We’ve all been there, you’re finally set in terms of what you will wear to your friend’s wedding, and it feels and looks perfect. You are sure that nothing could go wrong, and you can focus on everything else because you no longer have to worry about what you will wear to the wedding.
And because the wedding didn’t have a theme for the wedding guests, your red dress is perfect for the wedding. But then, as you catch up with the rest of your friends’ group, someone mentions that it is forbidden, wrong, or superstitious to wear red as a wedding guest.
Suddenly, you’re frazzled, and though some of you know that the red dress was perfect for you, everything else said about the color red now makes you feel nervous.
Well, I have been here before, and this article gives all the important information about what colors to wear to a wedding as a wedding guest in the absence of a theme, and more importantly if red is wrong for wedding guests.
So, let’s get right into it!
Can you wear red to a wedding as a guest?
The short answer to this is yes, as long as the dress you settle on is elegant and tastefully designed, and if it is not against the color theme recommended or the cultural traditions or requirements/ restrictions by culture, events, or the couple.
You should avoid flashy colors when attending a wedding as a wedding guest – so, no neon or other bright colors that would distract and take the attention away from the bride or the bridal team.
According to experts, you can wear any color as a wedding guest, as long as it is not on the exempted list by the couple. It would help if you also avoided white, cream, or ivory.
And if you must wear red to the wedding, go for a minimalist silhouette to avoid taking attention away from the bride and groom and the bridal party.
The good news is that most people and brides don’t even notice who wears red to the wedding, as long as the design of the dress is simple and not over-the-top flashy.
Remember that traditionally, the only color off-limits in weddings for the wedding guests is white and off-whites, including cream and ivory.
However, the good news is that things are now changing, and the only time you should avoid a color is when the bride has asked the guests to avoid some colors.
Also, don’t wear red to a wedding if red is one of the wedding’s colors. You don’t want to be confused with the bridesmaids just because you wore a bright red glowing red dress.
If you love red and still want to stick close to the theme, you may want to wear a dress in different prints and red details or different hues or shades of red.
Wearing red to a wedding superstition
There’s nothing wrong with wearing red to a wedding, as long as the bride is not against it. And the superstition about the red color making you wish you were dead is regarded as an ancient tale that doesn’t mean much today.
How to choose A WEDDING-APPROPRIATE red dress
While it is generally appropriate to wear a red dress to a wedding, some the red dresses are appropriate, but others are not. To avoid crossing lines, here are some recommendations to keep in mind:
- Choose an appropriate red dress– the keyword here is appropriate. You need to ensure that your red dress is appropriate for the weather, design, season, and the wedding’s dress code. This applies to all other colors that you can choose for the wedding. Also, consider the dress’s length, cut, and patterns for maximum comfort at the wedding.
- Alternate variations of red– if you love the color red and have a lot of red in your wardrobe, you may want to look for a dress in a different hue of red. Some of these colors include berry, wine red, or burgundy. These are great options because red is quite bright and eye-catching and stands out too much, but these other colors are a lot more muted, depending on the undertones. Some of the common undertones that make the red dresses less bright include rust and magenta red, among others listed above. If you’re unsure about the ideal hue of red to wear, go for a burgundy dress, especially for winter and fall weddings.
- Silhouette– you also need to pay attention to your silhouette and how the dress makes you look. If you must wear the bright red dress, ensure that its cut is well-balanced in a tasteful style that would make the dress more appropriate for the wedding. Think of wearing a dress with a high neckline, long sleeves, or a midi skirt, among other details.
- Couples and cultural specifications– it’s also essential for you to think about and always consider the specifications and the preferred color themes by the couple and/or their cultural beliefs. Some couples and cultures are completely against the color red; others don’t mind it, while others, like the Chinese, actually consider red the color for happiness. So, think of these things first, and only wear red if it’s acceptable; but avoid it or pick other colors if the couple or their culture is against red in weddings.
- Comfort– whatever color you choose to wear to the wedding you have been invited to, you need to make sure that you are the most comfortable. You must be comfortable in the red dress you intend on wearing. If you have even the slightest doubts about the red dress, you should not wear it. The dress you ultimately wear to the wedding must be the one that you feel 100% comfortable in. If you don’t feel the red dress 100%, then pick something else.
The Colors You Can’t Wear to a Wedding
- White– even though things have changed over the years and rules can be broken, white is still one color you should avoid wearing when attending a wedding. This is because at least 80% of brides wear white, and you will be competing with them if you wear white too.
- Ivory– whether off-white, ivory, vanilla, bone, eggshell, cream, etc.- is essentially close to white, and you shouldn’t wear it to the wedding. You should not wear a dress whose fabric or patterns are ivory, white, or off-white – this includes stripes, polka dots, or even florals. As long as the dress’ color can be misconstrued as ivory or white, you should not wear it.
- Gold or champagne– though trendy, more and more brides are choosing to add these hues to their wedding gowns, and so you should also avoid these colors. But if you want to wear a dress in this color family, avoid the predominantly champagne or gold-colored dresses. Avoid the pale silver-hued dresses too.
- Light pastels– avoid blush or the pale mint dresses or outfits in general when attending a wedding. And if you must wear pastels, first try taking photos of the dress, and only go for the dress if it will retain its green or pink hue after being photographed in the sun. But if the dress looks more white, you shouldn’t wear it.
- Neon– avoid the overly bright dresses whose hues are too loud. They may not be traditional wedding colors but may steal the attention of the newlyweds, so avoid neon colors.
- Very sparkly metallic colors– these come off as whites and will take away the spotlight from the bride, which is not cool.
- Denim– this is just too casual and not advisable for weddings
- Bridesmaids’ colors ask about this if it is not specified in the invitation. And also, ask if it hasn’t been specified.
If the bride/ couple and the culture are not against the color red and comfortable with it, you can wear the red dress to the wedding.
But try other colors if you’re uncomfortable wearing red to the wedding.
Stephanie is a jewelry lover when she was a teenager. Her major was fashion design when she was in college. She is a jewelry designer at SOQ Jewelry and other design companies. Now she is also a writer for our website. She writes a lot of designs&brands posts with very actionable tips.