How to Wear a Black Dress to A Wedding

Bride on her wedding day walking with bridesmaids and wedding guests wearing black dresses

To wear a black dress to a wedding requires just a few simple alterations to your accessories and styling choices.

This ensures that it’s both appropriate for the occasion and continues to work with your personal style.

Choose a style that feels comfortable and doesn’t steal the limelight from the bride.

So, avoid sequins and over-the-top plunging necklines and trains.

Style your black dress with pops of color using statement jewelry or a bold hat or fascinator and add extra detail with the perfect pair of shoes.

Wedding guest dressing has evolved.

Not only is black now an elegant and appropriate choice for this special day.

But, it is becoming increasingly popular with guests for wedding attire and done right, can be fabulous.

Although brighter or pastel colors have always been a strong choice for a wedding guest outfit, black is both formal, chic and completely appropriate, so long as you choose the right dress with the right accessories.

Opting for black means you potentially make the decision-making slightly more difficult for yourself.

You have to ensure you don’t choose a dress that looks like workwear.

You also mustn’t wear something that crosses from formal attire to nightclub-appropriate or you simply won’t be or feel dressy enough.

Here, we take a look through the types of dresses to choose for a wedding guest look, as well as how to best accessorize a darker palette.

We’ll also look at the black dresses to avoid for a wedding, to keep your style elegant and eternally appropriate.

How to Choose a Dress That Is Appropriate for Weddings

Woman wearing black dress to wedding with man in suit by her side and flowers on her wrist

Even when you’re not the bride yourself, choosing a wedding guest outfit can be almost as difficult.

With so many attire etiquette rules to think about, plus color schemes and then an abundance of styles and shapes to choose from, wedding shopping can become a nightmare.

Choosing a dress appropriate for a wedding comes down to style more than color and you must bear in mind at all times, would the bride approve of this?

Be Comfortable and Don’t Steal The Limelight

Not stealing the limelight from the bride with your outfit is the number one rule to wedding guest dress shopping.

This means avoiding dresses with trains, over-the-top shapes, and size, for example, ball gowns, and not revealing too much skin.

You’ll be wearing the dress for the entire day, so comfort is incredibly important when selecting the right dress.

Bear this in mind when you’re choosing fabrics and notice how fabrics, such as polyester or linen might be hot or become creased, whereas cotton or silk is comfortable and easy to wear all day long.

Black Lace

Lace is a renowned fabric, perfect for a wedding guest look.

It can be formal for a black-tie wedding, but remains feminine and pretty, even in black.

Because of the nature and texture of lace, it’s a great way to do black to a wedding because it’s not a block color.

Therefore, it appears less harsh, particularly on photographs.

Choose a Bardot, off-the-shoulder style or an A-line shape for an especially girly look.

This will make the black even more appropriate for the event.

Opt For Black With A Print

If you love to wear black and generally feel more comfortable in a darker palette, you always have the option of choosing a black dress with a print.

Whether you opt for a subtle detail or a colorful floral overlay on a black backdrop, this is a great and appropriate way to wear black for a wedding.

This ensures that you blend a little more into the colorfulness of the rest of the wedding guests.

How to Accessorize

Woman wearing black dress accessorized with layered gold necklaces and chains

Accessorizing a black dress for a wedding breaks up the block of darker color and can take a dress from evening wear to wedding-appropriate in seconds.

If you’re planning to wear black, don’t opt for classic, subtle jewelry and accessories and instead, choose statement pieces that become a key part of the outfit.

Play with Costume Jewelry

Because of the plethora of options available now in costume jewelry, you’ll find endless choices to dress up a black dress for a wedding.

Choose diamonds as a theme and add over-the-top statement sparkle to your look to lighten the black hues.

Or instead, choose a color and bring in pops of brightness through your accessories.

Bold, statement yellow tassel earrings can really lighten a black dress or add exotic emerald jewels to your look through your jewelry.

Add A Hat or Fascinator

Hats or smaller fascinators are a fantastic way to ramp up an evening look to wedding guest attire.

