Can You Wear White Shoes to a Wedding? The Answer May Surprise You

Read this before you add those white shoes to your cart.
Pair of white booties
Photo: Barker Evans
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by
Lauren Whalley
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Lauren Whalley
Fashion Editor, Beauty & Inclusivity
  • Lauren writes and edits articles for The Knot Worldwide, with a specialty in fashion, beauty and size inclusivity.
  • Prior to The Knot Worldwide, Lauren worked in wedding editorial for Brides, Style Me Pretty and Enaura Bridal.
  • Lauren studied public relations and advertising at the University of Central Florida.
Updated Mar 25, 2024

Not wearing white to a wedding is a cardinal rule of wedding guest attire, but can you wear white shoes to a wedding? Well, the answer to that question isn't exactly black-and-white. You see, many years ago, that would have been an absolute no-go and it still might be that way if the couple is hosting a more traditional ceremony. But nowadays, the lines are more blurred. Couples are getting more creative with wording their dress code on their website and encouraging them to have fun with it. Which may lead you to ask, "Can I wear white shoes to a wedding?"

Believe it or not, when I tapped our team of editors at The Knot, they were divided on the topic, reflecting just how much the answer varies. Below, we explore both perspectives of wearing white shoes to a wedding to help you make an informed decision when choosing your wedding guest shoes.

Can you wear white shoes to a wedding?

Yes, you can wear white shoes to a wedding as long as they're not combined with any other white attire, like a dress or a suit. Traditionally, all-white attire was reserved for the bride, but with the evolution of fashion and changing societal norms, the rules surrounding guest attire are no longer cut and dry. Many modern couples want their guests to embrace individuality and encourage them to express their personal style. It is not uncommon these days to even see the bride herself breaking tradition and opting for unconventional colors for her own shoes. This has created more room for guests to experiment with their fashion choices.In such cases, white shoes may be considered acceptable. If you're feeling uneasy about the decision, then it's best to either contact the couple directly or stick with your gut and opt for another neutral hue that will look just as good with your outfit, like nude, almond, blush, etc.

Support for Wearing White Shoes to a Wedding

"I think it's totally fine! As long as the dress isn't white, I think white shoes are fine, plus sometimes brides (speaking from my experience) don't even wear white shoes!" - Tiana Crispino, Editorial Designer

"I remember feeling shamed for wearing white shoes to the bachelorette party! No one else did because they thought white shoes were off-limits for all wedding-related events. The bride laughed at them for being ridiculous! (Although I do think white outfits should be off-limits for the bach party too!)" - Jamie Cucinelli, Senior Editor, Sex & Relationships

"Wearing a white dress is an absolute don't but white shoes as an accessory should be acceptable since they are a neutral color (as long as the dress code doesn't explicitly state otherwise!)." - Mina Garagozlo, Senior Social Media Manager

Support for Not Wearing White Shoes to a Wedding

"If you feel you simply must wear a white shoe, chances are you're already working with a pretty muted palette and a nude or pastel option could also do the trick. Even though their shoes likely won't be visible (and may not even be white), try to put yourself in the bride's position. Is this an envelope that's really worth pushing? When it comes to weddings, tensions can run high, and something as seemingly innocuous as your choice of footwear can have bigger ramifications." - Naomi Rougeau, Senior Fashion and Beauty Editor

"Though times have changed, it's essential to respect the historical significance behind certain wedding customs. Wearing white shoes as a guest can appear disrespectful or as though you're trying to compete with the bride. Opting for a different shoe color is a way to honor tradition, show consideration for the couple's special day. and even have some fun with color." - Sofia Deeb, Assistant Fashion Commerce Editor

How to Know if You Can Wear White Shoes to a Wedding

Trying to decide whether or not you can wear white heels to a wedding as a guest can be difficult, especially if it's not specified on the couple's wedding website. However, there may be a few cues and clues to help you put your best foot forward.

Check the Dress Code First

If the invitation specifies a dress code, pay attention to the guidelines provided. For formal or black-tie affairs, it's best to stick to more traditional footwear options. For casual or semi-formal dress codes like a beach wedding or garden party, white shoes may be seen as a stylish and creative choice.

Dress codes you probably should avoid white shoes:

  • White-Tie Attire
  • Black-Tie Attire
  • Black-Tie Optional

Dress codes you can probably wear white shoes:

  • Cocktail Attire
  • Semi-Formal Attire
  • Daytime/Casual Attire
  • Beach Attire

Consider the Venue and Theme

The location and theme of the wedding can influence whether white shoes are suitable. For outdoor or beach weddings, where a lighter, more relaxed atmosphere prevails, white shoes can complement the surroundings. Just be cautious of grass and other natural elements that could lead to unwanted staining. On the other hand, for traditional church weddings or formal indoor venues, more conservative shoe colors other than white may be preferred.

Cultural and Religious Customs

Consider the couple's cultural or religious background when making your footwear choice. Some cultures may have specific customs or traditions regarding wedding footwear that should be respected. In such cases, it's wise to opt for a shoe color that aligns with those customs. If this is the case, I highly recommend reaching out to the couple directly for clarification.

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