What Not to Wear to a Wedding: 25 Items to Avoid | Shutterfly (2023)

Being invited to a wedding is a great honor. Your friends want you to help them celebrate one of the most important milestones in their lives. You’ve remembered to save the date and found a meaningful wedding shower gift idea. Now all you need is a flawless outfit.

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Picking out the perfect ensemble to attend a wedding is easier than you think. Sometimes all it takes is a little guidance. To help you, we’ve compiled a list of 25 items you should not wear to a wedding. By avoiding these fashion faux-pas, you will make a tasteful fashion statement and show respect for the bride and groom.

What Not to Wear to a Wedding: 25 Items to Avoid | Shutterfly (5)

(Video) 7 Things You Should Never Wear to a Wedding

1. White

One of the most obvious mistakes at a wedding is to match the bride. You should avoid wearing white at all costs. This includes ivory, off-white or even a light blue hue. The last thing you want to do is have guests coming up and congratulating you on your big day and asking about your wedding dress style instead of the actual bride. If white is your go-to, opt for light pastels so there is more of a contrast between you and the bride.

2. A Black Tuxedo

Just as ladies don’t want to upstage the bride, gentlemen don’t want to upstage the groom. Instead of an overly formal black tuxedo, men should dress in a suit or a blazer. It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed, but find a happy medium that won’t have you mistaken for the groom.

3. Anything Too Revealing

Skip the skimpy cocktail dress and opt for something a little more on the conservative side. Dresses and skirts should be approximately at knee-length. At a hot summer outdoor wedding, try wearing lighter fabrics rather than less of them. If the ceremony is held at a church or a temple, it is a good idea to bring a shawl or cover-up to cover your shoulders.

What Not to Wear to a Wedding: 25 Items to Avoid | Shutterfly (6)

4. Denim or Jeans

While you might assume that a barnyard wedding theme calls for your favorite pair of jeans, this is not the case. Unless the wedding invitation explicitly says to wear denim, opt for some well-tailored trousers instead. Remember, it is better to be overdressed than underdressed at a wedding.

5. Low-Cut Outfits

It is best to skip the plunging necklines for a wedding. Avoid wearing anything backless as well. Instead, try a sweetheart neckline with a tasteful necklace. You’re sure to turn heads for all the right reasons.

6. Sheer Material

Avoid wearing anything see-through or sheer at a wedding. Make sure you try on your outfit in a few different lighted areas (both natural and fluorescent) to ensure that nothing shows through. Try wearing more modest materials like chiffon or satin. If you still want to wear a sheer fabric, try wearing a dress that has sheer details in the sleeves, so long as it’s done tastefully.

What Not to Wear to a Wedding: 25 Items to Avoid | Shutterfly (7)

7. All Black

While this faux-pas is a bit in the gray area of what is acceptable for wedding attire, it is better to be safe than sorry. Black is typically worn by people in mourning at more somber affairs. Celebrate the love with a brighter color scheme. If you do want something darker, choose a blue or navy color rather than black.

8. Flip Flops

Save your flip-flops for the beach. If you’re not keen on wearing high heels all day, try some dressy sandals or stylish flats. For guys, pick a pair of closed toed shoes. If you’re attending a beach wedding, check with the bride and groom to see what their expectations are.

(Video) The Do’s and Don’ts of Wedding Guest Dresses | Wedding Guest Outfit #weddingguestdress #wedding

9. A Tiara

If the bride is having a fairy-tale wedding, she should probably be the one wearing the tiara. As the guest, opt for more subtle headwear. Try a cute headband or a garden hat that keeps with the couple’s dress code.

What Not to Wear to a Wedding: 25 Items to Avoid | Shutterfly (8)

10. Sparkly Cocktail Dresses

Avoid being overly-flashy with eye-catching metallics and sequins. It’s okay to have a little bit of sparkle on your accessories, but a bedazzled outfit will steal the spotlight.

11. Anything Too Gaudy

It’s okay to make a statement, but make sure it is done tastefully with a classy necklace, cute clutch or designer necktie. Avoid clashing colors or overly-bright neons. Remember, all eyes should be on the bridal party.

12. Animal Print

This also falls under the category of “too gaudy”. Instead of animal print, try something a little more appropriate, like some subtle stripes or polka dots. Fun and simple designs like these add personality to your outfit without being too aggressive.

What Not to Wear to a Wedding: 25 Items to Avoid | Shutterfly (9)

13. Distressed Clothes

Don’t be the guest that shows up in ripped jeans! Although the distressed look is ‘in’ right now, this is definitely not appropriate attire for a wedding.

