Taboo Color For Wedding Guests (2024)

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December 12, 2023 7 min read

Taboo Color For Wedding Guests (1)

Wedding guests often find themselves in a dilemma while selecting the perfect attire for the special occasion. As weddings are a celebration of love and unity, it is important to adhere to certain traditions to show respect for the couple's big day. One of these traditions involves avoiding taboo colors that may disrupt the harmony of the event.

Understanding Wedding Attire Etiquette

Cultural Significance of Colors

When attending a wedding, it is important to be aware of the cultural significance of certain colors. In various cultures, specific colors hold symbolic meanings and can influence the perception of one's attire. For example, in Chinese culture, red is considered as the color of luck and happiness, often making it a common color for wedding attire. Conversely, in Western culture, red might be viewed as too bold and attention-grabbing for a wedding.

Another example is the color white, which has contrasting symbolism in different cultures. In Western weddings, white is usually reserved for the bride to symbolize purity and innocence. Thus, wearing white as a guest in a Western wedding may be seen as disrespectful and competing with the bride's appearance. On the other hand, white is a traditional color of mourning in some Eastern countries, so wearing white to an Eastern wedding could be perceived as a sign of bad luck.

General Rules for Guest Attire

When selecting the appropriate attire for a wedding, there are several general rules to follow, regardless of cultural context:

  1. Respect the dress code: Adhere to any specific dress code mentioned in the wedding invitation to show respect for the couple's wishes. Common dress codes may include formal, semi-formal, or casual attire.
  2. Avoid attention-seeking outfits: As a wedding guest, it's important not to take the spotlight from the couple. This generally means avoiding outfits that are too revealing, excessively embellished, or ostentatious.
  3. Be mindful of the venue: Consider the location of the wedding when choosing the appropriate outfit. If it's a beach or garden wedding, opt for lighter fabrics and comfortable footwear, while for a place of worship, consider modest and respectable attire.
  4. Consider the time of day: Daytime weddings generally call for lighter colors and more relaxed attire, while evening weddings typically require darker, more formal outfits.
  5. Accessorize appropriately: Accessories can enhance a wedding outfit but avoid anything too flashy or noisy, as it can be distracting during the ceremony.

By considering the cultural significance of colors and following these general rules for guest attire, one can show respect to the couple, their families, and their traditions. Ultimately, the goal is to strike a balance between looking presentable and not detracting from the couple's special day.

Why White Is Off-Limits

The Bride's Domain

The tradition of wearing a white wedding dress dates back to Queen Victoria's wedding in 1840, and it has since become a symbol of purity and innocence. As a guest, wearing white to a wedding is considered a major faux pas because it can be seen as an attempt to upstage or overshadow the bride.

At most weddings, the bride's attire is one of the major highlights, and it is crucial that guests respect her choice and refrain from wearing anything that might compete with her gown. This includes not only the color white but also other shades of off-white, ivory, and champagne.

Variations of White to Avoid

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
  • Off-White: A shade of white with a grey or beige undertone
  • Cream: A pale and slightly yellowish shade of white

Abiding by the wedding dress code and avoiding these colors shows respect for the occasion and the couple. An easy way to ensure you're following proper etiquette is to consider the following color guidelines for wedding guests:

Colors to AvoidAcceptable Colors
WhiteJewel Tones
ChampagneEarth Tones
Off-WhiteBold Patterns
CreamNeutrals (excluding those mentioned above)

In some cases, like a white party wedding, the couple may specifically request that guests wear white, making it an exception to the rule. However, unless specifically mentioned in the invitation, it is best to avoid wearing white to a wedding to ensure you are respecting the bride's special day.

Other Colors to Steer Clear Of

Black and Funerals

Although black is a classic and sophisticated color, it holds a certain association with funerals. This connection makes it one of the taboo colors for wedding guests. Wearing black may convey a feeling of mourning or sadness, which might not be the most appropriate message for a joyous event like a wedding. Exceptions can be made if the wedding has a specific theme or if the bridal couple has requested that guests wear black.

