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Can You Wear White to a Wedding? The Final Answer

Last Updated: May 2, 2022

It’s a topic that has been debated for years on end, and for a while, many thought that there had been a specific answer. When going to a wedding, it has been common to ask the question; can you wear white to a wedding?

Overall, the answer is generally no when it comes to traditional weddings. With white often being the most common choice for a bride’s dress color, guests want to avoid white to avoid taking the spotlight away from the bride. 

However, this can change for different cultures, plus there are controversial ideas on wearing white to a wedding. 

If you are somebody who currently has an upcoming wedding to find an outfit for, or would just like to know if wearing white to any wedding you may attend in the future is possible, this article will go over a few pointers about what to do and what not to do when it comes to deciding on whether or not to wear white to a wedding.

So, Can You Wear White to a Wedding?

To keep it simple, the general answer to this question is no, you should not wear white to a traditional wedding where the bride will be wearing a white wedding dress.  

Often, the fear is that you will look as though you are trying to take importance over the bride as it is her special day and the dress that she has chosen to wear is often white. 

Other guests will likely frown upon you and the bride may likely be upset as well. White is associated with being the bride and getting married, and others wearing white is often seen as a tacky way to get more attention on yourself during the event. 

The only exception to this rule is if you are attending a wedding where the bride’s dress color isn’t white. Some cultures traditionally use different dress colors than we’re used to seeing in America, or perhaps a bride may just want to choose a different color than white. 

For example, red is the typical wedding dress color in Chinese culture because this color symbolizes good luck, happiness, and prosperity. 

If this is a possibility, you’ll want to pay attention to the invite. If a bride chooses a different dress color just because she wants to, this will probably be notated somewhere on the invite. However, if the bride and/or groom are from a different culture, you might want to ask them what color dress the bride plans to wear. 

Regardless, it doesn’t hurt to ask – you wouldn’t want to show up with the same dress color as the bride. 

If you are considering wearing some type of white, you still will need to be thoughtful about who’s wedding this is and how close you are to the individual. If you know the person would not want you to wear any white to their wedding, respect their wishes and simply wear a different outfit to the event.

What About White Accessories?

The answer to this generally depends on who’s wedding you’re attending. A few brides may be turned off by guests wearing white accessories (such as shoes or jewelry) to their wedding, but generally, white accessories aren’t as big of a deal.  

If you still want to add a little pop of white to your outfit but are worried about being distracting, accessories can be a great way to add in that pop without feeling like you are going to cause an issue.

If you have a white necklace, bracelet or earrings that you can add into the outfit it can be a fun way to keep your look brighter and fun while still adhering to the general dress codes of a wedding.

Alternatives to Wearing White to a Wedding

If you are somebody who feels more confident in a lighter color or feel as though that is what you look best in, you can always opt for a nude color instead

There are still some ways to include close to white colors into your outfit without having to go all the way, such as incorporating jewelry or casual white shoes into your outfit. Rock a cute nude dress and fun jewelry to have a simple, elegant wedding guest outfit.

Bottom Line

Ultimately, wearing white to a wedding is still a topic that is quite controversial and can be quite divisive. If you think it could be an issue at your upcoming event, it may be best to simply avoid it and choose a different color in order to avoid any looks (and most importantly, avoid upsetting the bride and groom on their special day). 

However, if you are positive that it wouldn’t be an issue with the bride or groom and you simply want to add a little bit of white to your outfit, doing it in ways that are not distracting but still make you look put together are often the best way to go.


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