14. Casual Slogan T-shirts

Slogan tees are too casual for a friend or family member’s wedding. Save your favorite tee for casual Fridays and opt for a more formal dress or suit. Take advantage of the opportunity to get dressed up in your best clothes.

15. Clubbing Shoes

Save those bold platform heels for a night out with your girls. Instead, try a classy pair of sandals or slingback heels if you want to make a statement with footwear.

What Not to Wear to a Wedding: 25 Items to Avoid | Shutterfly (10)

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16. Something That Mimics the Bridesmaids’ Dresses

As a guest, you want to make sure the bridal party gets the attention they deserve. If you are unaware of the color scheme of the wedding, reach out to one of the bridesmaids or groomsmen and ask. If you don’t want to pry, reference the colors found on the wedding invitations.

17. Bold Makeup

Try to go for a more subtle makeup look for a wedding. Use light neutral tones that highlight your natural features. Finish off your look with a light pink lip gloss for the perfect hint of shine.

18. Sweats

Save your sweats for Sunday mornings. If your main concern is being comfortable at the wedding, try on your outfit and shoes in advance to make sure you will be comfortable for the whole duration of the celebration.

What Not to Wear to a Wedding: 25 Items to Avoid | Shutterfly (11)

19. Rompers

Save your cute romper for the beach this summer. If you still want to mimic the look of a romper while being wedding-appropriate, opt for a fancier jumpsuit with cap sleeves and a cute belt. Pair with some summer wedges for the perfect outdoor summer wedding look.

20. Too Much Skin

Odds are that there will be a lot of the couple’s family at the wedding. In order to appear respectful, avoid showing a lot of skin and go for a more modest look.

21. Something That Reveals Your Undergarments

Although bralettes and bareback dresses may be trendy, embrace a more conservative look for a wedding. Try on your dress in advance to make sure your bra straps are covered, or purchase a strapless bra.

What Not to Wear to a Wedding: 25 Items to Avoid | Shutterfly (12)

22. A Ball Gown or Prom Dress

For a more formal wedding, it is typically expected that female guests wear a long dress. But instead of breaking out the gown you wore to prom, try wearing a more appropriate evening gown. If the wedding is during the day, a pretty maxi dress should do the trick.

23. Shorts

Even if the wedding is super casual, it is best to ditch your shorts. Ladies, try a skirt that falls right above the knee and pair it with a flattering blouse. For men, a nice pair of khakis will give you a more refined look.

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24. Sneakers

If the wedding happens to take place in a location that requires some extra walking (or maybe even hiking), consider wearing more sturdy shoes. For women, this might mean flats instead of heels. Although sneakers may seem like the ideal choice at the time, you want to show respect for the bride and groom by putting your best foot forward (literally!).

What Not to Wear to a Wedding: 25 Items to Avoid | Shutterfly (13)

25. Anything Against the Dress Code

The happy couple is most likely going to list their dress code on the invitation. Make note of this and dress accordingly as a sign of respect towards this unique moment in their lives. Even if the event is ‘semi-casual’ it is still better to show up in a suit and tie or a flattering dress than to appear underdressed.

As a wedding guest, it is important to show respect towards the bride and groom. After all, they did invite you to one of the biggest days of their lives. To show your gratitude, make sure you know the wedding basics like digital wedding etiquette and how to find the right wedding gift idea that will put a smile on the faces of the happy couple.

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What Not to Wear to a Wedding: 25 Items to Avoid | Shutterfly? ›

It doesn't matter if the dress code requests "casual" attire; jeans, T-Shirts, shorts, and sneakers are never appropriate to wear as a wedding guest. Show respect for the bride and groom by dressing formally.

What means something you should never wear as a wedding guest? ›

It doesn't matter if the dress code requests "casual" attire; jeans, T-Shirts, shorts, and sneakers are never appropriate to wear as a wedding guest. Show respect for the bride and groom by dressing formally.

What is inappropriate to wear as a wedding guest? ›

Avoid sequined dresses and any clothing that will draw attention away from the bride. A wedding isn't the proper time to make a bold fashion statement. Ditch your everyday jeans and tee. Even if the wedding initiation says “casual”, wearing sneakers, t-shirts, shorts, and jeans are never appropriate for a wedding.

What color is inappropriate to wear to a wedding? ›

Steer clear of off-white, eggshell, beige, champagne, cream, or any other super light color that could be mistaken for white. There are so many dress options available in a variety of hues, so steering clear of these shades should not be a major issue.

