What Not to Wear to a Wedding: 25 Items to Avoid | Shutterfly (2023)

Being invited to a wedding is a great honor. Your friends want you to help them celebrate one of the most important milestones in their lives. You’ve remembered to save the date and found a meaningful wedding shower gift idea. Now all you need is a flawless outfit.

Shop Trending Categories

Wedding Invites
Photo Books
Canvas Prints
Custom Magnets

Picking out the perfect ensemble to attend a wedding is easier than you think. Sometimes all it takes is a little guidance. To help you, we’ve compiled a list of 25 items you should not wear to a wedding. By avoiding these fashion faux-pas, you will make a tasteful fashion statement and show respect for the bride and groom.

What Not to Wear to a Wedding: 25 Items to Avoid | Shutterfly (5)

(Video) The Do’s and Don’ts of Wedding Guest Dresses | Wedding Guest Outfit #weddingguestdress #wedding

1. White

One of the most obvious mistakes at a wedding is to match the bride. You should avoid wearing white at all costs. This includes ivory, off-white or even a light blue hue. The last thing you want to do is have guests coming up and congratulating you on your big day and asking about your wedding dress style instead of the actual bride. If white is your go-to, opt for light pastels so there is more of a contrast between you and the bride.

2. A Black Tuxedo

Just as ladies don’t want to upstage the bride, gentlemen don’t want to upstage the groom. Instead of an overly formal black tuxedo, men should dress in a suit or a blazer. It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed, but find a happy medium that won’t have you mistaken for the groom.

3. Anything Too Revealing

Skip the skimpy cocktail dress and opt for something a little more on the conservative side. Dresses and skirts should be approximately at knee-length. At a hot summer outdoor wedding, try wearing lighter fabrics rather than less of them. If the ceremony is held at a church or a temple, it is a good idea to bring a shawl or cover-up to cover your shoulders.

What Not to Wear to a Wedding: 25 Items to Avoid | Shutterfly (6)

4. Denim or Jeans

While you might assume that a barnyard wedding theme calls for your favorite pair of jeans, this is not the case. Unless the wedding invitation explicitly says to wear denim, opt for some well-tailored trousers instead. Remember, it is better to be overdressed than underdressed at a wedding.

5. Low-Cut Outfits

It is best to skip the plunging necklines for a wedding. Avoid wearing anything backless as well. Instead, try a sweetheart neckline with a tasteful necklace. You’re sure to turn heads for all the right reasons.

6. Sheer Material

Avoid wearing anything see-through or sheer at a wedding. Make sure you try on your outfit in a few different lighted areas (both natural and fluorescent) to ensure that nothing shows through. Try wearing more modest materials like chiffon or satin. If you still want to wear a sheer fabric, try wearing a dress that has sheer details in the sleeves, so long as it’s done tastefully.

What Not to Wear to a Wedding: 25 Items to Avoid | Shutterfly (7)

7. All Black

While this faux-pas is a bit in the gray area of what is acceptable for wedding attire, it is better to be safe than sorry. Black is typically worn by people in mourning at more somber affairs. Celebrate the love with a brighter color scheme. If you do want something darker, choose a blue or navy color rather than black.

8. Flip Flops

Save your flip-flops for the beach. If you’re not keen on wearing high heels all day, try some dressy sandals or stylish flats. For guys, pick a pair of closed toed shoes. If you’re attending a beach wedding, check with the bride and groom to see what their expectations are.

(Video) 7 Things You Should Never Wear to a Wedding

9. A Tiara

If the bride is having a fairy-tale wedding, she should probably be the one wearing the tiara. As the guest, opt for more subtle headwear. Try a cute headband or a garden hat that keeps with the couple’s dress code.

What Not to Wear to a Wedding: 25 Items to Avoid | Shutterfly (8)

10. Sparkly Cocktail Dresses

Avoid being overly-flashy with eye-catching metallics and sequins. It’s okay to have a little bit of sparkle on your accessories, but a bedazzled outfit will steal the spotlight.

11. Anything Too Gaudy

It’s okay to make a statement, but make sure it is done tastefully with a classy necklace, cute clutch or designer necktie. Avoid clashing colors or overly-bright neons. Remember, all eyes should be on the bridal party.

