(Closed) Why is it inappropriate to wear white or ivory to a wedding?

posted 11 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 58
1 posts

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SerenaSF:  imagine my shock when the emcees wife changed from a flowery summer dress into an ivory lace tea length dres just before we all headed to the ceremony! Her dress was actually made from the lace I ordered but did not receive. My dear friend and bridesmaid told her to change back because her dress was too similar to mine but she refused. I could no longer be friendly to someone so rude and insensitive and have not spoken to these people since my wedding in 1989. 

Post # 59
2368 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: NJ

The idea that anyone is going to overshadow the bride is nonsense. That isn’t going to happen no matter what color a dress is.

It is just a tradition, anymore. For my wedding I wore peach, so people aren’t supposed to wear peach? I didn’t care.

At my nephew’s wedding my sister-in-law wore a white capri-pants/jacket outfit with a colored top under. It was so far off from a wedding gown it didn’t even matter.

There are so many rules about guests attire that are antiquated or stupid, to begin with. Here are some:

No red, no black. Not the same color as the bridal party. No prints.

At the same nephew’s wedding, I wore a leaf-print 2 piece dress that was orange, black and peach. someone online told me that was inappropriate. What? It looked like the opposite of a wedding gown!


  • This reply was modified 6 years, 4 months ago by DanaWeddingGuest. Reason: To Add
Post # 60
715 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

I think your dress was find since it had black in it and I wouldn’t mind that, but as for an all white dress it’s just tradition here. I would however be very offended if someone wore solid white or ivory to my wedding. I wouldn’t say anything to them or cause a scene. But I would be quite sour about it. To me, white is only for the bride and the focus is on the bride pretty much the entire day. So to me, someone else wearing white would be taking attention away from the bride on her special day. <br /><br />I’m also from the south though so it’s probably a bigger deal here haha. Most people would practically fall over from shock if a guest showed up in white. I think it all depends on where you live though. I actually have a friend who wore a black dress, so no one was allowed to wear black, but white was perfectly fine. And I know in Hong Kong a lot of brides right now wear multiple dresses in different colors, so guests wear whatever they want since it would be impossible to “ban” so many colors that guests can wear. 

Post # 61
1305 posts
Bumble bee

I wouldn’t care, I also really don’t get it.  I wouldn’t personally do it because I know how stuck people are on it (plus I tend to stay away from white, even outside weddings), but if someone showed up to my wedding in a white dress, I wouldn’t think twice.  Same thing with bright red, or any other “forbidden” colors.

If people are “confusing you” with the bride at a wedding, why are they even in attendance?  Also, it’s pretty freaking obvious who the bride is, and all eyes are on the newlyweds anyways.


The only thing I really think is a big “no no”, and it even depends on the wedding theme, are “club” type dresses, and being scandily clat in general.  To me, wedding are still sacred and should remain tasteful regardless of your religious beliefs.  

Other than that, I want guests to wear what they feel excellent wearing.

Post # 62
1460 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

I think the “why” is that it isn’t socially acceptable.  Yes some brides dont care or even notice, and yes the bride will be “the bride”/the center of attention either way, but their are other brides who would be very upset or more traditional guests who would find it rude. 

As other PP have said there are so many other colors and patterns that are available.  Why would you want to match the person meant to stand out. If I knew the bride was walking down the eisle in a pink dress I would avoid pink at all costs, but that is just me!  There is no question who is the bride ever, but there is no need to potentially stir up drama on a day when it isn’t needed.





Post # 63
10656 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

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Miss Tattoo:  But that is quite  different isnt it, specific  requests and all. As with  the pp who wore green and was OK with guest wearing that ( they could, I assume, hardly have guessed green would be  off limits or the wedding colours s)

The situations you describe  are not the same  at all as the girl/woman who turns up in obvious formal plain white /ivory. Not wearing  it is a mark of respect to the bride, whose wedding day it is and who is expected to wear a white dress. It is not really about being   mistaken for  the bride ( tho it happened at a wedding  a pp was at , the white  eyelet affair !), it’s about,  as   many pp’s have said, of all the colours  you could choose, for one  day, for heavens sake, let the bride be the only one in it!

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