Wearing Red at a Wedding – 10 Things You Must Know as a Guest

Although it’s fun attending a wedding, it also requires considerable effort, including choosing a suitable wedding present, arranging a hotel and most importantly, selecting the outfit!

As far as color goes, it’s clear that many people have been thinking of wearing red at a wedding. The colors are beautiful and romantic. 

Red is a vibrant color. But who should be wearing red to a wedding? The wedding invitation should give you a clue about the dress code. 

Is Wearing Red at a Wedding Considered Bad Etiquette?

The question may have been brought up because you saw someone wearing red. You might need clarification about the etiquette and want to know when it is appropriate and inappropriate.

It is generally considered inappropriate to wear red for a wedding because of its associations. 

Red is famously considered sexual. In addition, red can be seen in some cultures to be unlucky and is best avoided.

The color black at a wedding used to cause controversy since it is often associated with a funeral or mourning ceremonies. Today wearing black is no longer taboo. Red too, is losing its associated taboos.

Asian wedding ceremonies and Chinese weddings would consider bright red as poor etiquette.

In western weddings, red is thought to take attention away from the bride. But many believe it’s an outdated school of thought that urges all wedding attendees to refrain from wearing something loud and flashy to a wedding. Still, it is polite to err on the side of caution. Will the crimson dress offend your wedding host? If so, you should go with another option. 

You will also find wedding attire inspirations from our other popular posts:

Is the rumor surrounding red at weddings true?

We’ve probably all heard the rumor that suggests a wedding guest wears red to the wedding to insinuate that she has had a past sexual relationship with the groom. First things first, if anyone on the guest list makes it clear that they are showing up intending to throw off the energy, then they should immediately be uninvited. Besides that, there is no truth to that age-old myth. Red was simply frowned upon as it can draw more attention to the guest wearing it than the bride.

How To Wear Red Without Stealing the Show

The most significant way to find out if an outfit will suit a wedding may be through creative thinking. Dress up and pretend to be beside the bride. Would anyone’s eye immediately turn to you or not? 

Here are some of the best ways to wear red without stealing the show.

Check with the Couple First

Reaching out and asking for approval to wear red is the best way to avoid any awkward moments at weddings. It’ll be as easy as texting or calling to ask what’s acceptable. If you can’t contact the bride or groom, get a hold of a bridesmaid.

If a couple says red isn’t favored, respect their answers! Whatever you wear at a wedding, the day reflects the couple’s happiness and everyone who comes along should respect those wishes.

Consider Formality

Weddings sometimes have different levels of formality, which is an additional consideration when choosing a red dress. You must ensure your dress respects the dress code.

Red Lipstick and Accessories are Ok

You can sport red at a wedding as long as it’s tasteful and elegant. You want to avoid offending the couple or event’s cultural traditions. 

Red is known to be sexy, sultry, risque and mischievous. You must exercise good judgment if you decide to wear red. Other wedding attendants may perceive your outfit as an unintentional statement. If the attire is too loud, the color might scream, “look at me!” When you choose a wedding guest’s dress, go with a classic and conservative dress that only slightly pushes the boundaries.

Wedding Appropriate Red

It is ok to wear red. However, finding an appropriate red can be a journey.

A muted cranberry is a fantastic color for a red outfit. Darker shades of red are great on the wedding day. As long as the shadow of red is not loud, it should be ok. 

According to fashion editors, another great idea is to go with a slightly muted color.

Everything that Glitters is not Gold

Wearing anything too glittery should be avoided. Keeping your bride’s big moment in mind is critical and your gown with a disco-ball theme could be distracting. Etiquette experts suggest considering other colors, but the most important thing is to honor the couple’s big day.

The red color might symbolize the passions and happy moments of the day in your mind.

Is Red Part of the Wedding Theme?

If red is part of the theme of the wedding, it could be appropriate to wear. However, if the bride plans to wear red during the wedding, steer clear.

What Colors are Inappropriate to Wear to a Wedding?

Once you understand the dress code of the wedding you are attending, you can move on to choosing your attire. It’s not just about discovering the best guest attire for your figure. You must also consider the best color to wear to a wedding.

