Can I Wear Black at a Wedding? Wedding Expert Opinion

Something that seems like a taboo topic - wearing black to a wedding - is actually not as strange as you might think. The general assumption when it comes to wearing black is the one link to funerals or really formal environments, but most people are starting to be more open about it. Another old-fashioned assumption is that wearing black to a wedding means that you don’t agree with the wedding. Although this is just an outdated thing to do, it’s a good idea to remember that lest an elderly attendee will bring this up out of nowhere. 

Media has a great role in shaping fashion trends and changing perceptions. Think about all the glorious black Hollywoods dresses and outfits worn by celebrities - you might be inclined to rethink your next outfit choice for a wedding. 

We’ll have a look at why weddings guests are now shifting to wearing black for a wedding and how to approach this if you too are looking to do the same thing.  

lady wearing a black outfit to a wedding

The Etiquette of Wearing Black to a Wedding

We have seen guests wearing black to some of the weddings here at Davenport, and we know it works. However, one of the biggest takeaways is also knowing how to style it the right way. Black is definitely an elegant colour that can work really well but it requires extra attention to how it is being styled with the other elements of the outfit: the make-up, the shoes, the jewellery and so on. 

Another thing to be aware of is do not push it too hard. A black outfit can easily steal away the attention of the bride and groom so you would want to avoid that - out of respect for them. From our first-hand experience, ladies prefer to go with elegance and class in terms of style, rather than extravagance. 

couple wearing black at a wedding party

Types of Weddings

Don’t forget to ask yourself what kind of wedding you are attending. Is it a themed one? Where is it happening? You can check with the bride to see her own view.  And of course, you should consider the season when the wedding is taking place - this will dictate the tone and style of your outfit.

Black tie weddings are the ideal place (if that wasn’t obvious!) to wear black outfits. Formal dress code weddings are also making things easier when it comes to picking a black outfit. If the wedding is taking place at a country-house location, or a manor, castle and anything similar to this, then black outfits will fit well with the rest of the decor. Since these weddings tend to be more traditional and conservative in nature, think of the other guests that are attending- are they likely to judge you for the choice in the dress?

On the other hand, beach or garden weddings might make things a bit difficult if you’re set on wearing black. That’s when we recommend you incorporate some colour into your outfit or pick garments that work well with black. 

Some women have a natural flair for wearing black outfits and they can easily pull off any black outfit, but for those who are having a bit of an issue with assorting things and choosing something they feel comfortable in, we can put together some tips that can help you build that perfect black outfit for your next wedding. 

woman wearing black sequin dress at a wedding


Should I wear black to a wedding evening?

Yes, you should wear what makes you happy. But you also need to be considerate of the bride’s special requests (if she has any), the type of wedding you are attending as well as the location. For casual weddings, there is nothing wrong with wearing black, but if weddings are overly traditional, you might want to reconsider your choices. If wearing black to a wedding reception creates conflicting emotions, then you should go with something that you are comfortable with. 

Is wearing black to a wedding bad?

Certainly not, even if there are old preconceptions about wearing black, they are outdated and most people don’t really care. You should check with the bride if she is happy with black outfits and that should clear out any doubts that you might have. 

Can I wear black for a summer wedding? What about a winter wedding?

Yes, but you should consider the location and type of wedding first. Is it going to be on a beach? Is there a dress code? What is the weather going to be like? Think of all these things before deciding on what to wear for the wedding. Black is certainly an elegant and chic colour but it is not appropriate for all weddings settings. Same goes for winter weddings. As they tend to be located in more formal settings, black can be a good idea. 

The Author

Kate Smallwood

Kate Smallwood is a journalist and presenter specialising in weddings. With a career spanning over 20 years, she has worked for some of the UK’s most prestigious consumer bridal titles, hosted tv shows and national exhibitions, launched ground-breaking websites and advised some of the nations most elegant wedding venues.

01746 716 021

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