8 Colors You Should Never Wear to a Wedding (And It's Not Just White)
You may be surprised to find some of these shades aren't appropriate.
Even when you're not the bride, finding an outfit for an upcoming wedding can be a daunting task. Not only are you worried about the style and fit, but for these particular events, you also have to be mindful of the colors you're reaching for. You're probably aware that white is a no-no, but other than that, there aren't really hard and fast rules for colors you should never wear to a wedding.
"Wedding dress codes tend to be more gray than black and white," Elizabeth Kosich, certified image stylist and founder of Elizabeth Kosich Styling, tells Best Life. "Of course, it's common knowledge that the number one rule for wedding guest attire is to never wear white. However, there are other colors to avoid that are less widely known."
To avoid being a "fashion faux pas" at these celebrations, Kosich and her fellow stylists recommend staying away from a few specific shades. Read on for the eight colors you should steer clear of at any wedding.
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On their wedding day, the attention should always be on the bride and groom, so stylists say you should avoid overtly bright colors, like shades of neon yellow, pink, orange, or green.
"Neons are the most conspicuous colors of all, and so it's best to avoid them," Kosich says.
Brigid Stasen, elite stylist at Bridge Your Style, also says neon hues should be avoided, but that doesn't mean you can't have fun with your ensemble.
"Don't let that stop you from incorporating some color into your ensemble," she says. "Consider jewel tones or soft pastels for a tasteful pop of color."
The same color as the bridal party
This one will vary with each occasion, but fashion experts say you should always try and avoid the colors the bridesmaids are wearing.
"It creates the same interference as wearing white; you don't want to blend in or be confused with the bride or bridesmaids," says Tara West, fashion stylist, lifestyle blogger, and podcast co-host. "Doing so will bring unwanted attention to your look and create a distraction."
Kristi Spencer, etiquette expert and founder of The Polite Company, says if you aren't sure what color the bride chose for their bridesmaids, there's also no harm in asking.
"A simple solution is to politely ask the bride the color scheme and avoid those colors," Stasen suggests. "This will ensure you don't clash with the bridal party and can enjoy the festivities with ease."
For those that aren't comfortable asking, West says there are a few common colors: "Blush, rose, and pale pink tones are often seen on the bridal party."
At pretty much any wedding, stylists also say denim fabric or anything in a denim-like color isn't appropriate.
"Even if the wedding is on a dude ranch, steer clear of denim and anything in its color family," Stasen says. "Denim is often associated with a casual look, [and] is unsuitable for a wedding setting. Opt for more formal fabrics to ensure you are appropriately dressed for the occasion."
In addition, wearing denim won't win you any favor with the happy couple.
"Out of respect for the couple and their auspicious occasion, don't think twice about leveling up from denim," Kosich adds. "Remember photos last forever, and you don't want to be remembered as 'that' guest."
Similar to the situation with neons, you should skip metallics like bold coppers or shiny silvers at a wedding.
"Always remember that, as a wedding guest, you are there to celebrate the bride and groom and not draw attention to yourself," Kosich says. "Look-at-me metallics make you stand out and, ultimately, shift attention away from the bride. Save your flashy metallic dress for the next cocktail party, not the next wedding."
Stasen also had metallics on her list of no-nos, citing shiny champagne colors, specifically. "It's best to steer clear and avoid any potentially awkward moments," she says.
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Many of us reach for black when we want something flattering that's easy to accessorize. But while it's fine to have black accents when attending a wedding, Spencer says you might want to choose something other than a full black ensemble.
"While it's an old rule, wearing all-black attire to a wedding may still be interpreted as a sign of disapproval," she says. "However, a black suit paired with a crisp white shirt and a tasteful tie is acceptable."
This one is a bit tricky, as we all have different opinions of what constitutes a "loud" color or pattern. But stylists say you should use your best judgment—and if you feel like your outfit may pull focus, something's off.
"Steer clear of outfits with bold patterns, loud colors, or excessive embellishments that might divert attention from the couple," Spencer says.
Kosich notes that those brightly colored sequins and bold florals should be reserved for other events.
"While sequins are festive, they are also attention-grabbing," she says. "Be mindful to not redirect focus to you and instead consider a silk dress in a floral print that harmonizes with your undertone and scale. Avoid floral prints that are too 'loud.'"
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Another color that isn't always wedding-appropriate is red, West says.
"Red is beautiful for almost any event, but I recommend skipping it for a wedding," she explains. "While this color flatters many skin tones and often looks very sexy, red can also steal the spotlight and take over the focus in a photo with the bride or bridal party."
If red is still calling your name, West says that you can incorporate it via a manicure or pedicure. In addition, the entire color family isn't off limits: Kosich says you can go for a deep burgundy as a "power color."
Anything close to white
If you think you have a little wiggle room when it comes to wearing white at a wedding, think again. Any shades that are even remotely close should be avoided out of respect for the bride—even if she isn't wearing white on the big day!
"White is off-limits for a wedding or bridal event as a guest, but we need to be more specific. [You shouldn't wear] any color in the family of white such as off-white, cream, eggshell, beige, or champagne," West says. "If the hue and tones of your look are similar to a shade of white or a shade that a bride could wear, steer away from it."
Spencer notes that this could also apply to colors like light gray, which may look white in pictures.
However, Stasen notes there are minor exceptions, as your outfit can have "hints of white in a pattern," and you can also sport a subdued white accessory.
"The key is to avoid an overwhelmingly white outfit that could overshadow the bride," she says. "By following this simple etiquette tip, you'll ensure that the bride remains the star of the show."