Wedding Guest Wearing White Dress Stirs Debate Online: ‘Disrespectful’

A woman wearing a white dress to a wedding has sparked a debate amongst TikTokers.

In a clip shared on October 9, user Gabby Goessling (@gabby.goessling) showcases the outfit she wanted to wear to a friend’s nuptials that day. The long gown included a floral pattern and thigh-high split, but the shade of the dress was causing her concern.

“Is this dress too white for a wedding?” she asked users in the caption. “I get so scared of being inappropriate and bought a spare just in case.”

Despite looking very different from your traditional wedding gown, users were split on whether Gabby should wear the dress, with the video receiving over 10 million views and more than 8,000 comments.

This stock photo shows a bride holding hands with a friend, also wearing white on the big day. TikTok users were split on whether a user named Gabby Goessling’s dress was “too white” for a wedding.
Slobodan Novakovic/iStock/Getty Images Plus

All Dressed in White

Ellie Durbin, wedding planner and founder of The Aisle Assistant, said that dress codes for weddings can vary widely based on the event’s location, time of day and the couple’s preferences, amongst other things. However, there are a few basic rules that guests should stick to.

“First, it should go without saying that wearing white is inappropriate and should be reserved for the bride or brides unless the invitation specifically says otherwise,” Durbin said. “Traditionally, red and black were not worn to weddings but those colors are now widely considered acceptable. Although in some cultures red is reserved for the bride, and black may still be a no-go.

“Shorts and flip flops are off limits for anything but the most casual beach celebration, and if the ceremony is in a house of worship and there are some older guests, you should aim for a sophisticated or demure look,” she added.

If you’re wearing a lower cut or strapless dress, or have a little bit of cleavage on display, Durbin recommends sticking to a longer hemline to balance it out. If your hemline is short, then she advises opting for longer sleeves or a higher neckline.

‘Please tell me it’s OK’

In the video, Gabby is wearing a long, sleeveless dress with a thigh-high split on the right side. While the dress is white, it’s also covered in a large green and pink floral pattern. She brought her boyfriend—rocking an olive green and gray suit—into the frame, so fellow TikTokers could see how their ensembles looked side-by-side.

Users were divided on whether the dress was appropriate, with Sonja Ashmore calling the couple’s outfits “perfect.”

“You match your partner so well,” she commented.

“I’d assume it’s fine,” said TikToker Aiden. “Since it’s not all white, like the florals take over the whole look.”

“I sincerely don’t know when not wearing white to a wedding turned into not wearing a dress with ANY white in it,” wrote Sav. “This is fine!!!”

However, _lilystream disagreed, commenting: “Rule is, if you have to ask, it’s not okay.”

“You look gorgeous,” wrote Ohnereue. “But [I’d] say go with the spare.”


Jess commented: “As a wedding coordinator, if you’re worried, always check with the bride. At the end of the day, it’s the bride’s decision, but I think it’s fine!”

In an update video captioned “PLS TELL ME IM NOT A TERRIBLE PERSON,” Gabby revealed that she did end up wearing the dress to the wedding.

“I wore the dress and forgot about the TikTok completely,” she said in the clip shared on October 10. “I woke up to so many comments from people saying my dress was inappropriate and like, disrespectful. I feel so s**t about it. I just really wanted to match my partner’s jacket and it was the only dress that was matching and I bought it last minute.”

“Please tell me it’s ok,” she said.

Fortunately, no one batted an eyelid at her outfit choice during the ceremony, and many TikTok users commenting on the new post agreed her dress was fine.

“You look stunning!” said Oceane S. “It is clearly not a wedding dress and you clearly didn’t take the attention away from the bride so no problem.”

“Naw girl, you’re good!” agreed Ooppaaa. “You looked amazing.”

User hcam_14 commented: “If your dress is too white then your partners shirt is too white. It’s fine.”

Newsweek reached out to @gabby.goessling for comment.

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