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Anyone who has ever attended a wedding knows that there are certain rules to be followed: the most important one is not to wear white, unless you are the bride, of course! On the other hand, some are a little less obvious, such as deciding whether you can wear black to a wedding. Also, in the modern era of weddings, there are influences and platforms of inspiration such as Instagram and Pinterest to consider, which are not addressed by guest etiquette.

When your mother received wedding invitations from all her friends, black was often on par with white when it came to what not to wear. But the times and the rules of wedding cotillon are changing.

We get questions all the time about what kind of looks guests should have at a wedding, so clearly there is a lot of confusion about what is appropriate and what is not.

..But are the same rules applied today?


If you have found yourself contemplating this question, you are not alone. As fashion and wedding customs have evolved, the answer to this question is not as black or white as you might think. In the past, wearing black to a wedding was frowned upon because black was a color traditionally worn in mourning.

We have some good news for fans of charcoal-colored outfits: it is perfectly acceptable for a woman to wear a black dress to a wedding, however, there are a few things that all guests should keep in mind.

Before we go any further, a disclaimer!

Our advice is based on years of talking with brides, couples, guests, wedding planners and bridal gurus. We are aware that most of our experience involves Western couples and that, in some cultures and religions, wearing black takes on a deeper meaning than it does for many of these couples and their families. We are also aware that some people are particularly sensitive to traditions and that can be difficult to be predicted, even if you think you know them well. So, although our official position on wearing black to weddings is that it is easy, elegant and fine, it is safer to avoid wearing black to a wedding if there is any uncertainty. So, if you are concerned and can find an alternative, we suggest you do so, to avoid this dilemma on your final look completely. If you want to wear dark-toned shades anyway, you can opt for a dress in royal blue color, or a silk jumpsuit in Navy tones.


So, to wear black or not to wear black? That is the question, but it is not the only one.

In 2023 it is perfectly acceptable to wear black to a wedding. The idea that black is a "rude" color to wear to a wedding is a rather outdated concept. Nowadays, wearing black is not generally considered disrespectful, it has become a basic color for formal wear, and a black gown can look refined and appropriate for most events.


An elegant black gown can provide a sophisticated and complete look, perfect for afternoon and evening celebrations. However, like any other color choice, suitability may depend on the location and time of the event, the style of wedding being attended, the time of year, and the couple's preferences. When in doubt, it is always best to ask or refer to the wedding invitation for guidance.

Therefore, always keep in mind to the dress code indicated on the wedding invitation. Even if no dress code is indicated, the wording and layout of the invitation may indicate what may or may not be appropriate.

Keep in mind the location and time of the wedding: these can provide clues as to appropriate attire. Black may be a perfect choice for evening or indoor weddings, while mid-summer afternoon or outdoor weddings may require lighter colors.


You can wear a black dress to a wedding but the key is in the style; you must give the impression that your gown was chosen for a special occasion and that it is suitable to the style of the event you will be attending to. Women who like to wear black and are confident in their personal style can show off a very simple Parisian look with a black dress and simple accessories, but for others we can add something vibrant in a simple way such as a little touch of color in the accessories (such as shoes and clutch), a floral print, embroidery or sequins, or a contrast with a softer shade.


We've seen guests wear black at all kinds of weddings, from garden party’s to traditional golf club ones. There is one instance where you should feel especially confident wearing black to a wedding, and that is when it is a BlackTie wedding or a wedding with a formal dress code; a black dress fits this aesthetic perfectly. Similarly, a black dress, short or tea-length, will suit a modern city or restaurant wedding, especially if it takes place in the fall and winter because of its versatility. A black dress can be exceptionally elegant and appropriate for a wedding in a colder environment.

Our advice is to maintain a festive look by choosing elegant, modern cuts and avoiding dresses that are too conservative or gloomy. Enhance your outfit with flashy accessories or interesting details.


Can you wear black to a spring or summer wedding?

Although this choice is less common, yes, you can! Although lighter colors and floral patterns are the first thing that comes to mind for spring or summer weddings, there is no rule against wearing black. On the contrary, a black dress can provide an elegant contrast to the usually bright and pastel colors of warmer-weather weddings to bring in the sparkling spirit of these seasons. Just remember to choose a dress in light, breathable fabrics.

When NOT to wear black to a wedding

Although black is generally acceptable for a wedding, there are some situations in which it may not be the best choice. If the wedding invitation specifically states a certain dress code or color scheme that does not include black, you should follow and respect the couple's wishes.

Also, if you are aware that the culture or personal beliefs of the bride and groom associate black with negativity or mourning, it would be appropriate to choose another color for the event.

Remember that the most important thing is to celebrate the couple's special day. If the choice of dress respects the couple and the occasion, there is no reason why black cannot be part of your ensemble.

And can bridesmaids wear a total black look?

In our opinion Yes, yes, and yes. Black bridesmaid dresses are appropriate for traditional, Black Tie, Fairytale weddings. Surrounding yourself with bridesmaids dressed in black will create a striking contrast to the bride.


Check out these wonderful bridesmaids who chose black in the most beautiful way possible; our Peter Langner brides Alexandra and Trisiè ("Rachel Due" bridal gown style) chose black as a contrasting color for their bridesmaids. The final effect is stunning.


If black is what makes you feel your best and nobody tells you otherwise, choose your favorite dark shade and show it off with elegance!

Find your black Peter Langner evening dress at your nearest store!


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