Q. Thanks for this great site! We are hosting a wedding at our ranch this summer. Although it will be an elegant catered event, it is still on a ranch. We are planning to mow a wonderful path to the ceremony site at the top of a pasture. Seating will be on hay bales. I am concerned that people might not dress appropriately for the walk to the ceremony site or to sit on hay. What wording could you suggest for an invitation that would alert the guests? The wedding couple does not seem to think this will be a problem, but will take advice.
A. Best laid plans can sometimes go awry when suddenly a guest sinks their Jimmy Choos into the dirt or a piece of hay gets stuck in a sheer bit of dress fabric. Always better to prepare guests ahead of time rather than surprise them. My suggestion is to add something about the ranch wedding with hay bales and outdoor grounds on the invitation itself. A good spot would be on the directions to the ranch included with the invite. A simple line can be added that while the wedding will be “black tie” or “festive”, guests will enjoy an authentic ranch environment with seating on hay bales for the ceremony. I would suggest that the hay bales have blankets or thin cushion coverings - unless the guests wear jeans (which I’m assuming is not what you have in mind), sitting directly on the hay may pose a problem for anyone wearing silk, chiffon or delicate fabrics.
If the wedding couple has set up a website, which seems to be the norm these days, they could include a description of the upcoming wedding day along with tips for guests like, “you may wish to bring along a low heeled shoe for a walk on the grounds” or “guests will enjoy a genuine ranch environment for the ceremony with seating on hay bales.” If the couple does not wish to consider these suggestions then they should certainly ask the groomsmen and bridesmaids to spread the word.