What to wear to a 2pm wedding

My cousin is getting married Aug. 28th at 2pm and the reception is at 5pm. The invitation said “Black Tie Optional” but they were very elegant invites. The wedding is also in New Jersey (Im from S.Florida so we like to wear open toe shoes and hate panty hose). What is proper to wear to this wedidng? Are short dresses okay? Colors? Fabric? Can I wear a halter top that isn’t revealing? We are afraid our dresses won’t be dressy enough but we don’t want to over dress with floor length gowns. Any suggestions?

Donna, Wedding Queen, President; Top Wedding Sites

Black Tie Optional means men have the option of wearing a tuxedo, but it should clue you into the formality of the wedding. Women should wear long cocktail dresses if the man is wearing a tux. If the man decides not to wear a tuxedo, he may wear a dark suit, white dress shirt and conservative tie and the woman he accompanies should be as formal as possible wearing either a knee length, mid-calf length evening gown or a dinner suit which is made of a finer material than a business-suit and may have embellishments on it such as fancy buttons.

If you wear strappy sandals do not wear hosiery. Hosiery can be worn with pumps or slingbacks.

Rich colors (no white or red), dressy fabrics like silk, satin and lace, frothy details like sequins. A halter top could be tricky. Be sure it covers, is not too sexy and is not see through. If it looks like you could wear this dress out “clubbing” then it’s probably not a good choice.

In shrot, this is a formal affair and your dress should match the style of the event.