The Great Debate: White or Ivory


As a bride, it’s important to consider the shade or hue of your wedding gown. Old-school traditional or religious brides more often than not want to walk down the isle in pure white. However, more and more, pure-white continues to be replaced in the wedding world.

But why?

Pure white can look cheap. Why would you want to spend $3,000+ or even $1,200 on a gown made of fabric that looks like it may have cost you $100?

Pure white also looks very harsh against your skin and can wash you out. When picking your gown, consider your skin tone. A softer white or ivory will look better than pure-white, I promise.

If you’re not sure what shade to look for – Here Comes the Guide has a wonderful post about picking the best shade for your skin tone.

(Soft-white and ivory Vera Wang gowns in Bride Wars)


Don’t be alarmed when your dream gown does not come in white, but instead in ivory, soft-white, cool-white, champagne and blush – it’s for the best.



Anthony Vazquez Photography Inc.


White bridesmaid dresses are becoming more and more popular, which is great – if that’s what you want. However, if you’re going for white bridesmaid dresses and the mix-n-match trend, stop and rethink.

I’m not saying, don’t do it – I’m saying be careful how you do it.

Luckily (or unluckily) there are a thousand shades of “white” and “ivory.” If you’re girls are all sporting the same dress, you’re good-to-go. However, if you’re letting them pick their own dresses beware of the reign you’re giving them and the outcome you may get.

Don’t think you have your problems solved when you tell your bridal party, “you’re dress must be soft-white.” Because designer A’s soft white could vary from designer B’s soft white, and so on. To make it even more challenging, fabric A in soft white can also vary from fabric B in soft white.

My advice for a white (or any color mix-n-match) bridal party = pick a designer like Amsale, which allows you to pick a color and a fabric – then the girls pick their dresses and various necklines.

Ian and Elle Johnson




Now that you know your gown color and your bridesmaids’ dress color – what about your groom and his buddies?

Lets say, your gown is ivory – should your groom wear a white shirt or ivory shirt? It’s the great debate of every wedding and you’re not alone.

I’m assuming you’re leaning towards matching because that’s what everyone thinks is right, but it truly depends.

Bring a swatch of your gown when you are looking for your groom’s tux or suit. Because there are so many shades to consider, you don’t want to be guessing if your dress has more of a yellow hue or pink hue.

Second, just like you did for you – know your groom’s skin tone. Pick a color that won’t wash him out or make him look an odd shade of yellow. If your groom is pale, definitely don’t dress him in stark white. If your skin tones are complete opposite, be careful not to be too far off in color. The contrast of his shirt or your dress may appear in pictures to have a yellow-dirty-hue you may not want.

If you want the clean-crisp classic white shirt, but are afraid that it will clash – have your fiancé wear a white shirt paired with an ivory vest and tie. (Best of both worlds!)

Like all traditional wedding rules, the matchy-matchy shirt and dress rule has relaxed. Focus less on matching the color and more on matching the formality. If your gown is formal, make sure your groom’s tux and shirt represents that.

The above picture (from Wedding Wire) is a bride in an ivory dress, while the groom is in a white shirt.

The picture below (from Marc Wallace) both the bride and groom are in ivory. 


Not traditional at all? You can have your groom and/or groomsmen wear a colored or patterned shirt and tie. You can then avoid the ivory and white debate with your men.

If you are in a bind, ask the experts. More often than not the guys and gals at the bridal and tux shops will give you a few solutions or their opinion. (They deal with this stuff every day and no question is a stupid question!) If all else fails, get gown and shirt swatches to compare at home together. A glass of red and to-do list should get you through.



3 thoughts on “The Great Debate: White or Ivory

  1. I NEVER thought about how your dress and groom’s outfit need to match like that. I just figured he would get what he needs to get and call it a day. Duly noted to bring a swatch of my dress! :) Great tips!!


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