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Can I Wear White Shoes as a Wedding Guest?

Everyone wants to look their best as wedding guests. With ever-changing etiquette around wedding guest apparel, you might not be sure what to wear. For example, can you wear white shoes to a wedding, or are shoes included in the “no white” rule?

white shoes and flowers

Of course, there are some old traditions about what you should and shouldn’t wear to a wedding that may limit your choices or cramp your style. Are white accessories acceptable? What about white shoes?

Today’s modern brides are ditching old, outdated wedding traditions in favor of more fun and relaxed celebrations, including their guests’ dress codes. 

However, it can be challenging to know what is okay to wear and if you can bust out your favorite pair of white pumps at your next wedding event. Let’s explore when it is and isn’t okay to wear white shoes to a wedding. 

Western brides have been traditionally wearing white wedding dresses since the mid-19th century after Queen Victoria wed Prince Albert in an elaborate white lace gown. The color and dress took on symbols of innocence, wealth, and virginity that would be a highlight of the Victorian era. 

Nowadays, white wedding dresses are less about innocence and purity than a traditional style of dress that identifies who the bride is at a wedding. That being said, it is generally inappropriate for anyone other than the bride to wear white on her wedding day. However, does that wedding etiquette rule apply to shoes as well? 

The experts tend to agree that a little bit of white on a wedding guest is okay. Accent colors of white or cream on a dress, tie, or pair of shoes, won’t raise any eyebrows from the bride or other family members. 

When to Avoid Wearing White Shoes to a Wedding

Of course, there are a couple of instances where you want to avoid wearing white shoes to a wedding. 

Too Much White

If you’re pairing your favorite white shoes with a white dress, you may want to rethink your outfit and accessory choices. The entire ensemble could make you look a little too bridal and shift the attention from the bride to you. 

Outdoor Wedding 

If the wedding is outdoors or during an off-season like fall or winter, you may want to avoid wearing white shoes for the simple fact that they will get muddy quickly or even outright ruined by the elements. 

Other Factors to Consider 

Some couples request a specific dress code from their guests. If, for example, they have an all-white-themed event, you’re probably in the clear to wear those white shoes. 

More and more, we’re seeing non-traditional brides opting for a dress in a different color or fun print like a floral wedding gown that is more reflective of their style. In that case, you can wear some white without offending anyone or looking out of place. 

This rule is also applicable if you are attending a wedding where the couple is from another culture. Many brides don’t traditionally wear white on their wedding days, particularly in eastern countries such as China and India.

However, keep in mind that in these cultures, white is traditionally a color associated with mourning and funerals. Even if the bride isn’t wearing white, you may not want to wear white to certain weddings.

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