Tuesday, October 3, 2023 Oct 3, 2023
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Ask Raya

Is It Acceptable to Wear Black to a Wedding?

By Raya Ramsey |

A friend asked me that question over the weekend. My initial response was, yes. But there are stipulations involving the cut of the dress, the adornments, the shoes, etc. All important factors. But I decided to cut down to the heart of the yes-or-no question and Phone a Friend. On the receiving end is Kimberly Schlegel Whitman, Southern Living editor-at-large and author of three wedding book titles, The Wedding Workbook, Wedding Inspiration, and The Party Planner.

I love researching old etiquette books and making informed decisions about questions like this but when I did a little bit of homework on it before I wrote my Wedding Workbook, I noticed that the same etiquette experts that wrote that we cannot wear black to a wedding also stated that a bride shouldn’t wear a strapless dress (and we all know that has become the norm!). So, I believe that, as long as it feels festive, you can wear black to a wedding. Reserve your conservative black looks for more somber occasions, and dress up your festive black dresses with a colorful clutch or a kick of color at your feet. I do think it is really important to respect the requests of the hosts and dress the part. If the wedding is black tie, wear a long dress. If we are asking our dates to don a tux, we should dress to the nines as well! –Kimberly Whitman

Kim was even kind enough to put together two appropriate looks.



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