12. Animal Print

This also falls under the category of “too gaudy”. Instead of animal print, try something a little more appropriate, like some subtle stripes or polka dots. Fun and simple designs like these add personality to your outfit without being too aggressive.

What Not to Wear to a Wedding: 25 Items to Avoid | Shutterfly (9)

13. Distressed Clothes

Don’t be the guest that shows up in ripped jeans! Although the distressed look is ‘in’ right now, this is definitely not appropriate attire for a wedding.

14. Casual Slogan T-shirts

Slogan tees are too casual for a friend or family member’s wedding. Save your favorite tee for casual Fridays and opt for a more formal dress or suit. Take advantage of the opportunity to get dressed up in your best clothes.

15. Clubbing Shoes

Save those bold platform heels for a night out with your girls. Instead, try a classy pair of sandals or slingback heels if you want to make a statement with footwear.

What Not to Wear to a Wedding: 25 Items to Avoid | Shutterfly (10)

(Video) How NOT to Look Like A Tourist While Traveling To Europe This Summer

16. Something That Mimics the Bridesmaids’ Dresses

As a guest, you want to make sure the bridal party gets the attention they deserve. If you are unaware of the color scheme of the wedding, reach out to one of the bridesmaids or groomsmen and ask. If you don’t want to pry, reference the colors found on the wedding invitations.

17. Bold Makeup

Try to go for a more subtle makeup look for a wedding. Use light neutral tones that highlight your natural features. Finish off your look with a light pink lip gloss for the perfect hint of shine.

18. Sweats

Save your sweats for Sunday mornings. If your main concern is being comfortable at the wedding, try on your outfit and shoes in advance to make sure you will be comfortable for the whole duration of the celebration.

What Not to Wear to a Wedding: 25 Items to Avoid | Shutterfly (11)

19. Rompers

Save your cute romper for the beach this summer. If you still want to mimic the look of a romper while being wedding-appropriate, opt for a fancier jumpsuit with cap sleeves and a cute belt. Pair with some summer wedges for the perfect outdoor summer wedding look.

20. Too Much Skin

Odds are that there will be a lot of the couple’s family at the wedding. In order to appear respectful, avoid showing a lot of skin and go for a more modest look.

21. Something That Reveals Your Undergarments

Although bralettes and bareback dresses may be trendy, embrace a more conservative look for a wedding. Try on your dress in advance to make sure your bra straps are covered, or purchase a strapless bra.

What Not to Wear to a Wedding: 25 Items to Avoid | Shutterfly (12)

22. A Ball Gown or Prom Dress

For a more formal wedding, it is typically expected that female guests wear a long dress. But instead of breaking out the gown you wore to prom, try wearing a more appropriate evening gown. If the wedding is during the day, a pretty maxi dress should do the trick.

23. Shorts

Even if the wedding is super casual, it is best to ditch your shorts. Ladies, try a skirt that falls right above the knee and pair it with a flattering blouse. For men, a nice pair of khakis will give you a more refined look.

(Video) 10 Fashion Mistakes Making You Look OLD & OUTDATED!

24. Sneakers

If the wedding happens to take place in a location that requires some extra walking (or maybe even hiking), consider wearing more sturdy shoes. For women, this might mean flats instead of heels. Although sneakers may seem like the ideal choice at the time, you want to show respect for the bride and groom by putting your best foot forward (literally!).

What Not to Wear to a Wedding: 25 Items to Avoid | Shutterfly (13)

25. Anything Against the Dress Code

The happy couple is most likely going to list their dress code on the invitation. Make note of this and dress accordingly as a sign of respect towards this unique moment in their lives. Even if the event is ‘semi-casual’ it is still better to show up in a suit and tie or a flattering dress than to appear underdressed.

As a wedding guest, it is important to show respect towards the bride and groom. After all, they did invite you to one of the biggest days of their lives. To show your gratitude, make sure you know the wedding basics like digital wedding etiquette and how to find the right wedding gift idea that will put a smile on the faces of the happy couple.

Explore Categories

Kids Gifts
Save the Dates
Canvas Prints
(Video) 7 Dress Code Mistakes Elegant People NEVER Make


What Not to Wear to a Wedding: 25 Items to Avoid | Shutterfly? ›

It doesn't matter if the dress code requests "casual" attire, jeans, T-shirts, shorts, flip-flops, and sneakers are never appropriate to wear as a wedding guest. Show respect for the bride and groom by dressing formally.

