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Can You Wear Red To a Wedding?

As wedding season approaches, we answer your outfit woes.

Last Updated on March 30, 2023

You’ve just received a wedding invitation in the mail. You start looking up wedding guest outfits, and the only dress you can find is a bright eye-catching red. Is it OK to wear red to a wedding?

Although I have been to a few weddings in my time, I still find myself unsure of what is appropriate and what isn’t. 

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We all know that you shouldn’t steal the bride’s thunder and wear white, and black’s a bit of an awkward colour too. But why is wearing red such a big deal?

Woman holds black prada bag

There are a few reasons. Firstly, it’s quite an eye-catching colour, so the fear is that it takes attention away from the happy couple. It goes without saying that this is to be avoided.

There are also cultural reasons, so it’s important to check with the wedding party to ensure you’re not going against the traditions of the bride and/or groom’s culture.

Let’s delve in and dissect when it’s appropriate or inappropriate to wear red to a wedding.

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Can you wear red to a wedding?

If you’re wondering whether it’s okay to wear red to a wedding, the answer is usually yes.

But hold up! Before you pick out a complete outfit with the perfect pair of wedding guest shoes, it’s a good idea to check with the couple if they have any dress code or cultural considerations you should follow. 

As a guest, you need to avoid outshining the bride. Avoid anything too informal too, as this could be seen as disrespectful.

Instead, go for pastels, jewel tones, earthy colours, or any primary colour that you like. Just make sure it’s not too loud.

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Woman wears red outfit at london fashion week
Morgane Maurice

Is there a colour you shouldn’t wear to a wedding?

Absolutely! It’s generally not recommended to wear white or super light colors to a wedding, but ultimately it depends on the bride’s preferences and what is stated in the invitation. 

Some brides may not mind if guests wear white or light colours, while others may specifically request that guests avoid those colours.

It’s also important to keep in mind that even if the dress code is listed as smart casual, it’s still not appropriate to wear jeans, t-shirts, shorts, or sneakers to a wedding as a guest.

Therefore, it’s always a good idea to check the invitation for any dress code or color preferences specified by the bride and groom. 

If you’re unsure about what to wear or have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to the couple or a member of the wedding party for guidance.

When should red be avoided at a wedding?

Red is seen as lucky in certain cultures – namely South and East Asian – so it’s sometimes incorporated into the bride and/or groom’s wedding outfits. White is associated with death in some non-Western communities, so this should also be avoided if you’re unsure.

Your best bet is to check with the bride and groom to avoid any awkward or upsetting outfit choices.

Shop red wedding guest dresses

If you’re planning to wear red, we’ve found some killer red dresses that will look beautiful.

Floral Print Dress

Floral Print Dress, £49.99, Zara – Buy now

Sweetheart Neckline Animal Print Puff Sleeve Midi Dress

Sweetheart Neckline Animal Print Puff Sleeve Midi Dress, £27, Nasty Gal – Buy now

Lace camisole dress

Lace camisole dress, £59.99, Mango – Buy now

Crinkle Viscose Ruffle Maxi Beach Dress

Crinkle Viscose Ruffle Maxi Beach Dress, £49, Nasty Gal – Buy now

Patterned tie-detail dress

Patterned tie-detail dress, £39.99, H&M – Buy Now

Red Satin Long Sleeve Blazer Dress

Red Satin Long Sleeve Blazer Dress, £43, River Island – Buy now

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