodox Jewish wedding with an even stricter dress code (than a Christian wedding) that's quite specific? And were told that you'd only be partying with women?
I wouldn't have a problem if it were another religion. I've been thinking about why, and I think it's because I'm not a follower of those religions. I'm dressing and acting in the proscribed manner out of a respect for religious diversity. As a Christian, I'm comfortable with my spiritual walk and don't need other Christians to insist I follow *their* version of Christianity.

Of course this is all an academic exercise to me in terms of Christianity. I cannot imagine an experience in which I would be invited to an Orthodox Christian service. Though I grew up fundy, we didn't have such strict dress requirements as the examples in this thread. I have no friends who are of such strict denominations because really I can't imagine we'd have enough in common to be invited to their weddings.
post #27 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrandiRhoades View Post
I have no friends who are of such strict denominations because really I can't imagine we'd have enough in common to be invited to their weddings.
I have been surprised at how close a friendship can develop between people totally at odds religiously.
Apart from that, a lot of visitors who attend weddings, baptisms, etc. at my church are there because they are blood relatives of the people involved.
Quote:
I wouldn't have a problem if it were another religion. I've been thinking about why, and I think it's because I'm not a follower of those religions. I'm dressing and acting in the proscribed manner out of a respect for religious diversity. As a Christian, I'm comfortable with my spiritual walk and don't need other Christians to insist I follow *their* version of Christianity.
In practice, some Christian denominations have almost nothing in common except the name "Christian." It really is like attending a ceremony of an entirely different religion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by indie View Post
It is antithetical to the welcoming gospel of Christ. I would never go to a church that would turn a person away because they did not (yet) know how to dress appropriately.
<skip>
If the whole point in asking for modesty is that the wedding is a religious service, we should balance our desire for modesty with our desire for folks to come out of that religious service viewing the church as a welcoming place rather than a shaming place.
This seems to fit in with BrandiRhodes comments about being asked to accept another version of Christianity. Different denominations can have radically different perspectives on these things. In some churches, like a very traditional Orthodox Christian church, being welcoming or making a good impression on visitors is very far down the list of concerns. The church is considered a sacred place, the services sacred events, and not just in a metaphorical way. Making sure these things are treated reverently overrules any other consideration. Friendly conversation and "welcoming" activities are for another time and place, not for the church interior while services are underway.
post #28 of 114
i think that if it is mentioned on the invitation it should be respected but if there is no mention of a dress code on the invitation it is unreasonable to assume people will know how to dress...and unfair to be surprised that people were dressed inappropriately. what is provocative is very subjective and if it is that important that guests are dressed a certain way it needs to be noted on the invitation. invitations usually say what kind of attire right? formal, semi formal etc... ? this would be the appropriate place to put any other dress code requirements you might have.

i have been to a lot of weddings... most of them have been catholic but not all. both dresses i have worn to the past two weddings i have been to would be considered provocative by the standards discussed in this thread. above the knee, ones a halter, ones low cut in the back and the front..etc they were perfectly acceptable for the weddings i went to and most people were dressed similarly. it would never occur to me that it would be inappropriate to wear. i would have not meant any disrespect and i would not have worn it if it were mentioned on the invitation that certain dress codes be kept.

i also agree with the PP who said many women dress for the reception not the wedding.

i kind of understand why a pastor would say something in this kind of situation...but i have to admit i think it would be kinder to understand that people mean no respect and singling them out may cause hurt feelings and embarrassment. especially if there was nothing on the invite. if there was something and a person is still dressed inappropriately i would probably assume they do not realize it (like if you said nothing without sleeves and they have thick straps.. maybe they thought nothing strapless) unless it is completely blatant.. then i would say something.

i do think it should be up to someone in the wedding party to say something to the person though.. not the pastor... how awkward.
post #29 of 114
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrandiRhoades View Post
I wouldn't have a problem if it were another religion. I've been thinking about why, and I think it's because I'm not a follower of those religions. I'm dressing and acting in the proscribed manner out of a respect for religious diversity. As a Christian, I'm comfortable with my spiritual walk and don't need other Christians to insist I follow *their* version of Christianity.

Of course this is all an academic exercise to me in terms of Christianity. I cannot imagine an experience in which I would be invited to an Orthodox Christian service. Though I grew up fundy, we didn't have such strict dress requirements as the examples in this thread. I have no friends who are of such strict denominations because really I can't imagine we'd have enough in common to be invited to their weddings.
See bolded above. So, it seems that you're saying that by someone inviting you to their wedding and advising you that more modest dress is the norm in their church, you actually think they're trying to push their version of Christianity on you? For the hour (or however long) the ceremony lasts?

You don't have to be friends with someone, you could actually be the blood relative of someone. I'm a convert to Orthodoxy, and I believe Mamabadger is, as well. So even if you had family who attended such a church who wanted you to share their special day, you wouldn't dress more modestly out of respect for them, because you thought they were trying to push their brand of Christianity on you?

