Wearing White to a Wedding: Is it Still Such a Taboo?

Is guests wearing white to a wedding still such a faux pas? I think not

We're all in a fluster here at the You and Your Wedding HQ; we've heard a rumour that Meghan Markle wore a white outfit to Pippa Middleton's wedding reception, and it's totally divided opinion among the team.

We've heard that Meghan may have been wearing a white jumpsuit to help Pippa celebrate her big day, and while perhaps a white trouser suit opposed to a white dress makes it all the more acceptable, was white really the right choice?

We're told that Meghan skipped the ceremony in order not to distract attention from Pippa on her special day but would wearing white not do the exact same? 

However, since Pippa asked her guests to bring a different outfit to her wedding reception, who's to say she didn't change out of her white dress and into something coloured, and that Meghan knew this, so wasn't at risk of stealing Pips' limelight? 

This Halston Heritage jumpsuit could be what Meghan Markle wore
This Halston Heritage jumpsuit could be what Meghan Markle wore

This has all got me thinking. Is forbidding guests from wearing white becoming an archaic wedding tradition that belongs as firmly in the past as throwing rice and having to ask your Father’s permission for your hand in marriage?

Traditionally, the main reason to not wear white to a wedding was in order to let the white-wearing bride stand out from the crowd, and avoid stealing her thunder. Being the only one in white will make her feel special (as she deserves to, obviously) and totally ethereally beautiful. 

But that’s the thing. She will stand out from the crowd, regardless of what the crowd is wearing. She will be the centre of attention, no matter what – when she’s twirling around the room in her stunning white dress, nobody will notice the guest in the white Zara shift dress, and if, as a guest, you think people will be paying attention to you because your outfit choice is the same hue, I’m afraid you sound rather self-involved. Just saying. 

Some people are still shocked by guests wearing white
Some people are still shocked by guests wearing white

Something else to consider is that coloured wedding dresses are becoming more and more common; so if the bride isn’t wearing white, why should there be a ban on the guests opting for the shade? 

One final thing that cemented the idea that wearing white to a wedding is no longer such a faux pas was chatting to our resident fashion expert, editor-at-large Peta Hunt.

She scoffed at me when I brought up the subject of guests not being allowed to wear white, and pointed out that in Australia, it’s common place for guests to wear white. They do have the tans for it after all. So if our very own wedding-wear oracle says it’s a-okay, I’m with her. 

Obviously, in the end, it’s down to the bride and if you think she'd be fine with guests wearing white, but provided you don’t rock up in a lacy, full length dress, wearing white seems to be a forgivable offence. In case you’re wondering whether the white frock you splashed out on is a wedding appropriate, consider the following points. 


Don’t go for a floor-length number. Go for something playful and short, or mid-length if you’re not one for baring your legs. 


Avoid silk, satin, lace, and most definitely tulle. They’re prime wedding dress fabrics and could be dangerous territory. Opt for cotton – it’s cool and a little more casual.


Step away from the veil. I’m kidding. But do bypass pearls and fascinators (thought I doubt you were considering either of these styles anyway. It’s a wedding, not the races.)

READ MORE: Etiquette guide: Wedding guest dress code explained


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03/05/2017 at 19:35

im sorry but no, its self involved to wear white and a wedding is a private party with a dress code like all things in life and you can be refused entry - at a recent wedding many guest wore white, funily they where all married guests and it reaked of 'I had my day and cant get over it' - im not wearing white or a traditional long dress so anyone in white will look doubly stupid


03/05/2017 at 19:04

My now MIL wore a white lace dress to my wedding (after showing me the pink dress she had bought for it - surprise, changed my mind!). I found out later that it was the gossip of the night... so just don't be THAT guest.


28/04/2017 at 09:59

I was going to write 'please dont wear white' and everyone on another forum said 'you cant do that and people know already' or 'if they wear white it wont be a lace ball gown so they wont be mistake for a bride' but at the last wedding I went to 1/4 of guests had white or some shade of white like cream or ivory on and shockingly it was the MARRIED guests that wore white (guess they arent over the fact that their day has passed - having a bit of black lace on or a coloured detail doesnt change the fact your dress is more than 50% white)

the thing is though im wearing a short champagne dress so anyone showing up in white of any length/style will look rediculous like they are trying to be the bride not just lace ballgowns, when people say 'its ok to wear that white dress because its not bridal' no, no its not white is inherantly a bride colour but there is no one style that is 'bridal' a white playsuit can be bridal, a white sundress can be bridal, a white 2 piece can be bridal etc... just dont wear white (theres litrally a hundred other colours to pick)


27/04/2017 at 12:04

As long as they aren't wearing a bridal looking dress, any colour is fine with me 


27/04/2017 at 11:25

Theres a whole rainbow out there, wearing white or cream to a wedding isnt going to upstage anyone but will definitely make that guest look a bit of an idiot.

It wouldnt offend me if someone wore white, lets face it Im going to look more impressive no matter what 😂 But it just seems a deliberate attempt to get attention so comes across as desperate to me.


27/04/2017 at 11:13

Wearing white to a wedding is never OK. There are so many other colours out there that to choose white points to the fact you are selfish, attention seeking or possibly both. Otherwise why would you do it? This is the bride and groom's day, not yours- pick a different dress. You aren't going to upstage the bride but you do risk offending her, and you will look ridiculous to boot.


27/04/2017 at 10:56

Its just not the done thing it is very bad man ered in my opinion and just shows how common you are !  Nothing to do with upstaging the bride i think.  


as for other types of dress that would depend on the type of wedding and vibe i think. I would never wear a short revealing dress to a wedding unless its on a beach!


27/04/2017 at 09:44

In my opinion there are so many colors you can wear on a wedding day that it's a bit stupid to take the risk of offending the bride by wearing white. I think the major issue nowadays is that a lot of girls can't cope with the fact of not being the center of attention for a day. What about the ones wearing revealing dresses, short with a maxi décolleté. How thoughtless you must be to make this faux pas!! The bride knows that nobody will upstage her on the day, but it's just a lack of respect from a guest to wear white. I would never do it!!

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