Can Guest Wear Pants To A Wedding At 3PM?

Wearing Pants To An Afternoon Wedding

This one’s a toughie. I’m going to a 3PM wedding in mid-September as the guest of a guest (sort of a date). We are in our 60s and have been life-long friends. I do not know the bride or groom; but I do know the bride’s father. I asked my friend what the dress code is.

He is -of course- clueless. I do not own a dress or heels. I have lots of nice pants, tops, and flats. The reception will be in the bride’s father’s beautiful yard after the ceremony. My friend and I will probably be going from the reception to another friend’s outdoor ‘gig’ in another town. I hope it’s okay to wear pants and flats to the wedding? Is it? (It will make my life so much simpler.) Are any colors taboo? Also, as the guest of a guest, what (if any) gift should I take? Thank you.

Jodi R R Smith, The Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting
Author, The Etiquette Book, A Complete Guide To Modern Manners

Starting with your footwear, flats is the best option for an outdoor reception. Your attire should match the formality of the occasion. Do ask you date to see the invitation so that you can best determine the dress code. If you are truly stumped, remember it is always better to be over-dressed than under-dressed. Fancy pants are fine; just be sure that you avoid wearing all white. Since the wedding is at 3:00, you can also consider adding a hat to your attire to add to the festivities of the occasion.
As for a gift, as the guest of a guest, it is your “date” who is responsible for the giving. He should be factoring into his gift budget that he was allowed to bring a guest AND he should be including your name in the card.

Reader Response

Thank you. The hat is a wonderful suggestion. I ended chemo in May so my hair is barely 1/4″ long. I shall go hat shopping tomorrow! The hat will determine the shoes. The shoes will determine the outfit. I’ll just switch the hat for a scarf after the reception and I’ll be good to go for our friend’s outdoor band appearance.

Rebecca Black, Etiquette By Rebecca

Love the hat idea as well. Plus, I would suggest avoiding colors that are too loud, especially red. This is the big color no-no. Sorry about the chemo. I sincerely hope you remain healthy and strong.