Can I Wear Red To A Wedding?

Q. I have a lovely red satin dress that I would like to wear to a wedding but I am a little worried because everything I read says not to wear a red dress to a wedding…is this still true? Or is it an outdated taboo? I plan on wearing silver strappy shoes…but I am not sure how to do my makeup?

A. There are many who believe that wearing black (too funereal) or wearing red (too attention grabbing) to a wedding are big faux pas. I, however, am not one of them. To me, a little black dress is eternally chic, whether worn to a wedding or any other affair. As for red, in most cases it should be fine, provided it’s not too lowcut or too sexy. The idea is not to steal the attention from the bride, so a super sexy and revealing dress in red (or any other bright color for that matter) is not appropriate. If your dress, accessories and behavior are tasteful, there should be no issue with the color of the dress.

To address the second part of your question: yes to silver strappy heels. Your makeup and hair should be simple and sophisticated in colors that work for your complexion.

Here are three gorgeous red dresses to wear to a wedding or other dressy affair:


Lauren by Ralph Lauren Cutaway Crepe Dress

$152 at


Anne Klein Dress Stretch Satin Sheath Dress

$178 at


Maggy London Beaded Silk Chiffon Dress

$158 at

No Comments

  1. Cookie
    Sep 24, 2008 @ 09:35:33

    I would NEVER wear black to a wedding. I’m appalled that you suggest it.

    Red is ok as long as it doesn’t stand out too much – the point is to not steal attention from the bride on her big day after all. So leave the sequin embroidered hooker dress at home.


  2. Jennifer
    Sep 24, 2008 @ 10:41:50

    Here in the northeast it is quite common to wear black to a wedding.


  3. zovig
    Sep 24, 2008 @ 19:55:31

    I completely agree that red and black should not be off limits. One dress in a sea of friends and family does not a distraction make. Red is no more attention grabbing than a brightly colored floral or vivid purple dress. If the bride is that easily distracted from perhaps she should have chosen a different dress. I would love to have well heeled and well dressed guests to my wedding. The only rule in fashion is no rules.


  4. Daphne
    Oct 28, 2008 @ 11:51:02

    I see red and black at weddings all the time, and I HATE it! I think its downright rude to wear red, and black is sooo depressing. Who wants to spend the happiest day of thier lives with 100 women dressed for a funeral? I would never ever wear either color. I usually wear a modest pink or peach dress in the summer and a beige or blue dress in fall/winter.

    I recently attended a wedding and by MIL wore a WHITE blouse and a BLACK skirt. I was downright mortified!


  5. S
    Nov 06, 2008 @ 23:08:28

    why do we feel the need to ‘protect’, in this situtation, a bride from a person who may potentially ‘outshine’ her by wearing a sexy red dress. Surley a bride is beautiful in her own right regardless of what anyone else is wearing. I do not believe the majority of people at a wedding think that the girl in the red dress is more beautiful or sexier than the bride;some however may think that the girl in the red dress is sexy – catch my drift! To say that ‘I’ should not wear a sexy red dress automaticaly implies that ‘I’ am more beautiful or sexier than the bride. A wedding is supposed to be a celebration of life and its many joys – and I would want my guests (friends gathered to celebrate my wedding) to feel beautiful and sexy – I would want my guests to celebrate as if it were there last celebration!!!


  6. Heidi
    Sep 05, 2009 @ 16:56:55

    Maybe Jennifer is thiking about herself wating to look good or FIT into a lil black dress!!If you have a nice tasteful outfit in red or black Do it!! If YOU arent paying eough attention to the bride and groom then You should be!!!


  7. Heidi
    Sep 05, 2009 @ 16:57:57

    Maybe Jennifer is thiking about herself wating to look good or FIT into a lil black dress!!If you have a nice tasteful outfit in red or black Do it!! If YOU arent paying eough attention to the bride and groom then You should be!!!


  8. Joann Williams
    Sep 05, 2009 @ 19:48:14

    Black is ALWAYS perfect for a wedding or any other evening affair. Black is a New York classy way of dressing. Simple back dress and pearls- PERFECT! You can never go wrong with the CHANEL look!


  9. Nella
    Sep 05, 2009 @ 21:08:16

    My personal opinion is on wedding guest attire are

    1- to never under any circumstances try to out do the bride – it never works – she is always so happy that she just glows.

    2- Wear whatever color you like but white or any shade that could be construded as white – try to realize that the bride has spent a considerable amount of money and you should let her have that one color.

    3- Ask yourself “would I wear this to church” if the answer is no – then maybe you should rethink the option

    4 – If you are married to a sibling of the bride or groom or are a sibling of the bride and groom realize that you will probably be in some photos just because you aren’t standing up doesn’t mean you should go looking like a slob – especially if your spouse is standing up

    5- When in doubt remember you are part of the background scenary so ask the bride or call a few friends or family members you know are attending and ask what they plan to wear


  10. J.F.
    Sep 06, 2009 @ 07:35:12

    I have grown up in a culture where EVERY wedding we went to was after five and very formal. Black was totally accepted, the only thing we ever heard about colors was that we should never wear WHITE to take attention away from the bride, it was more for photos – so that she would photograph well and stand out.


  11. Robin
    Sep 07, 2009 @ 14:41:49

    Joann Williams is right.
    Some of you commenting are apparently a bunch of redneck Midwestern idiots, or just idiots in general (and the fact that half of you can’t spell or compose a proper sentence- proves my point).


  12. Anna
    Sep 10, 2009 @ 23:52:37

    Daphne is appalled by those who choose to wear red or black to a wedding. According to her it is far more appropriate to wear beige? Puh-lease! A wedding is a time to celebrate and have fun and what colour says that more than red? I think maybe someone needs to tell Daphne to get her head out of her you-know-where, jump down from her high horse, lighten up and enjoy the excitement of getting dressed up for such a joyous occasion.


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