What I Wear to a Wedding!

Click photos for larger view.

It’s not often that Mr. Kitty and I have the opportunity to attend a wedding. In this case, we didn’t know the bride well, or the groom at all, but I say that’s no reason to miss a wedding! Actually, the bride’s brother and sister-in-law are two of our very best friends, so we are slowly infiltrating their families. 😉 We were honored to be invited to enjoy their beautiful event with them!

I’ve mentioned before on this blog how I feel about Goth aesthetics at a “normal” wedding. While the main purpose of this blog is to inspire grown-up Goths to be true to themselves, weddings are one of the few times where I feel that standing out too much in the crowd is absolutely, unequivocally NOT OKAY. Disclaimer: my thoughts on this subject apply only to traditional weddings where the bride and groom do not associate with any sort of alternative subculture. If they do, the etiquette might be different, but that entirely depends on the type of wedding, too.

Now, I know a lot of you are reading this thinking, “Hey, I should never have to compromise on WHO I AM.” But let me give you a different perspective on this. A wedding is an incredibly important day to a bride. It’s her one day to shine and fully be the center of attention. Also it’s a very stressful day, involving lots of hard work, nerves, emotion and sometimes even family drama. When you show up in full-blown Gothic regalia, you are a distraction. And a potential source of added stress. Maybe the bride is fine with this, but maybe her great-grandmother is not so much. So, you think, “Now’s my chance to PROVE SOMETHING. I can show all those normal people how awesome Goths are.” But you won’t. Because what you are showing them, no matter how awesome you really are, is that Goths exercise poor judgement. That we are juvenile, rebellious, and put our own need to express ourselves above the feelings of others. They’ll never see your awesomeness through what they perceive as selfishness. This may be an unfortunate state of things, but a wedding is not the time to change the world. You can do that tomorrow. On your own time. 😉

That being said, there’s no harm in expressing a modicum of individuality. Consider it on the same level as dressing for work, but replace business attire with cocktail attire. Yes, you can wear all-black (unless it’s a daytime, summery beach wedding or such – then maybe consider a bit of color). You might be able to pull off heavy makeup, unnatural hair colors, or visible piercings and tattoos… But you should absolutely make an effort to tone it down a bit. This is CorpGoth recently did a post about work attire that is very relevant here. To paraphrase her, you can probably get away with one or two dramatic elements (intense makeup or tattoos), while combining multiple unusual traits (intense makeup AND tattoos) would most likely be over the top.

Believe me, you won’t lose anything by toning it down for a loved one’s wedding. Those of us who are different have an exceedingly difficult time hiding it, and while you may look “boring” to yourself you’ll still look edgy and unique to those who all dress the same. In fact, you will gain a lot of respect in the eyes of those who know your true nature when they see that you have the dignity and class to put others before yourself.

Coffin Kitsch addressed this issue in a recent outfit post over on her blog. I think she pulled it off brilliantly, and her post has some great tips as well.

My dress for this event is from the sale rack at White House Black Market: my new favorite store. I’ve drooled over their pretties for years, and finally decided to start investing in some of these stunning pieces. I’m SO glad I bought this one. I paired my dress with a white satin shrug, and accented the black and white look with dark plum lipstick and gel nail polish. The bracelet is another Charming Charlie find (I’ll show a close-up next time I wear it, because this post has enough photos already!). The Brighton heart locket was a gift from Mr. Kitty for our anniversary last month. More about that later, too!

How do you dress for traditional, non-Goth weddings?


All images and text © Sophistique Noir Gothic Fashion Blog. Do not use any photos or text from this blog without providing a credit to me and a link back to the original post.

31 Comments:

  1. OH! MS. KITTY! That dress is absolutely to die for! Gawds, the print is SO incredibly beautiful. I love the way the swirly flowers match the pattern in the pendant — nice!

    I can’t agree more. A wedding is about the bride and the groom, first and foremost … and their families secondly. If it’s not a subcultural wedding then it’s best to tone down and dress beautifully for the occasion. It’s like wearing white to an Indian or Chinese wedding! What are you trying to say? Remember white means death/funerals to those cultures. It would be inappropriate, rude an disrespectful.

