Can I Wear Black to a Wedding?

Dear Budget Fashionista,

I have a wedding to attend in late June and I found a black dress with small white polka dots that I love. Can I wear black to a wedding?

Answer: While you want to avoid wearing black to a daytime wedding, it’s fine to wear the dress to an evening wedding (i.e. weddings that start after 5pm).

Tips for Wearing Black to a Wedding

Add Color to the Outfit.  A colorful wrap/pashmina (which you can find for less than $20 at stores like Target, TJ Maxx, Ross) can add a much needed dose of color to the outfit.
Show Some Skin. When it comes to weddings,  leave the boring long sleeves/high cut black dresses for funerals. Wear outfits that show skin and add a bit of sexiness to counter-balance the dark color, like an halter or strapless dress.
Accessories are Key.  Accessories are key when wearing black to a wedding. Look for accessories, especially jewelry, that adds a bit of sparkle (faux diamonds, crystals, etc) and/or color to your outfit.
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Comments

  1. Anne says

    Love that dress!  If the wedding ceremony is to be held in a house of worship, you should add a shrug, jacket or wrap of some sort.

  2. Kari says

    I have been planning an outfit for a wedding since October! It is a July wedding of a dear friend from college, and it will be a reunion of sorts, enabling me to see friends I haven’t seen in years. Of course, I want to make a great impression ;).

    However, I have been having so much trouble. At first I was looking for a dress, but I can’t find one this isn’t cliched or overdone. (Wrap dresses are stunning and simple, but I have a feeling everyone will be wearing one). So I will be wearing a top/skirt combination. I’ve always been taught that black is ok, but the only person that can wear white is the bride. I’ve seen a great outfit of a a colbalt blue top and a white (or black) pencil skirt with black shoes and a white clutch. Is a white skirt, or white accessories or patterns w/ white ok now?

  3. TBF says

    Hey Kari-

    Wearing white to a wedding,even with another color, is a risky move.. mostly because it depends on the scale of the white piece-  a white skirt with a blue duster is different than a white skirt with a blue shell/tank.  I would probably avoid white all together- just not worth the potential “faux pas”. That being said I wouldn’t wear black shoes, because that will make the outfit too dark. Instead, pair the outfit with one of this season’s hot new colors in shoes like red or even yellow. 

    Wrap dresses are becoming “over used” but that doesn’t mean you should skip the style all together.  Instead of wearing a wrap in a stretch jersey material, check out the cotton versions of the dress.

  4. Bethany says

    Well, if you wouldn’t wear it to church, why would you wear it to a wedding? But that’s me. I went to a wedding last August where half the women looked like they were ready to go out to a club afterwards. There were some great shoes in the mix, but otherwise it just didn’t seem appropriate. I would say that if you are going to wear black, adding colored accessories is a great way to break it up and make it look more appropriate. If it’s a church wedding, throw in a wrap or a shrug too.

  5. says

    Ah, wrap dresses would become overused just as I found one that fits me well. lol. Anywho… I learned my fashion etiquette from my grandma so I don’t think it is okay to wear an all black dress to a wedding happening in the daytime since it is not as formal as a late afternoon or evening wedding.

    A patterned black dress seems appropiate and black & white seems to be a huge trend this spring/summer. Do add bright colored accessories.

    When it comes to wearing separates, how about palazzo pants?

  6. says

    I think black is fine to wear to a wedding.  Nowadays mostly anything goes.  I wouldn’t wear black to the wedding if I were a parent of the bride or groom.  I think that sends a bad message…lol….and of course always accessorize !!

    Barbara
    http://www.sohoaccessories.com
    “You don’t have to go to NYC to get SoHo style”.

  7. Sasha says

    I thought black is always appropriate for a wedding?  At every wedding I’ve ever been to, about half of the women wear little black dresses.  Is that something that varies by region? (I’m in the northeast)

  8. Fiona says

    It’s a wonderful dress so I say go for it. I wore a black Chinese style dress with gold flowers to my sister’s wedding. No need for a wrap unless it’s chilly. A wedding is a celebration.

