Hmmm, this is a tricky one. Can you really wear black to a wedding ceremony? Perhaps in the past, this would have been frowned upon at a traditional wedding, but hey, we can wear whatever wedding attire we want now – right?
Well, it’s not quite that simple, and we really don’t want to offend anyone. Even if the bride is okay with it, you don’t want any judgment coming from their parents, a grandmother, or an older aunt. Traditionally, black is the color of mourning, and we would not want you to give off that vibe!
Sometimes you will find a dress code on the wedding invitation or website, but not always, which can sometimes cause confusion; what even is ‘smart casual’ anyway?!
We’re going to walk you through everything you need to consider before you click ‘buy’ on that awesome black cocktail dress in your shopping basket.
What time of year is the wedding happening?
First things first – when is this wedding taking place? If it’s a summer wedding, wearing black may not be the best idea anyway. You don’t want to make yourself even hotter – I’m guessing “Sweaty Guest” is not the look you were going for?
However, if it’s an autumn or winter wedding, it’s likely to be darker earlier, and wearing black feels like it may be more acceptable. If the ceremony is in an outdoor venue, you’ll find many guests wearing coats or jackets, so, likely, you won’t be alone in your choice to wear black.
What kind of wedding are we talking about?
Now let’s think about the type of wedding they are having. Is the venue traditional or modern? Is it outdoors or inside?
If the wedding is very traditional or a formal wedding and many older relatives will be there, think about whether anyone could take a deeper meaning to someone wearing black. It’s hard to judge, but it’s best to avoid the problem altogether if there is a concern.
If the couple is getting married on the beach or in a garden somewhere in the sunshine, perhaps black would be a little too serious, and a lighter color would fit better.
Otherwise, you should be fine with the color black.
And if the invite says black tie, then I say the clue is in the title – black is fair game! The black-tie wedding dress code automatically invites you to go for something glam and dressy, and black definitely works here.
Is this a daytime or evening-only wedding?
If this is an evening wedding or you are invited as an evening guest, then I say you can wear your fabulous black outfit loud and proud. You may find other people wearing the same color.
However, if you are there as a full-day guest, we’d expect to see wedding guest attire in a wide array of colors. If there is a niggle of doubt, remember it’s harder to hide at a daytime event! It really does come down to personal choice here.
Let’s think about the details of this black outfit
Okay, so when you say you want to wear black to a wedding, exactly how black are we talking? Let’s talk details. Is it entirely all black? Floor-length, long sleeves, or are we showing a little leg, arm, and back? Show off a little skin, we say!
If it’s a floral print or the outfit includes other colors, this makes the decision easier; you’re all good.
If the outfit includes glitz or sequins, this works for the evening or black-tie weddings mentioned above.
And if you’ve really got your heart set on an all-black number, then think about your accessories. A colorful hat, headband, or fascinator can brighten up a black outfit. It will be much more socially acceptable to that judging aunt if you match your shoes and even your handbag. A chunky necklace, bracelet, or other bold accessories will also work wonderfully.
You can also add a splash of color with the makeup you choose – an intense blush and a bright lip will lighten you right up!
Can guys wear a black suit?
For guys, this one feels simpler. Yes, it’s generally okay for a guy to wear black to a wedding. A black suit indicates a more sophisticated formal event, so it’s still worth thinking about the style of the wedding you’re attending.
If it’s a casual affair, for example, outdoors in summer or a beach wedding, then perhaps a lighter blue or gray suit may feel more proper.
Could we just ask?
If you are still uncertain about your decision to wear black to a wedding, consider how well you know the couple. If there is no dress code on the invite, could you just ask the bride in advance if she or any of the families would mind? Honesty is the best policy, they say.
A frank conversation with her may be the best way to make your final decision on this point. If she says yes, then you’ll still have time to get yourself another fabulous outfit. And save that black one for another occasion. And if she says no, she does not mind, then WIN-WIN – you can wear it with pride!
And if you’re still unsure…
If you have gone through all the points above and are still unsure whether to wear black to a wedding, our advice would be to ditch it. It would certainly be safer to wear an alternate color. And we wouldn’t want you to have any concerns on the day itself – you’re there as a guest to enjoy every minute of the celebrations!
But whatever you do, please don’t wear white. That is a whole other story.