How To Wear White To A Summer Wedding Without Upstaging The Bride

As spring becomes summer, the only thing more certain than balmy days ahead is the steady approach of wedding season.

We love celebrating the day with our friends, but quickly reach the point where shopping our own closets for wedding ensembles doesn't yield any results.

Perhaps it's because we're grossly limiting our own choices by ignoring an entire color: white.

Each year, couples decide to break a few more wedding rules. A bride may wear lilac to her ceremony, for example, or dress her bridesmaids in ivory instead of the typical pastel shade.

Wearing white to a wedding has long been taboo for fear of upstaging the bride on her special day.

By keeping cuts and fabrics far from bridal, however, your outfit will stay seasonally appropriate while giving off “party” vibes instead of “nuptial.”

Dying to wear white even though you're not headed down the aisle? You'll need these pointers.

Do: Stick to summery fabrics and knits.

Celine Rahman

When it comes to wearing white or ivory to a ceremony, the cardinal rule is to avoid anything that looks like the same cloth as the wedding gown. Instead of relying on a chiffon fit-and-flare, try something a little more 1970s on for size.

This dress combines an on-trend weave with a high neckline, ensuring no one's great-aunt will mistake you for the bride.

Kimchi Blue Medallion Fit + Flare Dress, Urban Outfitters ($79)

Do: Get a little edgy.

Celine Rahman

Wedding dresses are, above all else, classic. Whether slinky or with a ballgown skirt, the drama of a gown is unmistakeable. As a wedding guest, you should aim for effortless chic instead of Old Hollywood glam.

By pairing a crop top and wide-legged trousers in a sophisticated fabric, you're creating an androgynous look that's a total contrast to the bride's dress.

Top With Pleated Front, Zara ($70); wide-legged Trousers, similar available from Zara ($80)

Do: Try an unconventional silhouette.

Celine Rahman

Here's a sure way to make a statement without stepping on the bride's toes: Wear a jumpsuit instead of a gown. Not only does this outfit look fresh and crisp, it minimizes the packing you'll have to do for the trip.

To make this style work, rely on simple but contemporary jewelry and accessories. You'll soon achieve cool-girl chic without looking like it took you longer than the bride.

Strappy Jumpsuit, Zara (available in stores)

Do: Wear a playful take on a classic.

Celine Rahman

There's no beating a cocktail dress in a sturdy fabric for a wedding: You'll be able to dance the night away and eat the cake without a worry.

To avoid looking a little bridal, try an embellished, silvery fabric and play with cutouts that keep the look interesting.

This particular sheath is backless to the waist, adding youth to a dress that could otherwise look a little dowdy.

Madeline Sheath from Slate and Willow, Rent the Runway ($60)

Do: Keep it simple.

When it comes to dressing up, basic is often best. The bride's gown will be covered in any combination of beads, feathers and adornment, so keep yours no-frill.

A white tank dress paired with colorful sandals can bring just the right amount of style to the special day without overdoing it (or the bride!).

This can also be a budget-friendly pick, perfect for recent college grads who don't have the funds for luxe purchases just yet.

Bodycon Midi Dress, similar available from ASOS ($87)

Don't: Wear lengths that feel a little too formal.

Celine Rahman

Everyone loves a maxi dress, but wearing a floor-sweeping gown on a day that's traditionally reserved for the woman getting married is a little too much.

Although the cut may be modern, there's something a little awkward about stealing the drama of a full-length ensemble.

Kimchi Blue Apron Neck Embroidered Maxi Dress, Urban Outfitters ($98)