What should you not wear for wedding? ›

Steer Clear of Anything Too Casual

Even if a wedding is casual and relaxed, still dress with respect. No flip, flops, shorts, or jeans should be on your list of options to wear. Instead, ladies find a casual dress, and men wear a nice pair of this with a relaxed shirt.

Why can you not wear black to a wedding? ›

In the past, wearing black to a wedding was frowned upon, because black was a colour traditionally worn at funerals and when in mourning.

Is it a rule to not wear black to a wedding? ›

"Guests can absolutely wear black to a wedding," says Shawne Jacobs, President and Creative Director of Anne Barge. "In the past, black was a color typically worn for mourning. However, over the years couples have been more open to breaking the rules and opting for non-traditional, modern wedding dress codes.

Why can't you wear red to a wedding? ›

Why was red traditionally inappropriate for wedding guest attire? “Tradition dictates guests avoid wearing red out of fear that it could take attention away from the happy couple,” explains Hurwitz. “Visually, it's quite bold.

Can you wear a full length dress to a wedding? ›

Women should wear a formal floor-length gown that does not reveal the ankles at the hem of the dress, but if the wedding seems a bit less formal, a sophisticated cocktail dress may also be acceptable. Women may also wear elegant pantsuits. Men must wear a tuxedo.

Should you wear nylons to a wedding? ›

The truth is, as the mother-of-the-groom, you can wear whatever you want to the ceremony. While it's not required to wear pantyhose to weddings, we highly encourage you to look and feel fabulous for the occasion. Thigh highs are a glamorous way to help you reach this goal.

What colors should not be worn together? ›

7 Worst color combinations to avoid
  • Yellow and green. Yellow and green are two of the most popular colors in the world. ...
  • Brown and orange. ...
  • Red and green. ...
  • Neon and Neon. ...
  • Purple and yellow. ...
  • Red and purple. ...
  • Black and Navy.
Aug 18, 2022

Can I wear floral to a wedding? ›

Can I wear a floral pattern to a wedding? Yes! A floral print outfit is an appropriate and stylish choice for all seasons and types of weddings.

What colors not to wear to a wedding red? ›

You should avoid white because that color is typically reserved for the bride.

Can I wear a blouse and pants to a wedding? ›

Totally fine! Just make sure they're dressy enough for the nuptials. Start with tailored trousers and a polished blouse, or make things easy for yourself by grabbing a matching blazer. Pant suits are a great way to go, or you can coordinate the color of your pants with your top, like this monochrome moment.

What do female guests wear to weddings? ›

Women are expected to wear a full length gown that is formal and covers their ankles. A formal pantsuit can also be a great option.

Can I wear a maxi dress to a wedding? ›

Absolutely! Wearing a maxi dress to a wedding is a great choice year-round. Be comfortable and fashionable when you spare the gown and wear a maxi-length dress to a wedding. Also known as a tea-length or a full-length dress, a maxi dress is long with a hemline that typically rests at or just below your ankles.

Can I wear black accessories to a wedding? ›

To recap: as long as it's not considered culturally inappropriate or against the dress code, you can wear black to a wedding. Depending on where the couple is exchanging vows, which season their special day is taking place in, and what time of day everything begins, black may or may not be your best color option.

Can you wear a short dress to a wedding? ›

Is it inappropriate to wear a mini dress to a wedding? Definitely not! Mini dresses are appropriate for casual, cocktail, and semi-formal weddings. However, for a black tie, white tie, or formal dress code, skip the mini and instead opt for a floor-length gown.

Can you wear bright colors to a wedding? ›

Appropriate colors to wear to a wedding include colors that will allow you to blend in with everyone else. This is the bride's day; bright colors or patterns that draw attention to you are among colors not to wear to a wedding. Of course, avoid wearing white unless it's specifically requested by the couple.

How much black can you wear to a wedding? ›

"It is perfectly acceptable and chic to wear black to evening, black tie, and winter weddings." Ryncarz agrees that it's wise to gauge the attire of the wedding attendants. "When wearing black to a wedding, keep the outfit in line with the dressiness of the bridal party and wedding as a whole," she suggests.

Is it a bad omen to wear black to a wedding? ›

According to Western cultures, black is traditionally considered the color of mourning. As such, it was thought to be inappropriate for the happiest day of someone's life, and etiquette books traditionally advised against guests wearing black.

Can I wear a black and white floral dress to a wedding? ›

“How about a black-and-white dress?” We advise against wearing white to weddings, but a printed dress with a hint of white or ivory is definitely approved. A black-and-white dress is a classic choice, as long as the pattern isn't too distracting.