    • I absolutely fell in love with this dress when I saw it peeking out of a sale rack across the store. So glad I made it mine!! 😀

      You make a good point. Even beyond the Goth or Not Goth concerns, it’s crucial to know and respect the culture, beliefs and taste of the bride, groom and families when they invite you to share their special day. It is an honor for the guests to be invited, and every guest should behave as such.

  2. I adore your outfit! I think it is a bit gothy too for some reason – or maybe it’s just the way you are wearing it that makees it look gothy! I agree with your opinions to a certain extent, although I still dress a bit gothy at weddings – but I make sure I don’t stand out too much!

    • I was hoping it would still come across as a bit Gothy. 😉 And I think that’s totally fine – no one should have to blend in to the point of not being themselves or feeling like they are wearing a costume. It’s a matter of degrees. We have to remember that we see ourselves in Goth attire every day and it starts to feel normal to us, but to others a much more subtle Goth look is still very unusual.

  3. You’ve said it all perfectly, and I agree 100%! One should NEVER outshine the bride. Intentionally drawing attention to yourself – and away from the bride – is incredibly rude.

    Love the black and white print dress! I recently discovered Charming Charlie. So many shiny things! 😀

    • You are so right – and that doesn’t just apply to Gothiness. I went to a wedding once where the sister of the groom was pregnant, and she made a HUGE deal about her baby, and her baby belly, and HER HER HER the whole night. No one said anything, but it was just ugly to watch.

  4. Thank you for the mention, I appreciate it! 🙂
    I agree with you and everyone comments, weddings are NOT the time to prove anything. I think a simple and classic look is always the way I go whenever I’m in doubt. I tend to reach more for vintage takes on items and I like to cover up out of respect for the families.

    I think you look very lovely and still very much “you”. I hope you had a nice time!

  5. You look great. While the white is not my color at all, I like to mix black with green or red or even grey. Well, I always tone down when when I attend weddings or any other event of people that is not in subculture. The same goes for my coworkers parties. It’s just for other peoples sake. I feel comfortable in any of my clothes and despite I love black color the most, I can change to any other I like. How ever, if I keep the color, then I usually tone down the design. I pic more simple outfit. Little black dress is always good choice and a little colorful shrug or a scarf fixes the look it if still might look too dark. Something nice from Alchemy Gothic always goes good with toned designs. I always get compliments from other people for my Mortis necklace and it’s a two skeletons holding a giant black crystal 🙂 😀 at my school convention party> I had a coffin ring and the Mortis necklace. And everything else was simple. Oh, and I had my boots on too.

    • Great point – I dress similar for office parties as I would for the office, only a bit more elegant. Black is almost always appropriate for parties and evening weddings, and elegant simplicity is not only a safe bet but also a great way to stand out from the crowd in a different way (since, in America at least, elegance is a lost art!).

      I love your matching striped tops on that photo! A fabulous example of toning it down while still looking super cool.

  6. I totally agree with you on this.
    The few times I had to attend a weeding, I totally gave up my gothic look. I don’t think I can only look good in gothic attires, it’s possible even “normal” clothing, so it’s not that much of a sacrifice 🙂 my only problem is, I literally have *nothing* that isn’t goth or black in my wardrobe XD so I had to ask my mum for some of her dresses. But it’s just one day, afterall; I have plenty of time to wear my amazing outfits :D!

  7. Your dress is soo lovely! I like that huge flower print. I can definitely agree with your thoughts on how to dress properly for a wedding. Disturbingly dressed or bad behaviour has nothing to do on a wedding. On my wedding with my ex husband we made a very difficult desicion, we asked his brother in law to come sober or stay at home. As we knew he never would be able to attend the wedding sober and polite, we got rid of him and was able to celebrate without worries. He had ruined a christmas for us completely, when he was rude to his mother in law and embarrassing to my grandmother and parents. I think you looked gorgeous without removing anything of your lovely style.

    • I can’t even describe what a shame it is when family members are so selfish that they won’t control their drinking and behavior for important events – that’s even worse (by far) than dressing inappropriately. I applaud you for having the courage to stand up to him!

