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Published: Monday, Jan. 24th, 2022

When is it Ok to Wear Black to a Wedding?

Image credit: @verasbridals; Cropped from the original , see full image on Instagram.

There was a time when wearing black to a wedding was nearly unheard of. In those bygone days, most people saved their formal black clothing for funerals and days of mourning (and maybe a night out at the club). 

 

In some cultures, wearing black to a wedding was such bad luck that they might not even let you in the door if you dressed in the darkest hues. 

 

These days, wedding ceremonies are about individuality and self-expression, with unity ceremonies and rituals that are much more creative and varied than they used to be. This gives couples and their guests more opportunities to look and feel like themselves on the wedding day. 

 

Still, color is an important part of wedding planning, and wearing black isn’t always the best or appropriate choice.

 

Here are some things to consider when choosing what to wear.  

 

 

 

  • Are you the one getting married? 

 

Congratulations! You can wear whatever the hell you want! Rock a gothic-chic black wedding dress, a raven colored jumpsuit, a classic black tux, or a sexy black leather jacket or corset – the only rules for your wedding are the ones you make. 

 

(No matter what your family says… How to stop parents, friends, & relatives from taking over your wedding plan)

 

 

A groom in a black suit, and a bride adjusting her black dress

Getting married? Where whatever you want!

 

 

  • Are you the wedding officiant? 

 

Wedding officiants play a unique role in the wedding ceremony and can usually choose to wear black. There are a few exceptions to this rule, though, which we’ll explain below. 

 

Black is generally an acceptable choice for officiants because they’re attending the wedding in an official capacity – to legally solemnize the marriage.

 

In most cases, wearing a simple black suit or dress looks professional and respectful, even in the summer months. This is true even when a close friend of the family has been ordained to officiate, too, and not just for professional wedding officiants.

 

 

A woman dressed in a black dress to officiate a wedding

Wedding officiants wear black to look stylish and professional.

 

 

There are exceptions: 
Always
consider what the couple will be wearing and where the wedding will be held before getting dressed. For example: A black suit looks respectable at most formal indoor weddings, but might look out of place at a breezy pastel-themed beach wedding. A sleeveless black jumpsuit can look sharp at an outdoor elopement, but will leave you lurking in the shadows at a glow-in-the-dark themed wedding. 

 

Ask the couple for guidance if you aren’t sure what to wear. 

 

For specific tips: 
What to Wear (and Not Wear) as a Wedding Officiant

 

 

 

  • Are you a member of the wedding party? 

 

A soon-to-be Matron of Honor recently asked us if she could wear black to her brother’s wedding. She would be up front during the ceremony and delivering a speech, and she wanted to make sure she was dressed appropriately for her role. 

 

The first question we asked her was – What colors are the bride and groom wearing? 

 

As a wedding attendant, your main focus when choosing an outfit should be to not take any attention away from the people getting married, which means you’ll need to know what the soon-to-be-weds will be wearing. Sometimes the couple will give you clear guidance from the start, but sometimes you’ll need to ask. 

 

Then, dress to match or coordinate – not clash or contrast. (Unless that’s the theme!)

 

 

This couple dressed in all black and asked their guests to wear white to contrast their stylish look... A great example of why it's important to ask about a dress code. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Goeters (@baie_goeters)

 

 

If the couple will be wearing dark colors, black is usually a safe choice (except in cases like the example above). If they’ll be dressed in neons, pastels, or all-white, pick an outfit with less color contrast. And if there will be an eclectic mix of colors, tones, and patterns, simply ask your loved ones if they’re ok with you wearing black before choosing a look. 

 

Keep in mind the weather and terrain too. These become incredibly important when choosing outerwear and which shoes to bring! No one wants to get stuck wearing heels on muddy grass. 

 

 

 

  • Are you a wedding guest? 

 

First, check the invitation: Some couples will include specific guidance for what to wear on the wedding invitation or on their wedding website. Even if they leave specific instructions off the invite, the venue location, time of day, and overall feel and formality of the event can give you clues on what to choose.

 

In most cases, black is a totally acceptable choice for a wedding guest. Unlike days past, black attire is now frequently seen as chic, fashionable, and even festive.

 

Still, you may want to avoid wearing all black. Toss on some colorful accents and simple patterns to avoid a funeral-vibe: Colorful shoes, ties, jewelry, florals, and hats can brighten up and complete your look. This is especially true for daytime weddings, outdoor weddings, and summer weddings.

 

In general, avoid wearing black to pastel-themed events and beach weddings. 

 

 

 

  • Are you someone’s adorable pet? 

 

If you’re an adorable dog, sleek-coated feline, or well-trained alligator with a wedding invite, you can rock pretty much whatever you want. 

 

Stick with your natural look, but don’t be afraid to toss on a cute doggie tux or rhinestone collar. 

 

Make sure you keep the focus on the humans getting married, and try to limit any interruptions to the ceremony. 

 

Read 5 Tips for Including Pets in Your Wedding Ceremony

 

And, of course, if you’re the one getting married (pet weddings are a big thing these days!), wear whatever you want! 

 

 

A bride and groom kiss in the sunshine while walking two large black dogs

These sheepdogs look stylish in all black.

 


 

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