9 Colors You Should Avoid Wearing To Weddings

It seems like there are so many rules and regulations when it comes to what you should and shouldn't wear to a wedding these days. Of course, the most important thing when it comes to your wedding guest attire is feeling comfortable and confident, but, if you can, there are a few colors you should probably avoid in order to let those getting married really shine and have their moment.


We all know about the obvious one. White. It always bears repeating that wearing white to a wedding is never a good idea (unless you're asked to by the happy couple, of course). But it turns out there are plenty more shades that you should probably consider nixing from your wardrobe when you're preparing to see two people head to the altar. Just a few? Metallics, neon, and even red. In fact, there may be more no-goes when it comes to color than you think.

White is almost never a good idea

We said it, and now we're saying it again. As a wedding guest, you should never wear white (and even more specifically, avoid a white dress at all costs). Traditionally, Western brides have worn white gowns on their wedding day, so it's still considered disrespectful in many cultures to opt for the color yourself. Even at weddings and civil ceremonies where there isn't a bride, we would still never recommend opting for a white outfit for someone else's big day. The exception is if the couple has implemented a white wedding dress code for their guests or has specifically asked you to get something in the color.


"When you're a guest at a wedding, the most important thing to keep in mind is not to upstage or upset the bride," wedding dress designer Madeline Gardner explained to The Knot. Anthony Navarro, creative director of Liven It Up Events, clearly agreed with that sentiment. "That color is reserved for the bride to wear at the wedding. It is an unsaid rule that you should not wear white," he said.

And neither is any variation of white, for that matter

Obvious, bright white shades aren't the only colors you should probably stay away from when it comes to your wedding guest look. Any variation of the color should also be reserved for another day. "It's safe to stay away from any outfits that are predominantly white, cream or ivory," Madeline Gardner admitted to The Knot. Stylist Micaela Erlanger clearly agreed that all variations of white should stay home, telling Vogue that when it comes to cream or ivory, "It's all white!" Bridal stylist Anny Choi also grouped beige, and any variation of beige, into the no-no category.


But that doesn't necessarily mean you can't wear anything ivory, cream, or beige. If you've found an outfit with a little white or off-white in it, such as in a floral print or a geometric design, that may be wedding-appropriate. One of the best things you can do is get the opinions of those close to you, or even the couple getting married, to ensure you're not stepping on any toes. One Reddit user recommended choosing an outfit that's no more than 30% white.

Bold metallics can be too attention grabbing

We can't lie, we sure do love a metallic number. The way they catch the light is super fun — but it's not necessarily appropriate for weddings. Because bold metallics can be distracting and attention-grabbing, it may look as though you're trying to steal focus away from the couple getting married. As Elizabeth Kosich, certified image stylist and founder of Elizabeth Kosich Styling, explained to Best Life, it's important to make yourself look your best without stealing focus on someone else's big day. "Look-at-me metallics make you stand out and, ultimately, shift attention away from the bride," Kosich pointed out. "Save your flashy metallic dress for the next cocktail party, not the next wedding."


In photos, some metallic clothing can also sometimes cause flashback because of the reflective nature of the materials used. That may mean the all-important wedding pictures won't look the best. It's also worth noting that metallics are better suited for the evening, no matter what the occasion, which makes them an even bigger no-no for a daytime ceremony.

You can incorporate a little metallic into your outfit, though. Something like a gold thread running through a classy wedding outfit can give a subtle shimmer that proves you really put some thought into dressing up for the occasion. Anything more than a subtle metallic accent, though, and you should probably leave the outfit at home.

Fire engine red is too flashy

Another color some experts consider to be too attention-grabbing for a wedding? Bright, fire engine red. Though you'd totally be forgiven if you've sported this color to a wedding before (because it's not exactly the first shade that springs to mind when you think of a wedding color no-no) some wedding experts find the bold shade just too daring and distracting for the occasion. Celebrity stylist and bridal fashion expert Micaela Erlanger is one of those. She explained to Who What Wear, "This color is too strong and harsh and could distract in photos, ultimately taking the attention away from the guests of honor and the couple."


Tara West, a fashion stylist, lifestyle blogger, and podcast co-host, agreed with that sentiment, explaining that your red clothing is probably best left behind when attending someone else's big day. "While this color flatters many skin tones and often looks very sexy, red can also steal the spotlight and take over the focus in a photo with the bride or bridal party," she told Best Life. Influencer Mei Yap also pointed out in an Instagram video that, in some cultures, brides actually tend to wear red over white, which can make it just as bad as wearing white.

