Can You Wear White To A Wedding?

According to J.Lo, maybe you can.

Ben Affleck Jennifer Lopez wedding

by Natalie Hammond |
Updated on

God, no. That's my initial reaction to the question: can you wear white to a wedding? Not only is it the ultimate faux-pas, but, in my mind at least, borders on an extreme display of thunder-stealing that is never a good look.

I once wore a white dress that was somewhat bridal to a friend's 30th and that was enough to make me feel uncomfortable (I arrived bearing a bouquet of flowers that, in retrospect, might have to contributed to the problem.)

Anyway, the age-old argument has erupted once more because of a video that's doing the rounds on TikTok. It shows a woman standing outside what looks like a barn, who is confounded by the fact that not one, not two, but four people have turned up to the wedding she's also attending wearing white. Imagine!

But this the modern age, I hear you cry! No one has to take anyone's name if they don't want to (or you can amalgamate your names and both change them.) Both parents can walk you down the aisle (or neither). The bride can wear whatever shade they like. And also, from the wedding photos of a certain couple called Bennifer, it looks like the entire guest list wore white!

READ MORE: These Are The Wedding Guest Dresses You'll Want To Wear Again And Again

Isn't it projecting a kind of bridezilla-style mania onto the happy couple (but really just the bride) to assume that they'd spontaneously combust if one of their guests arrived in white? Or would they, in fact, be pretty annoyed - and rightly so? If you only get one wedding day and you want to wear white, surely it's ok to want to stand out? So, can you wear white to a wedding?

Grazia's head of fashion commerce, Hannah Banks-Walker, walked down the aisle in 2021. As a recent bride, what does she think about the 'wedding guest wearing white' debate?

'I know some people who are militant about this, refusing to wear even a soft pastel colour lest it be mistaken for white in certain lights or photographs. I don't feel that way – one of the most joyful things about my own wedding was seeing all of my favourite people in the most fabulous array of outfits. It's lovely to think that they'd dressed up for us, had selected something that made them feel good and expressed a certain thing about themselves.' No one did turn up in the white dress at her wedding but if they had done, she doesn't think she would have cared. 'A veil might have tipped it, though.'

Tansy Aspinall, co-founder of jewellery brand Tada & Toy, also tied the knot last year and takes a pragmatic approach to the question. 'It completely depends on who the bride is and whether they are traditional or not.' For her, wearing white to a church wedding is no no, but acceptable at a more unconventional venue. 'I wouldn’t have minded if a guest had worn white to my wedding and wouldn’t have read anything into it, although I personally haven't worn white to other people’s weddings just because I haven’t wanted to offend anyone.' Her parting advice is to just ask if you're worried. 'The best bet is just to ask the bride beforehand if you’re not sure. You can probably gauge what the answer will be based on the person’s taste and sense of tradition.'

Eshita Kabra-Davies
Eshita Kabra-Davies

Eshita Kabra-Davies, founder of rental app By Rotation, has never worn white or any pale shade to someone else's nuptials - 'I wouldn't want to be the talk of the wedding for the wrong reason! - but at her own, it wouldn't have been considered a total faux-pas. 'Indian brides usually dress in red/burgundy according to tradition so it wouldn’t be the oddest thing if a guest came dressed in white.'

Eshita Kabra-Davies
Eshita Kabra-Davies

If you're undecided, it's probably wise, following advice from Aspinall, to just ask the couple getting married if they mind you wearing white. Having said that, if you have to ask, you've probably already got your answer (no, please and thank you). And of course, if the couple (like Bennifer) asks everyone to wear white then it's obviously advisable to follow their instructions. For anyone brave enough to give it whirl outside those circumstances, remember: white is one thing, a veil is non-negotiable.


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We couldn't not include Mariah's characteristically dramatic bridal gown (complete with tiara), worn for her first wedding in 1993. Designed by Vera Wang, the $25,00 style was reportedly inspired by Princess Diana's wedding dress.

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Keira Knightley chose a knee-skimming tulle dress by Chanel Couture for her low-key wedding to musician James Righton in 2013, a dress she already owned and one that she has subsequently reworn.

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CREDIT: Getty Images

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CREDIT: Getty Images

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CREDIT: Instagram @kimkardashian

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Solange Knowles

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Kate Middleton

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CREDIT: Getty Images

Grace Kelly

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Princess Diana27 of 38
CREDIT: Getty Images

Princess Diana

Princess Diana's 1981 wedding dress is still one of the most famous bridal styles of all time. The fairytale gown, designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel, was fashioned from ivory silk-taffeta and antique lace, which had belonged to Queen Mary. The 25 foot train posed something of a problem, however, barely fitting into Diana's wedding carriage.

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CREDIT: @ zoeisabellakravitz

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For her civil wedding in Venice, Amal delivered note-perfect polish in a cream jumpsuit by Stella McCartney.

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Wallis Simpson

The wedding of Wallis Simpson and Edward VIII, at Chateau De Cande in 1937, was perhaps the most controversial in Britain's history. As Time reported from the event: 'She wore a dress that most U. S. department stores were soon to feature: soft blue crepe with a tight, buttoned bodice, a halo-shaped hat of the same color, shoes and gloves to match. At her throat was a tremendous diamond-&-sapphire brooch.'

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In the most-anticipated wedding dress designer announcement of all time, Meghan Markle surprised on-lookers by choosing Clare Waight Keller, artistic director at Givenchy at the time, to create her wedding dress.

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Princess Anne

For her marriage to Captain Mark Phillips in 1973, Princess Anne chose a high-necked, puff-sleeved gown by Maureen Baker.

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Princess Eugenie's open-backed dress, from London-based Peter Pilotto, was specially designed to showcase her scar from scoliosis surgery. The Greville Emerald Kokoshnik Tiara, gifted to the Queen Mother, was her crowning glory.

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