76 Stunning Dresses for a Wedding Guest
You receive something special in the mail.
It’s beautifully designed and made from a not inexpensive material.
There’s only one of two things it could be; either someone has sunk a lot of money into their new advertising campaign⸺in which case it’s going straight in the trash⸺or, you’ve just received a wedding invitation.
You begin to read it:
How lovely. You can't wait to give them your RSVP.
Wait a minute!
You read the invitation again. Back-to-front. Side-to-side. Top-to-bottom. But it’s not there.
WHAT ABOUT THE FREAKIN’ DRESS CODE?!
Luckily, you’ve stumbled upon our list of stunning dresses for a wedding guest.
Why it’s So Hard to Dress for a Wedding
There are few occasions more panic-inducing than a wedding when it comes to deciding what to wear.
Sure, the bride has it easy. Something old, something new… yadda, yadda, yadda.
But what about the guests?!
I don’t think I’m alone here when I say I withhold my right to RSVP if your invitation skimps on the details.
There are just so many unknowns when it comes to weddings, especially if you haven’t been to many. But on the flipside, if you’ve been to a lot of weddings, the dress code can vary wildly.
Is it black-tie? White-tie? No tie? Day? Evening? Beach? Traditional?
It’s a little confusing, no?
The problem is that the traditional wedding is slowly becoming a thing of the past. As Cosmo noted, that means there is a lot of free reign when it comes to choosing an outfit.
This is both good and bad. While you can be a little more creative with your attire, there is still some general etiquette that needs to be followed when it comes to dressing for a wedding.
And let’s be honest, the thing we're most afraid of is turning up in a stunning wedding guest outfit that takes a little shine off the bride.
Hun, there’s a time and place to show off your outfits. This ain’t it.
Let’s not even mention the potential nightmare scenario where you may have underdressed. Yikes!
What Not to Wear to a Wedding
What exactly are the rules when it comes to dressing for a wedding as a guest?
Some are kind of obvious, others not so much. But there are some strict guidelines you should always follow no matter what type of wedding you’re attending.
Never, ever, ever wear white
That includes off-white, ivory or even a really pale blue!
Yeah, I know. Duh. But sometimes it’s best to drive home the point.
Don’t give anyone a reason, especially not the bride, to give you the stink eye at the wedding.
I would hesitate to wear white even if it said so on the invitation!
But if for whatever reason, you feel like it’s essential to wear a lighter shade, may I suggest the first of our 76 stunning dresses for a wedding guest.
Never go “too casual”
Even if the invitation says casual attire, don’t take it as an excuse to roll out of bed and show up in your PJs⸺not that I would expect you to. But then again, you never know.
It’s a cliché for a reason but it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed.
If you want to stay comfortable, however, dress in a soft, natural fabric like cotton.
Denim⸺nope, try again
I’m not talking about jeans, I’m talking about denim in any shape or form. Skirts, dresses, overalls, you name it.
You can wear denim literally any other day of the week. Take a pass on this one and try something more like this.
How to Dress for a Creative Black Tie Wedding
Okay, what the heck does creative black tie even mean?
Stylecaster says it’s a dress code that allows you to have fun. Yay! I think?
Once again, it’s a little more cut and dry for men. For women, the best way to put it is to not take your look too seriously.
You’ll be glad to know that this type of wedding is rare. And it’s usually reserved more for themed weddings.
In any case, statement jewelry, shoes and handbags are all on the table, so play around with your look and see what you come up with.
Or check out these wedding guest outfits instead.
How to Dress for a Winter Wedding
If you’ve been looking for an excuse to break out that festive sequin dress, this is it!
Sequins and jewel-toned fabrics like emerald green and royal blue work great with any skin tone. And you’re bound to wear them again during the holidays.
Consider a heavy fabric like tweed or velvet that will keep you warm on those chilly winter evenings.
Boots might be too casual for a wedding but if it’s snowing, by all means, wear some boots. You can always change into your heels at the venue.
How to Dress for a Spring Wedding
Springtime is the peak wedding season. And it’s not hard to see why. The flowers are blooming, the grass is growing, birds are singing⸺Ah, mother nature in all her beauty.
Having said all that, keep your fingers crossed that you’re not invited to an outdoor wedding. Spring rain showers and wet grass are a recipe for disaster.
If you are invited to an outdoor wedding, think ahead. Avoid wearing long dresses that could drag in the mud as well as heels that might sink into the ground.
Wear closed-toe flats instead. An umbrella never hurt either.
How to Dress for a Summer Wedding
If you’re invited to a summer wedding, odds are that it’s going to be outdoors.
Your mission is to look elegant while keeping it cool. I know, easier said than done.
Wear breathable fabrics that won’t overheat you like silk, chiffon, cotton or linen.
Summer is also a great time to dress in vibrant colors and unexpected textures.
It’s an indoor event? Great. Just remember that the A/C will probably be working overtime, so bring a light shawl to stay comfortable.
Feast your eyes on these stunning summer wedding guest dresses.
- When the dress code is vague, remember that it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed.
- Never wear white or anything close to it. Bride = white; Guests = literally anything else.
- A casual dress code doesn’t mean flip flops and tank tops. Dress classy but comfortable in a soft fabric like cotton.
- Denim is a no go. Save it for the weekend.
- Dress respectfully for church and cover up.
- If there is a dress code, stick to it. This is not the day you want to stand out for any reason.
- Don’t wear anything with rips or holes, even if they’re intentional.
- Sequins belong to evening occasions.
- Avoid overly sexual pieces. Don’t give grandpa a heart attack.
- Use the wedding’s location as a cue for how to dress e.g. beach wedding
- Bring a second pair of comfortable shoes where appropriate.
- When in doubt, choose a formal cocktail dress.
- White tie is the most formal dress code of them all, so dress like you’re getting ready for the ball, Cinderella.
- Black tie is usually an evening event, put in a similar effort as you would for white tie but feel free to wear a classy cocktail dress instead.
- Black tie optional is basically the same thing so just forget about the word optional.
- Creative black tie is kind of up for interpretation. Think black tie but with fun accessories.
- You have a little more freedom with a semi-formal occasion. Have fun with it.
- Sundresses and maxi dresses are perfect for casual weddings.
- Beach weddings can be casual or formal, in either case, dress for the elements and never wear flip flops.
- Experiment with vibrant colors and unique fabrics for daytime weddings.
- In the fall, dress comfortably and be prepared for unexpected weather changes.
- In the winter, dress in fun and festive jewel-toned colors or sequins.
- In the spring, avoid wearing clothes that might attract mud, and bring an umbrella.
- In the summer, dress in breathable fabrics like chiffon for outdoors and bring a shawl for an indoor wedding where the A/C is on full blast.
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