Yes, You Can Wear Black to a Wedding—These 21 Dresses Get Our Seal of Approval

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(Image credit: @lefevrediary)

Can you wear black to a wedding? In my opinion as an editor who has attended many, many weddings now, it's a yes, but with a few rules, regs and caveats. I've personally worn black to three weddings over the past few years, and it hasn't caused trouble yet. In fact, the formulas I've come up with have become really trusty, fail-safe outfits for those nuptials and events where you really don't have a clue what to wear.

Unlike many other social engagements, weddings can often come with a specific set of guidelines and requests from the happy couple, but a lot of these have changed and evolved over time. Like many etiquette rules surrounding vows, engagements, gifts and more, appropriate wedding guest attire can often fall into a grey area. And despite many traditional regulations relaxing, this idea of whether black is suitable or not still comes up time and again as a question.

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(Image credit: Hannah Almassi)

Style Notes: Mismatched accessories and a shoulder-robed jacket make this form-fitting black dress feel less funeral and more fun—perfect for an evening of dancing! 

The answers will vary depending on the specific event and the people getting married, and when I've been unsure of my choices, I have asked the bride in advance. (All times it's entirely not an issue, and they were surprised I even asked.) I'd say always do the following: Try to break up the black with fun accessories, don't go OTT on flashing a lot of flesh, and be careful to opt for something that definitely feels "dressed-up" rather than your go-to work shirt dress.

In addition to my own tips on how you can navigate wearing black to a wedding, I asked a few cool fashion girls about their thoughts on the matter: "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 coloured shoes, statement jewellery or red lipstick," says super stylist Rachael Wang, echoing my thoughts entirely.

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(Image credit: Hannah Almassi)

Style Notes: Sometimes all you need to do is pick a silhouette that feels trend-driven and add gold accessories for a bit of sparkle. This was appropriate for the pretty outdoorsy wedding I went to, as it was knitted but backless for a bit of sass.

"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," says Who What Wear U.S.'s Lauren Eggertsen. "For example, I attended a black-tie wedding where the reception took place in a gorgeous ballroom, so a black dress seemed more than appropriate. If I were attending a summertime outdoor wedding, black might seem out of place."

On the other hand, her colleague Erin Fitzpatrick would steer clear of turning to the dark side. "I definitely don't think it's a universal rule anymore, but I personally prefer to skip black dresses for weddings," she says. "Since every wedding I've been to has been in the summer, it just feels right to choose something fun and colourful, 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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(Image credit: Hannah Almassi)

Style Notes: Country weddings often call for floral dresses, but that works for black floral dresses too. 

Shop the Best Black Wedding Guest Dresses 

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

Hannah Almassi
Editor in Chief

Hannah Almassi is the Editor in Chief of Who What Wear UK. Hannah has been part of the the Who What Wear brand since 2015, when she was headhunted to launch the UK sister site and social channels, implement a localised content strategy and build out the editorial team. She joined following a seven-year tenure at Grazia magazine, where she led front-of-book news, fashion features and shopping specials as fashion news and features editor. With experience in both print and digital across fashion and beauty, Hannah has over 16 years in the field as a journalist, editor, content strategist and brand consultant. Hannah has interviewed industry heavyweights such as designers including Marc Jacobs and Jonathan Anderson through to arbiters of taste including Katie Grand and Anna Dello Russo. A skilled moderator and lecturer specialising in the shift to digital media and e-commerce, Hannah’s opinion and work has been sought by the likes of CNBC, BBC, The Sunday Times Style, The Times, The Telegraph and MatchesFashion.com, among many others. Hannah is often called upon for her take on trends, becoming known as a person with their finger of the pulse of what’s happening in the fashion space for stylish Brits. Hannah currently resides in Eastbourne with her photographer husband, incredibly busy son and highly Instagrammable cat.