Can You Wear Black to a Wedding? Experts Weigh In (2024)

When it comes to dressing for almost any occasion, typically, you can't go wrongwearing something black. The neutral shade goes with everything, and when buying wardrobe staples — dresses, trousers, blazers, etc. — black options tend to be the most timeless, working for both formal and casual settings.

Still, despite this color's versatility, it's easy to second-guess your look, especially leading up to big events. For example, can you wear black to a wedding, or should you opt for a color that's a little more cheerful? To find out more, we tapped stylists Naina Singla, Gillian McHattie, and Christina Stein.

Meet the expert

Keep scrolling for four expert-approved tips for figuring out your wedding guest outfit.

Consider Traditions and Dress Codes

Before saying yes to the (black) dress, there are a few additional questions need answering. The first has to do with the bride and groom's cultures and whether or not traditions are being observed for their nuptials. For example, according to Singla, traditional Indian and Chinese weddings discourage attendees from wearing dark colors "because they are associated with mourning and not a celebration." The focus on the bride and groom is key here, so if, culturally speaking, black is a go, your next step is to review the invitation for any mention of a dress code.

"Depending if the dress code (chosen by the bride) is formal or casual for their wedding, knowing the dress code will help you decide what type of dress to wear for the event," Singla toldInStyle. "If you are considering wearing black, make sure to check the dress code first."

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Think About the Location

No sign of a dress code on the invitation? According to McHattie, the location of the wedding is also telling of whether or not black is the most appropriate hue to don on this particular occasion.

"For example, if you'reattending a beach wedding, then I recommend going for brighter colors," McHattie suggested. "Not only will they complement the wedding vibe, but they'll also help you stay cool in the sun!"

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Factor in the Season and Time of Day

If all checks out from here, the last two things to consider when deciding whether or not to wear black to a wedding are the following: what season the wedding is taking place in and what time of day the events are taking place.

"The general rule of thumb for seasonal attire is to wear lighter colors for a spring or summer wedding and darker colors for winter and fall weddings," Singla advised.

As for wearing black to a daytime wedding, Singla said stark black wouldn't be her first choice.

Singla added, "I recommend trying a printed black dress or a softer shade of black (off-black vs. dark black). In the evening, you could also consider adding embellishments like ruffles, lace, rhinestones, or popular trends likefringeto make a black dress feel less mournful and more like a party dress with an element of interest."

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Personalize Your LBD

If you feel that black might be too melancholy, Stein suggested opting for a black dress with "minimal cleavage" that is "mid-thigh length or longer" and adding dramatic, colorful jewelry to brighten it up.

"Adding texture like tulle or ruffles adds drama as well as individuality to the garment. Silhouette has a lot to do with how a dress can come off, too," Stein told us. "An off-the-shoulder orone-shoulderbodycon dress is not typically something you would see when someone is mourning."

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The Final Takeaway

As long as it's not considered culturally inappropriate or against the dress code, youcanwear black to a wedding. Depending onwherethe couple is exchanging vows, whichseasontheir special day is taking place in, and whattime of dayeverything begins, black may or may not be your best color option. That being said, if black is what makes you feel your best, and no one or nothing is telling you otherwise, reach for your favorite LBD and don't look back.

Can You Wear Black to a Wedding? Experts Weigh In (2024)


Can You Wear Black to a Wedding? Experts Weigh In? ›

"It is perfectly acceptable and chic to wear black to evening, black tie, and winter weddings."

Is it okay to wear black in attending a wedding? ›

However, in today's modern-day age, wearing black to a wedding is completely acceptable, and in many cases, it's even encouraged. “Black is often considered the most formal, polished, and flattering color,” explains wedding expert Ashley Smith.

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.

Can you wear black to a wedding Chinese? ›

You don't want to come off as impolite to the bride! Don't wear white or black. These colors are often worn at Chinese funerals, and signify death and mourning. It's considered bad luck, so it's best to stay away from wearing these colors.

Can you wear black to a bridal shower? ›

Don't wear black. Your bridal shower look should be celebratory, festive, and happy—black is a bit too somber and/or “date night out” to wear to a bridal shower. If you're set on dark colors, opt for a softer gray or navy. Don't wear anything too tight, sexy, or revealing.

What should you not wear as a wedding guest? ›

Anything Too Casual

Even if the celebration is casual and relaxed, guests should always err on the side of formal. No flip, flops, shorts, or jeans should ever be on your list of options to wear.

What color shoes to wear with a black dress to a wedding? ›

In terms of color, black is a safe and classic choice, but don't be afraid to experiment with other hues. Nude, metallic, and red shoes can all add a pop of color and interest to your outfit. Remember to also consider the length and style of your dress.

What is the taboo color for wedding guests? ›

When attending a wedding, it is important to avoid wearing any color that might be too close to white or off-white. The most common shades that should be avoided are: Ivory: A pale-yellowish shade of white. Champagne: A warm beige color with a hint of gold.

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.”

Can you be overdressed for a wedding? ›

As the old saying goes, it's better to be overdressed than underdressed. Despite weddings today being overall less traditional and formal than that of older generations—black-tie is optional these days, as is wearing a tuxedo or dark suit—no one wants to arrive to the venue in sneakers to see everyone else in heels.

Why can't you attend a wedding within 3 months? ›

Couple shouldn't attend funerals if their wedding is around the corner as it will result in bad luck. They also shouldn't attend any weddings 3 months before & after your own wedding or visiting friends/relatives that just gave birth as it's believed to have your luck clashed.

What color is the mother of the groom supposed to wear? ›

If your son has given you free rein to choose a color for your day-of look, your final choice should be dependent on the dress code, venue, and season. In general, jewel tones and earthy hues, like emerald green and burgundy, work well, in addition to universally flattering colors like black and navy.

Can you wear black to a Korean wedding? ›

Black, especially, might feel not that festive if you haven't been to many Korean weddings before, but a sleek black blouse is a perfectly fitting choice here. I specifically mention ochre or “camel brown” as to not go too far towards “beige”.

Is it inappropriate to wear all black to a wedding? ›

"Nowadays you even see bridesmaids in chic black gowns of their own choosing," she points out. As a general rule, "wearing black is totally acceptable, as the hue is very versatile," says bridal stylist Julie Sabatino of The Stylish Bride.

Can mother of the bride wear black to a wedding? ›

It's acceptable for the mother of the bride to wear black, especially if the couple is having a black-tie wedding.

What should an older woman wear to a bridal shower? ›

For guests who don't have a specified dress code to follow, opt for pieces that you would wear to a nice brunch or an elegant social gathering. What's more, since bridal showers are more informal than most wedding events, don't be afraid to embrace your personal style but with a slightly formal twist.

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.

Is it okay to wear black or white to a wedding? ›

We advise against wearing white to weddings, but a printed dress with a hint of white or ivory is definitely approved. A black-and-white dress is a classic choice, as long as the pattern isn't too distracting.

What's appropriate to wear to a wedding? ›

1) Do Consider the Wedding Dress Code

Black Tie: floor length gowns, black ties, tuxedos. Formal: floor length gowns, tuxedos optional, black suits acceptable. Semi-Formal: below the knee dresses, dress shirts, slacks. Casual: sundresses, collared shirts, khakis.

How do I ask guests to wear black to a wedding? ›

Be Upfront from the Beginning. If you're going to request a certain dress code or color from your guests, be upfront about this from the beginning. That means notifying them of this on the invitation or even the save the date.

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