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Can I Wear White to a Wedding Without a Bride?

Does the long-held etiquette rule apply to same-sex weddings, too?

Contributing Writer
lisa louis wedding guests
Photography by: Michael Radford

You've heard it countless times before: Never wear white to a wedding. Because the color is traditionally reserved for the bride, showing up in a white ensemble is a social faux pas, and seen as a major sign of disrespect to the newlywed. But what if you're attending a wedding where there is no bride? 

 

Although some couples may feel differently, the fashion-related etiquette generally remains the same: Guests shouldn't don anything too short, revealing, or distracting, or any outfit in shades of white, cream, or beige. While it's true that most men wear black, gray, or navy to a wedding, you have to account for the possibility of the grooms choosing white suits or tuxedos. So, unless the couple has specifically requested that attendees wear all-white attire, it's best to leave the white dress at home and don something else.

 

Related: Your Same-Sex Wedding Etiquette Questions—Answered

 

If you're still dying to wear that white cocktail dress, there's one easy way to determine how the couple will feel: Ask them. Most couples won't mind the innocent attire question and will happily give their opinion. Keep in mind, however, that just because the couple is fine with your white dress doesn't mean that their other wedding guests will throw their long held beliefs out the window. Some grandmothers, aunts, or other friends may not approve of a white ensemble.

 

In short, it's probably smart to avoid wearing white to any wedding, same-sex celebrations included, since you risk offending the couple or other guests. However, feel free to break out your favorite white dress if the grooms give their approval, or if they explicitly ask their guests to wear white.