Wedding guest attire is one of the trickiest queries we get. What to wear to a wedding is already a doozy to figure out, and decoding the dress code on the invite sometimes requires a degree. But figuring out what NOT to wear to a wedding can be just as difficult. One wrong move and you're in "that" guest territory. As a wedding guest you want to look your best, of course (you never know, that ex—the one you want to pine over you— just might be there), but there are certain rules that every wedding guest should follow when it comes to the dress code.
Some are obvious and others can best be described as subjective. Using your best judgement sometimes isn't enough, so we've outlined exactly what you should not wear to a wedding. Want to avoid an awkward wedding guest attire situation? Read on for seven rules that always apply.
This should be a given, but we've seen a lot of pale pinks, metallics, and even actual white dresses on wedding guests. Simple rule, unless the dress code calls for an all white wedding, rule out anything that could remotely be confused with a wedding dress (even if it's a short white dress, don't do it).
Anything that Outshines the Bride: Read Sparkly, Vegas-y
The last thing you want to do is literally outshine the bride. If the dress code is formal and you want a little sparkle, keep it minimal. Anything that is too bright/shiny/metallic will literally take eyes off the bride and put them on you. Don't be that kind of guest.
Nothing Too Sexy
And this too. We're all for showing a little skin, but a wedding is not the place to wear your shortest or lowest cut look. Plus many weddings take place in a house of worship, where covering up is more appropriate. Keep that sexiest look for any other night out on the town.
We don't care how casual the dress code is, wearing jeans to a wedding is absolutely unacceptable. Even if the wedding is in a barn/beach/movie theater, your mom would never be ok with you wearing jeans to someone else's wedding—a.k.a., it's just bad manners. Instead, go for an oh-so-chic and wedding-guest-appropriate jumpsuit.
The Same Color as the Bridesmaids
This one can be tough to avoid, but if you know what color the bridesmaids are wearing in advance it would be fairly tacky to show up in the same hue. You don't want it to look like you're upset you didn't make the bridal party, do you? That being said, if you're not that close to the bride this can be an impossible one to sidestep. Good luck.
While we've heard tales of brides forbidding their guests from wearing ANY bright colors at all (say goodbye to that gorgeous hot pink dress you've been eyeing), it seems red is a particular tone that can offend certain brides. A polling of Brides staffers showed that not wearing red to a wedding is a standard rule most of us have heard of and also practiced. While this one can go either way, really, err on the safe side and avoid being the lady in the red. Especially at a Chinese wedding where the bride herself wears a red dress.
Hear us out: black is a very sophisticated color choice. But some associate it with "what you wear to a funeral." Don't bring any sadness with you to your friend's happiest day. If you must wear black, try a dress or separates with a moody floral print on a black background.