Can I Wear Black to a Wedding?

black cami dress

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 a 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.
  • If You’re Pale, Then Tanning is Key. It’s important that your skin has a healthy glow. Try a self tanner like

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    Catherine Brock

    As a Southern California transplant now living in the Midwest, Catherine has turned layering into an art form and accepted that UGGs actually do have a place in the stylish lady's wardrobe. She's been featured in Woman's World Magazine,, Refinery29, and has made appearances on ABC7 Chicago, FOX2News St. Louis, KCAL9 Los Angeles, Fox19 Cincinnati, WGN TV Chicago and WCPO TV Cincinnati.

    Blog Comments

    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.

    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?

    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.

    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.

    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?

    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 !!

    “You don’t have to go to NYC to get SoHo style”.

    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)

    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.

    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.

    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!!!!

    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?

    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 also has small silver beads in the flowers, what do you think please let me know before saturday as thats the wedding thanks x

    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

    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!

    I am wearing a black dress with yellow shoes to a wedding.  Do I wear gold or silver jewelry?

    I am wearing a sage dress to a wedding what shoes would look good, the dress also had a silver border.

    Day or night wedding?

    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.

    I would say yes as long as it is after Easter or that time of year. I guess I am conservative about the old rules.

    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.

    My cousin’s wedding was done in black and white. It was beautiful.

    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=“”>hampers</a&gt;

    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?

    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?

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

    if the sandals are strappy- go for it. But please DO NOT wear panythose with the sandals.

    What is wrong with pantyhose and heeled sandals as long as the hose are sheer?

    Hi Brenda!

    If the sandals are open-toe, showing off the seam at the toe isn’t a great look. As well, even seamless pantyhose don’t look that great wrapped around your toes. Also, (and this is a personal preference), sandals look better with a bare leg, while pumps work just fine with sheer hose.


    I was thinking more about high heeled sandals. You are right. Sandals would not look good with hose, even sheer hose.

    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!!

    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.

    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?

    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!

    Going to a Wedding this month got a black dress ,so what kind of shoes will go with this

    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.

    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

    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?

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

    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.

    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

    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?

    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

    A bit of an issue has popped up..basically Bridemaids in african violet, MOB taupe, MOG champaigne, GrandMOG champaigne other GrandMOG pale 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!!

    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…

    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 !

    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?

    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!!

    “It’s important that your skin has a healthy glow.”

    To whom is it important? What lame advice. Pale girls, rock that porcelain complexion. It used to be coveted, back in the day. And there’s nothing “healthy” about increasing your risk of skin cancer.

    Nice post. I like your idea.

    Very interesting post. Black is one of the most elegant color choices that can be worn at any special occasion. And I agree with that accessories can be the key when wearing black on a wedding. On wedding, a woman can look stunning in black dress with the suitable accessories.

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