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Q&A: Wedding Style: Formal Wedding Attire in the Afternoon?

Q.

Our summer garden wedding is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Is it proper for my fiance to wear a formal tuxedo and for me to don a ball gown? I say we should do what we like. However, everyone (family, friends, and every bridal boutique I have visited) tells us that we would be dressed much too formally for that time of day and setting. Their reason is simply, "That's the way it's supposed to be -- everybody knows that rule." Rule? What rule?

A.

Around here, we like to use the word guideline rather than rule. Etiquette says that tuxedos (and the formal gowns that go with them) should only be worn after 6 p.m. However, as any bridal magazine (including ours) will tell you, that rule is followed loosely. As long as your reception will begin after 6 p.m. (or thereabouts), it's okay to wear formal clothing. You probably wouldn't want to dress that formally for a breakfast affair, although plenty of couples and wedding parties do that too. You're right that it's your day, and you should do what you like, but you can also tell everyone that what you're planning is perfectly in-line with what's acceptable today.

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