Can you wear white to a wedding?

Alison writes:

Dear Fashion Police,

I’ve fallen in love with this white Closet dress, which I’d love to wear to my brother-in-law’s wedding this summer. Is it still considered bad form to wear white to a wedding, though, or is that no longer the case?


Dear Alison,

We love this dress too, but bright, unrelieved white to a wedding? Only if you’re the bride, unfortunately. While many of the wedding-related “rules” have fallen by the wayside these days, the fact remains that if you turn up wearing all-white, no matter what you’re wearing, and how non-bridal it looks, people will still think that either a) you’re the bride, b) you wish you were the bride, or c) you’re trying to upstage the bride. And yes, this still applies even if the bride herself is wearing green/blue/fluorescent yellow with purple spots. Never upstage the bride.  Never wear a white dress to someone else’s wedding. The Fashion Police hold these truths to be self-evident, but we’d like to know what YOU think, too, so please feel free to enlighten us in the comments section!

(For more advice on what to wear to a wedding, click here.)


  • February 15, 2011


    RT @fashionpolice: New Post: Ask The Fashion Police: Can you wear white to a wedding? –…

  • February 16, 2011

    Nikki G

    It is not ok to wear white to another person’s wedding. I had a person wear white to my wedding, and while I didn’t have a meltdown during the big day, I still thought it was tacky.

  • February 16, 2011


    I think you can make white work, but only if you get very creative with accessories. Its probably a good idea to wear a colored/neutral jacket, but also wearing heavy colored accessories can break up some of the white. This only works if the bride is going the traditional route, though. If she is wearing a short dress or colored accessories you should probably leave the white at home. The key is ultimately to downplay the white as much as possible.

  • February 16, 2011


    I’d say it’s way easier to avoid white than risk causing a scene at the wedding. Cause this event is all about the bride and you surely can find some other occasion to wear that white dress… Seriously, less problems for yourself and angrily muttering relatives. Some fashion rules are better left unbroken.

  • February 16, 2011


    Unless there’s a dresscode white mentioned on the invitation (which I’ve encountered once, while the bride was wearing bright red) I still think it’s not done to wear all white to a wedding.

  • February 16, 2011


    I would never wear pure white to somebody else’s wedding unless they specifically asked for it.
    Even if the bride doesn’t mind, you never know how her relatives and friends will react to it. And especially if you are part of the family, you want do stay on good terms with them, don’t you? 😉

    If you really, really love the dress mentioned and can’t think of anything else to wear, maybe you could try to get it in a different color or have it dyed (depending on the fabric)?

  • February 16, 2011


    I agree with Theresa… you could get away with this if you had a big and/or colourful jacket, belt, shoes, purse, necklace etc. You have to break up the white somewhat, and you would need more than one accessory to do it. Also, try to make sure those accessories don’t match the wedding colours, or you’ll look like a bridesmaid.

    It also really depends on what kind of person the bride is, and how she’s likely to react. Nobody wore white to my wedding, but I wouldn’t have minded if they had… I probably wouldn’t have noticed, actually. But some people really pay attention to the details, especially on their wedding day, and you have to be concious of the way the bride (and her family) will interpret what you’re doing.

  • February 16, 2011


    No white to a wedding full stop. Even if you wear a differently coloured jacket, the jacket will come off in the evening so really wont work! I don’t think this dress is particularly nice anyway!! What about this one, similar in style but a nicer colour and cut!

  • February 16, 2011

    Little Miss Random

    I agree with Laura. I went to a wedding of a good friend and noticed someone else (a friend of the groom’s) wearing white. My friends and I seriously contemplated spilling red wine on her because we were so outraged. We didn’t in the end but we couldn’t understand why she’d do that!

  • February 16, 2011


    If its the cut and style of the dress that you love, buy it and use dylon to change its colour!

  • February 17, 2011


    You may be able to somehow downplay the white of that dress, but what it all comes down to is that It’s far easier to just find a different dress. Save that one for a friend’s birthday or something. Why take the chance? Besides, I think the general consensus here is that a white dress to a wedding is pretty thin ice.

  • February 18, 2011


    Wow. I don’t think it would ever have occurred to me that a dress like that might be “upstaging” the bride and would cause people to want to throw wine at the wearer. What’s the stance on patterned white dresses? Say or

  • October 9, 2011


    I’ve worn white to a wedding once but that was a BLACK & WHITE WEDDING where all the guests were asked to wear either BLACK, or WHITE, or BLACK & WHITE (the bride wore an amazing 50s inspired ruby red Modcloth dress).

    Other than that kind of circumstance it’s probably not a good idea! Having said that, my Mum wore ivory to my wedding but it was covered in tiny maroon roses & she wore a maroon hat, stole & shoes so it didn’t look anything like my ivory wedding gown…plus she had me approve the fabric before she had it made.

  • May 4, 2012


    I was told by a friend to not wear white but another said it was ok. I figured I would just ask the bride herself and she had no issue. She said anyone who would be upset about that clearly has to much time on their hands. She said “Go hard!”. Bottom Line: It prob depends on the person.