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

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

April 10, 2023
By Kimberly Vernon

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With the warmer months coming up it’s safe to say that wedding season is almost upon us! As the wedding invitations are beginning to pile up, RSVPs are being sent in, you may also be beginning to plan your various wedding guest wardrobes to fit the venue and vibe for each wedding you will be attending. Being a great wedding guest isn’t just a matter of showing up to the wedding. There are all sorts of rules to follow as a wedding guest that are both written and unwritten. One of the most obvious rules when it comes to wedding guest dress code is NEVER wear white to a wedding. With this being said… What about all the other colors on the rainbow? What about… wearing the color red?

The Short Answer – Yes it’s OK to wear red to a wedding!

Can you wear red to a wedding? As a wedding guest, as long as your outfit is styled right, you can get away with wearing almost any non-white color, and yes that even includes wearing the color red! Red is bold. It’s boisterous, fiery, and certainly eye-catching, which is why many consider it to be quite a controversial color to wear to another person’s wedding. On the flip side though… Red is a color that symbolizes passion, life, and love; all things that are relevant to a day that is centered on celebrating the romance and unity between two individuals. Again, if styled right, red can make an excellent color to wear to another person’s wedding! But before you click that “Add to Cart” button for your perfect red wedding guest dress, here are some important things to take into consideration!

Do: Explore Different Shades of Red

There are many shades of red that are honestly perfectly acceptable to wear to any wedding! Especially in the cooler months of the year, colors like maroon, burgundy, or wine that are all technically in the red color family, but also make for fantastic fall or winter wedding guest attire colors. For these fall and winter weddings, feel free to play around with these deeper reds in different types of material and lengths. These colors are flattering on almost everyone!

Don’t: Dress too Sexy

Okay this rule should apply to nearly any color you wear to a wedding as a guest! The wedding day should be centered around the love between the couple getting married, and as a respectful guest you should try your best to not draw attention away from the love birds. Trust me, as a bride I would be fairly upset if Jessica Rabbit walked into my wedding in her bejeweled red gown from Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Red is a color that is bright and bold, so it naturally draws in the eyes of others. Be mindful when you add in other elements like a high slit, sparkles, or even a very tight fit to your look. Now if you have these elements plus the color red, it can be very easy to tip toe over the line of the appropriate amount of sexiness. Respectful guest attire is not too overpowering or something that is going to outshine the bride on her special day. As long as you balance out the silhouette, color, and fabric of your look, you’ll be good to go!

Do: Check the Wedding Dress Code

Nearly every wedding you will attend will have a wedding dress code for guests to follow! Wedding dress codes are often determined by the season, venue, and overall formality of the wedding day. They are an important tool you can use to find the perfect outfit to wear as a guest!
Beach Formal Weddings
If you are attending a wedding and the dress code states that it is “Beach Formal” that doesn’t mean you show up to the wedding dressed like you’re about to jump in the ocean! Beach formal weddings are an opportunity to have fun with floral prints, flowy materials, and bright colors! (Yes even including the color red)

Beach Formal Red Wedding Guest Dresses

Semi-Formal Weddings
Semi-Formal weddings are in between simple casual and elevated formal, sometimes people even call it “dressy casual.” Feel free to still have fun getting dressed up, but don’t feel pressured to wear an all out show stopper look. At semi-formal weddings, wearing a cocktail dress is the perfect option to match this formality!

Cocktail/Semi-Formal Red Wedding Guest Dresses

Formal Weddings
Traditionally most weddings fall somewhere in the formal category! So in these instances, knowing what kind of venue you will be attending can help you select your outfit! What you would wear to a wedding that takes place in a vineyard or garden is most likely different than what you would wear to a wedding in a modern ballroom. Formal gowns can be between midi to floor length.

Formal Red Wedding Guest Dresses

Black-Tie Weddings
Black tie weddings are weddings of the highest formality. Typically floor length gowns are expected and you can feel free to play around with a little drama and flair. If you want to wear a red gown to a black tie wedding, keep in mind that the brightness of the color alone can add to the drama in your outfit. Also don’t be afraid to have fun with your look! When else are you going to get the chance to dress this glamorous?

Black Tie Red Wedding Guest Dresses

Don’t: Match the Bridal Party

Before attending a wedding, sometimes it’s a good idea to check in with the bride or a member of the bridal party to see what the wedding colors are. Reds and burgundy have been very popular colors for weddings this past year, and per our 2023 wedding trend predictions, we don’t see red/burgundy bridesmaid dresses going away anytime soon. It’s always a bit awkward when a wedding attendee is assumed to be a member of the wedding party because they are wearing the same color. Avoid this situation in general at any wedding you attend!

Do: Take the wedding culture into consideration

Remember when we mentioned the cardinal rule of wedding guest attire as being “never wear white to a wedding?” Well… that rule primarily applies to western weddings. In many Asian/Southeast Asian cultures, brides often wear the color red on their wedding day to represent good luck! In these instances, we recommend just avoiding wearing red at all costs to avoid being a bride look alike.

Shopping for your next wedding guest dress doesn’t have to be stressful! A queen like you deserves the royal treatment whether she’s buying a new prom 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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