Is Wearing White to a Wedding as a Guest Still Taboo? | Mill Pond Estate (2024)

For as long as anyone can remember, wearing white to a wedding as a guest is a big no-no, but are times changing? With many wedding traditions changing, is the long-standing tradition of “only the bride wears white” long gone? While there are always different circ*mstances, the short answer is that… it depends!

The History of White Weddings

Fun fact: the tradition of a white wedding dress started when Queen Victoria married Prince Albert in 1840. Queen Victoria chose an embellished lace white satin gown that was handcrafted in England. Once the photos were published, brides began to copy the Queen’s style by wearing white to their weddings. Since then, it’s typically frowned upon to wear white as a guest to a wedding.

The Case for Yes

As a general rule, you should always check with the bride if you think the white dress you chose is too close to the brides’ or if she would be upset. However, if there is white in or on the dress - a white lace or sheer overlay on a colorful, co*cktail-length, for example - that would be appropriate wedding guest attire. Don’t show up, however, in a white, floor-length or full-skirted dress!

Another way to wear white to a wedding as a guest is if it’s part of the theme. For example, some brides choose to wear a non-white dress and have their wedding party and guests wear white. Or some brides don’t care at all and encourage guests to wear what they want!

Again, if you have to question whether your outfit is appropriate, check with the bride first!

The Case for No

On the flip side, there are certain circ*mstances when it’s absolutely not okay to wear to a wedding. The main being the bride explicitly asking guests not to wear white. And if they don’t explicitly state that guests can’t wear white, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and choose another color.

Lastly, you don’t want to detract from the bride on their big day! 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 do you think? Do you think wedding guests should be allowed to wear white? Let us know in the comments!

Is Wearing White to a Wedding as a Guest Still Taboo? | Mill Pond Estate (2024)

FAQs

Why is it frowned upon to wear white to a wedding? ›

Typically, you can't wear white to a wedding because this color is reserved for the couple tying the knot. In Western culture, it's tradition for the bride to wear head-to-toe white on the wedding day, so wearing anything that matches this shade might unintentionally steal the spotlight away from her.

Is it still taboo to wear 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 is the taboo color for wedding guests? ›

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 any white as a wedding guest? ›

Except in select cases (which we'll cover below), the experts agree that wedding guests should still stay away from white dresses—and especially any that are long, that are lacy, or that read even slightly bridal.

How to wear white to a wedding without offending the bride? ›

Another way to wear white to a wedding is to opt for white separates instead of a white dress. A white blouse or skirt paired with a colourful blazer or shoes can be a great way to incorporate white into your outfit without looking like you're trying to steal the bride's thunder.

How to tell guests not to wear white? ›

There is absolutely nothing you can say or to to ask your guests not to wear white. It doesn't matter if you think it's rude or tacky. You can't control your guests' behavior. In fact, you say, "Unless it's requested by the couple," but that's also not something you get to dictate.

Is it okay to wear a floral dress with a white background to a wedding? ›

As mentioned above, white-based prints are widely acceptable. If you're nervous about them, try to choose a bold or colorful all-over print, like this pretty pink floral design, to distract from the white base.

Can I wear a white and blue dress to a wedding? ›

Blue and white is such a popular color scheme for weddings! Many couples choose to have their wedding decor in these colors because they are classic and beautiful. If you are wondering if you can wear a blue and white dress to a wedding, the answer is most likely yes!

Can you wear a white dress to a wedding if it has a pattern? ›

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 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.

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

Great Ideas of Colors to Wear to a Wedding
  • Amber.
  • Mustard.
  • Sage green.
  • Navy.
  • Lavender.
  • Burgundry.
  • Eggplant.
  • Wine red/purple.

Why can't I wear red to 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.

What does a white dress mean in a wedding? ›

The color white represented purity, symbolizing both a woman's chastity and her transition to a married Roman matron. It was also associated with Vesta, the virgin goddess of hearth, home and family who was served by temple priestesses garbed in distinctive white clothing.

Can I wear a white purse to a wedding? ›

When it comes to accessories, I would err on the side of no white (for shoes and purse especially), because if one or more person in the betrothed couple is wearing white, they will likely also use white accessories and, again, it's best to avoid anything that could smack of upstaging.

Can you wear white shoes to a wedding as a guest? ›

Yes, you can wear white shoes to a wedding as long as they're not combined with any other white attire, like a dress or a suit. Traditionally, all-white attire was reserved for the bride, but with the evolution of fashion and changing societal norms, the rules surrounding guest attire are no longer cut and dry.

When to avoid wearing white? ›

The old-fashioned decree bans us from wearing white during the winter and spring, from Labor Day in September till May Day (another day designated to celebrate workers' rights). One popular theory dates back to the early 1900s.

Is it rude to wear red to a wedding? ›

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.

Are you not supposed to wear white to your second wedding? ›

Second-marriage wedding dresses can be white.

If they'd love you in white (and you would too) go right ahead. Even if you chose something super classic and "bridal" for your first wedding, that doesn't mean you have to forgo white this time around.

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