Choosing what to wear to someone else’s big day can be a daunting task, especially when there’s a confusing dress code written in tiny font at the end of the invite. Wearing white is almost always a no-no, but the big question is: is it ok to wear black to a wedding?
Short answer: Yes. The times have changed when it comes to wedding etiquette and most couples wouldn’t bat an eyelid – or think it was rude – if their guests chose to wear black to their nuptials, whether they fall in summer or winter.
“100% you can wear black to a wedding. I would not be offended at all if someone wore black to my wedding,” says bride-to-be Danielle Taylor, who also notes she thinks white is fine but more dependent on the style of the dress – “no ball gowns!”
However, there are still a few things worth considering – such as what shoes to wear, what type of dress, and what type of reception it is – before you dust off your favourite LBD…
1. The dress code
Dress codes can vary significantly depending on the kind of wedding reception you’re attending – a white tie or black tie affair is likely for church or destination weddings, however, lounge suit, cocktail and even smart casual could appear if the bride and groom – and their event – is more laid-back, think a beach wedding or backyard BBQ. In regards to dressing in all black, we’d consider averting if it’s more of a traditional, white tie affair, but say go for it if the dress code is more relaxed. For a guide to dress codes and their meanings, head here.
2. The type of outfit you’re considering
If you’re going with an all-black look, try to brighten up your look in other ways: coloured heels, a cute beaded bag, red lipstick, or a headpiece. No one wants to mistake a wedding guest for someone attending a funeral…
3. Don’t wear something super short
Modern as the bride and groom may be, a wedding is still a wedding. If you’re opting for a darker hue, stay on the safe side with hemlines – or opt for a jumpsuit or pants and a cute top, if your only black dress is verging on being too short.
4. What about for men?
This is an easy one: most suits are darker hues anyway, so men in black will be expected. Again, you could jazz up your look with a patterned pocket square or brown brogues, but this isn’t essential.
5. If in doubt, ask someone
You can never be too safe! If the above hasn’t helped you come to a definitive answer – or if you’re in a special circumstance, such as the mother of the bride or groom – don’t be afraid to reach out to other guests to get a feel for the mood. Take a tally! Or just send a quick message to the man/maid of honour or bride/groom.