  9. suz says

    Black and white is safer than plain black but I’d still hesitate to wear that as a day dress to a wedding. I think it’d be fine after dark.

  10. Kari says

    Thank you, thank you TBF!! I didn’t even think about bright colored shoes! I think a taxi-cab yellow would look great with the cobalt top and black pencil skirt. Time to go shopping!!!!

  11. Lori says

    I have a white dress w/ black polka dots and black floral detail at the hem and a black belt. Would that be ok to wear to a wedding?

  12. sarah says

    iv got the same problem lori mine is a white dress with small black flowers, strapless, black band under the bust,knee length with a small black netting underneath.it also has small silver beads in the flowers, what do you think please let me know before saturday as thats the wedding thanks x

  13. Stef says

    Where are you people from? I live in NYC and have never been to a wedding——and I’ve been to a lot of weddings—- where at least 70% of the women were wearing non-black

  14. La says

    just surfing the net and came across this page, and boy am I glad I did!! Since you were all so helpful about the first dress question, I am attending a wedding on saturday and my boyfriend is in the wedding party. The colors of the wedding are sage green and silver (I think?)  i am planning on wearing a black halter dress to the reception but think it is inappropriate to wear to the church ceremony (color and style)

    I have a reddish chocolate brown jersey dress that crosses across the chest and ties in the back and there is a fine red trim along the neckline and where the dress crosses in the front… do you think that chocolate brown and red are okay to wear for a July wedding? and do you think this dress will be dressy enough for the church ceremony? Please help!!

    btw, I plan on adding fancy/sparkly red jewelry, red clutch, and if I can find them, gravity defying red heels

    thanks for any input in advance!

  15. TERESA says

    Dear Fashionist,
    I need advice. I am attending a wedding and am wearing a wine color dress that has a white bow.
    Is it ok for me to wear white shoes and to carry a white purse?
    If not, what others colors can you suggest that I wear?
    Thank you.

  16. Miss Vicki says

    I’ve always heard it’s worse to wear white to a wedding. I’ve wore black to a wedding three times (that I remember). One had pink accents, one had silver sparkle, and one had white trim. When I wear black to a wedding I make sure I don’t look like I’m going to a funeral by wearing accessories such as bold jewelry.

  17. hampers says

    Quite astonished with this query…for me, it’s really NOT advisable although black is a natural color but try to consider the event. It’s a wedding and we used to see black dresses worn during funeral (lol) so why bother to wear that color in a happy event such as a wedding? Unless otherwise one hates the groom or the bride (lol) <a href=“http://www.bradfordsbakers.com”>hampers</a&gt;

  18. doe eyes says

    i have a really nice black tube top dress that comes down to right past my knees its really cute, and i have a white sash to go over it. white pumps wth a sexy black heel for shoes. but i wanted to wear a red rose in my hair and maybe a red clutch. think that would work even though theres no red in the dress?

  19. Tiffany says

    I have a wedding to go to in July and I’ve been trying to find a dress to wear to it that I will be comfortable in cause I will be helping watch all of the little kids. I found this one cocktail dress that I really like, it fits and it’s very comfortable, but it only comes in red and black. The bridal party is wearing red, so I don’t want to get that one, but I was wondering if it was okay to wear the black one, maybe accent it with some bright colors or somthing? On that note, is it alright to accent your outfit for a wedding with the color of the bridal party?

  20. Susan Adams says

    I am wearing a cream sheath with blue lace jacket. Can I wear fancy gold sandals. I am the Grandmother

  21. TL says

    I have a wedding to attend this sunday now the dress i bought is white and black the top is white and the bottom is black its above my knees. Now im having trouble on what color heels to wear with and accessories I was thinking of red heels ..Also is it k to wear pantyhose (nude color) and what about one of those knit sweaters that r popular to wear over a dress help!!

  22. Trish says

    Only people with no taste wear black to weddings.. black is meant for funerals, and there’s a reason that it’s always been considered low-class to wear it to weddings.