What should you never wear as a wedding guest guess their answers? ›

It doesn't matter if the dress code requests "casual" attire, jeans, T-shirts, shorts, flip-flops, and sneakers are never appropriate to wear as a wedding guest. Show respect for the bride and groom by dressing formally.

What is and isn't appropriate to wear to a wedding? ›

Steer Clear of Anything Too Casual

Even if a wedding is casual and relaxed, still dress with respect. No flip, flops, shorts, or jeans should be on your list of options to wear. Instead, ladies find a casual dress, and men wear a nice pair of this with a relaxed shirt.

What Colours should guests not wear to a wedding? ›

Steer clear of off-white, eggshell, beige, champagne, cream, or any other super light color that could be mistaken for white. There are so many dress options available in a variety of hues, so steering clear of these shades should not be a major issue.

Why can't you wear red to a wedding? ›

“Tradition dictates guests avoid wearing red out of fear that it could take attention away from the happy couple,” explains Hurwitz. “Visually, it's quite bold. In a photo, your eye is immediately drawn to the color, especially if it's next to neutrals like white, black, gray, or beige.”

What is the number one rule as a wedding guest? ›

Unbreakable Rule #1: RSVP Promptly

If you're one of the chosen few to be invited, make sure you respond promptly. Many wedding invitations will include a deadline to reply. Prompt RSVPs are important because wedding venues and vendors require a firm headcount ahead of time.

What wedding guests actually care about? ›

What your guests really do notice…
  • The Food. This is probably not too surprising—62 percent of wedding guests said that food is one of the most important things they pay attention to at weddings. ...
  • Reception Venue. ...
  • Music. ...
  • Décor. ...
  • Bar. ...
  • Escort Cards. ...
  • Ceremony Language and Readings. ...
  • Toasts.
Nov 2, 2021

What can a girl wear to a wedding that is not a dress? ›

Wedding guest outfits that are not dresses:
  • Evening Jumpsuits. I personally love jumpsuits; they look so cool, and they're especially suitable for winter weddings. ...
  • Suits for female wedding guests. Other options include pantsuits, which can be a great look for hijabi women. ...
  • Wedding guest pants outfit ideas.

What should a female guest wear to a wedding? ›

Simply put, women should wear a formal, floor-length evening gown—no exceptions—with jewelry, heels, and an elegant clutch. Men are required to wear a tuxedo with tails, a formal white shirt, a vest, a bow tie, white or gray gloves, and formal footwear, such as derby shoes or oxfords.

What to wear to a wedding when dress code is not specified? ›

Your best bet is cocktail attire. Sure, you might be overdressed if it ends up being a more relaxed affair, but you'll fit right in at a cocktail attire party, and (with the right accessories) can easily dress up for something on the more formal side. Women should opt for a dress in a luxe fabric, such as silk.

What is the best colour to wear to a wedding as a guest? ›

You may choose to wear any color except black or white. The guest's goal should be to blend in with the surroundings and let the bride shine. As her guest, you should avoid attire that could be considered informal or in bad taste. Pastels, jewel tones and earth tones are excellent choices, as are most primary colors.

Should you wear nylons to a wedding? ›

The truth is, as the mother-of-the-groom, you can wear whatever you want to the ceremony. While it's not required to wear pantyhose to weddings, we highly encourage you to look and feel fabulous for the occasion. Thigh highs are a glamorous way to help you reach this goal.

Can I wear black to a wedding as a guest? ›

Yes, it can absolutely be appropriate to wear black to a wedding, and it isn't typically considered disrespectful (although there are exceptions). While black attire was traditionally associated with mourning and funerals, times are changing — and so are fashion rules!

Does wearing a red dress to a wedding mean you slept with the groom? ›

Turns out, wearing red to a wedding means to some that “you've slept with the groom.” “Old Wives' Tale, but yeah,” Mitchell explained. However, both wedding planners agreed on a more modern reason for not wearing red: It could be seen as a way to grab the attention away from the bride.

