Proper Attire for a Late Afternoon Wedding

A more formal look is often required

By Linda Ray

Male wedding guest in dark suit with boutonniere
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Etiquette consultants say that the proper wedding attire is determined by the time of day at which the ceremony takes place as well as the location. Evening and late afternoon weddings held indoors tend to require more formal dress, while weddings taking place outdoors in the late afternoon may be less formal.

Tell Your Guests

Guests should contact someone in the wedding party to determine how formally they should dress. Additionally, a small note can be placed in the wedding invitations to guide the guests on the proper attire.

Men's Attire

A suit is appropriate for late afternoon weddings. Invitations that specify black-tie attire can also be common for late afternoon weddings that follow with an evening reception, and those require a tuxedo for gentlemen.

Ladies' Attire

Ladies are expected to wear short or long dresses at late afternoon weddings, with long dresses being more appropriate for formal affairs. More elaborate jewelry and other accessories can be added to the outfit to suit black-tie requirements. Ladies wearing sleeveless or strapless gowns should consider covering their shoulders with a wrap or jacket for church weddings.


Some wedding consultants suggest that guests carry a change of clothes for late afternoon weddings that are held outdoors. Guests should follow the lead of the bride and groom. If they change clothes between the service and the reception, guests should feel free to do the same.


Many wedding consultants report that the rules have relaxed in recent years regarding the color of female guests' attire. Some consultants, however, recommend that female guests do not wear white no matter what time the wedding takes place.

About the Author

Linda Ray is a freelance writer and contributor to DexKnows.

Planning Reminder:

Closeup of wedding dresses on hangers

Get that bridal gown

Set up an appointment with a bridal shop, then snag a friend or family member when it's time to don some dresses. Keep jewelry and makeup to a minimum when you go gown shopping -- you don’t want anything to catch or smear on those beautiful dresses.

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Wedding Glossary


Historically refers to the bride's possessions that she brings to the marriage. Can also refer to the bride's gown or attire.

View the Full Weddings Glossary
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