Can you wear floral white to a wedding? ›

"According to the Emily Post Institute, it's acceptable to wear white, as long as it doesn't 'distract from the bride or her attendant's dresses.

Does red mean you slept with the groom? ›

According to Bustle, the only place where wearing red to a wedding indicates the guest has slept with the groom is in southern parts of the US.

Can a guest wear the same color as the mother of the bride? ›

The wedding colours are for the wedding party, not guests

Unless you're in that bridal party, you'd be best to steer clear of trying to match them. Think of it a bit like a stage show. The actors, in this case the bridal party, all wear the same colour to identify themselves as being in the cast.

Is a 4pm wedding formal? ›

A daytime celebration (typically less formal) is held before 6 p.m., while an evening wedding (typically more formal) is held after 6 p.m. or begins a bit before and continues well into the night.

What is the dress code fabulous for a wedding? ›

"Fabulous Attire"

It means you're not restricted to black-tie, but says you gotta look good. It gives guests more leeway than "formal", and lets women dress up with "no rules. She should wear- A dressy dress, cocktail dress, full length dress, anything that says you made an extra effort to dress up.

What do you wear to a 4pm outdoor wedding? ›

If the event is not for a beach wedding, but some hours after lunchtime, the typical dress-code of an afternoon wedding is semi-formal. Consequently, it calls for cocktail dresses, LBDs or modest party dresses. If the invitation asks for formal attire, go for a cocktail dress or a dressy LBD.

Is it considered tacky to wear nylons with sandals? ›

Yes, you can wear pantyhose, so long as the shoe that you are wearing has a closed or peep toe. If it is a true sandal with an open toe, I will stay clear of pantyhose.

Should I wear nylons with a cocktail dress? ›

#1. Go without. If you don't care for pantyhose and you're comfortable going without, that's perfectly fine for all but the most conservative of semi-formal events. (If it's a business event, you may want to ask around and see what the other women are going to wear to be sure you look appropriate.)

Do people still wear pantyhose with dresses? ›

Classic sheer, nude pantyhose are worn with dresses to keep from baring legs, and all their imperfections, in formal and professional environments. They're not exactly a style statement, but more of a practicality.

What is the 3 color rule fashion? ›

The premise of the 3-color rule is not combine more than three colors in your outfit at any one time. The exceptions are black and white — they don't count, as they aren't technically colors, so they can be intermixed without actually adding a color to your outfit.

Do fake flowers look good for wedding? ›

Using fake flowers or plants for a wedding is not tacky at all as long as you select high-quality artificial plants that look just as natural as the real ones. In fact, high-quality faux plants or flowers can even make your wedding appear more elegant while stretching the dollar.

What side does a woman wear a wedding flower? ›

Ladies wear a button hole / corsage on their right

And this is the bit most people don't know. Ladies wear the flower differently to the men, on the opposite side. But it doesn't stop there – a lady should have the flowers pointing downwards. So the stem should be pointing towards her shoulder.

What side do you wear a flower for a wedding? ›

Always place the corsage on the right hand side. Your corsage should also be tilted upside down, so the stems will be pointing up and the flowers pointing down regardless where you decide to wear it. Top Tip. Ask your florist to supply magnets for your corsage and buttonholes.

What color nail polish to wear with a red dress? ›

Neutral Colors

These colors include white, cream, beige, brown, navy, and grey nail polish. White nails work well with any red attire if you're wearing black shoes and black accessories. Try Cake Pop.

Can you wear navy to a wedding? ›

Navy is a classic neutral that you can rely on for all dress codes and types of wedding attire. This shade pairs particularly well with evening celebrations as well as black tie, formal and semi-formal nuptials.

Is red too bright to wear to a wedding? ›

It's Okay To Wear Red

The most important thing is that you don't look like you're trying to upstage the bride, which would be very, very rude. Happily, red dresses won't give off this impression unless they are the brightest of scarlet or otherwise too flashy or “too much”.

Can an older woman wear pants to a wedding? ›

Pant Sets and Separates for Older Women

Can you wear pants to a wedding? Yes, you absolutely can. If you don't like dresses or your legs are not your best feature, pants are totally acceptable. Pants give you the option to wear flat shoes, which many ladies (if not all of us!)

Can you wear a skirt and blouse to a wedding as a guest? ›

It's all about mixing and matching to get the perfect outfit for the special day. Whether you're the blushing bride or an ecstatic guest, long skirts and blouses will definitely be memorable wedding looks that're one for the books!

