Wedding Etiquette Forum

What to wear to a formal Catholic wedding?

Hi All! 
My husband's best friend is getting married in July of 2016. I know I have plenty of time, but I like to plan ahead. I just found out that the wedding is a formal Catholic wedding. My husband is in the wedding, so no issue there, but I have no idea what to wear. I've never been invited to a formal wedding before, only semi-formal and casual. I do know it's not black-tie, just formal (which I didn't know there was a difference...ooops!). Any suggestions?? Thanks in advance!

Re: What to wear to a formal Catholic wedding?

  • holyguacamole79holyguacamole79 a taco truck in Houston member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    Hi All! 
    My husband's best friend is getting married in July of 2016. I know I have plenty of time, but I like to plan ahead. I just found out that the wedding is a formal Catholic wedding. My husband is in the wedding, so no issue there, but I have no idea what to wear. I've never been invited to a formal wedding before, only semi-formal and casual. I do know it's not black-tie, just formal (which I didn't know there was a difference...ooops!). Any suggestions?? Thanks in advance!

    What is making it formal? The fact that it's Catholic doesn't indicate formality.
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  • SoldiersMomSoldiersMom member
    Fourth Anniversary 25 Love Its 10 Comments Name Dropper
    edited December 2015
    It's not really a "written rule" but you should cover your shoulders during the ceremony inside the church. You'll get the side eye from the old school Catholic crowd for bare shoulders inside the church (and that's even with straps on the dress). Other than that, unless the invitation specifically says formal, a cocktail dress is a safe choice.
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  • Agreed - unless the invite "says" formal a cocktail or little black dress is the way to go...  Sleeveless is fine, but strapless or spaghetti strap are iffy (pictures taken from the back of the pews make you look like you aren't wearing anything - so many churches have instituted their own "no strapless" rule for the bridal party! but that said, not how you want to be remembered for eternity). The idea being modesty for the environment.  You wouldn't wear a swimsuit to church just as you wouldn't wear a formal to the beach. 
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  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited December 2015
    Does the invitation say "formal"?  It shouldn't.  Time of day is more important.  No evening clothes in the afternoon.  Club wear is never appropriate for church.
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    MesmrEwe
  • My sister just got married in a Catholic church full mass ceremony at 2pm with the reception 3 hours later at a generic reception hall. I wore a cute peach-pinkish cocktail dress and nude shoes. I agree with covering your shoulders in the church for the ceremony. My grandparents are very old-school so I took a little bolero jacket even though my dress had very wide straps, almost a cap sleeve, but they even had something to say about the height of my heel (I'm 5'0 so the heel was about 3 1/2 inches) but they apparently had an issue with that. 
  • A "formal" Catholic ceremony usually just means it's a full Mass, and has nothing to do with attire.  Dress as you would for any wedding..which is hopefully on the classy, tasteful side.
  • Unfortunately, yup....*sigh* 
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