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Apr, 6 2023

Is It OK to Wear White to a Wedding?

men getting ready for wedding

Ah, the age-old question: “can you wear white to a wedding?” Some say yes, some say no, and some just say "I don't care, but they better not step on my dress." One of the longest-standing wedding attire rules remains a good rule of thumb today, and it makes sense; the reason why you shouldn’t wear white to a wedding is because it shouldn’t be your goal to outshine the couple.

Can Men Wear White to a Wedding?

While there are some exceptions to this ages-old faux pas, it’s definitely one to avoid for men and women alike — unless explicitly stated in the dress code or by the couple directly. And while this rule applies more-so to women’s dresses not showing up the bride’s, it remains true that the day belongs to the couple and you shouldn’t try to upstage them.

As a general rule, it's best to avoid wearing too much white, especially in formal settings. Instead, consider incorporating white into your outfit through accessories or subtle patterns and textures. With the right choices and attention to detail, you can create a stylish and elegant look that is sure to impress at any wedding.

How Much White Can You Wear to a Wedding?

Groom putting on his tie

Of course, this all doesn't mean that men can't wear any white to a wedding, just not so much where someone might describe your outfit as a whole as white, or one of its close relatives like cream or off-white. Generally, anything that might show up as overwhelmingly white in photographs would be best to avoid.

Another option for incorporating white into your outfit is through accessories such as pocket squares, cufflinks, or a tie. These accents can add a pop of white to your outfit without overpowering it. Now you may be asking, are there rules about specific articles of clothing that specifically shouldn’t be white? Turns out the answer is… kind of.

Can You Wear White Shoes to a Wedding?

White shoes can be a stylish addition to any outfit, but when it comes to weddings, things can get a little tricky. First and foremost, it's important to consider the dress code of the wedding. If the dress code is black tie, then white shoes are a definite no. You don't want to show up looking like you're on your way to a tennis match rather than a fancy wedding. In most cases, it’s best to go with a black dress shoe or brown leather dress shoe, depending on which matches your outfit best.

But, if the wedding is more casual, such as a beach or outdoor wedding, white shoes can be a great way to add a touch of style and sophistication to your outfit. Just make sure the shoes are appropriate for the setting – flip flops are a definite no-go.

A White Shirt?

groom folding pocket square

Certainly! In fact, white may be the most common color of men’s shirts at weddings. Unless the dress code is quite casual, though, you should definitely pair it with a nice jacket (just not a white one). White is a versatile color that can be paired with almost any other color, but it’s important to choose complementary shades. Avoid bright colors that can look too bold and flashy — instead, opt for subtle pastels or neutral tones. Navy, gray, or beige suits work well with a white shirt and create a timeless and classic look.

With some smart pairings, a white shirt can be a stylish and elegant choice for any wedding.

White Pants?

What about white pants, you ask? The answer is, well, it depends.

If the wedding invitation specifies a formal dress code, white pants may not be appropriate. Formal attire typically requires a darker suit or tuxedo, and white pants may be seen as too casual or even disrespectful. However, if the dress code is more casual or not specified, white pants can be a stylish and elegant choice. If you’re not sure whether it’d be appropriate to wear white pants, our advice is it’s probably best to just avoid them.

Who Can Wear White to a Wedding?

image of groomsmen on wedding day

One of the main reasons to avoid wearing white to a wedding is that people could confuse you for someone in the wedding party (or potentially someone on the wait staff). As a guest, your primary goal is to support the happy couple and not steal any attention away from them. If you’re part of the wedding party, though, there are several roles where it’s totally fine to wear predominately white attire.

Bride

image of bride and groom on wedding day

This one’s pretty obvious, but as the bride, you have every right to wear white on your big day. In fact, it's tradition! A white wedding dress is a classic choice that never goes out of style. Whether you opt for a long, flowing gown or a sleek and modern jumpsuit, white is the perfect color to make you feel like a true queen on your wedding day.

Groom

As the groom, you can wear whatever color suit you like on your wedding day (as long as your partner approves, of course)! A white tuxedo or suit is a classic choice that never goes out of style. Not only does it exude a sense of timeless elegance, but it also looks great in photos. If you're not keen on a full white ensemble, consider a white shirt or a white pocket square for a touch of crisp sophistication.

Bridesmaids

As a bridesmaid, you'll likely be asked to wear a specific color and style of dress. However, if the bride is wearing white, it's not uncommon for the bridesmaids to wear a similar color or a complementary shade of off-white or cream. This creates a cohesive and stylish look for the entire wedding party.

Groomsmen

As a groomsman, you'll probably be advised to wear a specific color or style of suit or tuxedo. But if the groom is wearing white, sometimes the groom may opt for the groomsmen to wear a similar color or a complementary shade of off-white or cream. Again, this can create a cohesive and stylish look for the wedding party as a whole.

What Can You Wear Instead of White?

When it comes to what to wear instead of white, or how you can incorporate white into your outfit, it's best to strike a balance between tasteful and tastefully understated. For example, you could consider wearing a light blue dress shirt with a gray plaid suit paired with a neutral-colored tie. Alternatively, you could opt for a white shirt with subtle patterns or textures, like a twill weave, paired with a navy suit or a gray suit. These combinations create a classic and timeless look while still incorporating a touch of white into your outfit.

FAQs About Wearing White to a Wedding

Can Women Wear White to a Wedding?

Traditionally, white has been reserved for the bride and wearing it as a guest was considered a major faux pas. However, in modern times, many brides opt for colorful or non-traditional wedding dresses, making it more acceptable for guests to wear white. That being said, it's still best to avoid wearing a white dress that could be mistaken for a bridal gown. If you’re feeling brave and do decide to wear white, make sure it's a different style or has different accessories from what a bride would wear.

Can You Wear Cream to a Wedding?

Cream is generally considered acceptable to wear for men's wedding attire, depending on the setting. Cream or ivory-colored suits are a stylish option for outdoor or summer weddings, and can be paired with a colorful tie or pocket square to add a pop of color. However, it's important to make sure the cream suit doesn't look too similar to the wedding party’s color scheme, and, of course, to adhere to the dress code and setting.

Can You Wear Black and White to a Wedding?

Wearing black and white to a wedding can be a chic and stylish choice, but it's important to make sure the outfit doesn't look too funereal. Avoid all-black outfits and instead opt for a patterned or embellished dress that incorporates black and white. Men can also wear black and white combinations, such as a black suit with a white shirt and black tie. It's also important to consider the dress code and time of day - a black and white outfit may be more appropriate for an evening wedding, a black-tie wedding, or a winter wedding.

Can You Wear White With a Pattern to a Wedding?

Yes, wearing white with a pattern to a wedding is perfectly fine as long as the pattern doesn't dominate the outfit. For women, a white dress with a subtle floral or polka dot pattern can be a great choice for a spring or summer wedding. Similarly, a white shirt with a patterned tie or pocket square can add a pop of color and style to a wedding outfit. As with all wedding attire, though, it's important to consider the dress code and setting of the event.

In Conclusion

We hope this has helped you narrow down your options for what to wear (and not to wear) to your next wedding. At Menguin, it’s our goal to make getting a suit that looks and feels great the simplest part of your prep. Our innovative rental process makes finding your perfect suit or tuxedo fast, easy, and effortless — delivered straight to you. And if anything doesn't fit the first time, we'll send free replacements right away.

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