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 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

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