Is Wearing White To A Wedding Still A Fashion and Etiquette Faux-Pas?
We’ve all heard by now that it’s a big no-no to wear white to a wedding. It’s the bride’s big day and she should have the right to be the only woman in the room wearing white from head to toe, correct? Well, fashion rules change over the years and it’s sometimes necessary to check in on these de facto guidelines to see if they still stand.
For instance, can you imagine if we continued to stick by the rule of not wearing white past Labor Day? How dreadful! So, I turned to the internet to see what the pros have to say on this matter; the findings were not surprising. But first, I thought it’d be helpful to give a little background on where the tradition of wearing white actually comes from.
The Reason Brides Wear White On Their Wedding Day:
Contrary to popular belief, brides haven’t always worn white to walk down the aisle. In fact, they used to wear red! Brides wore red before the 1800’s because it was considered a color that embodied love and happiness. White on the other hand, was viewed as being drab and sullen, a color associated with death and funerals. Imagine that! It wasn’t until 1840, when Queen Victoria of England chose to wear a white gown to wed Prince Albert, that wearing white became the new traditional wedding garb. Thank you, Queen Victoria!
Brides Spend A Lot of Time And Money On Their White Wedding Dress
According to theknot.com, the average wedding dress costs $1,281. Add on jewelry, shoes, and tailoring, and you’ve got an outfit that’s costing the bride thousands of dollars. That’s a lot of money to spend on a dress you only get to wear once! It’s all the more fitting, then, that the blushing bride enjoys her expensive purchase by being the only woman in the room who is wearing white.
Summer: The Abundance of Weddings and White Summery Dresses
Summer seems to be the most popular season to celebrate two people joining their lives together. Just as with budding flower beds, wedding season is in full bloom during the months of June, July, August, and September.
The abundance of beautiful, flattering white dresses at malls and online boutiques during Summer months makes it even more tempting to wear a white dress to a wedding.
This is why disappointment kicks in when we remember that this color is off-limits, right?
Right! You Still Shouldn’t Wear White To Someone Else’s Wedding
Personally, I would never wear a white dress to someone else’s wedding. Depriving the bride the joy of one of the oldest wedding traditions- being the only one in the room wearing a white dress- just doesn’t seem right. Plus, why would you want to risk people whispering behind your back? To settle this question, I gathered opinions from the style pros (editorials and fashion publications) that supports the opinion that yes, wearing white to a wedding is both a fashion and etiquette faux-pas! Just take a read below for some of their thoughts!
“The only exception—the only one—is if the bride and groom specifically request that their guests wear white.”
“It’s not your wedding, so why are you dressing like a bride? Are you trying to stir some shit up? If so, you’re certainly going about it the right way. It’s not that you can’t wear any white whatsoever — white accents and prints are fine — just stay away from anything overtly bridal, especially white lace.”
“Traditionally, wearing white to someone else’s wedding would be a huge no no, but not all weddings are traditional and a lot of brides nowadays don’t even wear white themselves on the big day, so don’t just assume it’s inappropriate.”
“Unless you’re attending wedding with a black-and-white color scheme or the bride has expressly stated otherwise, it is safe to assume that cream, eggshell, ivory, vanilla, bone, or white ensembles are off-limits.”
“Much to our initial chagrin, we’ve decided to take a cue from etiquette guru Emily Post, who says that the traditional rules of guests not wearing white (or black!) no longer apply. Although Post says a guest may wear white to a wedding, we recommend exercising caution as far as this often-sensitive topic is concerned.”
“Female wedding guests should not wear white—it’s considered extremely impolite to take away from the bride on her day by wearing her color. Avoid off-white and ivory too, unless there’s a dress code mentioned on the invitation or wedding website that instructs guests to wear a certain color. “
“We don’t care if it’s the middle of summer and your little white sundress is the most flattering thing in your closet. Do not, we repeat, do not wear white to someone else’s wedding. Most brides have been looking forward to their moment in the spotlight — as the only one in white. While it’s true no one could possibly upstage the bride, it’s considered the ultimate guest dress no-no.”
Remember, even with today’s modern traditions, it’s still a pretty strong faux-pas to wear white to a wedding. There are a few exceptions, but if you prefer to walk along the safe side, make sure to wear any other color, and leave the white to the bride. Fashion and customs do change with the times, but sometimes, tradition does know better! If you’re now looking for other colors and wardrobe options for the next wedding you’re attending, here are a few great choices:
Pretty in Pink Off-Shoulder Dress for a Summer Wedding
Rich Burgundy Dress for a Fall Evening Wedding
Little Black Dress for a Winter Wedding