I can’t say I stayed up late to watch the royal wedding a couple weeks ago, but I can say that I watched my fair share (okay, the whole thing) of the world famous nuptials days later when it took over virtually every channel on my television (not that I’m complaining; I’m a sucker for pretty dresses). Two weeks later, I’m sure you’re all just royal wedding’d out, so I’ll keep it brief: Kate’s little sister, Pippa, looked awesome. Which leads me to the question: what the heck is the deal with wearing white to someone else’s wedding?
It has always been my understanding that guests should avoid the color out of respect for the bride. It’s her day, and we’re not trying to compete with her, right? But Pippa’s slinky number had me wondering if the rules had changed, so I did a little old fashioned research to find out where the official wedding-wear etiquette stands.
Now, to be fair, Pippa was a member of the bridal party, not a guest. I’m sure Kate had some, or all, say in what her little sister was wearing, not to mention she could have worn an electric green monkey suit down the aisle and Kate still would have been the star. However, the outpouring of post-wedding press surrounding Pippa Middleton had me wondering if this is precisely the type of show-stealing that makes white a dangerous choice for non-brides.
Maybe it’s a British thing? True! I managed to dig up some history for you: In the U.K., bridesmaids have traditionally dressed in a way similar to the bride to act as decoys and confuse evil spirits, thus protecting her. (Also why we wear veils). AHA! (where i read this…)
That settles that. But since the bridal party rarely has any choice in what they’re wearing anyways, let’s get back to guest’s attire. Is white still off-limits? Pretty much…
There are some who say to avoid the color, and its whole family of shades, altogether. “Female guests should not wear white—it’s really, really not polite to take away from the bride on her special day by wearing her color. Try to avoid off-white and ivory, too, if at all possible. It’s not as if you don’t own or can’t buy something another color, right?” – The Knot, via thefrisky.com
But what about white patterns or white tops with non-white skirts or blazers? Wear at your own risk. The general consensus seems to be: nothing even close to bridal-looking, nothing predominantly white or in the white family, and just for the heck of it, nothing too attention-grabbing or revealing. The aim is to let the bride shine on her special day, so don’t wear anything that runs the risk of stealing her thunder, especially WHITE.
So ladies, it’s all about respect for that special girl on her big day. Use your best judgment, and if you have to question it… leave it in the closet. Plus, with so many vibrant and beautiful colors out there, take advantage of this chance to embrace a new hue! And if you choose to rebel, just be prepared to field the stink eye from granny….
Am I being too old school? Is white alright??
P.S.: Black tie, black tie optional, cocktail attire… Need a little more help with wedding-wear etiquette? CLICK HERE!