  23. says

    I have been invited to a wedding this coming Saturday, and the dress code is formal. Formal wear is really hard to find and it’s so expensive. I bought a strapless long dress dark grey colour but the problem Is I need a small jacket to go with it I picked a black one, different material from the dress I bought. Is black jacket ok with the dark grey sprapless dress? Plus I bought a light grey purse to go with it and black high heels. Really need an urgent suggestion please?
    Thanks

    • TBF says

      Black is ok… you might also want to try a nice pashmina or shawl to add a little color to the outfit (you can pick one up in say a rich pink or a pattern that has both gray and a color in it). Try stores like TJ Maxx/Marshalls, Nordstrom Rack, Filene basement, etc for the scarf (usually under $20). Drape it across your shoulders. This way you’ll have both coverage and color! Have fun!

  24. Karen says

    Is it ok to where a strapless cream colored cocktail dress with gold layered netting over it and gold shoes to a December night wedding.

  25. Brenda Franklin says

    Can the mother of the bride wear a blackish dress? It has some beaded areas and is a combo of black and brownish fabric. It’s a beautiful dress. Bren

  26. Kathryn says

    I am having a very difficult time trying to find shoes for my wedding this summer. my dress is white and red. does anyone have any suggestions on color or where i can buy decent shoes?

    • TBF says

      Try DSWshoe or Zappos for amazing shoes. Assuming that red is the Aaccent color.. why not go for a pair of awesome red pumps?

  27. brenda says

    Is it ok to wear black to a wedding that starts at 3 30 till 12 midnight? Wedding is in Mid March.. Please advise I’m having second thoughts on this dress only because it’s almost Spring.

    • TBF says

      If it’s before the 20th of March (when we turn the clock ahead) then it should be okay as it will still get dark around 5:30/6pm

  28. Courtney says

    I am attending a wedding that my boyfriend is in, in about two weeks. It is a night wedding and I found the cutest dress that is black and white. The top part is like a off white color, then starting right under the boob area it’s black…with a black belt with two gold pieces that connect in the front… I was thinking of maybe throwing some coral high heels in it and doing my jewelry gold and the coral color.. Do you think that would go together?

    • TBF says

      Love the idea of coral with black and white… it adds a bit of pop to an outfit and coral is one of this season’s MUST have colors

  29. Kathy says

    A bit of an issue has popped up..basically Bridemaids in african violet, MOB taupe, MOG champaigne, GrandMOG champaigne other GrandMOG pale blue.now Grand MOB has chosen black……..bride not happy but GMOB difficult to deal with…Guys will all be in Charcoal Grey suits.. wedding at 6pm in June..Opinion needed as to the black dress…..Bride says she will need to put her in back for any photos and surround with suits at the very least. I (MOB…GMOB is mother in law) really do not want confrontation at this point, But will go there if need be. BTW she was told repeatedly to go neutral!!

    • TBF says

      To keep peace in the family- let her wear black…BUT have a special corsage made that has violet/blue. green in it to add a bit of color to her outfit (make sure it is a large corsage that can be pinned to her chest. In the photos have her stand next to the groom (you could even tell her that the GMOB are all standing next to the groom and the GMOG are standing next to the bride to show the family is “coming together”).

      If you know her size, then I would also purchase a dress in color and bring it to the wedding. Don’t be surprised if she feels a little left out and wants to wear a color…

  30. says

    Forget about how to wear black to a wedding.
    Most of the brides shouldn’t be wearing WHITE!!
    If you are on your 2nd or more marrige leave the white dress on the rack!
    If you are over 4o don’t bother to wear a white gown!
    Have children or have been shacking up with the groom!
    Leave the white dress on the rack, and be real !
    thefashionpeacock.tumblr.com

  31. Jo Ann says

    Can apantsuit be appropriate to wear to a 6pm wedding?  Or can I wear a long black velvetskirt?  Are either of these appropriate to wear?

  32. says

    who said not to wear black to a wedding? the fashion world?? that’s silly…you can wear anything you like. Black is not for funerals only. My daughter’s wedding colors were black and white with red roses. It was beautiful and very elegant!!

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