Wedding Etiquette Forum

Black Tie Optional Reception--wedding at 1pm

Hi all. I just received an invite from a friend, whose wedding is at a church at 1pm, with the cocktail hour beginning at 5pm at a hotel. The reception card says "black tie welcome." I'm good with the dress etiquette for the reception, but I'm curious about for the ceremony. Is it appropriate to wear the same (on the formal/conservative side) cocktail dress to the wedding, or should I wear something more akin to 'Sunday Best' to the ceremony, and change before heading to the reception? 

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  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited September 2014
    I went to a wedding like this a few weeks ago.  As a family member I was dressed up.   People were dressed in every category you can imagine.  Family tend to be dressed formal, some in sunday best, others in jeans. 

    The reception (3 hour gap) everyone was pretty formal.


    ETA - looking back, the closer to the altar the more formal they were dressed.  The farther back, the less formal.  I thought it was odd, but I do not come from a family that has gaps (this was DH's side).    People were commenting on how crowded the church was.  I got the impression people often skip the ceremony because of the gap.






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  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    I would change if you plan to dress formally for the reception.
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
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  • KahlylaKahlyla Moncton, NB member
    Knottie Warrior 500 Love Its 100 Comments Name Dropper
    I'd wear something different to the ceremony. (Or, you know, not go...)
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  • I would change. I usually see a mixture of clothing choices at weddings like these so as long as your boob won't pop out during communion I think you're good.
  • JCbride2015JCbride2015 Dirty Jerz member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer
    Yes, your friend is being very rude.  If you'll have to go home and kill time anyway during the gap, you might as well change.  But there's no need to wear a gown for the reception, a cocktail dress should be fine.
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    "I'm not a rude bitch.  I'm ten rude bitches in a large coat."

    PrettyGirlLostchibiyuisouthernbelle0915
  • Never been to a wedding with a gap, but I've seen people wear black tie to early-afternoon church weddings that were going to be followed immediately by black-tie-optional receptions. It is definitely appropriate to wear your reception clothes to the church wedding, I wouldn't think twice about it. Maybe not everyone will be wearing their nighttime clothes since there is time to change, but I bet some proportion of them will -- anyone who is going to hang out with friends between the wedding and the reception, anyone who lives too far away to change, anyone who's just too lazy to get dressed twice, etc. That's what I would do as well. Plus, wearing fancy clothes is fun?
    indianaalumPrettyGirlLost
  • indianaalumindianaalum member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited September 2014
    lyndausvi said:
    I went to a wedding like this a few weeks ago.  As a family member I was dressed up.   People were dressed in every category you can imagine.  Family tend to be dressed formal, some in sunday best, others in jeans. 

    The reception (3 hour gap) everyone was pretty formal.


    ETA - looking back, the closer to the altar the more formal they were dressed.  The farther back, the less formal.  I thought it was odd, but I do not come from a family that has gaps (this was DH's side).    People were commenting on how crowded the church was.  I got the impression people often skip the ceremony because of the gap.
    I m not saying that what I am about to say is "etiquette" approved, but it does seem to be  the norm in the "catholic" group of where I grew up! LOL

    I went to many catholic ceremonies with large gaps. Because of that, it was common practice not to go ceremony unless you were very close with the bride/groom. I would often hear "oh, there was a nice turn out at the ceremony" It wasn't until a few years ago when I realized it was against etiquette not to go the ceremony AND reception. In fact, I remember feeling weird attending a co-workers ceremony as I felt I wasn't that close to the person and worried people would think it was weird that I was at the ceremony. I had no idea that I was supposed to be going all along.

    I did not have a gap. Catholic ceremony followed directly by reception at a different location about 20 minutes later. I still only had like 1/3 of the people at the ceremony and remember my sister coming in the bride room to tell me I had a  "nice turn out" because it is basically assumed many people won't attend the ceremony. It didn't bother me at all.  
  • lyndausvi said:
    I went to a wedding like this a few weeks ago.  As a family member I was dressed up.   People were dressed in every category you can imagine.  Family tend to be dressed formal, some in sunday best, others in jeans. 

    The reception (3 hour gap) everyone was pretty formal.


