Wearing White to a Wedding: How to Do It (If You Dare)


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Wearing White to a Wedding: After Market Floral Chiffon Maxi Dress

We all know that it’s taboo to wear white to a wedding. It’s the bride’s day– let her own the color for just one evening. The thing is, though, that the gray area surrounding the ambiguous ritual isn’t usually addressed. Does ivory count as white? Are printed whites acceptable? Are white skirts an exception to the rule? While packing for Kyle’s cousin’s farm-style wedding in Colorado, I did a little research on the whole wearing white to a wedding debate. To be honest, I had just received this darling floral chiffon maxi dress in the mail– and I really wanted an excuse to wear it. I’m fairly certain this is a dilemma most avid female wedding goers have faced. Although a zipper malfunction prohibited me from actually getting to test out these theories for myself, I found some interesting perspectives on the subject. 

Wearing White to a Wedding: Yea or Nay?

When it comes to wearing white to a wedding, there are certain styles you want to always want to steer clear of– like anything that even comes close to resembling a wedding dress. This includes white lace (length is irrelevant) or any floor-length ivory gowns. According to Cosmo, “You want your dress to look as little like a wedding dress as possible. This means no lace, no beading, no tulle, no chiffon, and no maxi skirts. Leave those elements for the bride. Besides, all that fussy stuff doesn’t really feel that modern anyway. When you’re wearing white to a wedding that’s not your own, you want to look modern.”

A 2016 BRIDES American Wedding Study gave some really interesting insight into the latest wedding trends that I wanted to share. Even though 93% of brides still choose a white or off-white wedding dress color, there are a number of ways to get away with wearing white to a wedding without looking bridal. White-based prints, like this breezy pink floral chiffon maxi dress, white pants and/or jumpsuits, and heavy colorful accessories are all viable solutions. 

Lastly, and most importantly, you need to consider the personality of the bride. Read the situation accordingly. Now-a-days, more and more brides (11% according to BRIDES) are looking to make a splash by wearing something non-traditional themselves, like a cocktail-length dress, separates, jumpsuits, and non-white gowns. If this is your bride, you’re probably 100% in the clear. If your bride has been planning her fairy tale wedding since she was 4 and is more on the traditional side, maybe don’t wear white to avoid offending her– and potentially getting thrown out. It does happen.

Wearing White to a Wedding: How to Do It (If You Dare)

As mentioned above, white-based prints are widely acceptable. If you’re nervous about them, try to choose a bold or colorful all-over print, like this pretty pink floral design, to distract from the white base. This particular style is light, breezy, and features a tiered skirt– all characteristics of a non-traditional wedding gown. It makes a killer fancy brunch, date night, and/or church outfit, too. Plus, it’s currently on sale for $65 and is worth every penny! I ordered an XS, and it fits true to size. You can find full outfit details at the bottom of this post.

Wearing White to a Wedding: After Market Floral Chiffon Maxi Dress Wearing White to a Wedding: After Market Floral Chiffon Maxi Dress Wearing White to a Wedding: After Market Floral Chiffon Maxi Dress Wearing White to a Wedding: After Market Floral Chiffon Maxi Dress Wearing White to a Wedding: After Market Floral Chiffon Maxi DressWearing White to a Wedding: After Market Floral Chiffon Maxi Dress Wearing White to a Wedding: After Market Floral Chiffon Maxi Dress Wearing White to a Wedding: After Market Floral Chiffon Maxi DressShop The Look: Floral Chiffon Maxi Dress, $65 (currently 30% off) | Monogrammable Uber Clutch, $190 | Gladiator Sandals, $33 | Pearl Stud Earrings, $9

What are your thoughts on wearing white to a wedding? For more wedding guest outfit inspiration, click here for a round-up of spring wedding guest dresses under $50. If you’re a fan of vintage, click here for an affordable $18 dress you’ll love!

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30 thoughts on “Wearing White to a Wedding: How to Do It (If You Dare)

  1. Rachel

    The maxi is gorgeous, but it might still raise some eyebrows. I agree with most of your points. I’d say solid white, off white or cream are big wedding guest no nos, especially white lace or chiffon. White dresses with colored patterns or white pants/skirts with a colored top are usually okay.

    You’d be amazed at how many people actually don’t know about wearing white to a wedding. A family friend told us that their 18-year-old daughter was going to wear her white chiffon graduation dress to our wedding and everyone seemed surprised when I said to tell her to pick a different color dress. My wedding dress was white chiffon (they didn’t know). When I confided in my maid of honor about it, she offered to spill wine on the girl and I’m sure she’d have done it. In the end the girl RSVPed yes for herself plus a date (we didn’t give her a plus one) and didn’t show up, which was probably best for all involved.

    Reply
    1. Stephanie Ziajka Post author

      Hi Rachel! I can completely see being bothered by a white chiffon maxi dress– and I can see being bothered by this dress, as well. I can also see being bothered most by someone wearing jeans or distasteful clothing to my wedding. That’s why I emphasized the importance of reading the situation and considering each individual bride’s feelings. If there’s ever a question, I suggest either asking directly or avoiding the color altogether! Oh, and I’m glad you didn’t end up having to waste any wine on your special day! šŸ™‚

      Reply
  2. Jordyn Sifferman

    I haven’t been a bride yet but I can’t see being bothered if a guest wore a floral dress like this to the wedding. I would be more bothered if someone showed up in jeans haha. This dress is so cute and definitely not bridal!

    Reply
  3. Kait Around The Kingdom

    While this dress is absolutely gorgeous and I love all things floral, I still don’t think I would wear it to a wedding! Only because I’ve been the bride before and while this particular matter wouldn’t bother me, it may bother another bride!

    Reply
    1. Stephanie Ziajka Post author

      Totally agree. That’s why I emphasize the importance of reading the situation and considering each individual bride’s feelings. It’s her day! If it could potentially bother her, either ask her directly or steer clear of white altogether.

      Reply
  4. Jiawun Phng

    This is such a cute dress! I honestly didn’t know that you shouldn’t wear white to a wedding.. I guess we don’t have that “rule” here in Malaysia haha. But it makes total sense to not want to wear anything that reesembles a wedding dress to someone else’s wedding haha. Great tips!

    Reply
  5. Logan Abbott

    I honestly think that wearing white to a wedding strongly depends on the bride and groom and what they want. I know I’d personally always steer clear, and if I had something that I think could be appropriate, I’d make sure to check with the bride first!

    Reply
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