Q&A: Can I Wear Black to a Wedding?

October 12th, 2007

Q:  Is it appropriate to wear a black dress to a (evening) wedding? I’m torn, because I love black and I do need a Little Black Dress…but I’m concerned that black would be inappropriate for a wedding.

 Diane von Furstenberg \'Filomena\' DressA: 
Good news–while black was traditionally off limits to women at weddings, the longstanding tradition has been overturned.  You even occasionally see bridesmaids wearing black at weddings nowadays.

Especially since the wedding will be held during the evening, you’re going to want richer, more sophisticated colors and fabrics.  The black color raises the sophistication bar and will help ensure that you’re appropriately dressed for the event. 

In any case, every woman needs a Little Black Dress.  So–go out and buy it!

Have a great tip about what to wear (and what not to wear) to weddings?  Share it with us in the comments!

Pictured: 
Diane von Furstenberg ‘Filomena’ Dress | $465 at Nordstrom.


Style question?  We’ve got answers.  E-mail us at tips at omiru dot com, or leave us a comment with your question.

Entry Filed under: Q&A, Women's

10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Meg  |  October 12th, 2007 at 1:06 pm

    Personally, I’m fine with black at a wedding. Black would be the least of my worries, having seen people at weddings in flip flops, Crocs, wife-beaters, gym clothes, etc.

    Of course, there are still some people that see wearing black at a wedding as a taboo. If the couple and other guests tend to have conservative views on etiquette and clothing, you should rethink black or wear it at your own risk.

  • 2. MJ  |  October 13th, 2007 at 11:32 pm

    Black is fine, so long as it is elegant and not at all morose/funereal. Dressing it up with fun/colorful accessories is always a good way to go. And in my opinion is NEVER ok for mother of the bride or groom to wear black.

    I think the best rule for weddings is: don’t wear anything you think will make the bride, her mother, the grooms mother or either of their grandmothers uncomfortable. You’ll have a better time that way, and you’ll know you’ve done your part to make sure they had a better time, too!

  • 3. Alexei Villaraza  |  October 14th, 2007 at 6:55 pm

    what colour should my suit be if i wear it to a wedding thats scheduled in late afternoon? i’m going to have a suit made for it and im also confused as to what fabric i should tell them to use (i live in a tropical country). What do you suggest?

  • 4. Trisha  |  October 15th, 2007 at 1:53 am

    Don’t wear anything that would make the wedding party uncomfortable–that’s a great rule of thumb.

  • 5. Kyessa L Moore  |  October 16th, 2007 at 1:05 pm

    I agree with the posts, but I know that at least here in NYC, if a wedding is in the evening or if it is held in a very fancy locale, black is completely acceptable. At a tropical or summer wedding, wearing black would be silly and hot, so other colors come in. But in Fall, Winter and Evening weddings, Black is a great (if predictable) choice.

    In fact, I just ordered the Filomena dress from Nordstrom for a black tie wedding this saturday!!! It looks lovely online and I needed a LBD (little black dress) update anyway. I’ll write back to update on how it works live in person!!

    Ladies, If you have more than 5 wardrobe questions, consult Nina Garcia’s “Little Black Book of Style” which just came out this year. I’m using her super simple, classic advice to bring my wardrobe up to snuff.

    Men, ALEXI -
    For an all purpose, tropical weather wedding, you should have a dark tan/brown light-weight cotton or slightly heavier linen suit made for you. Something that will easily go from a wedding in the afternoon, to an evening out - this transition can easily be made via the style of shirt you wear underneath it.

    Plus, linen is great because you want something that will let you breath in the heat!
    IF the bridal party will all be wearing full on tuxedo regalia in spite of the heat, then feel free to go get a nice regular suit made in a deep tan or blue. This way, you will blend more with the other guests. The rule I live by (and has led me to much success) is to dress up slightly if unsure - you can be underdressed, but you can’t look too nice!!

    P.S. - When we lived in Puerto Rico, my husband bought a linen suit for all fancy occasions, and a traditional tailored suits for dressy occasions in the states.

  • 6. Trisha  |  October 17th, 2007 at 2:41 am

    Great point about customizing your dress style and color by location and time of day. And nice pick with the Filomena dress ;)

    Thanks for sharing Kyessa!

  • 7. michelle  |  October 22nd, 2007 at 4:28 pm

    I am going to a full wedding in December and would love to wear a black dress with gold detail. Would this be ok for daytime as well as evening? I would probably go with gold accessaries. I am uncertain as to wear black for daytime.

  • 8. Marceline  |  October 25th, 2007 at 12:51 pm

    What about a gown? I have a wedding to go to in a week and I have a goddess-style gown/dress with spaghetti straps. From the photos I’ve seen the weeding and reception are being held at a pretty fancy estat. The wedding will be at night. Are the bridesmaids supposed to be the only ones, aside from the bride, to wear ankle & floor length dress?

  • 9. Gwendolyn Carmichael  |  March 6th, 2008 at 8:08 pm

    Is it okay to wear a Red suit with a white top to a wedding being held in March at 1:00 pm?

  • 10. gina  |  April 18th, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    I’m going to a black tie wedding in Napa. The wedding begins at 4:30p.m and the reception is at an upscale winery. My husband is wearing a tux. Can I wear a long black dress?

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