Avoiding Red's Attraction

Red is often associated with passion, love, and desire, but it is also considered a highly attracting color. Wearing red as a wedding guest could inadvertently put the limelight on you instead of the bride, groom, and the bridal party. To ensure that you do not draw too much attention, try to avoid bright reds, especially when it comes to bridesmaid dresses. Opt for more subdued shades like burgundy or choose outfits with less sparkle and minimal use of sequins and glitter.

The Debate on Darker Colors

Darker colors, such as navy blue, dark green, or deep purple, are other options to consider with caution. While these colors may not be as taboo as black, they can still be perceived as somber and may not fit the theme of the wedding. On the other hand, neon colors are too attention-grabbing and distracting, making them inappropriate choices for wedding attire.

To determine the best color for your outfit, try to find out the wedding's theme and color palette beforehand. Opt for colors that complement the wedding's atmosphere and do not clash with the bridal party's attire. Remember, the goal is to celebrate the love between the bride and groom, so avoiding any distracting or taboo colors is essential to maintain harmony and ensure a memorable day for the happy couple.

Acceptable Wedding Guest Colors

Embracing Pastel and Earth Tones

When it comes to attending a wedding, choosing the right colors for your outfit is essential. Pastel hues and earth tones are often safe options for both men and women. These colors include shades like mint green, baby blue, sage, eggshell, and beige, which are complementary to the bride and groom, yet allow you to stand out subtly.

In warm weather or summer weddings, these colors create an aura of elegance and class for both male and female guests. For added sophistication, men might opt for champagne or gold accents on ties and pocket squares, while women can incorporate subtle metallic hints in their jewelry or accessories.

Bold Colors With Care

Venturing into bold colors is possible but requires caution. Classic choices like navy blue and emerald green can be fantastic alternatives for both men and women, especially when attending religious weddings. These colors exude a sense of respect and modesty, making them ideal for such occasions.

However, it's important to remember not to overshadow the couple with overly vibrant colors. Mixing in a pop of color with neutral shades is an effective way to wear bold tones. For example, men can don a bright tie or pocket square paired with a dark suit, while women can accessorize with colorful shoes or statement jewelry.

Patterns and Prints Guidelines

When it comes to patterns and prints, there are a few simple rules to follow for wedding guests:

  1. Keep it tasteful: Avoid overly flashy or loud designs.
  2. Consider the wedding theme: Try to match your attire with the overall ambiance (e.g., floral prints for a garden wedding).
  3. Size matters: For both men and women, smaller, more refined prints are better for maintaining a polished look.

Ultimately, choosing the right colors and patterns for a wedding requires balance and an understanding of the event's setting. By selecting complementary colors and keeping patterns tasteful, you'll strike the perfect balance between standing out and fitting in.

Navigating Dress Code and Requests

Wedding Invitation Clues

When it comes to understanding the appropriate attire for a wedding, the wedding invitation usually provides vital clues. Pay close attention to the details, such as the venue, time of day, and any specific dress code mentioned. For instance, if the invitation states "black tie," it is best to avoid wearing any taboo colors that might clash with the event's formality.

In addition to the invitation, take note of the wedding theme's colors. Sometimes, these colors are mentioned explicitly, while other times, they will be subtly hinted through the invitation's design. It's always wise to stay away from colors that might clash with or match the bridesmaid dresses too closely.

When to Ask the Hosts

If the wedding invitation does not provide enough information about the dress code, it is perfectly acceptable to ask the hosts for guidance. However, it is vital to do so with tact and respect. Instead of directly asking if a specific color is off-limits, consider inquiring about the overall color scheme or if the hosts have any specific preferences or requests.

