Can You Wear White Shoes to a Wedding? All You Need to Know

by jacky chou
Updated on

While wedding ceremonies continue to alter and personalize different traditions, one general rule that remains is to avoid wearing white to these occasions at all costs. However, with plenty of couples opting for relaxed ceremonies, bold style themes, or unique dress codes, you might wonder, can you wear white shoes to a wedding?

It is not every day we get invited to a wedding, and as such, we would love to look our best as wedding guests. However, there are many wedding etiquettes to keep in mind when planning a wedding guest attire, including shoes.

Traditionally, wedding guests are discouraged from wearing white to ensure they don’t upstage the bride. The modern brides, however, are ditching this tradition in favor of more relaxed and fun ceremonies. As a result, the no-white rule applies mainly to clothes, and white accessories such as jewelry and shoes are permissible. Read on to know when and how to wear white shoes to a wedding.

Is It Okay to Wear White Shoes to a Wedding?

The general rule is never to wear anything white to a wedding. This means no white dresses, pants, skirts, or even shoes. The bride will be walking down the aisle in white attire, and you shouldn’t try to upstage and steal the spotlight away from her. Consequently, choosing white shoes resembling bridal apparel might be frowned upon by the couple and other guests.

Is it okay to wear white shoes to a wedding

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However, with the changing wedding trends, slight shades of white paired up with satin gold or creamy pastel hues are considered acceptable. But wearing anything resembling the bride is inappropriate, so avoid opting for full white shoes and let the couple enjoy the limelight for their big day.

There are hundreds of shoe options available for you to wear to a wedding. You can also get multiple colors that add the ultimate touch to your outfit. So have fun with your choices and choose outfits that display your personality.

But if you are adamant about wearing white shoes to a wedding, there are dos and don’ts to consider. So before you head for your favorite pair of white kicks, take a look at our helpful guide of what to keep in mind to avoid causing unintentional offense.

Guidelines for Wearing White Shoes to a Wedding

1. Be Culturally Aware

White represents different things in different cultures. For example, white is often associated with purity, peace, innocence, and sometimes new beginnings in Western countries. These symbolisms have made white wedding dresses popular among Western brides.

Chinese wedding etiquette

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However, in several Eastern countries, white does not symbolize the same. Korea and China, among other Eastern countries, associate white with grief and despair. Therefore, while you may mean to show respect to the couple, you could unintentionally offend them.

Being culturally aware is essential, especially if the couple is from different cultural backgrounds. It will stop you from making a serious fashion error and show that you know and respect the couple’s culture. It also explains why some couples refuse to wear a white dress, and as a guest, that is not an invitation to rock the outfit yourself.

2. Check the Dress Code

Every wedding is different regarding schedules, themes, venues, and level of formalities, among other things. Therefore, it is common for couples to include dress codes on their wedding invitation. This could be anything from formal, smart casual, or casual. Some may even be a more specific theme, such as “all-white,” where guests are encouraged to adorn an all-white ensemble.

All-white wedding dress code

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Therefore, if you are asked to wear white, a white pair of shoes will not look out of place. Ensure you read the invite and choose your shoe color as per the couple’s request because their preferred choice will usually take precedence.

3. Take the Couple’s Personality into Account

How well-acquainted you are with the couple will help you decide whether it is safe to put on white shoes for their wedding or not. A laid-back couple won’t mind the guest’s outfits on their big day. On the contrary, an easily stressed out or highly strung couple will take that into account.

Additionally, what the bride says is final. Everything from the dress to the flowers to the cake should be as she wants. So if she asks you not to wear white shoes, it is in place to comply. After all, it is her big day, and you wouldn’t want to do anything to upset her

4. Check Out What the Bridal Party Is Wearing

There is no rule at weddings not to match the bridal party. So, if the dress code doesn’t explain too much, it is okay to check with someone who knows what the bridal party will be wearing. From there you can be guided if it is appropriate to wear your white pair of shoes to that particular wedding.

5. Be Guided by Your Instinct

If you’re invited to the wedding, it means you know the couple. Therefore, you should have a pretty good idea if your white footwear will upset them in any way.

Always go with your gut, except for particular shoes like Crocs. These are absolute no-nos and can leave a lasting impression for the wrong reasons!

What to Avoid When Wearing White Shoes to a Wedding

1. Avoid Wearing White Shoes to an Outdoor Wedding

It is wedding season, meaning there are plenty of opportunities to take out your best white shoes. However, sometimes your sense of fashion should give way to sensibility. It is wedding season, meaning there are plenty of opportunities to take out your best white shoes. However, sometimes your sense of fashion should give way to sensibility. An outdoor wedding is one event where you are discouraged from donning a pair of white heels, sneakers, or sandals.

Outdoor wedding

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Whereas a sunny day may be the perfect opportunity to show off your white kicks, dust, dirt, and soft sand or hiking trails will leave you uncomfortable and your white shoes worse for wear. Even if you are keen, it’s too easy to step on a patch of mud or spill a drink on your shoes, and white shoes can be challenging to keep clean.

Also, outdoor and destination weddings involve a great deal of walking. If you constantly worry about keeping your shoes clean, you will likely miss out on enjoying the wedding. So you may want to wear shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty.

