Symbolic of wealth and good fortune, the color silver has long been a favorite choice for jewelry. Today, silver has made its way to every type of attire from shoes and purses to dresses, skirts and tops and, yes, even wedding dresses.
So, can you wear silver to a wedding? A silver or gray dress can be a lovely choice for a wedding depending on the shade that you pick. The key is not to upstage or compete with the bride — and that may mean being a bit more selective with the dress or outfit you choose.
Knowing what to wear to a wedding can be difficult, especially if you love a flashy color like silver. Our guide on how to rock silver as a wedding guest will not only have you looking fab, but will ensure you don’t ruffle any feathers with the outfit you wear.
Can You Wear Silver to a Wedding?
When you think of a bride, you likely picture her in a beautiful white dress, but many a bride is bucking tradition to choose a gown that suits her personality. Whether that is a white gown with silver embellishments or something less traditional like a silver and black with a sparkly train, silver is showing up on many a modern bride.
The bride is the focal point of any wedding day and that means it’s your job as her guest not to steal her thunder in any way. You also don’t want to look like a member of the bridal party if the bride has chosen silver dresses for her bridesmaids.
So, before hunting for the perfect silver dress, your best bet may be to ask the bride if she or her bridal party will be wearing silver and, if so, what shade. If the bride and her wedding party will be rocking silver, you will need to opt for a slightly different hue such as gray, smoky lavender or dusty blue. While not as flashy as silver, they still hint at this signature color and will work for most skin tones.
If the bride and her entourage won’t be wearing silver, then you are free to do so as long as your dress doesn’t command too much attention. That means avoiding tight or revealing styles and head-to-toe sparkles. If you are waffling on if a dress is too showy, always err on the side of being too conservative than not modest enough.
Understanding Dress Codes
If silver is your signature color and you’re looking for some appropriate ways to wear it to a wedding, the first thing to consider is the wedding’s dress code.
Appropriate wedding attire can range anywhere from an evening gown to a sundress, so knowing where your outfit should fall on the formality scale is crucial to not being overdressed or, even worse, underdressed.
To choose the perfect silver outfit, it’s essential that you understand the ins and outs of the six main wedding dress codes. They are:
A white tie wedding requires female guests to wear a floor-length evening dress. Look for gowns that skim rather than hug the body and avoid thigh-high side slits and showing too much cleavage.
Wearing a shiny silver dress like this would be over-the-top for a white tie wedding. Instead, look for elegant touches of silver courtesy of some tastefully placed sequins or beading or opt for a smoky gray or lavender dress instead.
Black tie (or black tie optional)
Not as strict as white tie weddings, black tie or black tie optional is much more commonly seen on wedding invitations. For this type of event, you can wear a traditional evening gown, a formal tea length or midi dress, a conservative high-low hemline or a just-below-the-knee cocktail dress.
Silver is totally appropriate for a black tie wedding as long as your dress isn’t too eye-catching. A dress like this, rather than one like this, ensures you won’t be stealing any attention away from the real star of the show: the bride.
Like a black tie wedding, you can wear either an evening gown or a cocktail dress. The difference? Your cocktail dress can be above the knee, although you should still avoid a mini. Instead, keep your hemline no more than a few inches above the knee.
Silver is a great color choice for a formal event as long as your dress doesn’t look bridal or compete with her gown in any way. Always opt for elegant attire, like this dress, over a gown that is flashy and revealing, like this midi gown.
This middle-of-the-road dress code firmly straddles the line between formal and casual and is one of the most popular for weddings today. No evening gowns are required for this style of wedding. Instead, you can choose between a cocktail dress, garden party dress, a dress and jacket ensemble, a jumpsuit or a fancy pantsuit.
Slightly more relaxed than semi-formal, dressy casual is another common dress code, particularly for daytime weddings. To be properly outfitted for a dressy casual affair, opt for a garden party dress, a semi-casual dress or a skirt and top ensemble. If you prefer pants, a jumpsuit or pantsuit is also acceptable.
Silver is lovely for a dressy casual wedding as long as your outfit is pretty and feminine like this floral dress.
If you’re attending a casual wedding, you may already have something in your closet that would work for the event. A casual ceremony typically calls for a sundress, a maxi dress, a skirt and top or a jumpsuit. Even though this style of wedding is the most relaxed of all the dress codes, looking tidy and stylish is still important.
Silver isn’t typically found in more casual clothing, but a silvery gray dress like this striped midi in a light and breezy material is perfect for casual nuptials.
What to Wear When No Dress Code is Stated
Being ready and able to decipher the dress code on your invitation is great, but what if your invite comes sans dress code?
If you’ve been invited to a wedding and have no idea how to dress, you usually can’t go wrong with a knee-length cocktail dress. While you might look out of place at a casual wedding or a white tie event, it will work for every other setting.
But rather than take a stab in the dark, you can use the time and location information right on your invite to figure out what to wear. Here are some wedding wardrobe etiquette rules to keep in mind based on both time and location.
Tuxedos and evening gowns in the afternoon? Never! Not before 6 p.m.
This cardinal etiquette rule means that, at most, any daytime wedding you attend will be formal or semi-formal with men wearing suits and ladies cocktail dresses. Typically, the earlier in the day, the less formal the ceremony, but it’s always best to err on the side of being overdressed.
A garden party dress or a pretty skirt and top with dressy heels or flats is a safe bet for morning or early afternoon nuptials while a cocktail dress is best for late afternoon weddings. If you don’t like dresses or skirts, an elegant pantsuit or jumpsuit is also appropriate.
