Is It Ever Acceptable To Wear White To A Wedding?

An Investigation

white wedding ceremony reception dress

by Grazia |

Is it ever acceptable to wear white to a wedding? Probably not. But what about to the evening reception? or the Hen party?

I hear you, wearing white to a wedding ceremony is one of those things set in iron-clad wedding lore that's more offensive than showing up in jeans and a t-shirt or funereal black (see also on this list: sleeping with the best man, or accidentally coughing during 'speak now or forever hold your peace') but it's 2019, and maybe things are changing?

After all the most zeitgiesty-bride of the moment is Meghan Markle: a woman who serves her houseguests avocado on toast, has a gender-neutral-vegan-paint nursery and is practically built an entire genre of press around her royal-protocol-breaking ways. We live in a year when too much try-hard feels out of step, unfashionable and outdated. When it comes to breaking wedding protocols: these days, there are even some brides who are dressing their bridesmaids in floor-length white gowns. Of course, when someone is dropping the equivalent of an entire student loan on a wedding ceremony it's unacceptable to upstage the bride by wearing the same colour to the ceremony.

But what if you've only been invited to the evening reception? Whereby even if your dress does happen to be sort-of-near-white it seems to make more sense to get a second-use out of it rather than giving your bank PTSD with something completely new? (Sustainability people!)

This was the question that one user took to the internet this week to ask. Writing in a post on Mumsnet she said: ‘I’ve just purchased this dress for an upcoming charity event I have to attend but I am hoping it will be double up for an upcoming wedding due to the cost and I am having to have the dress altered and taken in slightly so would be nice to get more than one wear out of it.' she added ‘It will only be the evening reception I am attending. It will be paired with black shoes and a black bag and the bottom of the dress is like a taupe colour.’

White Dress
©Getty

While, as you would expect - lots of commenters feel like wearing white to a wedding is basically the equivalent of burning down the marquee - surprisingly lots of commenters gave the dress the go-ahead for the evening reception. 'thats really unusual and lovely!' one user wrote 'I think you could wear it to a wedding, with the right accessories. With something bold, like navy blue, the ivory colouring could be overlooked.' while another said 'I am going with yes, it's lovely, go for it'.

One user suggested that it's best to sound it out on the attitude of the bride 'Fine by me, the colour is OK in my book as it doesn't look like a wedding dress at all. Unless you know the bride is especially uptight (and honestly, it would take a pretty uptight bride to be upset that someone's wearing pale-not-wedding-dress) in which case maybe avoid.'

So in summary? While wedding seasons are notoriously evil on bank accounts as you're trying to find a magical dress that can be made to look different for the engagement party, the April wedding and the destination ceremony in Bali and cater to 5 separate climates and dress codes, perhaps 2019 is the year in which the tyranny over wedding dress codes finally ends? And if all else fails: just remember that Kate Middleton has recycled practically every wedding outfit she's ever worn and we love her even more for it.

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