Traditionally, wedding guests have been discouraged from wearing white in an effort to let the white-wearing bride stand out. But, as weddings are evolving and often eschewing tradition in favor of unique, distinctive vibes — ehem, like brides ditching the white all together — some guests feel like it's probably acceptable to show up donning their spiffiest white apparel.
The truth is, though, wearing white is often very special to brides who choose to follow the tradition, so we're generally in favor of giving them their chance to shine. As one Lover.ly editor stated: "Don't you have anything else to wear?" Why be the guest who shows up in white and chances upsetting the happy couple?
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.
Here are some guidelines to keep in mind should you decide to attend your next wedding in white:
First, avoid anything that directly resembles a wedding gown. Skip the white maxi dress and the elegant, floor-length ivory gown, and instead opt for a short, playful white dress or a white pantsuit.
Consider the fabric. Choose a white cotton dress over silk, tulle, or lace. These may seem a bit more formal and reminiscent of a wedding gown, so it's best to avoid them all together. If you're feeling unsure, only do a little white — like a white skirt or a colorful print on white.
Overtly bridal accessories are a no-go; put down the pearls and the fascinator and opt for colorful accessories or edgy statement pieces instead.
Ask yourself: Would you wear this white getup to my own wedding shower? If the answer is yes, then it's not a good choice. And ultimately, you should always consider the faith, culture, and the traditions of the couple.
If you know they are more old-fashioned, don't even think about wearing white. But if they are modern types (hello, brides in blush, blue, and beyond!), your outfit is more likely to get a pass. Oh, and if the wedding has two grooms, you probably get a little more leeway. Even then, stick to something semi-formal and, again, not too bridal.
Would you wear white to a wedding? Weigh in below!
Launched in 2012, Lover.ly aims to make the dog-eared folder of magazine clippings a thing of the past for brides-to-be. The digital wedding channel, which makes the planning process more simple, is bringing everything from charming real weddings to expert advice on all things bridal right to R29.