Everyone knows only the bride wears white—but does that rule apply to the smallest guests?

flower girls under arch

For years, the etiquette around wedding-day fashion was made perfectly clear: If you aren't the bride, don't wear white; on that momentous day, the bride owns the color. But does that directive still hold true today? And, perhaps more importantly, does it apply to guests of all ages? For parents who are shopping for attire for a flower girl, ring bearer, or another young guest, is white still off limits? Here, we break it all down.

White isn't what it used to be.

Brides started wearing white in the early 19th century after Queen Victoria chose to wear the dainty hue for her marriage to Prince Albert. But a lot has changed since then. More and more brides are giving white the cold shoulder and showing up at the altar in colors like black, blue, pink, and yellow, which is more attuned to their personal style. If the bride isn't calling dibs on white, which symbolizes purity and innocence, that frees it up for guests to wear, including girls.

Ask if the bride objects.

If you know the bride but aren't sure how she'd feel about a child in white at her wedding, the simplest thing to do is ask her. She may be fine with it, or she may be a stickler for the white rule and tell you she'd prefer the child in another color. If that's the case, respect her wishes and find a dress in a different hue.

You'll want to avoid confusion with the flower girl.

Assuming your daughter isn't the flower girl, then you wouldn't want her to be mistaken for a young member of the bridal party. If you really want to dress her in white, pick a dress that doesn't feel too reminiscent of traditional flower girl options. Different fabrics or less ornate options would work.


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