Can you wear black to a wedding? Our experts decide..
Can you wear black to a wedding? Our experts decide..
Posted in LBD news
July 24, 2013
It is the age-old debate that has divided wedding dress designers and planners alike — is it poor etiquette to wear black to a wedding? Once viewed as the ultimate fashion faux pas (in line with wearing white to someone else’s big day) the colour black has been deemed a no-go for guests, bridesmaids and brides alike for many years. But you just have to look to trend setters like Kate Middleton who has worn black not once, but twice, to someone else's nuptials and Sarah Jessica Parker and Shenae Grimes who have both said 'I do' in black gowns, to see the timeless and chic qualities of a darker shade of dress. But does that make it right? With the help of some of the most respected industry experts, Team LBD reopen the debate and question if the ancient rule has finally been ruled out… Danielle Coplans, Editor of wedding SOS blog, TheWeddingGirl.co.uk 'For wedding guests it's all about combining your own unique sense of style with the dress code for the wedding. I see nothing wrong at all with wearing a black dress to a wedding if the bride and groom are having a sophisticated black tie event, but if the dress code is Summer Chic then this obviously wouldn't be the best choice. Why not then look for a black dress with a summery floral print and some brightly coloured accessories. As for brides go for comfort rather than etiquette. Not all brides are comfortable wearing a big white dress. Your wedding day is the one day where you want to feel your most confident and beautiful, so you need to stay true to your style. I have attended one wedding where the bride wore a black wedding dress, she requested all her guests wear white and it looked absolutely fantastic!' Alexandra Merri, Wedding Stylist at TheBijouBride.com and Editor of 'The Groom Cupboard' for Wedding Magazine 'According to fashion's most notorious designer Karl Lagerfeld "One is never overdressed or under-dressed with a little black dress.". We all have a favourite LBD hanging in the wardrobe and if it is something you feel confident in why not wear it to a wedding? The key is to pair it with colourful accessories and jewellery for example a bright jacket or cardigan, a statement necklace or a delicate fascinator. I think black is an elegant, chic, and timeless choice for bridesmaids. Plus everyone looks good in black which can't be said for other colours where there is often a problem finding a shade that will work with every bridesmaid's skin tone and colouring. And it looks great in photos! And as for brides, Vera Wang is often regarded as the trendsetter when it comes to wedding dresses and her most recent collection focused on black and white combinations. Personally, I cannot see completely black wedding dresses becoming popular amongst brides but there is definitely a case for monochrome combinations. Designer Jesus Peiro got it just right with black ribbon belts and bow details but black shoes and headbands also look stylish.' Siobhan Craven-Robins, Wedding Coordinator at SiobhanCraven-Robins.co.uk ‘For an evening reception, black is perfectly acceptable. I think that black for a daytime wedding is a little sombre and perhaps still viewed as a faux pas, a sort of unwritten rule, similar to not wearing white as a guest. I would not choose to wear black to a daytime wedding, but I have done to an evening reception and added bright shoes and bag. On the other hand I have had clients dress their bridesmaids in black. It actually looks very striking and works well with cream or white flowers. I did once have a bride who planned to wear black; the wedding was cancelled two weeks before the big day. I wonder if it was a sign?’ Kat Williams, Editor of RockNRollBride.com ‘Brides — Hell yes, if you want to wear black then rock it out! As for bridesmaids, I had black bridesmaids dresses at my own wedding so I definitely think this is a good idea!’ Hannah Haigh, events planner and co-founder of BrideDeForce.blogspot.co.uk ‘Although I'm not a huge fan of guests wearing black to weddings I did actually put my bridesmaids in black when I got married! I personally wouldn't choose a black wedding dress but I was inspired by Vera Wang's move away from the traditional white in her recent collection. Who is anyone to say you 'can't' though; if it is your wedding I am very much of the mindset that you should do (and wear) exactly as you choose!’ Sarah Hayward, Luxury Wedding Planner and author of Wedding Bible ‘There are no hard and fast rules other than for guests not to wear white to a wedding out of respect to the bride. Vera Wang's 2012 bridal collection did include a black gown, but among our own clientèle the transitional white or ivory gown is sill very much in vogue. As for bridesmaids, it is not common to see them in black but we have seen it and it looked very chic. But etiquette does dictate that women should not choose black as a colour for their wedding attire unless it is an evening reception.’ Editor of Wedding and Wedding Flowers Magazine, Ciara Elliot ‘I love the idea of wearing black to a wedding, but I'm not sure I'd be brave enough to do it as a bride. Summer blacks are all in right now, and with our moody, dramatic midsummer skies, as a guest, they can really look eye-popping with a great tan and some bright lippy. Veer away from Sicilian widow in lace for now and go for body-hugging or slinky. For a bridesmaid, black is a timeless and chic look, which has always been huge in America and which is creeping more and more to the fore here now. I love the look, not least because women always feel sexy and slimmer in black (so you can avoid the feeling that you're putting your mates through bridesmaid dress hell!), but also because you've got so much to play with in terms of styles and cuts — black is endlessly flattering on all body shapes.’ Victoria Joy, Web Editor at You & Your Wedding ‘The rules of wedding fashion have changed just as much as weddings themselves. Gone are the days of strict style etiquette, so I think it's perfectly acceptable to wear black as a wedding guest. I'd style a LBD for a wedding just like I would a normal evening – with pops of colour to lift the ensemble. Team your black frock with a bright or candy-coloured fascinator, clutch or shoes, especially for a summer wedding. I think hemline is more crucial than colour, especially for a church wedding, so as long as your LBD isn't too little, it could be a winning choice for a wedding! Black can be a super-chic choice for your bridesmaids, as it looks striking against a white wedding gown. If you have more than one bridesmaid, the chances are you are being tasked with finding a colour to suit different skin tones and different body shapes, and few hues are as universally flattering than classic black. It might not be the best choice for a destination wedding where bright sunshine is guaranteed – your girls won't thank you if they're reduced to a sweaty mess – but it's perfect for any wedding in the chilly UK. If it's good enough for Vera Wang, it's good enough for me. Ever since the bridal designer revealed her black wedding dresses on the catwalk, brides have followed suit, whether in her design or high street versions. I can't say I'm brave enough to turn the traditional bridal look on its head to go all-out black, but I love the touches of monochrome seen on the bridal catwalks of Vera and Jesus Peiro for spring 2014. Perhaps a black bow in my hair, or a belt, or black shoes that are only revealed when the dress swooshes this way and that.’ So it appears that yes, you can wear black to a wedding, providing you judge the situation correctly and respect the bride's wishes. And if you're a bride that wants to wear black on your big day, then do whatever makes you happy, it's your wedding! Shop all black wedding guest dresses here.