Although you could add a black accessory, choosing a hat or fascinator gives you a stylish opportunity to add some vibrant color to your outfit, without relying solely on heavy or statement jewelry.

Depending on the level of dress code for your do, opt for a brightly colored wide-brimmed hat or feathered hairband, for an elegant look with a flash of color.

Add Colour with Makeup

When it comes to makeup for a wedding, you’ll most likely be wearing it all day long and into the night with just a couple of touch ups using a compact.

For this reason, you don’t want it to be too heavy for the day part of the wedding but you want it to last into the evening.

A great way to add a splash of color to a black dress is to use your makeup and add a bright lip as a colorful accent.

Lips are easy to reapply throughout the day and evening and brighten up a darker outfit with ease.

What Types of Black Dress to Avoid Wearing to A Wedding

Woman wearing a black strapless dress with slits

Although wedding attire rules have certainly loosened to remain appropriate and elegant at all times there are still a few important fashion rules to stick to ensure you keep the bride happy.

The last thing you want to achieve is center of attention status, drawing the eye away from the bride and groom on any photographs.

Therefore, take a look at our simple rules to ensure your wedding guest outfit stays on track.

No Plunging Necklines

If you’re wearing black to a wedding, there’s a good chance your dress is an evening gown or similar.

However, although this is appropriate and acceptable, certain styles and shapes should be sidestepped to avoid missing the mark.

Deeply plunging necklines are the central shape to skip for weddings.

Even the most elegant of dresses is banished to evening-wear only with a neckline slit to the navel.


Although a detailed lace is very appropriate for a wedding, some heavily detailed looks just don’t work for this kind of event.

An ornately sequined black dress is certainly one of the styles to avoid.

Aside from it looking slightly costume-like, the glitzy garishness of a fully sequined black dress is simply not appropriately elegant for someone else’s wedding.

Complete Head To Toe

There is a big difference between choosing a black dress and opting for bright or sparkling accessories or a statement hat and choosing a long-sleeved, high-necked black gown with black accessories and a black lace veil fascinator.

Do you see the difference?

If you opt for black, make efforts to break up the color a little and adjust the focus of a complete head to toe look.

What Types of Shoes to Wear with A Black Dress to A Wedding

Woman wearing bright pink shoes and holding a bouquet of flowers

If you’re wearing black to a wedding, you have full reign of choosing almost any shoes you like.

Every color under the sun goes beautifully with black so get creative and pick a pair you will get more than one use out of.

At most weddings, guests tend to spend the majority of time on their feet, whether it be meeting all the other guests or dancing the night away at the after party.

Therefore, make sure you choose a style and heel height that you can deal with for hours and that won’t ruin your night.

If they’re brand new, break them in wearing socks around the house beforehand, so you don’t get an uncomfortable surprise on the day of the wedding.

Keep It Monochrome

White shoes are often tricky to style, but with a black dress, a dainty white strappy sandal can be the perfect pairing.

If you like the monochrome look but aren’t keen on white shoes, keep it simple and elegant with a pair of strappy, not heavy, black heels and ensure you introduce some color or bright white with your other accessories.

Add A Pop Of Color

Wearing black means you can add your favorite color to your look through your shoes.

Whether you team a bright red to match your lipstick or a warm, summery coral to pair with your hat and clutch bag, a hint of color on the feet adds a feminine and thought-out touch to your wedding guest look.

Go Metallic

Metallic shoes continue to be on-trend through the summer season and into the fall.

Whether you love gold, silver or the stylish favorite rose gold or copper, it’s a chic way to add some extra intentional shine to your black outfit.

Go for strappy sandals or even a heeled mule and wear them again after the event with denim, to get the most use possible from your purchase.

Wearing color will always be the go-to option for a wedding guest outfit.

However, if black is your style, you can create an elegant and stunningly appropriate look with a black dress and the perfect accessories.

Forever keeping the bride and groom in mind, dress to fit seamlessly with the dress code and the venue and you can’t go wrong