Wearing Black to a Wedding: The Dos and Don’ts

Wearing Black to a Wedding: The Dos and Don’ts

November 29, 2022
By Katerina Katakalides

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Wedding season means many things: piles of wedding invitations on your counter, hours upon hours spent browsing through gift registries, and countless outfit options for you to try. When figuring out what to wear, we all know the universal wedding guest rule- don’t wear white! Although this option is clearly cut out, there aren’t many tips when it comes to other colors. One common question that wedding guests usually ask themselves is “can I wear black to a wedding?”

The short answer- yes! Wearing black to a wedding can be quite common, especially when it’s held during the winter months or when there’s an upscale dress code. Unless the invitation specifies something else, you don’t have to shy away from wearing black to a wedding.

Now, are you ready for the long answer?

Wearing black to a wedding is all about balance. This is always important for narrowing down styles for any event, but this is especially important when attending a wedding. Someone’s wedding day is a moment that will live on for the rest of their lives. Photos and videos will be brought out for years down the line and you’ll want to be sure that your presence in the background is something people will love seeing.

While you may have the cutest black dress that you’ve been dying to wear, it might not be the most appropriate option for a beach wedding. Typically, these weddings are styled with bohemian decorations that match the laid-back, beachy vibe. Although adorable, a black cocktail dress would contrast against the backdrop and make you stand out like a sore thumb.

This is just one example of a wedding where a black dress or jumpsuit wouldn’t be appropriate. The hard question is- how can you tell? The wedding guest dress code is the best way to figure out what you should wear. Wedding dress codes are typically printed on the invitation, so make sure to read over all the fine print. The invitation itself, like any designs or stylistic choices, can also help you choose the perfect look for the big day. If you see flowers on the invitation, try incorporating some florals into your look. If the text is printed in an elegant font, try out a classically chic style. You can never go wrong with some invitation inspiration!

How to Wear Black for Different Dress Codes

The wedding dress code will be the single most important thing when picking your wedding guest outfit. You wouldn’t want to accidentally wear a casual cocktail dress to a black tie event! Couples put a dress code on their invitation for a reason- they want you to follow it.

If your heart is set on wearing black, maybe it’s your favorite color or you think it looks extra flattering on you, then you’ll want to start with the dress code. Once you know which formal level you’ll have to hit, picking out the perfect black look will be much easier. Let’s break down the different dress codes, all the way from white-tie to dressy casual.


White-tie is the most formal you can get! A white tie wedding means walking into a sea of floor-length gowns and tuxedos paired with elegant accessories. If you’re invited to this type of wedding, then a floor length dress is an absolute must! You’ll want to gravitate towards elegant evening gowns when browsing through looks and don’t forget to pick up some jewelry, high heels, and a cute clutch while you’re at it!


Black-tie weddings aren’t as formal as white-tie weddings, but are much more common. Floor length gowns are also appropriate for black-tie weddings, but you can also opt for a formal jumpsuit. The basic rule of thumb is that if it covers your ankles, you’re good to go! This is your chance to embrace your elegant side and show off a fancy, black outfit.


“Formal” might be the most ambiguous dress code there is. Aren’t all weddings technically formal events? In reality, a formal wedding guest dress code means your ankles can finally be free! Even though floor length dresses and jumpsuits are still appropriate for formal weddings, you can decide to wear a fancy cocktail dress if it’s more your style. These black dresses are perfect styles for a formal wedding.


Cocktail attire is one of the most popular wedding day dress codes. This style falls between elegant and comfortable, making it more formal than a day wedding but less casual than a night wedding. Instead of a floor length gown, you should try on shorter dresses, like tea-length, knee-length, or midi dresses.

Semi-Formal or Dressy Casual

Finally for the least formal! Semi-formal, also known as dressy casual, is a laid-back dress code for smaller, low key weddings. Floor length evening gowns are definitely too over-the-top for this type of wedding, so a cocktail dress or jumpsuit would be more appropriate. A black cocktail dress would be perfect for a semi-formal wedding, especially if there’s an evening reception.

Black Styles to Wear to a Wedding

Wearing black to a wedding doesn’t mean you need to feel boring in a solid black, basic dress. There are many styles that blend together black with different designs to make them stand out in any crowd. Since this isn’t your wedding day, you don’t want to be too extravagant and take away attention from the bride and groom. However, you still want to make sure the special couple can tell that you’re putting your best foot forward for their big day.

These black styles can be worn to a variety of weddings depending on the dress code. There’s truly a black gown, cocktail dress, or jumpsuit for every type of wedding! Who knows? Maybe you’ll find your new favorite style.

Pop of Color

Just because you’ve decided to wear black to a wedding doesn’t mean you need to get rid of everything with color! You can incorporate pops of color into a black dress or jumpsuit with embroidery, embellishments, or rhinestones.

Sprinkle on Some Sparkle

It’s time to combine black and bling! Adding sequins or jewels to your black outfit will help you light up the dance floor all night long. Whether you want chunky rhinestones or sparkly sequins, adding some sparkle to a black dress is a fun way to bring extra excitement to the wedding day.

Embrace Lace

Lace is a classic style that you can find at almost any wedding. Including lace in your look can come in many forms, from adding a subtle lace trim to to a complete lace overlay. Either way, lace is an elegant way to add a feminine touch to a black dress.

Flounce in Feathers

Feathers have been one of the hottest fashion trends of 2022. We’ve seen so many wedding gowns, prom dresses, and pageant gowns with fun feathers, it’s about time that a wedding guest does the same! Adding feathers to a black gown is a trendy way to elevate your look for a fancier, black-tie wedding.

Stand Out in a Jumpsuit

Jumpsuits are another trend that we’ve seen blow up in 2022! Jumpsuits are a stylish way to make sure you can comfortably dance the night away. You’ll never be too shy to bust a move on the dance floor in one of these sleek, black jumpsuits.

Don’t stress over your wedding guest dress! Narrowing down the perfect color is your first step to picking your ideal look. Black is a solid option for most weddings, as it’s become more and more popular among wedding guests. Instead of keeping this color limited to funerals and other sad times, try incorporating this bold shade into a celebration of love. Plus- you’ll be able to choose from so many more accessories!


Can you wear black to a wedding?
Yes, you can wear black to a wedding. While black used to be reserved for funerals and times of mourning, this color has become more and more acceptable for weddings. As always, make sure the wedding dress code doesn’t advise against it!

Is it appropriate to wear black to a wedding?
Yes! Contrary to popular belief, black is an appropriate color to wear to a wedding. While black used to represent sadness and mourning, the emotions that black represents have expanded far past that. As long as the wedding dress code doesn’t say otherwise, you can wear black!

How to wear black to a wedding
Wearing black to a wedding isn’t as challenging as you think! As long as you follow the wedding dress code, you’re in the clear. For example, a black cocktail dress with cute accessories can be the perfect choice for a cocktail attire celebration.

Finding a black wedding guest dress should be the easiest part of planning! A queen like you deserves the royal treatment whether she’s buying a new dress online or shopping secondhand. At Queenly, we’ve committed ourselves to promoting sustainable fashion while making it affordable for everyone. Join our community of Queens who have listed outfits in their online closet. It’s as easy as signing up for a free account, snapping some pics, and uploading the details- that’s it!

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