Silver can be a harder color to wear early in the day so, if you’ve been invited to a 2 p.m. ceremony, you may want to opt for gray instead. If you’re attending 4 or 5 p.m. nuptials, silver is completely appropriate — just make sure it isn’t too flashy for daytime wear with a ton of glitz and glitter that is better suited to an evening event.
Here are some lovely ways to incorporate silver into your daytime wedding attire:
Semi-formal daytime wedding attire:
Dressy casual daytime wedding attire:
Casual daytime wedding attire:
Wedding ceremonies set for 6 p.m. or later are almost always formal and that means elevating your look to suit the occasion. Evening weddings are typically black tie, black tie optional, formal or semi-formal. While white tie is also an option, this dress code is rarely used simply because it makes it difficult for guests to find the proper attire.
While an evening gown is non-negotiable for a white tie event, you can get away with an elegant cocktail dress for all of the other dress codes. If you aren’t a dress person, you can wear a formal jumpsuit or a women’s tuxedo.
When a wedding invitation doesn’t list a dress code — and it’s set for 6 p.m. or later — a fancy cocktail dress that is knee-length or lower or a formal jumpsuit is always a safe choice. No matter which you choose, you won’t look out of place at a black tie or a semi-formal reception.
An evening ceremony is also an ideal time to wear silver as long as you don’t choose a dress that looks the least bit like a wedding gown. When deciding on a hemline, keep it knee-length or lower if it’s black tie — or you’re unsure of the dress code.
If the wedding is formal or semi-formal, you can wear an above-the-knee dress as long as it’s not too short. If it’s shorter than your fingertips when you hold your arms straight down at your sides, then it’s not appropriate wedding wear. Also, don’t forget that tighter fitting skirts will ride up when you sit down, so opt for dresses with a-line or full skirts.
Here are some great examples of wedding-appropriate silver outfits for each dress code.
White tie evening wedding attire:
Black tie evening wedding attire:
Formal evening wedding attire:
Semi-formal evening wedding attire:
Attending a church ceremony means finding an outfit that is stylish but modest. Plunging necklines, skin-hugging fabrics and mini skirts are all frowned upon. Instead, look for dresses that skim rather than cling to the body with hemlines no shorter than an inch or two above the knee.
If you’re attending a Catholic ceremony, you’ll need to be extra vigilant about the modesty of your attire. That means choosing a dress with sleeves or wearing a cardigan or jacket to ensure your shoulders are covered. While not all churches are strict about dress code, it’s always better to be too modest than not modest enough.
Daytime church weddings are usually dressy casual or semi-formal and range between semi-formal and black tie for evening vows. When in doubt, choose a modest yet chic cocktail dress with a hemline that hits the knees or lower.
Here are some great outfit examples to serve as inspiration.
A beach ceremony is almost always a laid back, casual affair with a dress code to match. No, that doesn’t mean you can show up in shorts and sandals, but you can still dress pretty comfortably while adhering to a dressy casual dress code.
If a dress code isn’t stated on your invitation, a cute maxi dress or sundress with pretty sandals will serve you well. Here are some examples to have you ceremony-ready.
A garden wedding is all about the elegance and beauty of nature, so dressing the part is vital if you don’t want to look out of place.
Most garden weddings call for semi-formal or dressy casual attire with beautiful florals and patterns taking center stage. While garden weddings are typically a time for brighter colors, you can still rock a silver dress. Look for a pale silver dress with a feminine floral print rather than a solid-color frock.
Here are some good examples to get you started.
A country wedding may seem like the time to break out your denim skirt or favorite pair of jeans, but nothing could be further from the truth. Unless your invitation asks for western attire, you should stick to a more traditional outfit choice.
Country wedding dress codes can range from semi-formal to casual making a pretty floral, lace or gingham dress ideal. If you can’t find an appropriate dress in silver, there will always be lots of gray dresses to choose from.
Here are a few great choices:
Silver Wedding Attire FAQ
Still not sure what dress to choose or how to rock the silver dress you’ve bought? We’ve got you covered. Read on for all of our style advice on accessorizing your look as a wedding guest.
Can you wear a sparkly dress to a wedding?
Wearing a sparkly dress to a wedding may or may not be appropriate depending on two things: how much sparkle is on the dress and the time of day. Morning and afternoon nuptials don’t typically lend themselves to a super sparkly dress simply because they aren’t typically formal affairs. While a small amount of sparkle is acceptable for daytime, don’t go overboard.
Evening weddings definitely call for more glam, meaning you can wear a dress with more bling, but make sure it is tasteful and elegant, like this dress and doesn’t compete directly with the bride’s gown. Wearing a dress like this, which could be mistaken for a wedding gown — or could steal attention from the bride’s dress — is always frowned on.
What shoes do I wear with a silver dress?
Silver is a beautiful neutral shade to work with, but that doesn’t mean every color goes well with it. Choosing to wear silver shoes offers a modern, monochromatic look that is both simple and elegant while wearing black heels will offer a classic look.
If you want to wear a bold color on your feet, go for it. But remember as a cool color, silver is best worn with other cool colors such as blues, purples and greens such as emerald or jade (which have blue rather than yellow undertones).
How do I accessorize a silver dress?
If you’ve chosen a silver dress, chances are, you won’t need to wear too much jewelry to look put together.
If your dress has some sparkle courtesy of sequins or beads, it’s best not to wear too much jewelry. Instead, opt for some earrings or a ring so your accessories don’t compete with your dress. If your dress isn’t sparkly, you can wear a necklace or bracelet too, but stick with subtle pieces so your jewelry doesn’t detract from your dress.
You can, of course, wear silver or platinum jewelry, but choosing pieces that mix both yellow and white gold can be especially striking due to the contrast in the hues.