What to wear to a Catholic Wedding Ceremony 4:00 Reception

Attending a Catholic 2:00 PM ceremony, followed by a 4:00 PM reception in New Jersey. (Bride and groom not exactly conservative!) I have a great black cocktail dress–sleeveless and above the knee… i intended to wear with black stockings and shoes, before I found out this was an afternoon wedding!! Is this still appropriate? I feel that it’s too dressy for a 2:00 wedding. Would I be better in a simpler black dress with a sweater? or cranberry skirt with a nice top? No mention of attire on the invitation. The reception is in a hotel, I assume, ballroom.

The groom is an old teacher / acquaintance, I do not know the bride. I am going as the DATE of some one who was invited. I was not invited directly.


Rebecca Black, Etiquette By Rebecca

Dear Guest,

Catholic weddings tend to be held in the afternoon and are typically fairly formal. Your dress would work if it is not revealing and if you wore a jacket over it.

What ever you choose, remember that this will be a fairly formal affair–even the wedding. And, because it is a Catholic wedding, modesty is an issue as well.

Best wishes,

Lori of ModelBride.com

Dear Dress in Question,

I suggest you wear the black cocktail dress to the wedding. Black is always a safe bet, and people will be dressed semi/formal so you will be appropriately dressed. Good luck and have fun!


I would suggest wearing the cocktail dress with a wrap of some sort but not anything too flashy. Like Rebecca said, Catholic weddings do tend to be fairly formal. Remember, your attire should reflect that of the style of the wedding. While you say there was no mention of style on the invitation, style is implied in the way the invitations are designed, as well as in location of the ceremony and reception.