What Is a Taboo Color for Wedding Guests?

By  Tommy Peske
Updated on 01/24/24
What Is a Taboo Color for Wedding Guests?

What Is a Taboo Color for Wedding Guests?

By  Tommy Peske
Updated on 01/24/24

Part of the Wedding

What Is a Taboo Color for Wedding Guests?

By  Tommy Peske
Updated on 01/24/24

Everyone knows brides wear white and grooms wear suits. But even just a guest should pay attention to their outfit before stepping out the door. Dressing appropriately, whether that means dusting off an old suit or taking your favorite dress to the cleaners, shows respect for the occasion and the couple getting married. Beyond cleaning your clothes, you should make sure they’re not on the list of taboo colors for wedding guests. 

It may sound extreme, but wearing the wrong color, pattern, or even fabric could take attention away from the couple on their special day. To help you avoid a severe fashion faux pas, we’ve compiled a list of colors to avoid at weddings. Some should be avoided no matter what, while others might be okay depending on the circumstances. Make sure to read the whole article to find out the difference. 

Colors You Should Never Wear to a Wedding

Unless the couple mentions otherwise, certain colors are always unwelcome at weddings. Wearing one of these colors goes beyond a simple oopsie. Instead, you’ll draw undue attention to yourself and become the target of many dirty looks. To help you avoid dampening the mood, we’ve put together a list of colors that are absolute no-gos for wedding fashion.  
Colors to never wear to a wedding

  • White – It may seem obvious, but it bears repeating. A guest wearing white steals attention from the bride wearing a white wedding dress. So, wearing white to a wedding is unacceptable unless you’re the one walking down the aisle. This includes all-white ensembles as well as white dresses with patterns. You should ignore this rule when the couple asks guests to wear white
  • Beige or off-white – If your desired outfit isn’t *technically* white, steer clear. Light colors can easily be mistaken for white, especially in pictures, so look for an alternative.  
  • The same color as the wedding or bridal party – You may not know the color of the bridesmaids’ dresses right away but do your best to find out ahead of time so you can choose something different. Wearing the same color as the wedding party is confusing at best and rude at worst. If you’re unsure of the color scheme, contact the wedding planner or someone close to the couple.

Colors to Avoid Wearing if Possible

White, off-white, and the bridal party hue are all off-limit colors for wedding guest dresses and men’s attire. While the rules about these shades are straightforward, some colors and fabrics fall into a gray area. You likely won’t get scolded for wearing them, but they’re not the best options. Let’s see which colors fall into this category. 

No glitter

  • Glitter or sparkles – If you’re a guest at a daytime or informal wedding, avoid wearing anything with lots of sequins or beading. Sure, they look fantastic out on the dance floor, but in most cases, it will look like you’re trying to steal the spotlight. This fabric may be appropriate for formal weddings but remember not to go too crazy. 
  • Neon colors – Like sequins and glitter, Day-Glo hues take the attention off the couple. Opt for a more muted color palette instead. 
  • Metallics – Champagne, light gold, and pale silver ooze classiness, but they can resemble a wedding gown if you’re not careful. They’re best avoided just to be on the safe side. 
  • Denim – This fabric is too casual, even for an informal wedding. The only exception is wearing a denim jacket. Still, it’s better to avoid it, so try to find a sweater or shawl instead. 
  • Pastels – Baby blue, pale pink, and mint green can be great wedding guest outfit colors, especially for spring nuptials. The problem comes when they’re so pale they appear white. If you’re unsure about a color, photograph yourself in the sun. If your outfit stays true to its color, then go ahead and wear it. If it looks white, keep looking.
  • Red – Couples often wear red at Chinese and Indian weddings, so avoid it if you’re attending either ceremony. Red is acceptable at Western weddings but go for rich burgundy instead of a striking scarlet to avoid upstaging the wedding party. 

Is Black a Taboo Color for Wedding Guests?

Is a black color outfit taboo?
In the past, etiquette books were much stricter about wedding dress codes. For instance, guests were not supposed to wear black. It was seen as a color of mourning and therefore set the wrong tone for a joyous occasion. The rules have loosened up quite a bit, so black is no longer the absolute taboo it once was. That said, there are some things to keep in mind before slipping into your favorite black cocktail dress

The first consideration is location. Many women and men in big cities in the Northeast and Northwest, like New York, Boston, and Seattle, wear black to weddings without a second thought. However, black might look too serious in warmer regions like the South. Similarly, black would look too formal at a tropical destination wedding

Another factor to consider before slipping into something black is the wedding’s formality. If you’re attending a black-tie event where men wear tuxes and women wear evening gowns, then black is a suitable color choice. On the other hand, if it’s an informal gathering on a beach, then opt for a lighter hue. A third factor to consider is the time of the wedding. Daytime events usually demand lighter colors, while evening ceremonies (after 6:00 PM) allow for darker colors, including black. 

While wearing black is possible at some Western weddings, it’s an absolute no-no if you’re attending a Hindu ceremony. Black is an unlucky color in Hinduism, so choose another outfit. 

Wedding Guest Clothing FAQs

Can you ask wedding guests to wear certain colors?

It’s your wedding, so feel free to request that your guests adhere to a dress code or color. At the same time, consider guests’ time when making this kind of request. Announce your decision early on the save the date or the wedding invitation.  

Can you wear dark blue to a wedding reception?

Dark shades of blue, like navy and indigo, give off an elegant vibe, making them a solid choice for most wedding receptions. They’re particularly well-placed at formal or winter events. While not off-limits otherwise, they might look too severe for a beach or summer wedding

Can you wear yellow as a wedding guest?

Whether you choose amber, Dijon, or banana, yellow is an excellent color for wedding guests. This cheery shade is especially at home for daytime weddings in the spring and summer. Similarly, it’s a perfect choice for tropical weddings. 

Is it unlucky to wear green to a wedding?

According to ancient Scottish and Irish traditions, all were supposed to avoid wearing green on their wedding day. The color was thought to attract fairies who would destroy the wearer. It’s funny to think about, but you can ignore this advice unless you’re superstitious. 

Which colors should I wear at a night wedding?

Receptions that start after 6:00 PM tend to be more formal, so feel free to choose a darker color when attending a night wedding. Navy blue, emerald green, and deep purple are just some colors that shine at night. Additionally, black might be appropriate. 

Use The Groom Club to Plan Your Wedding Outfit

Knowing which colors to wear to a wedding is the first step in choosing the perfect ensemble. Besides paying attention to the hue you’re sporting, you’ve got to consider other factors like the dress code, season, location, and perhaps even the theme. It’s a lot to keep track of, so we recommend checking out our Wedding Outfit Guide for everything you need to know. The Groom Club is here for every step leading up to the big day. Getting hitched or just attending? No worries. Whether it’s penning down those perfect wedding card words or figuring out how to budget for that engagement ring, we’re on it. Lean on us; we’ve got you sorted.

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