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  1. Bobbi

    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

      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

        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

          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

            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.

          • 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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