Is It Ever OK to Wear White to a Wedding?

With Memorial Day right around the corner, we’re ready to start wearing our favorite summer whites! And with so many cute little white dresses in stores right now, a lot of guests are wondering… is it ever OK to wear white at a wedding?

Traditionally, wedding guests were urged not to wear white so they didn’t risk stealing the bride’s thunder. But as weddings become increasingly less traditional, some guests feel like it’s OK to break this tradition too. We polled our team of experienced wedding editors and more than 250,000 Loverly readers around the world to get the scoop. Here’s what they had to say:

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In Defense of Wearing White

“Of course, it’s never OK to take away from the bride’s big day! But according to etiquette guru Emily Post, the traditional rules of a guest not wearing white (or black for that matter) no longer apply. Post says a guest may wear white to a wedding with caution. In my opinion, a guest shouldn’t wear any outfit that directly resembles the bride’s wedding gown. So, that means no white maxi dresses ladies! As long as a guest opts for a cream or nude-colored dress, it’s totally acceptable. It’s also important to keep fabric and cut in mind! Choose a white cotton dress rather than a silk, tulle, or lace dress. Go for a short, playful dress or pantsuit rather than an elegant floor-length gown. Make sure that your accessories don’t scream bridal either. Instead of a strand of pearls and a fascinator, wear a colorful necklace or shoes!” – Alexia, Loverly Editor

“While I don’t think you should wear white to a wedding (don’t you have anything else to wear?), you can probably get away with wearing a white dress with a colorful print on it. But definitely steer clear of any dress that’s all white or ivory or that looks decidedly bridal. (Ask yourself: would you wear this white getup to your own wedding shower? If yes, then it’s too bridal.) I might make an exception is if it’s a wedding with two grooms…but even then, stick to something semi-formal and not overly bridal.” –Rachel, Loverly Editorial Director

Is It Ever OK to Wear White to a Wedding?

Photo by Pete Bellis 

“I don’t see anything wrong with wearing white to a summer wedding. Everybody knows who the bride is!” – Brenda, Facebook

“It all depends on the faith, culture, and traditions of the couple. If they’re old-fashioned, then no. With today’s brides, sometimes anything goes. So then, yes, white is okay!” – Kathy

“As long as the guest’s attire isn’t as fancy as the bride’s, I think it’s totally fine. Plus, imagine how great an all-white wedding would be.” – Ryne, Loverly Shop Curator

“A little white is fine!” – Danielle

“I think nowadays, most brides don’t even wear a true ‘white’ dress…they look so stark! I love the look of a bride in a cream or colored dress, in which case I think it’s fine for a guest to wear white.” – Alexandra, Loverly Designer

“My bridesmaids wore white, it was stunning!” – Jeni

“If black is okay, then yes, so is white.” – Lisa

“If you insist on wearing white, base your decision on what the bride, mother of the bride, and mother of the groom are wearing, and what the culture dictates.” – Renay

Absolutely Not, Leave White For The Bride

Is It Ever OK to Wear White to a Wedding?

Photo by Anabel F. Zamora 

“Here at HQ, I feel like I’m the captain of team no! While some etiquette experts are changing their tune on this one, I say, don’t be that guest who shows up in white and gets the crowd talking (and chances upsetting the happy couple). Wearing white is often very special to brides who choose to follow the tradition, so just give them their chance to shine. After all, there are a lot of other colors out there…” – Jess, Loverly Editor

“I say no! Unless the bride is wearing a colored gown.” – Kellee, CEO of Loverly 

“NO, NO, NO, NO. There is no point. You have 90 different colors to wear” – Rebecca

“It totally depends on the bride, but I’d never wear white to a wedding. The event is the most important day of the bride’s life and I’d never want to wear anything that could outshine or take away from their special day. Out of respect, I’d steer clear of anything that could upset them on their day.” – Jaclyn, Loverly Designer

“Never upstage the bride!” – Kathy

“Let the bride shine” – Nancy

“I would be a bit embarrassed if my wedding date wore white.” – Pernell

So what’s your take, loverlies? To wear white or not to wear white? Let us know in the comments!



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