Wedding Bliss and Blues > Attire

What to wear to an early afternoon "semiformal cocktail reception"

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I am confused.

Some friends are getting married in May. Their wedding is at 1pm in a protestant church, with the aforementioned "semiformal cocktail reception" to follow in the same place.

Now, for an afternoon wedding, I usually think tea length floral sundress with short sleeves or a sweater.

I'm thrown by the semi-formal descriptor because I think of that as an evening style of dress, especially combined with cocktail reception (which I'm assuming mostly refers to light hors d'oeuvres and drinks in the church hall).

I'm guessing I'll be all right with a tea-length gown (I prefer longer skirts). Should I stay away from florals? Lean towards darker colors? I'm going to have to buy something no matter what. (Egad! I have discovered a hole in my closet where wedding-appropriate clothes should be.  ;) )

What does an early afternoon semiformal cocktail reception mean to you?

I would dress for the wedding, and consider it semi-formal. That would mean a dressy daytime dress or suit or pantsuit for a woman. Those options would carry over fine to a cocktail reception IMO.

Dress length would be short or tea length.

Any non-white color would be fine. I think a print is ideal for a wedding in May. I don't like to wear black to weddings in spring or summer.

A shrug or jacket could be a pretty addition. A sweater could be dressy; but some are not.

I'm guessing that by saying "semiformal" they are just trying to get people not to be too casual. I wouldn't feel the need to get as dressed up for an afternoon wedding, or for an afternoon cocktail reception, as I would for an evening wedding or even say a 5 pm wedding with cocktail reception.

As far as floral, it sort of depends on how casual the floral aspect makes the dress. Tea length should be fine. I'd stay away from sundresses though. So something a little bit dressier than a sundress but not necessarily formal evening wear.

I think a pretty floral or solid dress of knee to tea length would be fine. A sweater or jacket can be added as needed.

Outdoor Girl:
Your plan sounds fine.

Most of the time, semi-formal means 'Don't wear jeans', IME.   ;D  I think it means 'Dress up a little but don't be uncomfortable.'  So for women, a nice little dress or pants and blouse with flats or small heels and a sweater or shrug rather than a blazer or jacket.  For men, at least khakis, preferably a little dressier and a button down shirt but no tie or jacket, unless the weather warrants one.  Dress shoes, no sneakers.


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