Members of a Sag Harbor wedding party arrested for excessive formality have lodged an official complaint against the Hamptons Police Department, decrying their treatment at the hands of the department’s Dress Code Enforcement Unit.
In their complaint, the aggrieved individuals allege that Dress Code Enforcement officers separated them from their formal wedding attire in a disorganized and haphazard manner, without any obvious way of reuniting any of them with their tuxedos or evening gowns.
It all began at around 5 p.m. last Saturday as the wedding party in question arrived at Main Street in Sag Harbor and began exiting the coach that had been hired to take them there. Fresh from church, the members of the party were dressed formally, with the men in classic tuxedos and the women in formal evening wear.
As they made their way to the restaurant where the wedding reception was to take place, they were spotted by police and were taken into custody for being in violation of Sag Harbor’s summer dress code. The dress code mandates that all persons in Sag Harbor be dressed in a casual fashion, and specifically forbids the wearing of tuxedos and formal evening gowns of any kind.
“There’s no question but that they were way over the line,” says Hamptons Police spokesman Larry Hirsch, who was quick to defend the department’s actions in the case. “I mean, we’ve given summonses to individuals for buttoning the top button of their shirts, and here they come waltzing in with cummerbunds and cufflinks. Give me a break.”
Hirsch says the police issued the arrested individuals appropriate attire and allowed all of them to proceed to the reception after paying a fine.
For their part, the members of the wedding party say that they were unaware of Sag Harbor’s enforcement of a casual dress code during the summer, and say they would have been willing to bring changes of clothes had they known of it. They claim that they were treated with unnecessary harshness at the time of their arrest, and that officers were either unwilling or unprepared to take precautions to ensure the return of their formal wear.
“They just ripped off my cummerbund and threw it in a pile,” says Darius Bischoff, who had served as best man at the wedding. “Everybody’s expensive evening wear they just intermingled with all of the other confiscated clothes in their impound, with absolutely no way of retrieving it. My wife’s pearl necklace—real pearls, by the way—was spirited away to God-knows-where, and we haven’t seen it since.”
The Hamptons Police Department claims that it’s working diligently to reunite individuals with their formal clothing, and has made no apology for the situation.