It used to be a faux pas to wear black to a wedding, but some modern weddings opt to go with an all-black wedding theme. 

There are still some colors you should avoid. The last thing you want is to irk the bride with your outfit choice. Therefore consider these colors a no go for your next wedding. 

White or Any Version of White

Typically white is left to the bridal gown. Therefore, this is probably pretty obvious, but you can’t wear white to a wedding. Modern weddings are pushing the envelope of what a marriage can look like, but as a wedding guest, it is best to always steer clear of upsetting the bride. 

Most likely, at the wedding, the bride will be wearing white. At all-black weddings, she might wear a black gown; in this case, you still do not want to stick out in a white dress. 

Keep in mind that this includes all shades in that color. Ivory to alabaster are colors you should skip. If you add small amounts of white or a white accessory, that’s fine. The point is to avoid a mostly white outfit.


Dressing up as an Academy Award statue is fine, but you should save that number for another event. Not only is gold a flashy choice that may keep eyes glued to you instead of the happy couple, but it may also rival what the bride is wearing if she’s opted for a champagne or light gold dress. This goes for other metallic shades, like rose gold and silver.

Light Pastels

Sorry pastel lovers, but all ultra-light colors are off-limits to wedding guest attire. Yes, a lavender or a mint green is delicate, but when the pastels are close to white, you should swap it for something else. 

Is your look too light? Try snapping a pic of it in the sun. If you can barely make out the hue of your outfit, it’s time to go back to the drawing board.


A wedding is not the place to imitate your favorite 80s star! Skip the highlighter shades and go for something more subtle for your wedding guest attire so that eyes stay on the happy couple, not you. You can wear that neon dress, skirt or shirt to a more appropriate activity, like glow bowling or a rave.

So which colors are safe for weddings?

There seems to be a lot of debate on what to wear and what not to wear. Here are a few ideas on colors you can wear at;

Evening weddings

Evening weddings call for peak formality and generally have long flowy gowns as part of their dress code. Evening dresses do well with metallic shades without going fully into the color to avoid standing out too much. You can also wear a navy blue gown or step out in a black gown.

Winter weddings

It may be cold out but your fashion sense doesn’t have to suffer. Colors like emerald, deep red, burgundy and dark blue will fit right in with the mood of the event. It can be hard to accessorize during winter but as a rule of thumb, we always suggest a shawl to drape over yourself after you’ve stored away your coat and lower heels. You don’t want to get injured amidst the celebration.

Spring and summer weddings

Spring and summer bless us with pops of colors and it’s the perfect time to step out in a burst of color. Always reserve bright and feminine colors for the summer season and flowery dresses to match the spring atmosphere.

Tips on picking a wedding guest outfit

  • Stick to the dress code. If the invitation clearly includes a dress code for the guests, it’s best to stick to it to avoid offending the couple. Even if it’s not the intention, people may assume you are simply trying to stand out from the crowd and draw attention to yourself.
  • Consider the formality of the wedding. Always tailor your outfits to the formality of the event. Garden and beach weddings may require a more relaxed look than evening weddings.
  • Keep your wedding outfits appropriate. When choosing an outfit, try to ensure it suits the event you are attending. There are different age groups at a wedding and your outfit should not draw inappropriate attention.
  • Always imagine yourself standing next to the bride when picking an outfit. When picking a dress, try to mentally envision how it looks standing next to the bride. Will the attention instantly shift to you? Sequins, pearls, and shimmer are additions to a dress that could potentially draw a lot of attention.

While some brides don’t mind what their guests are wearing and want everyone to look their best, remember it’s her day and as much as you want to look good, just don’t upstage the bride.

Final Thoughts

When is the appropriate time to don red to a wedding? Red will stand out at a black-tie wedding. 

At a Chinese wedding, the family adheres to the tradition of not wearing red to a wedding. 

When dressing up for someone’s special day, you want to look your best. Consider different colors if you feel uncomfortable wearing red to a wedding. Wedding guests can choose to wear their favorite colors but avoid whites, pastels, neons and gold dresses. 

The color red is appropriate for certain wedding conditions. If you still have questions, consult the couple who sent you the wedding invitation.

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