An all-white wedding (Photo: EP Anderson)

More and more brides are choosing to throw tradition to the wind and wear colorful wedding gowns on their big day. Which is just fine, because a tradition mimicking the Queen of England hundreds of years ago is certainly something you can live without. However, changing the bride’s color of the day throws everything else about traditional guest attire out the window.

Everybody knows that you cannot wear white or ivory to a wedding – and that gold and beige and anything too close to white or ivory should be avoided, too – because the bride is the only person who has that privilege on her wedding day. Until recently, the only exception to this rule was in the case of an all-white wedding, when the wedding couple instructs all of their guests to wear white in the invitation.

Thirty years ago, a bride getting married for the second time was expected to wear something other than white because, ostensibly, she’d worn white to signify her purity the first time around, and she couldn’t claim her V-card twice. Now the vast majority of brides getting married for their second (or third or fourth) time wear white and nobody says “boo” about it. Anybody rude enough to say something catty isn’t worthy of an invitation to that wedding. White or ivory dresses are almost expected.

Wedding gowns are changing

Interestingly, after second-time brides had to fight for their right to wear white again, modern first-time brides have started wearing other colors. There are dress designers like Michael Lublin who are creating absolutely unbelievable custom wedding dresses out of hand-dyed silks in crazy colors. He designed this gown for my bride Erica, who wore it on my TLC reality show Wedding Island.

Erica wore a Michael Lublin designer wedding gown on TLC’s Wedding Island

By far, the most popular “different color” is pale pink, or blush. And pale pink gowns are absolutely stunning on brides with darker skin or a good tan. I’m not a big fan of the pale pink on fair brides because it tends to wash them out – a darker ivory or pale gold is much more flattering on somebody who is whiter than white.

Leigh chose a fluttering pale pink wedding gown for her marriage to Carlton

How to make sure nobody matches the wedding gown

The only problem that arises from the bride choosing to a non-traditional gown color is how to avoid having any of the female wedding guests show up in something similar. If you’re wearing something really unusual like the wildly colorful designs of Michael Lublin, you probably don’t have to worry too much about anybody upstaging the bride. But blush or pale blue or yellow or red or black wedding gowns are all colors that other wedding guests will wear without giving it a second thought. And if your wedding is in the evening, you could find yourself facing a guest who is wearing something very similar to your wedding gown. #Awkward

Some brides want to keep their unusual wedding gowns a secret from their wedding guests – and even the groom. That makes it difficult to ensure the bride is the only one wearing that color. If it’s super important to you that nobody else wear your special dress color, you have to advise them of it on the wedding invitation. That’s where most guests will look for wedding guest attire information.

My wedding planning team dressed in the royal blue wedding theme color

Another option is to ask your guests to dress in another theme color or two. If you specify that everybody should wear white or navy blue, for example, there’s no risk of anybody showing up in a gown that matches the bride. I’m personally not a big fan of making your wedding guests all wear the same color – I think it’s a pain in the butt. But if it’s what you want to see on your big day and in your pictures, you should absolutely do what makes you happy. Monochrome wedding guests were trendy for a few years, but fortunately, the popularity seems to be waning.

Keep in mind that it’s possible a guest may not see a special color notation on an invitation, and might arrive dressed in a color closer to the wedding gown than is usually deemed appropriate. This will be an accident, if it happens. And there’s nothing that can be done about it. The bridal party shouldn’t color-shame the guest the way they likely would if she showed up in white – even if you clearly requested guests all wear a specific color or that guests not wear a specific color. The risk of breaking with tradition of white wedding gowns includes the possibly that somebody won’t “get it.”

wedding gown

Shireen wore a frothy peach wedding gown for her wedding to Joel

There are absolutely no rules anymore about what color wedding dress a bride should get married in. But brides who choose alternative colors should take steps to ensure nobody else arrives wearing the same thing, if that’s something that matters to her.

Until next time, happy wedding planning!

Sandy