Wediquette Wednesday: What do you wear to a formal afternoon to evening wedding?

Each Wednesday, we tackle wedding etiquette. At times, it’s a reader question or one from a colleague, friend or family member and other times we’ll cover a popular issue. (Note: Questions may be edited for clarity and brevity.)


Question: My boyfriend and I got invited to a friend’s destination wedding that will (lucky for us) be in New Orleans. They are having a cocktail party on Friday night where the dress is “cocktail attire” and the wedding on Saturday is at the cathedral with a reception following at Antoine’s where the dress is “formal attire” and the wedding is at 3 p.m. My boyfriend feels like he can wear a dark suit to both, but I have no idea what length my dress is supposed to be for “formal.” What do you wear to a formal afternoon wedding?

Answer: What a fun wedding weekend for you and your friends. While it sounds complicated, it’s thankfully pretty simple. Your boyfriend can wear either a tuxedo or the formal dark suit and tie. For you, typical cocktail is fine for the Friday event. Saturday, opt for a long dress (perhaps in a lighter color or without very much bling to dress it down for the afternoon hours), or you can also go with a formal cocktail-length dress (perhaps something with some shimmer and sparkle) in neutral tones — think gray or black. The latter might be your best option to transition from day to night.


Do you have a solution to share or a wedding etiquette question? Respond in the comments or email



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