Is it rude to wear bright red to a wedding? ›

Summary. To answer the main question of the article, yes you can wear red to a wedding in most circumstances. However, in some situations you may want to check with the marrying couple that red is acceptable to wear as a guest and it won't go against their culture or distract from their big day.

Can you wear pink to a wedding? ›

Neutral shades are timeless options that won't detract from the wedding's formal atmosphere. For a more colorful look, consider wearing shades of blue, lavender, or pink to show that you're in the celebratory spirit. If the wedding is in a tropical destination, opt for colors like yellow, orange, and green.

How much money do you give for a wedding gift? ›

They suggest the following breakdown: coworkers or distant relatives should spend 50 to 75 dollars. Friends or relatives, 75 to 100 dollars. For close friends, family, or if you are in the wedding party, you should spend 100 to 150 dollars—or more.

What is the 5 30 rule wedding? ›

So what is the 30/5 rule? It's the rule that accounts for things that typically take 5 minutes in real life that will take 30 minutes on a wedding day. It also means that 30 minutes on a wedding day will feel like 5 minutes. You may have heard people say over and over that your wedding day will fly by.

What is the most memorable part of a wedding? ›

But the overall winner, and it wasn't even close, was the Ceremony. In fact, EVERY single person who responded claimed that exchanging their vows was the most important part of their wedding day.

Who is most important at a wedding? ›

The most important people in a wedding are typically the bride and groom, as the wedding is a celebration of their love and commitment to each other. Additionally, close family members and friends often play significant roles in a wedding, such as parents, siblings, bridesmaids, groomsmen, and witnesses.

How to tell someone you don t want to be in their wedding anymore? ›

“Just be gentle, be honest, and talk about it. There could be financial reasons you can't participate, or it could be that you don't have enough time to do it and you don't want to disappoint. Explain that gently, and the bride will understand.”

What type of dress can not be worn? ›

What type of dress can never be worn? Answer: Address.

Can I wear a blouse and pants to a wedding? ›

Totally fine! Just make sure they're dressy enough for the nuptials. Start with tailored trousers and a polished blouse, or make things easy for yourself by grabbing a matching blazer. Pant suits are a great way to go, or you can coordinate the color of your pants with your top, like this monochrome moment.

Should you go braless in wedding dress? ›

If your cup size is small enough, you may be able to get away without a bra, while brides with larger busts might feel more comfortable wearing one. "Sewn-in cups or built-in corsets can be sufficient for support for larger chested brides if they're done well," Brickman adds.

Are there rules for what to wear to a wedding? ›

Formal: floor length gowns, tuxedos optional, black suits acceptable. Semi-Formal: below the knee dresses, dress shirts, slacks. Casual: sundresses, collared shirts, khakis.

What is dressy casual for a woman? ›

"This is where you're thinking more light colors and casual materials," she says, versus fancier fare like satin and sparkles. You can wear things that are a little more flowy, and even bold prints are acceptable. "That really cute sundress or maxi dress is a great example of dressy casual,” Swann says.

Can a female guest wear pants to a wedding? ›

Can you wear pants to a wedding? Yes, you absolutely can. If you don't like dresses or your legs are not your best feature, pants are totally acceptable, so long as you keep the time of day and venue in mind.

What clothes are smart casual? ›

Smart casual is a pair of dark, slim jeans, a blazer, and desert boots. Smart casual is also chinos, a patterned shirt, and a bomber jacket. Done right, a smart casual look can work in “casual,” “business casual,” and even some “dressed up” environments while still standing out from the crowd.

Can you wear a simple dress to a wedding? ›

A plain white dress or white top and skirt are not generally acceptable, particularly in any formal style. Avoid ivory, off-white and light beige, too. However, it is okay to wear a patterned outfit that includes other colors along with white. Wedding colors are not necessarily off-limits, either.

What is cocktail dress code for ladies? ›

A cocktail dress for women is typically a semi-formal dress that is worn for evening events like cocktail parties, weddings, or other special occasions. Party dresses in fabrics like silk, lace, or chiffon are classic choices for cocktail events as it is knee-length or shorter.

Can you wear floral to a wedding? ›

Can I wear a floral pattern to a wedding? “Absolutely! Floral dresses are an excellent choice for a wedding no matter the season or formality,” says Varney. “There are plenty of different styles that can make the perfect fit.”