To think about this in a slightly different way: if a friend had gotten you a job interview in her office, but warned you to dress more conservatively than you normally would for the interview (because of the office culture), would you think she was trying to push her view of the workplace on you?
post #30 of 114
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liquesce View Post
I'm curious where you're reading?
I just googled Muslim wedding and came up with a bunch of sites. I don't remember which ones I read. There were a bunch. Guess I should have added a disclaimer that different ethnic groups probably have different ways. But I went to talk to the Muslim woman in my office yesterday, too. She was married in the States rather than her home country (in the Middle East) due to events there. She said her wedding was in a hotel ballroom. Men and women were in the same room for the ceremony portion (although on separate sides of the room), but once the reception began, men and women were separated by one of those sliding/folding room dividers. I asked her about dress code, and she said it was as I'd posted - women's head covered, long sleeves, ankle length skirts, etc.

I had a conservative Jewish roommate in college, who became Orthodox as she decided to become more observant, and she told me her reception had the men and women separate, as well.
post #31 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tradd View Post
I had a conservative Jewish roommate in college, who became Orthodox as she decided to become more observant, and she told me her reception had the men and women separate, as well.
As an Orthodox Jewish woman, let me just clarify for you some points.
The wedding is usually separated at eating/dancing by a divider (mixed dancing is the problem, and it is easier to set up tables on both sides of the dance floor with appropriate gender specification, so if a man chooses to sit while dancing is going on, he won't see a woman dancing which could be immodest), while the rceremony is not. Usually at the ceremony, the men and women sit on different sides of the aisle, but women are clearly visible. In addition, before the actual wedding ceremony, there is usually a greeting of the bride and the groom also has a room with a smorgasbord many times available to everyone. So a lot of the wedding does have intermingling of men/women -- even if they don't "interact" much with each other, the women are visible to everyone.
In deference to that, many invitations will ask for modest attire. It's variable if non-Jewish (or non-religious) guests are asked to dress just in skirts, also long sleeves, necklines, etc...there is no uniform (no pun intended) guideline given for all non-Jewish guests at all weddings.
post #32 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tradd View Post
See bolded above. So, it seems that you're saying that by someone inviting you to their wedding and advising you that more modest dress is the norm in their church, you actually think they're trying to push their version of Christianity on you? For the hour (or however long) the ceremony lasts?
Yes. They would be trying to enforce their interpretation of Scriptural modesty. Now, if someone included the information on the invitation, then I would decide whether I wanted to go and dress as they wanted (which would depend on a host of factors, such as whether I had clothing I thought was appropriate or would need to buy something, how close I was to the person, whether I believed their religious views in general were damaging to women, etc.) or whether I would skip the event altogether. Much of the question seems to be how these things are handled when there isn't any instruction on the invitation and people come in what some church members or clergy think is inappropriate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tradd View Post
To think about this in a slightly different way: if a friend had gotten you a job interview in her office, but warned you to dress more conservatively than you normally would for the interview (because of the office culture), would you think she was trying to push her view of the workplace on you?
No, but I wouldn't necessarily go to the interview. If she said, for example, "wear a skirt because the office culture frowns on women wearing pantsuits," I would turn down the interview. I wear pantsuits and prefer them to skirts; there's no need to waste everyone's time when I'm not going to start wearing dresses everyday for a job. I wouldn't be happy in a conservative office culture, so I wouldn't want the job.
post #33 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrandiRhoades View Post
Yes. They would be trying to enforce their interpretation of Scriptural modesty.
Yes, I suppose so, but they would be enforcing their interpretation of Scripture in their own church! In much the same way, visitors to a synagogue would be asked to refrain from exclaiming "Praise Jesus!", and visitors to an Orthodox church are strongly discouraged from talking in tongues in the middle of the service.
Quote:
(which would depend on a host of factors, such as whether I had clothing I thought was appropriate or would need to buy something, how close I was to the person, whether I believed their religious views in general were damaging to women, etc.)
Not that this (bolded portion) was your central point, but it may be worth pointing out that for most religions which practice modesty, it is applied equally to both men and women. Issues relating to women's dress come up far more often because it is rare for a man to attend an event like a wedding, or visit a church service, dressed immodestly. It does happen, but skimpy clothing is much less a part of men's fashion at present.
post #34 of 114
i don't think there is anything wrong with putting a little thing on the wedding invitations that says something about the traditions of modesty within their faith, stating what is not appropriate (short skirts, sleeveless, low cut etc.) and asking people to please be mindful of their clothing choices.

