Open Thread

by epi on February 26, 2013

Welcome to the Etiquette Daily

This open thread is your space to use as you like. We invite you to discuss current and traditional etiquette. Feel free to ask questions of each other and the community moderators here.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Bobbi February 26, 2013 at 6:42 pm

Help! It is a formal ceremony at 5pm held at a local, large church. The “Cocktails & Reception” is to be held immediately after the ceremony, but at a different location…a “mansion”. Question 1: For the ceremony, is it okay to wear a mid-calf length dress that shows bare shoulders + a little bit more… (the decolletage area)?; Question 2: with the cocktails & reception being after 6pm (after dark) and being held at a mansion reception/ballroom with a bar, should I change from my ceremony attire to more of a cocktail dress? – if so, is it okay to wear black to this?


Jody February 26, 2013 at 7:28 pm

Bobbi — I would wear a jacket or similar garment over your dress for the church ceremony. A dress that shows a lot of decolletage wouldn’t be proper for a church, in my opinion. Still, you could wear the same dress to both events — wear the covering I mentioned during the ceremony and then leave that covering in your car (or at a coat check) during the cocktail party.

Black could work for both. I recently attended an evening wedding and a few of us ladies wore black — not entirely black, I had a brightly colored shirt and another lady had a nice jacket for the ceremony.


Elizabeth February 26, 2013 at 9:31 pm

I agree. I would also add that you could wear a colorful or sparkly shawl instead of a jacket if you preferred to the ceremony.


Bobbi February 26, 2013 at 9:48 pm

Thank you for your input….they sound like great solutions! Is the mid-calf length appropriate for a formal ceremony, or would it be better to have a floor length gown?


Elizabeth February 26, 2013 at 10:13 pm

Mid-calf is fine. It’s not the formality of the ceremony that would dictate what you wear, but the formality of the reception. It’s an evening wedding reception, starting with a cocktail hour, so a cocktail dress (or fancier) is perfect.

Lauren March 2, 2013 at 11:53 am

And remember, it’s not just the length of the dress that determines its formality or appropriateness to an event, but the fabric as well. If you go with mid-calf, make sure it’s in a formal fabric, especially if it’s a low-cut dress. If it’s not just cocktails but sit-down dinner (as you suggest), then a cocktail dress would be the minimum standard since it’s more than a cocktail party! If you want to be an ideal guest, think about the wedding photos you’ll be in the background of…peruse the mansion’s website and get a feel for the event from the couple’s invitation, and then dress to that.

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