Can Wedding Guests Wear the Wedding Colors?

Lookin’ like a bridesmaid. Again.

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Q:I’ve been invited to a wedding with a formal dress code, and I’m planning to wear a floor-length navy dress that I really like. However, the wedding invitation features a navy border and navy lettering, which leads me to believe that navy is probably the color the bridesmaids are wearing.

So my question is twofold: (1) Am I right in believing that the color of the invitation generally signals the color of the bridesmaids’ attire? (2) Assuming the bridesmaids are wearing navy (and probably floor-length) dresses, is it an etiquette faux pas for a guest to wear the same color as a bridesmaid? I certainly don’t want to appear as though I’m trying to push my way into the bridal party! Can guests wear wedding colors without seeming like they are (or are trying to be) part of the wedding party? Maybe I’m overthinking things… after all, this wedding is not about me, and I doubt anyone will care what I’m wearing! What do you think?


I was recently at a wedding where a poor girl (who I’d just asked about being in the wedding party), looked like she was going to cry and told me, “Not a bridesmaid, but this is the fourth wedding in a row I accidentally dressed like one.” How did that happen, do you ask? Dumb luck, and the fact that it can be pretty impossible to know what the wedding colors are before you show up. (Our invitation was in navy blue, our wedding colors… were not navy blue.)

The one rule that’s still hard and fast is that you can’t dress in white if a bride is (or even might be) wearing white. Beyond that, I’d say you’re fine. If the bride(s) is/are the intense color coordinating types though, I guess you pay your money and take your chances. And if you’re still wondering, we’ve got more info on what to wear to a wedding right here. —Meg

Have you worn a dress that’s the same color as the invitation? Did anyone notice or care? How would you feel if your guest showed up in your wedding colors?

 If you want the APW community’s two cents, send it to QUESTIONS AT APRACTICALWEDDING DOT COM, and we’ll do our best to crowd source you some answers!

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