Finally, an answer to the age-old wardrobe dilemma!
We are constantly fielding questions about wedding guest attire, so it’s clear that there is considerable confusion about what is and is not appropriate! Historically, wearing black to a wedding was frowned upon, as black was traditionally associated with funerals and times of mourning. But do the same rules still apply today? Is it acceptable to wear black to a wedding? That is precisely what we will do today!
However, first and foremost, a disclaimer!
We stand by our advice on this subject, which is based on years of conversations with brides, couples, and guests. Having said that, we recognise that the majority of our experience is with laid-back Western couples and that, in some cultures, religions, and even certain social circles, wearing black has a deeper significance than it does for many of those couples and their families. Additionally, we are aware that some people are extremely sensitive to tradition, which can be difficult to predict regardless of how well you believe you know them! While our official position on wearing black to weddings is that it is acceptable, the safer course of action is to abstain from wearing black to weddings. If you can find a suitable substitute for your black gown, we recommend that you do so and avoid this outfit dilemma entirely!
Is it acceptable to wear black to a wedding?
Is it acceptable to wear a black gown or ensemble to a wedding? In a nutshell, yes, but the styling is critical. You want to avoid looking as if you’re dressed for a funeral, and your outfit should feel special! Women who adore black and are confident in their personal style can pull off a very simple Parisian look with a black dress and black accessories, but the rest of us will feel more at ease if we can incorporate a celebratory element into our black ensemble. Here are a few simple ways to accomplish this;
- Suit up in a jumpsuit or playsuit.
- Dress in a sleeveless, knee-length, or midi-length gown.
Wear a fabric that contains a second hue, or multiple hues.
- Introduce a pop of colour with your accessories, such as vibrant heels, a handbag, or a headpiece.
- Wear a pattern, such as polka dots or florals.
- Lace or ruffles can amp up the occasionwear factor.
- Utilize sequins or other embellishment, as well as a metallic fabric.
Additionally, it’s critical to consider the style of wedding you’re attending – specifically, the season, time of day, and location – when putting together your wedding guest look, which brings us to our next point…
What About a Wedding in Black Tie? A Wedding on the Beach? A Traditional Wedding?
We’ve seen guests wear black to weddings ranging from garden parties to traditional golf club affairs. There is one circumstance in which you should feel extra confident wearing black to a wedding, and that is if the wedding is black tie or has a formal dress code – a black, full-length gown fits this aesthetic perfectly. Similarly, a little black dress is appropriate for a city or restaurant wedding, particularly one held in the winter. Beach weddings, garden party weddings, destination weddings, and festival weddings are all unique in that we naturally gravitate toward lighter colours during the day and in warm weather. A pop of colour, a flowy or ruffled fabric, or a casual style will all work well in this case. While black is generally acceptable for conservative or traditional weddings, keep in mind the point made at the beginning of this feature: a non-black gown is always the safer option (unless it’s white!).
Is it permissible for a male guest to wear black to a wedding?
As a general rule, male guests may wear black to weddings unless the wedding is extremely informal – black suits read as more formal than the same suit in blue or grey. Additionally, a black suit may feel too stuffy for a summer or destination wedding, but this is a function of the level of formality rather than the season. The invitation, the venue, and, if applicable, the dress code should all help you determine how casual the wedding will be. If you believe the event will be extremely casual and wish to be safe, we recommend a navy, light blue, or grey suit instead.