Can you wear navy to a wedding? ›

Navy is a classic neutral that you can rely on for all dress codes and types of wedding attire. This shade pairs particularly well with evening celebrations as well as black tie, formal and semi-formal nuptials.

Do wedding guests have to match the wedding colors? ›

The wedding colours are for the wedding party, not guests

Unless you're in that bridal party, you'd be best to steer clear of trying to match them. Think of it a bit like a stage show. The actors, in this case the bridal party, all wear the same colour to identify themselves as being in the cast.

Why do people not wear nylons anymore? ›

It turns out pantyhose sales have been sagging for the last two decades, because of self-tanner, open-toed shoes, women wearing pants more often, and, generally, more casual dress in the workplace. Millennials don't own pantyhose. One article says, "Many people associate sheer with grandma."

Do people still wear pantyhose with dresses? ›

Classic sheer, nude pantyhose are worn with dresses to keep from baring legs, and all their imperfections, in formal and professional environments. They're not exactly a style statement, but more of a practicality.

Is it considered tacky to wear nylons with sandals? ›

Yes, you can wear pantyhose, so long as the shoe that you are wearing has a closed or peep toe. If it is a true sandal with an open toe, I will stay clear of pantyhose.

Can you wear black floral to a wedding? ›

As a general rule, "wearing black is totally acceptable, as the hue is very versatile," Sabatino affirms. However, you should avoid wearing white unless you are told otherwise.

Can a couple both wear black to a wedding? ›

As long as the event calls for a particular level of formality and you won't upstage the couple or the wedding party, it's safe to wear black to the wedding.

Can you wear black to a 5pm wedding? ›

To recap: as long as it's not considered culturally inappropriate or against the dress code, you can wear black to a wedding. Depending on where the couple is exchanging vows, which season their special day is taking place in, and what time of day everything begins, black may or may not be your best color option.

What does a black dress at a wedding mean? ›

Around the 17th century, Catholic brides in Spain started wearing black silk wedding dresses. But why and what did it mean? Well, it symbolized the bride's lifelong commitment to her husband and devotion until death—they made “'til death do us part” a literal fashion obligation!

What does it mean when a woman wears red? ›

It's the color of love, passion and blood. It incites to make a scene. A woman dressed in red will be certainly noticed. Wearing red she is expressing character, independence, strength, determination.

What does red symbolize in a wedding? ›

Red is a fiery hue that symbolises a range of things, and in terms of weddings, it has a positive connotation evoking the concepts of love, excitement, passion, and strength. You'll often see Eastern brides wearing red wedding dresses because it culturally signifies celebration and luck.

What does it mean when a woman wears a red dress to a wedding? ›

While you might see rumors floating around the web that wearing red to a wedding used to mean you had a fling with the groom, ignore those. There are no hidden meanings to any colors of wedding guest attire.

Is there an unlucky colour to wear to a wedding? ›

The tradition of brides wearing white didn't start until Queen Victoria, but an old nursery rhyme says red, yellow, green, pink, grey and black will bring negativity to the marriage. Specifically, red will make you "wish you were dead."

Can you wear maroon to a wedding? ›

Choosing a shade of red that is slightly muted with undertones like magenta, rust, or maroon is nearly always safe, and more wedding-appropriate to some than vibrant scarlet.

Is blush OK to wear to a wedding? ›

Is it okay to wear a blush or pink wedding dress? One word: YES! White may be the go-to color for wedding dresses, but rocking a blush or pink gown on your big day is such a fun + fashionable way to showcase your personality, inject your celebration with some color, and make your “I do's” more unique.

Can I wear a white polka dot dress to a wedding? ›

Clearly the rule of not wearing white to a wedding doesn't apply to smaller details like white stripes or polka dots, but my rule of thumb is this: If you're picking an outfit and the question pops into your mind of whether or not this is too much white to wear to a wedding, then don't wear it."

Can I wear silver sequins to a wedding? ›

Can I Wear a Sequin Dress to a Wedding? You most definitely can. As long as the dress code is cocktail or formal and the guests are expected to dress up.

