What's the Deal With This Controversial Wedding Guest Outfit?


(Image credit: @sylviemus_)

With weddings come weekend trips and late-night dancing with friends, but also the issue of finding an outfit to wear to the celebration. Unlike other events, weddings come with a specific set of guidelines and traditions, but a lot of these have changed and evolved over time. Like many etiquette rules surrounding others' "I dos," appropriate wedding guest attire can often fall into a gray area. Among them is the much-debated question: Can you wear black to a wedding?

There are no clear-cut answers on this. If often varies based on the specific event and people getting married (and it never hurts to consult the couple if you're really stumped). But to help us cut through all of the opinions out there, we asked fashion girls about their thoughts on the matter. What to hear where they stand on the issue? Keep reading to find out fashion insiders' thoughts on if you can wear black to a wedding. 

Rachael Wang, creative consultant and stylist

"Anything but white is fair game, and black, in my book, is always chic and practical. I've lightened up a black cocktail dress for a summer wedding with colored shoes, statement jewelry, or red lipstick."

Pia Baroncini, LPA creative director and Everything is the Best podcast host

"I think it's okay to wear black to a wedding if it's a wedding where other people will be wearing black. I went to a wedding in Nantucket last weekend and planned to wear a black dress. I walked out of my hotel room to meet my friends before heading to the venue and they were horrified I was in black. I changed and thank god I did. Everyone was in vibrant colors and florals. If this was a fall wedding in New York then yes, black would have been appropriate." 

Lauren Eggertsen, Editorial Director at Who What Wear

"I definitely think it's appropriate to wear black to a wedding, especially if the attire is black tie. I also think it depends on the location/aesthetic of the wedding. For example, I recently attended a black-tie wedding where the reception took place in a gorgeous ballroom, so a black dress seemed more than appropriate. If I was attending a summertime outdoor wedding, black might seem out of place."

Erin Fitzpatrick, senior news editor at Who What Wear

"I definitely don't think it's a universal 'rule' anymore, but I personally prefer to skip black dresses for weddings. Since every wedding I've been to has been in the summer, it just feels right to choose something fun and colorful, which suits my style better anyway. Plus, for some reason, I still associate black with funerals rather than weddings, so I tend to steer clear of it."

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This post was published at an earlier date and has been updated.

Associate Director, Special Projects

Kristen Nichols is the Associate Director, Special Projects at Who What Wear with over a decade of experience in fashion, editorial, and publishing. She oversees luxury content and wedding features, and covers fashion within the luxury market, runway reporting, shopping features, trends, and interviews with leading industry experts. She also contributes to podcast recordings, social media, and branded content initiatives. Kristen has worked with brands including Prada, Chanel, MyTheresa, and Luisa Via Roma, and rising designers such as Refine and Tove, and her style has been featured in publications including Vogue.com, Vogue France, WWD, and the CFDA. Before Who What Wear, Kristen began her career at Rodarte, where she worked on assistant styling, photo shoots, and runway shows, and at Allure, where she moved into print and digital editorial. She graduated from the University of Southern California, where she studied art history and business, and currently lives in New York.