Top Wedding Questions: What Should a Guest Wear To Early Afternoon Wedding - Wedding Guest Attire Etiquette - Top Wedding Questions

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What Should a Guest Wear To Early Afternoon Wedding Black Tie Opt Reception

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#1 User is offline   guest123 

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My husband and I have been invited to a church wedding in July that begins at 2 PM, followed by a 5 PM "black tie optional" reception at a different location. We both would love to wear formal attire, but don't want to be over dressed. (We recently went to a 6 PM hotel wedding/reception where the bride encouraged black tie and my husband was one of the only men in a tux aside from the wedding party. In that case, we just enjoyed the opportunity to be dressed up.)

For the wedding in July, we live close to the church and could easily go home to change before the reception, but we suspect many guests won't be able to/want to do that. I fear that even a semi-formal dress that I might wear to a "black-tie optional" reception might be too dressy for a 2 PM summer wedding.

What do you recommend?

#2 User is offline   Etiquette Now 

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Dear Guest 123,

This is one of the reasons we advise couples not to split their events up like this. It is much to large a gap of time. So, it might be best to stick with a suit and a daytime appropriate cocktail (type) dress. You could change into your little black dress later. If you feel that others may dress in tuxes and sparkle later, this would be fine as well. But when guest use the "optional" lable, it causes confusion and many guests will not want to appear over-dressed.

Take into consideration the local customs, the venue, and your knowledge of the couple or guest list (if you know of any other guests) to make the best guess of the level of formality. "Black tie optional" means nothing to many.
Rebecca Black, Etiquette By Rebecca

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