I'm watching a TV show about midwife, two ladies are taking:

A: next year I'm gonna work Christmas because I'm getting married in the new year.

B: are you? Is that when it is? Am I coming to the night do?

What does the night do mean in the context?

3 Answers 3


Do means something along the lines of party in this instance. A post-wedding party, on the evening of the wedding, probably.

OED has:

DO, n.1
b. Something done in a set or formal manner; a performance; esp. an entertainment or show; a party; hence (orig. jocular), a military engagement, raid, or other ‘show’. Orig. dial. or vulgar.

and some examples of its use first attested to from 1824:

a 1824 J. BRIGGS Remains (1825) 243 Such individuals should have their feast (or do, as it is called).
1925 FRASER & GIBBONS Soldier & Sailor Words 78 Do, an event. A stunt. An attack, etc. E.g., ‘When is the do coming off?’; ‘The Somme do’; ‘The Havrincourt do’, etc.
1955 Times 18 May 14/2 Miss Margaret Herbison broadcast on behalf of the Labour Party last night a talk which she described as a ‘family do’.
1958 M. KERR People of Ship St. ix. 108 Her family has a ‘do’ every year on the anniversary of the day her mother's father died.    Ibid., Christmas ‘dos’ are especially important.

  • 1
    Thank for your comprehensive answer. Improve my knowledge of this simple word
    – mko
    Feb 1, 2015 at 12:18
  • Just for completeness, "do" as a noun can also refer to a "hairdo" -- a "permanent" or other hairstyling activity. Though clearly that definition does not fit the above context. And there are probably a few other definitions.
    – Hot Licks
    Feb 1, 2015 at 13:16
  • And just for a bit more completeness, do is one of the very few English nouns that some say may be used with an apostrophe (thus do's) in its pure plural (We had two do's last month). Feb 1, 2015 at 13:44
  • 1
    My (American) dictionary says that do meaning party is "chiefly British".
    – GEdgar
    Feb 1, 2015 at 14:00
  • 1
    @GEdgar - I would say that most people I know would understand "do" when used to mean "party". How likely they would be to use the term is hard to say, but even I might say something like "I hear that was quite the do" when someone mentioned a party they attended. Far less likely to say "Come to my do this evening", though, even if I did do dos.
    – Hot Licks
    Feb 1, 2015 at 19:13

Some people in Britain have a fairly small 'do' or reception after the wedding to which close friends and family are invited.

Then they have an evening (or night) 'do', to which many more people are invited.

Traditionally the bride's father paid for the cost of the wedding and the reception. Today, many couples expect to pay for at least part of it themselves. The guests do not expect to pay for their food and drink at the reception.

The evening celebration may well be held in a place with a bar. Guest will expect to pay for at least some of the drinks themselves, though the bride and groom may provide free drinks up to a certain amount/time. Depending on the venue, food may or may not be provided/available.

Some people, of course, still have a large reception with dozens or even, for the super-rich, hundreds of guests. Such people would not know the meaning of the expression 'evening/night do'.

  • Wow! Amazing answer thanks explain the British tradition
    – mko
    Feb 3, 2015 at 23:56

I've never heard "night do" before, but "evening" appears to be London Anglo-Jewish for a social gathering which isn't a party, in fact my fiance told me off for calling our last one a party. I just smiled graciously and said that's what we call it in Dorset. One can get away with social snobbery (or snubbery) when treating it as a "cultural difference".

  • This doesn't answer the question. They asked for 'night do', not 'evening'. Also, it's an old post, with an accepted answer, so is assumed solved. You may find the tour and help centre useful. Jun 20, 2017 at 19:02

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