Is It OK To Wear A Red Dress To A Wedding?

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So you've been invited to a wedding and you're stressing out about how to get to the venue, what to gift the happy couple, and most importantly, what to wear. Deciding on appropriate wedding guest attire can be similar to traversing a minefield – one incorrect move could lead to an awkward situation. You have a lot to consider including: The wedding color scheme, the dress code, what the mother of the bride is wearing, what will be comfortable to wear all day, and, most importantly, what you want to wear and feel your best in.

In the Western world, it's traditional for brides to wear white and until recently, there was also an unspoken rule that wedding guests should never wear white. However, times are changing and with celebs like Cara Delevingne — who wore white to sister Poppy Delevingne’s wedding — fashionably leading the way, this may be an archaic societal “rule” that might not exist in another decade or two. For now, if you want to play it safe, it may be best to shy away from wearing a white dress to a wedding, because nobody wants to outshine the bride on her special day. But what about the color red?

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Unless the bride and groom have specifically mentioned that guests shouldn't wear red, or they'd like their guests to stick to a color scheme, it would appear that red was a safe color to wear to a wedding, right? According to fellow Bustler Lily Feinn, writing about the psychology of color, "Red is the color of passion," thus one would believe it highly appropriate to wear red to an event that is celebrating love and romance.

However, there are some weddings where it would be highly inappropriate to wear red. When it comes to Chinese weddings, wedding dress tradition is a world away from the Western bridal tradition of wearing white. Bride Connie, who had her wedding featured on popular wedding blog Love My Dress, said, “It’s traditional for Chinese brides to wear red, but I thought the proper traditional Chinese wedding dress, which is red and covered in gold and silver embroidery, would feel over the top. The style of red dress I wore is called ‘Qi Pao’ or ‘Cheongsam’.” According to Chinese culture, red symbolizes happiness and good fortune, so it makes sense that brides hosting a traditional Chinese wedding should wear red. Therefore, if you are attending a traditional Chinese wedding in the near future, you might want to steer clear of wearing red. Unless, of course, the bride and groom wish for everyone to wear red, in order to bring them lots of good luck.

It's worth mentioning that in recent years, red has been a popular color among modern brides. According to Bustler Beth Sharb, red is a shade worn by trendy brides, "If the bride is a trendsetter and wearing red or blue, obviously avoid those colors, too." Contemporary brides having a winter wedding may opt for a red wedding dress to fit in with their winter wonderland theme, so it might be a good idea to avoid red when attending a winter wedding. In order to play it safe, enquire as to what color the bride is wearing so that you can't go wrong.

At the end of the day, I'm sure the bride and groom would want you to wear something you felt comfortable (and lovely) in – as long as it's not inappropriate and doesn't detract from the bridal party – and if red is your thing, wear it!

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