Few things are better than receiving a wedding invitation. The prospect of celebrating love, dancing the night away, and creating memories that last forever is incredibly exciting. And yet, there's always the immediate—and very stressful—question of what to wear as a wedding guest. Naturally, you want to be on the best-dressed list without overshadowing the bride, and you'll want to take fabulous pictures to look back on for many years to come. But the internet is flooded with so many dresses in all shades and shapes that it’s hard to know where to begin finding the perfect wedding guest dress for you.
A great approach is to break it down by the nature of the affair. There are many different types of weddings, and this can help determine what dress you should wear as a guest. Below, we've outlined five of the most popular wedding types to help you easily select the perfect dress for the occasion.
Black tie weddings
Black tie weddings promise a lavish evening of elegance and excitement, but it can be tricky to find a dress to do the occasion justice. When choosing wedding guest dresses for a black tie affair, you want to stay away from being underdressed and go for formal dresses instead. Now, you might be wondering, what makes a dress truly formal? First, black tie weddings, which usually happen during the evening, immediately mean you shouldn't wear midi or mini dresses. As a rule of thumb, you want your hem to hit the floor when choosing the right dresses for evening weddings. Still, many maxi dresses can be too casual for black tie weddings, which is why you should also consider choosing a piece with the right fabric. Satin, silk, or viscose fabrics are all excellent options, and accessories are a terrific way to bring some extra elegance to your look. There is no better time to wear your fanciest jewelry and the best stilettos in your closet than with dresses for evening weddings.
Choosing the perfect dress for a cocktail wedding is probably the most fun. While men are good to go with a suit and tie, women have so many possibilities when it comes to occasion and party dresses for these joyous affairs. Here you want to consider a few additional elements to help narrow down your options. If you've been invited to a Spring wedding, chances are the dress code demands cocktail attire. Midi dresses are a girl's best friend when it comes to finding the perfect Spring wedding attire. The length is flirty enough that you won't feel out of place but fancy enough that you'll be appropriately dressed. If you prefer to show a little more leg, knee-length dresses are also suitable in this case. Considering the weather and schedule of the wedding you're attending is key when choosing the right dress. If you're styling an outfit for a day wedding, opt for breezier fabrics in bright hues, while dresses for an evening wedding demand a bit more elegance which can easily be achieved by wearing darker colors, sequins, or any fabric with a bit of shine.
If you're lucky enough to have been invited to a wedding by the beach, choosing the perfect wedding guest dress should be a no-brainer. For a coastal wedding, which will likely begin during the day and last well into the night, you'll want to prioritize airy materials like cotton and linen that will keep you feeling and looking cool throughout the entire affair. If the wedding promises to be more on the elegant side, opting for long dresses in tropical prints to match your surroundings is a fantastic idea. If you prefer a softer, ultra-feminine vibe picking a dress in a powdery pink or lavender hue works great as well, though it's important to not choose a color that might take away from the bride in any way. Of course, coastal weddings usually mean warm weather ought to be considered. Strapless or off-the-shoulder necklines are perfect for the occasion, as are dainty spaghetti straps. And if the weather will be especially warm, showing off your tan in a lovely mini-dress is not only appropriate but preferred.
An invitation to a garden wedding most likely means you should begin by considering wedding guest dresses for Spring. Floral dresses are fabulous options to mirror the surroundings of a lush, flower-filled garden wedding. They come in all silhouettes and lengths, so opting for a floral print means you'll have plenty of options to choose from. If you'd prefer to stay away from prints, and go for a solid color instead, consider bold hues to stand out against the leafy setting. Now, as is the case with cocktail and coastal weddings, weather and time of day must also be taken into account when choosing the perfect attire for this occasion. If the bride has planned a lovely garden brunch that will likely last all day, you can most certainly pull off a short garden party dress. If instead, the invitation starts in the afternoon and continues into the night, you should consider a midi dress or a mini dress with long sleeves to deliver both comfort and instant sophistication.
Courthouse weddings or civil ceremonies may seem like highly informal affairs, but they're actually wonderful occasions to look your best while celebrating love. In these cases, it is acceptable to opt for a more casual wedding guest dress, though this doesn't mean you should throw on any dress you'd usually wear over the weekend. To choose the right courthouse wedding guest dress, you want to favor styles that would work in a business casual setting and also transition easily from day to night, as couples usually plan an intimate celebration at home or a nearby restaurant after the ceremony. Per usual, you can't go wrong with a little black dress, although a floral midi dress, a lovely wrap dress, or even a stylish jumpsuit are all chic options for the occasion too.
By now, we hope you're feeling inspired and eager to receive your next wedding invitation. Bookmark this guide to keep coming back to it in the future, and send it to all of your friends who often feel overwhelmed when trying to find the perfect wedding guest dress.