Wedding Guests Are Now 'Allowed' to Wear White -- But Should They?

wedding guest white dressTracy Reese Persephone Shift dress ($400)It seems like when it comes to some of the most basic rules of the wedding road, you just can't win. So far I've learned that you can pretty much guarantee someone's going to complain about every last detail -- from the time of the ceremony to the type of champagne being served. It's inevitable. But thank goodness for certain traditions that can actually serve to protect a bride from irrationally irate guests. Like when's the last time you heard a wedding guest lament that they couldn't wear white? That's an obvious "no-no," right?

Not anymore! Nationally recognized etiquette expert Diane Gottsman recently wrote, "As long as guests do not upstage the bride or appear to be in competition with her, a winter white or summer cream dress is now considered okay." And she's not the only one with this controversial mentality!


Peggy Post told New York Times readers they only need to worry about not "unintentionally calling attention" or "causing offense to the bride." Hmm ... that said, you'd probably want to play it safe and ... just not wear white, right?! After all, there are plenty of other colors in the rainbow.

More from The Stir: 8 Colorful Wedding Dresses for the Bride Who Doesn't Want White

Okay, so there are definitely less conventional, more "off-beat," or simply laidback brides out there who could care less about a guest wearing white. But honestly, I'm the kind of bride for whom a guest in anything close to "bridal white" would be a problem. Especially because I'm not super-keen on bridal white myself (thinking I'd love it if my wedding dress was champagne or blush), and I wouldn't be too happy with someone looking as though they were trying to duke it out for the spotlight. And that applies to any kind of crazy flashy outfit that would draw extra, unwelcome attention. For instance, I once saw a chick at a black tie wedding in a way less classy, spandex-y get-up reminiscent of JLo's notorious Versace dress. Yes, really. What on earth was that girl thinking?! 

Ultimately, what matters is considering the appropriateness of any outfit for the occasion and what the couple (and crowd -- no one wants to catch an aunt or granny talking smack about you behind your back) would appreciate. A good friend of mine, who had a wedding of about 50, actually asked all of her guests to come to wearing one article of clothing in her wedding colors (yes, even a dress). We guests had fun with it, and the group shot ended up looking awesome.

So, obviously, everyone's different. That's why sometimes, even the most age-old etiquette rules don't apply to every bride and groom. But when it comes to a question of making a move that may steal the show on their Big Day, you shouldn't need to ask Ms. Manners what to do.

How do you feel about guests wearing white to a wedding?

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