    ETA - looking back, the closer to the altar the more formal they were dressed.  The farther back, the less formal.  I thought it was odd, but I do not come from a family that has gaps (this was DH's side).    People were commenting on how crowded the church was.  I got the impression people often skip the ceremony because of the gap.
    I m not saying that what I am about to say is "etiquette" approved, but it does seem to be  the norm in the "catholic" group of where I grew up! LOL

    I went to many catholic ceremonies with large gaps. Because of that, it was common practice not to go ceremony unless you were very close with the bride/groom. I would often hear "oh, there was a nice turn out at the ceremony" It wasn't until a few years ago when I realized it was against etiquette not to go the ceremony AND reception. In fact, I remember feeling weird attending a co-workers ceremony as I felt I wasn't that close to the person and worried people would think it was weird that I was at the ceremony. I had no idea that I was supposed to be going all along.

    I did not have a gap. Catholic ceremony followed directly by reception at a different location about 20 minutes later. I still only had like 1/3 of the people at the ceremony and remember my sister coming in the bride room to tell me I had a  "nice turn out" because it is basically assumed many people won't attend the ceremony. It didn't bother me at all.  
    The fact that lots of people do it does not make it not rude.
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    huskypuppy14PrettyGirlLost
  • While I don't think a formal dress is necessary, changing for the reception will give you something to do during that awfully long gap in the middle of the afternoon. 
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  • Alright, thanks all! I agree, I think the gap may be a Catholic thing, having seen this more growing up in the Church. I think I will wear a nice suit to the ceremony and a classy lbd to the reception. Should not at least get a lot if side-eye :-).
  • auriannaaurianna member
    Ninth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited September 2014
    I had a full Catholic ceremony at 5pm with cocktail hour and reception immediately following.
    My friend that got married last year had a 2pm ceremony, over at 3, with cocktail hour starting at 3:15 and dinner at 4:30.

    A Catholic wedding with no gaps is totally possible if you're willing to have an afternoon reception or look around for a church that will do Saturday evening weddings. But most people are willing to inconvenience their guests for their "vision."

    That said, the big gap weddings I've gone to, I tend to change assuming I have easy access to do so. Though lots of times I just "upgrade." Like maybe I'll wear a cute little dress to the ceremony, but with a cardigan and nice sandals... and then at night I'll ditch the sweater, put on sexy shoes and glittery jewelry. And maybe change my hair and makeup around.
  • Jess0415 said:
    Hi all. I just received an invite from a friend, whose wedding is at a church at 1pm, with the cocktail hour beginning at 5pm at a hotel. The reception card says "black tie welcome." I'm good with the dress etiquette for the reception, but I'm curious about for the ceremony. Is it appropriate to wear the same (on the formal/conservative side) cocktail dress to the wedding, or should I wear something more akin to 'Sunday Best' to the ceremony, and change before heading to the reception? 
    Where to start...  Firstly, it is 100% inappropriate to wear black tie at 1 PM.  Black tie is generally reserved for events starting at 6 PM or later. 

    I would most likely skip one or the other since I refuse to wait around during people's rude rude rude gaps.  I'd wear a daytime appropriate dress to a 1 PM wedding ceremony.  I would wear a cocktail dress to the reception, since "Black Tie Welcome" isn't a real thing anyway and I'd highly doubt anyone would show up in actual black tie.  

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  • The gap is not a "Catholic thing", it is a rude thing.
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  • JennyColadaJennyColada Awesometown, CA member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    I would change. I usually see a mixture of clothing choices at weddings like these so as long as your boob won't pop out during communion I think you're good.
    Perfect, I'll be sure to save my Janet Jackson impersonation for after communion.
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  • sarahuflsarahufl New York member
    Tenth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Jess0415 said:
    Alright, thanks all! I agree, I think the gap may be a Catholic thing, having seen this more growing up in the Church. I think I will wear a nice suit to the ceremony and a classy lbd to the reception. Should not at least get a lot if side-eye :-).
    No it is just a rude thing and people not wanting to give up their evening reception vision, so they blame it on the church instead.

    STUCK

    Quit blaming the Catholics! I had a full Catholic mass and no gap.
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    PrettyGirlLost
  • PrettyGirlLostPrettyGirlLost A Land Filled with Unicorns and Cat Hair member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    sarahufl said:
    Jess0415 said:
    Alright, thanks all! I agree, I think the gap may be a Catholic thing, having seen this more growing up in the Church. I think I will wear a nice suit to the ceremony and a classy lbd to the reception. Should not at least get a lot if side-eye :-).
    No it is just a rude thing and people not wanting to give up their evening reception vision, so they blame it on the church instead.

    STUCK

    Quit blaming the Catholics! I had a full Catholic mass and no gap.
    I have been to a number of Catholic weddings and none had a gap!  Mine won't either, save a travel time allowance.

    The weddings that I recall had gaps were all freaking secular ><

    "Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends time and space."


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