12 Ways to Wear White to a Wedding Without Offending the Bride

As a rule of thumb, the short answer to “Can I wear white to a wedding?” is generally no, simply out of respect for the bride who will likely be wearing a white gown. Of course, there’s a chance she may be an unconventional bride who likes to make her own rules, and she might go for less popular silhouettes, like short hemlines, and non-white colors for the big day. Still, if you won’t see the final look until the day of, it’s wise not to compete and make it harder to know who’s actually getting married. When in doubt, chat with the bride about your potential ensemble.

Etiquette experts typically agree that unless the bride gives explicit permission, guests should avoid the color at all costs. As an alternative, there are plenty of seasonally appropriate colors and styles to wear.

If you really want some white in your wedding guest attire, it is possible. The trick is finding options with either a print (think florals or stripes) or some type of an accent. Champagne-colored dresses are also perfect if you prefer lighter shades for summer nuptials, as they pair especially well with an oceanside ceremony. Need a place to start? We rounded up several dresses in off-white, beige, and soft pastels that will make you an automatic contender for best-dressed guest. Jonathan Simkhai’s button-embellished mini dress makes for a playful option, while Johanna Ortiz’s silk maxi dress packs some serious glam. The & Other Stories tulle midi dress will turn you into an absolute vision, as will Markarian’s polished off-shoulder gingham print mini. Scroll on for these head-turning wedding guest fashion finds.

– Additional reporting by Shelcy Joseph