Wearing Black to a Wedding: Controversial or Outdated?

Years ago and even currently for certain couples, wearing black to a wedding was and is considered disrespectful and symbolic of your views around their companionship.

In the traditional sense, wearing black to a wedding was a way of saying that you didn't agree with what was going on, and it was a sly way of objecting without verbally shouting it out and causing a scene like they do in the movies.

So these days, can you wear black to a wedding? There are a few things to consider, so stick around as we break it down for you.

Why is it Taboo to Wear Black to a Wedding?

So why is it wrong to wear black to a wedding? The idea of this is not an old tradition; wearing black even for the bride was considered practical in the 1800s as fabrics were expensive, white got dirty really quickly, and dry-cleaning didn't exist back then.

When a man remarried in the 1800s after the death of his late wife, often his new bride would wear black as a sign of respect and mourning. The idea of associating black with mourning is an old tradition from ancient Greece; when a family member died, the immediate family was expected to wear a dark fabric toga called a pulla toga. This continued through western practices and into modern society.

As for the taboo nature of wearing black to a wedding, the exact instance is unknown, but it is linked to the idea that wearing black is to show mourning and, in context, mourning at a wedding isn’t great.

Times Are Changing

People are starting to realise that eliminating black is restricting yourself from a whole lot of cool outfits; who doesn't love wearing black; it's sexy, elegant, and powerful!

Freedom of expression is a mentality that society values more and more as years go on, and with this, traditions and vices that prevent humans from reaching creative heights become less valued. This extends to other circumstances of marriage, sexuality, occupation, religion and yes, whether it’s acceptable to wear black to a wedding!

You definitely have to take into consideration whose wedding you’re attending, but at an entry-level… go for it… live your life!

Wearing Black as a Guest

So if you've made your mind up and wearing black to this wedding isn't going to ruffle anyone's feathers, you still have to consider complying with the dress code. We’d say that wearing black slots nicely into an autumn or winter wedding, but realistically, all of that is up to interpretation anyway.

Here are the things you need to consider;


Where's the wedding held? Will black actually suit the venue setting? If it's a beach wedding in the summer, you may feel less inclined to wear black, the same goes if it's a spring wedding at the botanical gardens. Use the information given on the wedding invitation to decipher whether it's appropriate/suitable to wear black.


We touched briefly on seasonality in the above section, but to emphasise things, think about the time of year/season as this will clearly indicate and replicate how the bride envisioned her guests dressing. If it's a summer wedding, she's thinking floral, fresh and clean, winter and she's thinking more formal and royal, autumn she's thinking earthy tones, and spring she's going for a creative environment.

Dress Code

When you receive a wedding invitation, there's usually a small brief stating the dress code; whether it's formal, semi-formal, black tie, black tie optional, or white tie, this may affect whether you can wear black. There is a fair bit of grey area on these dress codes, which is why most invitations will give you a bit more background on the preferred attire. If it doesn't, don't be afraid to reach out to one of the bridesmaids or even a fashionable friend you trust.

Wearing Black in the Bridal Party

Unless this is something that's organised, 100% do not wear black, where what you've been told to wear, full stop. Suppose you've been given the blessing of helping the bride decide what the bridal party should sport on the day, then sure, why not suggest black as an option.

One thing to consider if you're going with black as the theme of the bridal party is what the guys are wearing. It's common for guys to wear black but if you're going for a wintery royal vibe and they are rocking a navy blue or a forest green, then go for black!

A Few Black Dresses to Wear to A Wedding

Just to give you a bit of inspo, we're going to throw in a few trending pieces we’re renting out on Dress for a Night at the moment. Check it out!

The NOOKIE Stella Cut Out Dress in Black

A show-stopping satin gown. Fine strap finish and crossover detail at the back. This simple and elegant gown is understated enough to draw a gaze but not to steal any attention from the bride to be.

The REBECCA VALLANCE Romy Midi Dress in Black

The elegant Romy Midi dress has a fit and flare silhouette; the dress is made from a thick structured crepe and is finished with cutouts at the bust, gold-toned hardware and a fitted bodice with slim straps. Wear with gold jewellery and pumps for a polished look.

The NOOKIE Aria Two-piece Set in Black

A cute and flirty soft jersey crop top. Gathered on the sides and finished with a rose gold ring and sliders and an exposed zipper at the centre back. Perfect for a wedding in the warmer months.

The REBECCA VALLANCE Monica Long Sleeve Midi in Black or Navy

Rich in feminine, retro-inspired details, the Monica Long Sleeve Midi Dress has a dramatic split hem and flattering gathers at the cups and hips. It is made from sumptuous velvet, and the neckline is enhanced with crystal encrusted rings and a flattering v-neckline.

Rent a Black Dress with Dress for a Night

If your current situation has ticked all the boxes and wearing black to your upcoming wedding is going to make anyone’s mascara run, then explore our wedding guest collection; there are hundreds of highly-rated dresses for rent!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published