Do people wear bras under wedding dress? ›

"Many wedding gowns can have built-in bras, which is a great option for women who need extra support in the bust area," Brickman says. If your cup size is small enough, you may be able to get away without a bra, while brides with larger busts might feel more comfortable wearing one.

What do you wear to a 5pm wedding? ›

A morning wedding typically calls for casual dress, while a ceremony after 5 p.m. generally calls for formal attire.

What is dressy casual for a woman? ›

"This is where you're thinking more light colors and casual materials," she says, versus fancier fare like satin and sparkles. You can wear things that are a little more flowy, and even bold prints are acceptable. "That really cute sundress or maxi dress is a great example of dressy casual,” Swann says.

Can you wear sequins to a wedding? ›

Can I Wear a Sequin Dress to a Wedding? You most definitely can. As long as the dress code is cocktail or formal and the guests are expected to dress up. Also make sure to not wear white sequin and outstand the bride!

What is not appropriate to wear as a wedding guest? ›

Avoid sequined dresses and any clothing that will draw attention away from the bride. A wedding isn't the proper time to make a bold fashion statement. Ditch your everyday jeans and tee. Even if the wedding initiation says “casual”, wearing sneakers, t-shirts, shorts, and jeans are never appropriate for a wedding.

Can you wear a mid length dress to a wedding? ›

A midi dress is classy enough for any formal event but still casual enough to wear all day and to different events and date night. It's much easier to dance in than a long or short dress. It's also easier to walk around and dance at receptions, which is perfect when you want to keep dancing all night!

Can you wear flats to a wedding? ›

Can you wear flats to a formal wedding? Yes! You absolutely can! This is where you can pick flats that are beautifully enhanced with lace, ribbons, bows, pearls, and rhinestones.

Is it normal to have a dress code at a wedding? ›

Formal attire may be the most common, but there are plenty of other dress codes that may appear on a wedding invitation. Formal, semi-formal, and casual are a bit more ambiguous than, say, black-tie, and it can be difficult for guests to settle on the level of formality they want to go for.

Can you have a dress code for a wedding? ›

Mentioning a dress code ensures your event stays as formal or as casual as you want, and it's helpful for guests to know exactly what is expected of them for attire. Here you will find some helpful ideas for wording your Dress Code whether you're hosting a formal or casual wedding.

Why can't you wear jeans to a wedding? ›

When you wear jeans to a wedding, you show disrespect to the bride and groom and the occasion. Jeans are too casual, and you can wear them any other time you want. Weddings are once-in-a-lifetime events for the bride and groom.

Is it okay to not wear a dress to a wedding? ›

You can totally be following the wedding guest's formal dress attire, without having to wear a dress! If you don't like to wear dresses at weddings, and don't want to give them a try, it's okay. Stay true to what makes you feel comfortable, and dazzle everyone with stylish dress alternatives.

What do you wear to a wedding when you don t know the dress code? ›

Your best bet is cocktail attire. Sure, you might be overdressed if it ends up being a more relaxed affair, but you'll fit right in at a cocktail attire party, and (with the right accessories) can easily dress up for something on the more formal side. Women should opt for a dress in a luxe fabric, such as silk.

Can you wear black to a wedding as a guest? ›

As a general rule, "wearing black is totally acceptable, as the hue is very versatile," Sabatino affirms. However, you should avoid wearing white unless you are told otherwise. That shade, she says, is reserved exclusively for the bride.

Can you wear jeans and heels to a wedding? ›

"Unless its a Denim and Diamonds dress code, denim is pretty much an unwelcome guest at a wedding," Jacobs said. "This doesn't mean that pants or a jumpsuit are off the table, but it's best to leave your jeans at home."

Can a female guest wear pants to a wedding? ›

Yes, of course, you can! Whether a man or woman, you should feel free to wear pants or jumpsuits to a wedding as a guest. Just be sure to avoid anything too casual, like denim or athleisure wear. And make sure your outfit is still appropriate for the formality of the wedding.

Can I wear jeans and blazer to a wedding? ›

A suit and trousers will suffice. Wear Jeans. Jeans are not typically considered acceptable for a cocktail attire wedding even with a blazer.

Is it rude to wear a long dress to a wedding? ›

For a more formal wedding, it is typically expected that female guests wear a long dress. But instead of breaking out the gown you wore to prom, try wearing a more appropriate evening gown. If the wedding is during the day, a pretty maxi dress should do the trick.


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