2. Avoid Wearing an All-White Outfit and White Shoes

Guests are advised to avoid wearing predominantly white outfits unless the couple requests. Nonetheless, if you are allowed to wear white shoes to a wedding, this doesn’t automatically grant you the freedom to wear all-white attire. The outfit you wear with the white shoes should not be white, lest you risk shifting the attention from the bride to you.

So if you are wearing white shoes to a wedding, opt for darker colors for your dress and accessories. You can also choose from light, vibrant colors such as mint green clothes with matching colors if you don’t prefer darker tones. Additionally, choosing colors related to the wedding theme shouldn’t be difficult because white is a monochromatic color that matches different color tones.

3. Don’t Wear White Shoes That Distract from the Ceremony

While wearing white shoes to a wedding might be perfectly fine, it’s important to ensure that they don’t cause distraction from the ceremony. Sparkly or flashy shoes can reflect sunlight and blind wedding guests, making it difficult for them to focus on the bride and groom.

Wedding shoes

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Again, brides wear shoes matching wedding gowns. In most cases, the shoe fabric could be lace, satin, or any fabric from the dress. So if you are determined to wear white shoes, do not go with a too formal look like those covered in lace, satin, or too much bedazzling. Go for simple designs that will help you blend into the background and let the focus remain on the couple.

4. Don’t Wear White Shoes during Rain or Snow Seasons

If the weather is rainy, snowy, or messy, do not wear white shoes to a wedding. Not only will you be tracking mud and dirt into the reception, but you will also risk ruined shoes. Additionally, white shoes are more likely to show stains than darker colors. Therefore, if you are attending a wedding in extreme weather, play it safe by wearing a darker pair of shoes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you wear white shoes to a wedding

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1. Can I wear white shoes with white accessories to a wedding?

Yes, you can wear white shoes and white accessories to a wedding. Most couples don’t care if you wear cream, white or ivory accessories. So you can confidently wear white shoes, white jewelry, or a white purse but if you are worried about outshining the bride, steer clear of anything too glittery or flashy.

2. Can I wear white shoes to a wedding as the groom?

The groom usually wears a dark-colored or black suit and pairs it with matching shoes, but there is no rule saying you can’t break out of the norm and wear something different. Actually, more grooms are choosing to add a personal touch to their wedding day look by wearing white shoes.

Therefore whether you are looking to coordinate with your bride or make a fashion statement, wearing white shoes on your wedding day is undeniably an option worth considering. However, before making your decision, ensure to take into account the color scheme of the wedding and the type of shoes that will best match your outfit. And most importantly, ensure the bride approves. It is her big day, too.

3. Can I wear white shoes as a bridesmaid?

For most weddings, bridesmaids are uniform, not just in the design and color of their dresses but also in accessories like jewelry and shoes. But you can wear white shoes to the wedding as a bridesmaid if there’s no planned color scheme for the bridal party.

However, you wouldn’t want to stand out in the wedding photos or at the front as the only one wearing white shoes. So, you can always ask the bride if she has a particular color she wants for her bridal party. 

4. Can I wear white sneakers to a wedding?

Most sneakers are often too casual for a formal event like a wedding. Therefore, you should avoid wearing sneakers to a wedding. But, if the wedding is outdoor or informal, sneakers may be appropriate. However, avoid white sneakers since they easily get dirty and show scuff marks or stains.

Generally, check the dress code for the wedding before showing up in sneakers.

5. Can I wear white shoes to a wedding as a guest?

Wearing white shoes to any wedding as a guest is not a problem. But keep in mind to double-check the dress code on the wedding invitation or website. Also, check the weather, venue, and cultural background. Otherwise, white shoes are fair game for weddings.

6. Can I wear white sandals to a wedding?

While white sandals might traditionally be seen as casual footwear, they can be a great choice for a wedding. The key is choosing a pair that is suitable for the vibe, tone, and formality of the wedding.

For instance, a pair of delicate white satin sandals will be a more appropriate choice for a formal banquet hall wedding. Also, leather gladiator sandals are a good choice for bohemian-themed beach weddings.

7. Can I wear white heels to a wedding?

Yes, you can wear white heels to a wedding if your attire doesn’t look bridal. However, there are a few things to keep in mind before choosing white heels as your wedding shoes.

Consider:

  • The weather
  • The smoothness of the floor or ground
  • The venue

If you are attending an outdoor wedding, avoid wearing heels because they can sink into the ground, making walking difficult, especially when the ground is uneven or soft. Also, if the weather is wet or icy, heels can be quite slippery and dangerous.

Therefore, if you’re attending an outdoor wedding, it is best to stick with pumps or flats. But wearing white heels is perfectly fine if the wedding ceremony is held indoors or on the pavement. Additionally, choosing hard-soled heels will provide better support for your feet and can help correct problems with your posture when standing and walking throughout the occasion.

Bottom Line

white wedding shoes

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While wearing white shoes to a wedding might cross your mind, the rule of thumb is to avoid white altogether or pair it with other vibrant colors to neutralize the effect. Let the bride be in the spotlight on her big day. Also, consider the cultural background of the couples to avoid unintentionally causing offense.

Lastly, check the dress code with the couple. It is their special day. Therefore, everything is decided by them. If they are okay with you putting on white shoes, go ahead; if not, take your time and look for an alternative. Luckily, there are plenty of tones, designs, and patterns that will enable you to carry your guest’s look with grace and sheer elegance.

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jacky chou

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