you are not required to go to weddings, it is an honor to be included in the celebration. i do not think it is asking to much to request that guests please respect their beliefs and traditions.. not to mention the rules of the religious dwelling the wedding is being held in. if someone does not wish to respect those guidelines i am sure the happy couple would be thrilled for you to join them at the reception after the wedding.
post #35 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tradd View Post
I just googled Muslim wedding and came up with a bunch of sites. I don't remember which ones I read. There were a bunch. Guess I should have added a disclaimer that different ethnic groups probably have different ways. But I went to talk to the Muslim woman in my office yesterday, too. She was married in the States rather than her home country (in the Middle East) due to events there. She said her wedding was in a hotel ballroom. Men and women were in the same room for the ceremony portion (although on separate sides of the room), but once the reception began, men and women were separated by one of those sliding/folding room dividers. I asked her about dress code, and she said it was as I'd posted - women's head covered, long sleeves, ankle length skirts, etc.
Ah. Just curious, since a lot of resources will have a tendency to read as "this is how muslims do things" when what it's really saying is "this is how muslims like me do things." While the pendulum is definitely swung more to the side of a more strict modesty overall, in practice there are probably just as wide a range of traditions as there are among christians.

(I like the gender dividers, myself, but one of the more common purposes of that these days is so that women can show off their favorite little party dresses. Come in abaya ... party in something skimpy ... leave in abaya. I'm guessing it might surprise some visitors who think modest = a predisposition towards the dowdy. )
post #36 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1littlebit View Post

you are not required to go to weddings, it is an honor to be included in the celebration. i do not think it is asking to much to request that guests please respect their beliefs and traditions.. not to mention the rules of the religious dwelling the wedding is being held in. if someone does not wish to respect those guidelines i am sure the happy couple would be thrilled for you to join them at the reception after the wedding.
But it is also an honour to have people attend your wedding. The idea goes both ways. Unfortunately what I am reading here is the respect only goes one way and that if a guest does not meet that particular (sometimes nebulous) standards of modesty they deserve to be judged harshly about their intentions, their level of respect and/or their cultural awareness. It seems to me that this has nothing to do with either God nor is it truly in the spirit of coming together to celebrate love and so in the big picture seems unnecessary.
post #37 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karenwith4 View Post
But it is also an honour to have people attend your wedding. The idea goes both ways. Unfortunately what I am reading here is the respect only goes one way and that if a guest does not meet that particular (sometimes nebulous) standards of modesty they deserve to be judged harshly about their intentions, their level of respect and/or their cultural awareness. It seems to me that this has nothing to do with either God nor is it truly in the spirit of coming together to celebrate love and so in the big picture seems unnecessary.
Respect should go both ways, but when a religious ceremony is taking place in a place of worship, it is the guests who have to adjust. In their own homes, in stores, restaurants, on the street, and almost every other place, they can dress and conduct themselves according to majority standards. Churches, or some of them, insist on maintaining their own set of standards during the short time visitors are attending. You are certainly entitled to consider their standards pointless or "unnecessary" or having "nothing to do with God," but they are entitled to disagree.
post #38 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamabadger View Post
Respect should go both ways, but when a religious ceremony is taking place in a place of worship, it is the guests who have to adjust. In their own homes, in stores, restaurants, on the street, and almost every other place, they can dress and conduct themselves according to majority standards. Churches, or some of them, insist on maintaining their own set of standards during the short time visitors are attending. You are certainly entitled to consider their standards pointless or "unnecessary" or having "nothing to do with God," but they are entitled to disagree.
But what I am reading here isn't judgement from the church but rather from an individual.
post #39 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karenwith4 View Post
But it is also an honour to have people attend your wedding. The idea goes both ways. Unfortunately what I am reading here is the respect only goes one way and that if a guest does not meet that particular (sometimes nebulous) standards of modesty they deserve to be judged harshly about their intentions, their level of respect and/or their cultural awareness. It seems to me that this has nothing to do with either God nor is it truly in the spirit of coming together to celebrate love and so in the big picture seems unnecessary.
i understand what you are saying, and i don't really think judging is necessary but i do this it is reasonable to expect guests to respect your wishes if you request a certain level of modesty on the invitation. now i don't think anyone should be judged to harshly for this but it is especially uncalled for to judge if guests were not informed of the dress code.
post #40 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1littlebit View Post
i understand what you are saying, and i don't really think judging is necessary but i do this it is reasonable to expect guests to respect your wishes if you request a certain level of modesty on the invitation. now i don't think anyone should be judged to harshly for this but it is especially uncalled for to judge if guests were not informed of the dress code.
I agree that if the dress code is clearly communicated it is reasonable to request others adhere to it if they are able. But if they don't/can't/won't I guess the question comes down to what is most important. It seems like a no brainer to me, that people, not clothes are important and I personally can't understand a God who would dictate otherwise.

I'm reading The Shack right now and there was an interesting line in it about people putting roadblocks of power between themselves and others and God and it made me think of this thread. I'll have to see if I can find it.
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