How do you answer wedding dress code questions? ›

3. What should I wear?
  1. “The wedding is casual, so please feel free to wear whatever you'd feel best in!”
  2. “The wedding is semi-formal, so we encourage you to wear cocktail attire [for evening events] / Sunday best [for daytime events].”
  3. “The wedding is formal, so we encourage you to wear black tie attire.
Oct 2, 2019

What should you avoid in a wedding? ›

By avoiding these fashion faux-pas, you will make a tasteful fashion statement and show respect for the bride and groom.
  • White. One of the most obvious mistakes at a wedding is to match the bride. ...
  • A Black Tuxedo. ...
  • Anything Too Revealing. ...
  • Denim or Jeans. ...
  • Low-Cut Outfits. ...
  • Sheer Material. ...
  • All Black. ...
  • Flip Flops.
May 31, 2018

Why can't guests wear white to weddings? ›

Generally speaking, it's best to play it safe and avoid wearing a white dress when going to any type of wedding. The reason being, that white is traditionally a bridal colour. This may result in guests who are not familiar with the bride mistaking you for the person of honour.

What is the dress code wedding FAQ? ›

What's the dress code for the wedding? The most common dress codes are casual, semi-formal, cocktail or formal attire. If you'd like to be more specific, you can add examples to your webpage. If you've got a theme, like garden party or elegant cocktail, this is a great place to mention it.

How do I tell guests about dress code? ›

Put It on the Invitation

The simplest way to tell your guests what they're expected to wear is to put a dress code in the invitation. There is a time-honored glossary of dress-code wording short enough to include on invitations, or on a card inserted with the invitation.

How do I tell guests no plus one? ›

Add a section saying “We have reserved __ seat(s) in your honour”, and fill in this gap with the number of people you're inviting. For example, if you're inviting your cousin Mary and she's not allowed to bring a guest, you should write “1 seat”.

What should female guest wear to a wedding? ›

Simply put, women should wear a formal, floor-length evening gown—no exceptions—with jewelry, heels, and an elegant clutch. Men are required to wear a tuxedo with tails, a formal white shirt, a vest, a bow tie, white or gray gloves, and formal footwear, such as derby shoes or oxfords.

What do most brides forget? ›

  • Updating passports in time for the honeymoon.
  • Veil or special jewelry.
  • Vendor meals.
  • Wearing a robe or button down shirt for hair and makeup.
  • Wedding day emergency kit.
  • Writing a “thank you” speech for the reception.
  • To relax and fully enjoy the day!

What is not acceptable for dress code? ›

Never Acceptable

Dirty or wrinkled clothing. Tight-fitting or revealing clothing. Too casual, such as yoga pants, overalls, flip flops or shorts. T-shirts with inappropriate messages or offensive content.

Is it rude to wear black to a wedding? ›

Yes, it can absolutely be appropriate to wear black to a wedding, and it isn't typically considered disrespectful (although there are exceptions). While black attire was traditionally associated with mourning and funerals, times are changing — and so are fashion rules!

Can you wear a white dress to a wedding if you re not a virgin? ›

However, nowadays, the idea that you must be 'pure' in order to wear a white dress is rather outdated. Many brides choose to wear white on their wedding day, even if they aren't a virgin, or even if they have children already. These days, white is merely chosen because it's traditional.


1. 10 Outfits That Are OUT OF STYLE! *what to wear instead*
(Shea Whitney)
2. 9 Shoes OUT OF STYLE in 2023! *what to wear instead*
(Shea Whitney)
3. 13 Dress Code Mistakes You'll REGRET Making on a Cruise
(Life Well Cruised)
4. 12 Worst Wedding Dresses in the World
(#Mind Warehouse)
5. The Proper Wedding Attire For Guests At A Wedding | What To Wear For A Wedding - Wedding Attire
(Extreme Power1013)
(Ten Ways To Wear It)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Merrill Bechtelar CPA

Last Updated: 13/09/2023

Views: 6003

Rating: 5 / 5 (50 voted)

Reviews: 81% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Merrill Bechtelar CPA

Birthday: 1996-05-19

Address: Apt. 114 873 White Lodge, Libbyfurt, CA 93006

Phone: +5983010455207

Job: Legacy Representative

Hobby: Blacksmithing, Urban exploration, Sudoku, Slacklining, Creative writing, Community, Letterboxing

Introduction: My name is Merrill Bechtelar CPA, I am a clean, agreeable, glorious, magnificent, witty, enchanting, comfortable person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.