Rather than bright red, Erlanger recommended trying something a little less attention-grabbing, such as a soft blush tone. She described the shade as being "soft, romantic, and foolproof!"


Neon can also be considered poor etiquette

It's also suggested that you avoid neon-colored clothing for weddings. Though there are certainly ways to make this super bright and bold shade look chic, it's another color group that may be considered too distracting when you're attending the most special day of someone else's life. Being the center of attention in every photo because of your eye-catching ensemble might be okay for other events, but, as we already know, it's important to let the couple shine on their wedding day. "I would recommend avoiding neon. Color theory calls neons 'distractors'... and you wouldn't want to distract from the bride!" influencer Mei Yap shared on Instagram.


"Neons are the most conspicuous colors of all, and so it's best to avoid them," Elizabeth Kosich explained to Best Life. Elite stylist at Bridge Your Style, Brigid Stasen, agreed that anything neon should probably be saved for nights out on the town. Micaela Erlanger shared a similar sentiment to Vogue, noting, "Unless it is a wild disco party, avoid colors that really stand out. Unless, of course, your friend's getting married at a rave."

Black is also not recommended for certain types of weddings

Though black has traditionally been seen as a color associated with mourning or funerals, it has become more socially acceptable in Western countries over the years to wear black to a wedding. But just because it's less taboo to wear all black to watch two people tie the knot these days, it's still suggested that you don't sport something so dark if you're heading to a summer wedding or nuptials in a tropical location.


"My recommendation is to avoid wearing the color black if it's a destination wedding with more of a tropical vibe," Elaine Swann, a wedding etiquette expert and the founder of The Swann School of Protocol, told Brides. Jacquelyn Aleece, owner and founder of The Wedding Plan & Company, clearly agreed with that sentiment, suggesting to Today.com that navy blue may be a better choice than black for these types of weddings. "Use the temperature, season and venue style to help guide your fashion decisions," she said.

If you're going to a wedding with a strong summer vibe, that may also be an indication the couple would prefer brighter, sunnier shades from their guests. Not to mention, wearing something so dark may only make you feel hotter in the summer sun anyway.


Try to avoid a color similar to the bridal party outfits

Before heading to a wedding, it's a good idea to try and find out what the couple's chosen color palette is. That way, you can avoid wearing the same shade as the bridal party. The reason you don't want to match the bridesmaids, groomsmen, or other people invited to be an integral part of the big day, is because it's considered an honor to be asked to be a part of the bridal party. If you've not been asked, being mistaken for a bridal party member may only result in embarrassment for you and the couple tying the knot. "You don't want to blend in or be confused with the bride or bridesmaids. Doing so will bring unwanted attention to your look and create a distraction," Tara West explained to Best Life.


To get the inside info on what colors to avoid, you could ask the couple themselves, or try getting in contact with someone close to them or someone you know is in the bridal party. They should then be able to steer you away from any outfit colors that may accidentally steal attention.

Super light pastels aren't worth the risk

While pastels may seem like a safe choice for a wedding, opting for a shade that's too light isn't recommended. That's because sometimes these very light colors don't photograph the same way they look in real life. Especially in professional snaps when the flash is in use. Something like a really light yellow or a very pale pink can actually end up looking white in some photographs, so it may end up looking like you've committed that cardinal wedding sin of wearing white to someone else's ceremony.


It's a good idea to avoid these shades altogether so you're not taking the risk, but if you do really want to wear a pastel shade, try photographing it yourself before you head out. We'd suggest taking a picture in natural light, one in artificial light, and at least one with the flash on. That way, you can make sure your dress shows up the color it's supposed to.

Orange isn't a favorite amongst some wedding experts

Orange is also a color that some wedding experts frown upon when it comes to wedding guest attire. Especially if you're close to the couple getting married and will probably find yourself standing in a few professional photos with the happy couple. That's because, like a lot of other shades on our list, orange is pretty scene-stealing and may divert attention away from the bride in photos. Wedding photographer Jen Fariello told Country Living that the divisive color is amongst her most hated. "Especially if you are family or the date of a family member," she shared.


So what color should you wear? Fariello noted that the wedding invitation could give you a few clues as to the dress code and which colors may clash with the wedding décor. As well as giving you an idea about what the wedding color scheme is, so you can avoid being too matchy-matchy. "I think taking a cue from the invitation is always a great idea," Fariello noted.