  8. That’s an excellent outfit for “mainstream” weddings! 🙂 I attended a lovely wedding about a month ago and I didn’t know anyone there except my boyfriend and his mother (it was his cousin getting married) so I tried to tone down my gothiness a lot, which is hard when you have purple, sidecut hair. I wore a grey pin-up style dress, black pantyhose, a black bolero and ballet flats, which worked fine, although I felt a little bit underdressed for the fancy occasion. I still felt that people were staring curiously at me though, but I guess purple hair does make it hard to blend in. XD

    • Your outfit sounds like it was lovely! True, you cannot hide purple hair, but the classy way you were dressed no doubt sent the message to everyone there that you went to the effort to be respectful. That’s what really counts!

  9. just stumbled on your blog, and wanted to applaud you for exercising great judgment! it’s your right to be able to express yourself when you’re say, with friends on a night out or at the grocery store, but it’s a different thing entirely when you’re in a corporate office or an event like a wedding.

    dressing in a way that blatantly violates guidelines for like, someone else’s wedding, sends the message that the person is just an attention-seeker whose mission to prove the world they’re different gets in the way of everything they do. knowing when and how to adapt is key for anyone who dresses ‘alternatively’.

    • Well said!! There is a time and a place for everything. It’s just like the fact that most “normal” people LOVE to wear jeans and t-shirts, but they are not allowed to do so at the office. Everyone should be prepared to adapt to the given situation, and alternative types are no exception.

  10. I love the bold print! Also your hairstyle looks really nice, I like the asymmetry of it. I’m with you on toning it down for events like weddings- for the most part, everyone else isn’t dressing like they normally do either.

    • Exactly! As I said to Anne above, we *all* have to adapt our attire to what is appropriate for work or certain social situations. I’m willing to bet most of the younger men at that wedding weren’t thrilled about wearing ties, even the “normal” guys. But it’s the right thing to do!

  11. You look stunning! I love the dress and the lipstick. I think the rick plum colour of the lippy adds the perfect amount of goth!

    Also I completely agree with you regarding dressing for a wedding. I have a daytime spring wedding to attend in November (I live in the Southern Hemisphere) and I’ll certainly be using your outfit as inspiration. 🙂

  12. You and Mr. Kitty were dressed phenomenally. I appreciate your forward thinking in this circumstance, though I never would ask you to “tone down” who you are. It was excellent having you two there. Our family loves you both!

    • We know you would never ask, but sometimes the fun is in doing what’s right without being asked. No way we could have known whether some great-uncle on the groom’s side would’ve gotten bent out of shape over black lipstick or something. 😉 Someone Else’s Family’s Wedding is not the place to take any chances.

  13. Very nice outfit & perfectly appropriate for a wedding. It’s so true, we have to remember that a wedding is not the place to show off our style, but to honor the couple & their families. Their wishes (& culture & religion, if applicable) should be foremost.

    Another thing to consider is the formality/casualness of the event. If it’s an elegant wedding in a church with a reception in a fancy hotel, don’t wear jeans or anything casual. If it’s a beach wedding, don’t wear a velvet dress. Going too far either way makes you stand out more & draws attention away from the people getting married. (And it’s a personal pet peeve, as I had one guest, friend of my husband, show up to our very formal wedding wearing jeans & a polo shirt! Needless to say, I didn’t save any pictures that he appeared in 😉

    • O.M.G. There always seems to be one (usually male) who just refuses to dress nice for an important event. You are so right – the outfit must be tailored to the specific wedding, as there are so many different wedding vibes depending on the personality of the couple. If I was ever invited to a barefoot beach wedding, I would probably have to decline! ;-D

  14. My rules are generally to avoid the color white, but you have done so here with having a black and white dress! Love it!

    Kudos to you for recognizing that no one should usurp the bride on her wedding day! It is about the bride, and no unnecessary distractions are needed.

    • I was a bit hesitant on the white, but in the end I figured bold black and white is such a statement that it’s definitely a very different thing from just white. A solid white dress would be a no, for sure!

  15. I always hate wedding invitations for this reason – I was raised with “no black at all in your outfit for a wedding”, and let me tell you I don’t own anything that meets that description! And buying new clothes is out of the question on what I make. Lately I’ve settled on black-and-ivory or black-and-silver for weddings and other such affairs where lightness is expected. I still always feel like I’m way too dark though!

    • NO black would be tough. I used to hear of that rule, but for evening weddings, black cocktail attire usually seems to be considered appropriate (cocktail attire – not club attire! *wink*). Hopefully most couples would be understanding if someone can’t afford to buy new things just for that event. As long as you are doing the best you can with what you’ve got to work with.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *