Would You Wear White To Someone Else’s Wedding?

Spring is here, which means many of us will be spending all of our weekends for the next four to five months going to wedding after wedding after wedding. When you’re an adult, weddings are the closest thing to high school proms or homecoming dances. Unless you’re a socialite who attends charity balls on a regular basis, weddings are one of the only times we get to put on a pretty dress and go dancing! But what to wear? Over on Fashionista, commenters are going wild discussing whether female guests can wear white. It’s long been a rule that no one but the bride should wear that color; however, some schools of thought say that rule is no longer relevant. Keep reading to hear what Peggy Post of the Emily Post Institute, along with various wedding authorities, has to say about wearing white when it’s not your wedding.

  • Peggy Post, the director of the Emily Post Institute and a columnist at Good Housekeeping, wrote in that magazine: “Yes, you can wear white, just as long as it doesn’t look remotely bridal.”
  • Dear Sugar believes that wearing a dress with a hint of white in it is fine, but nothing should compete with the bride’s gown.
  • Brides.com responded to a question from a reader concerning her fiancé’s mother wanting to wear white to the wedding and the bride being against this. According to the website, the bride wins: “…white, which traditionally has symbolized youth and purity, is worn only by the bride. That goes for ivory, cream, off-white, linen and all other pale variations.”
  • The Knot agreed that white shouldn’t be worn by any woman other than the bride: “Female guests should not wear white — it’s really, really not polite to take away from the bride on her special day by wearing her color. Try to avoid off-white and ivory, too, if at all possible. It’s not as if you don’t own or can’t buy something another color, right?”
  • And the blog A Dress A Day advises against wearing white, pale pink, pearl gray, and red. Red, you say? Yes, because red isn’t a bridal color, but it’s dramatic. “Wearing red is an attention-grabber, and it is rude to try to take attention from the bride,” the site cautions. “(A corollary of the ‘do not wear red’ rule is ‘do not wear dresses cut down to (or slit up to) THERE.’) This rule goes double for the groom’s ex-girlfriends. This rule goes triple for the groom’s ex-girlfriends who are there as the ‘and Guest’ of somebody else.”
  • We think there are too many factors to consider to give a solid yes or no. If the person whose wedding you’re attending is a real stickler for tradition, then it might piss her off if you wear a dress in a matching shade. However, if she’s a modern woman and your dress doesn’t resemble a wedding dress in the least bit, then go ahead and wear white. Just know the bride’s grandma is probably going to be talking about you at the bridal party brunch the following day.