Here's a simple approach to seek clarification on the wedding dress code:

  1. Reach out to the hosts, preferably through a phone call or a face-to-face conversation.
  2. Express your excitement for their big day and compliments about the invitation.
  3. Ask for any dress code preferences or requests that might not be mentioned in the invitation.

Remember, seeking clarification on the dress code is not a sign of ignorance but a gesture of respect for the hosts' vision for their special day. By following the invitation clues and asking the right questions, you can confidently navigate the dress code and ensure that your attire is appropriate for the wedding celebration.

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Taboo Color For Wedding Guests (2024)


Taboo Color For Wedding Guests? ›

White, off-white, and the bridal party hue are all off-limit colors for wedding guest dresses and men's attire. While the rules about these shades are straightforward, some colors and fabrics fall into a gray area. You likely won't get scolded for wearing them, but they're not the best options.

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.

How to tell wedding guests not to wear a certain color? ›

Be Clear and Concise

If you want them to stay within a certain color palette, be sure to list out the acceptable colors and even provide a picture of them! If you want them to avoid certain colors, for example, the bridal colors, so guests don't end up looking like accidental bridesmaids, be clear about that as well.

What colors are off limits for a wedding? ›

Unless you're the bride, wearing a white dress to a wedding is (still) a major faux pas. Leave all white, ivory, and champagne-hued shades alone, unless the invitation specifically designates an all-white dress code.

What colors are acceptable for a wedding guest? ›

To bring a bolder statement, go for brighter colors like magenta and coral. If you're attending a wedding in the evening, there are certain colors that can help you look your best and make an impression. If you're looking for something classic and timeless, dark colors like navy blue or black are always appropriate.

Are there colors not to wear to a wedding? ›

White or Ivory

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.

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.

How do you say to wear a certain color on an invitation? ›

In the wedding invitation, include a note suggesting that guests wear colors that would complement the overall theme or color scheme of the event. If you have a specific color in mind that you would like guests to wear, mention it in the wedding RSVP card or reply form.

Should you match 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.

How to ask guests not to wear white? ›

It's simply not done unless a guest wants to draw attention to themselves." However, if you absolutely want to acknowledge the matter, ask a member of your bridal party to politely pull this guest aside and kindly offer them a jacket or shawl to add some color to their look.

What is the least common wedding color? ›

Other Popular Wedding Colors

Burgundy, green and light blue followed in terms of popularity, respectively. The least popular wedding color in 2021 was bronze, according to our data.

What is a neutral color for a wedding? ›

A blend of black and white, gray is another popular neutral wedding color. Use it to tone down the rest of your palette for a muted, pastel-like effect. Shades of gray are often paired with purple, blue, blush and green.

Is black ok to wear 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 is the most elegant color for wedding? ›

18 of the Best Wedding Colors
  • Dusty Blue and White. Design: Jen Montgomery. ...
  • Mauve and Blush Pink. Design: Becky Nimoy Stationery. ...
  • All White. Design: Cindy Reynolds Design. ...
  • Navy Blue, Marigold Yellow, and Soft Gray. Design: Claudia Owen. ...
  • Emerald Green, White, and Gold. ...
  • Black and White. ...
  • Mint Green and Peach. ...
  • Lilac and Lavender.
Apr 5, 2024

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

You could put something like the dress code for the day is................... or we would kindly request that the guests refrain from wearing purple as this is the bridal party colours.

Can I have bare legs at a wedding? ›

I have advised readers that while bare legs are fine even at the most formal events, hosiery also is perfectly acceptable as long as it's skin tone and sheer. I've just returned from a wedding where I wore my new bargain ($10!) black sequined mini and consignment store jeweled black shoes (also $10).

Is it taboo to 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 color is good luck for wedding? ›

However, red and white are considered the best for weddings. Along with decorations, wedding Kimonos in Japan are often made of these two colors. The combination of white and red is supposed to bring good luck to the new couple.

When did it become taboo to wear white to a wedding? ›

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.

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