5 Colors to Avoid Wearing as a Wedding Guest (2024)

5 Colors to Avoid Wearing as a Wedding Guest (3)

When you find yourself trying to pick out the perfect outfit to wear to an upcoming wedding, take note that there are a handful of taboo colors you should absolutely avoid wearing for the big day. As a guest, your job is to help celebrate the couple entering this new life chapter, so the last thing you want to do is get mistaken for the bride, a bridesmaid, or even just a guest who stumbled into the wrong party.

Therefore, as you comb through your closet, or scour the internet for a new ensemble, be sure to eliminate the below colors and fabrics from your list of options—lest you transgress and become that guest. Don't say we didn't warn you!

5 Colors to Avoid Wearing as a Wedding Guest (4)

White or Ivory

Itching to wear the gorgeous white dress you just purchased? Don't do it. While it may sound like the number one wedding guest faux pas that everyone should know, some people forget (or, worse, ignore) the rule, so we're here to reiterate that white, or a white dress with patterns, is off-limits. Of course, there's always an exception, so if—and only if—the bride has called for guests to wear white, never wear this color to someone's special day.

Champagne, Beige, or Anything Close to White

Steer clear of off-white, eggshell, beige, champagne, cream, or any other super light color that could be mistaken for white. There are so many dress options available in a variety of hues, so steering clear of these shades should not be a major issue. For instance, brands like Reformation, Lulus, Revolve, and ASOS are only but a few retailers that provide a plethora of wedding guest dresses in a variety of suitable colors, styles, silhouettes, and sizes.

The Same Color as the Bridal Party

While you may not immediately know the color of the bridesmaid dresses, try and do your due diligence in order to find out what they plan to wear (and avoid wearing the same hue). Either ask the couple, a member of the bridal party, or anyone attending the wedding who might be able to let you know. Trust us, the last thing you want is to accidentally get mistaken as a bridesmaid or member of the immediate family.

Lots of Glitter

It's best to avoid wearing anything too shimmery or distracting, so save the sparkles for the bachelorette party or another Saturday night on the town. As for sequins, you can opt for an outfit that incorporates this design element, but be sure that your look isn't completely full of this sparkly add-on. As previously mentioned, do your best to stick with pared-back fabrics and colors, as there are so many dresses available to shop that don't require you to draw any attention away from the bride.


Even if the wedding guest dress code calls for casual, you should leave your jeans and Candian tuxedo at home. While a denim jacket may be appropriate to sport as outerwear, if possible, try opting for a leather jacket or shawl instead. However, it's never appropriate to wear denim pants, skirts, overalls, and dresses for a wedding, unless otherwise noted by the couple.

5 Colors to Avoid Wearing as a Wedding Guest (2024)


What colors are not appropriate to wear to a wedding? ›

Leave all white, ivory, and champagne-hued shades alone, unless the invitation specifically designates an all-white dress code. "White and ivory are such a stark, prominent color that when you are the only one, as the bride, wearing it, all eyes are on you," says Avrumson.

How do you ask guests not to wear a certain color? ›

Be Upfront from the Beginning

That means notifying them of this on the invitation or even the save the date. This gives guests time to find an appropriate outfit or bow out if they're not able to follow it. List it next to the dress code.

What is the color dress code for a wedding guest? ›

Neutral shades are timeless options that won't detract from the wedding's formal atmosphere. For a more colorful look, consider wearing shades of blue, lavender, or pink to show that you're in the celebratory spirit. If the wedding is in a tropical destination, opt for colors like yellow, orange, and green.

Should you avoid wedding colors as a guest? ›

The colour scheme, when it comes to what to wear, is designed for the bridal party i.e. the groom, groomsmen, bridesmaids, pageboys etc. Unless you're in that bridal party, you'd be best to steer clear of trying to match them. Think of it a bit like a stage show.

Why not wear red at a wedding? ›

Turns out, wearing red to a wedding means to some that “you've slept with the groom.” “Old Wives' Tale, but yeah,” Mitchell explained. However, both wedding planners agreed on a more modern reason for not wearing red: It could be seen as a way to grab the attention away from the bride.

Why can't you wear red to a wedding? ›

"Tradition dictates guests avoid wearing red out of fear that it could take attention away from the happy couple,” explains Hurwitz. “Visually, it's quite bold. In a photo, your eye is immediately drawn to the color, especially if it's next to neutrals like white, black, gray, or beige.”

How do you ask guests to wear neutral colors to a wedding? ›

Alongside your attire, try something along the lines of, "Please indulge us by dressing in white, if you don't mind." Spread the word by including it on your wedding website and save-the-dates.

Can you wear red to a wedding? ›

Summary. To answer the main question of the article, yes you can wear red to a wedding in most circ*mstances. However, in some situations you may want to check with the marrying couple that red is acceptable to wear as a guest and it won't go against their culture or distract from their big day.

Can you wear black to a wedding? ›

Since nuptials are celebratory occasions, the dark hue was labeled off-limits for attendees in the past. However, in today's modern-day age, wearing black to a wedding is completely acceptable, and in many cases, it's even encouraged.

What does wearing purple to a wedding mean? ›

Meaning: Purple is associated with wealth and opulence. Once worn exclusively by nobility, purple was often used to convey one's status in society, so you could make your ladies look like royalty in purple bridesmaid dresses.

What to wear to a wedding as a guest female? ›

Women wedding guests should wear a full-length dress, be it a ballgown, a sheath or an A-line style. High heels are strongly recommended. Feel free to accessorize with opulent jewelry and even elbow-length white silk gloves.

Can you wear royal blue to a wedding? ›

To help you figure this out, “Look at the invitation because it's the first source of information for what colors you should or shouldn't wear to a wedding,” Swann shares. So if you notice a repetitive royal blue or fern green, it's probably best to avoid those colors and any similar shade.

What happens if a guest wears white to a wedding? ›

The last thing you want is for someone to mistake you for the bride or be in photographs where guests think you're trying to steal the spotlight. All in all, it's respectful and customary not to wear white as a guest to the wedding unless the bride specifically asks you to wear white or she says it's okay to wear it.

What colors should men not wear to a wedding? ›

White: You don't wear white to a wedding. Sure, you're not going to be confused for the bride, but just don't. Not casual, not formal, just never.

Is it OK to wear light colors to a wedding? ›

Sorry pastel-lovers, but basically all ultra-light colours are also off limits when it comes to wedding guest attire. Yes, a pale blue or a muted pink is fine, but if the colour is working its way to white, you should swap it for something else. Unsure if your look is too light? Try snapping a pic of it in the sun.

Is black ok to wear at a wedding? ›

Since nuptials are celebratory occasions, the dark hue was labeled off-limits for attendees in the past. However, in today's modern-day age, wearing black to a wedding is completely acceptable, and in many cases, it's even encouraged.

Why can't you wear white to a wedding? ›

In general, it's not appropriate for guests to wear white to a wedding. "When you're a guest at a wedding, the most important thing to keep in mind is not to upstage or upset the bride," says wedding dress designer Madeline Gardner. "It's safe to stay away from any outfits that are predominantly white, cream or ivory."

What does it mean to wear blue to a wedding? ›

Blue is also the colour of trust, which is why many businesses use blue in their corporate logos. The 'something blue' part of the wedding tradition stems from the belief that blue represented love, fidelity, and trust.

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