Attending a wedding as a guest means finding that perfect balance between looking stylish yet not outshining the bride. Choosing an appropriate guest dress takes some thought to remain respectful. This comprehensive guide covers all the dos and don’ts of wedding guest attire along with 50+ stylish, comfy dress options for any season that will keep the focus where it belongs – on the happy couple.
Table of Contents
- Dos and Don’ts for Guest Dresses
- Additional Tips
- Top Dress Styles that Won’t Upstage
- Wrap Dresses
- A-Line Dresses
- Shift Dresses
- Maxi Dresses
- Midi Dresses
- Best Colors for Guest Dresses
- Dark Colors
- Earth Tones
- Fabrics to Choose
- Seasonal Considerations
- Spring Weddings
- Summer Weddings
- Fall Weddings
- Winter Weddings
- Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the best color for a wedding guest dress?
- What should you not wear to a wedding as a guest?
- What do you wear to a daytime spring wedding?
- What kind of dress is too casual for a wedding?
- What do you wear to a beach wedding as a guest?
- How do I choose a dress for a winter wedding?
As a wedding guest, your main priority is celebrating the couple without drawing attention away from the bride. At the same time, the occasion calls for looking stylish and put together out of respect.
Navigating these dual objectives can feel tricky when choosing an outfit, especially for women and the wide variety of dress options. You want to look and feel your best without the risk of outshining the bridal party.
This comprehensive guide covers all the dos and don’ts of guest dresses so you can relax and find the perfect look. We’ll explore the top styles, colors, fabrics and seasonal considerations for dresses that are both comfy and wedding-appropriate.
With these tips and 50+ recommended options, you’ll easily navigate wedding guest attire with confidence!
Dos and Don’ts for Guest Dresses
When shopping for a wedding guest dress, keep these guidelines in mind:
- Extra short dresses or skirts above the knee
- Extra long gowns that could outshine the bride
- Dresses or skirts ending just above, below, or at the knee
- Midi dresses to the mid-calf
- Maxi dresses or jumpsuits
- Bright whites, creams, ivories, or champagne that could be mistaken for a bridal gown
- Busy prints and loud colors that draw the eye
- Darker neutral solids
- Soft pastels
- Metallic sheens
- Strapless, low cut, cleavage-baring styles
- Sequins, beads, and embellishments
- Modest wraps, 3/4 or long sleeves
- A-line, shirtdress, maxi/midi styles
- Simple, clean-lined cuts
- Stiff fabrics like taffeta or heavy brocades
- Lightweight fabrics with movement and flow: chiffon, jersey, crepe
- Soft laces and delicate patterns
- Large, attention-grabbing statement jewelry
- Bold hairpieces like large flowers or tiaras
- Simple jewelry like small earrings, bracelet, and necklace
- Subtle hair accessories like small pins or headbands
- Check the dress code on the invitation
- Ask the bride if you’re unsure about a dress option
- Bring a wrap or cover up for more formal weddings
- Choose comfy shoes and simple makeup that makes you feel confident
By keeping these guidelines in mind, you can assess potential guest dress options easily. The focus will stay where it belongs – on the wedding couple!
Top Dress Styles that Won’t Upstage
When choosing a guest dress, opt for these classic, modest styles in on-trend colors and fabrics:
Wrap dresses are universally flattering with their waist-cinching shape. Choose wraps in midi or maxi lengths made of lightweight jersey or silky material. Look for long sleeve or 3/4 length sleeve options and curated patterns for perfect wedding guest style.
- Ruum White Wrap Maxi Dress with Slit – Elegant white maxi wrap dress with a thigh slit.
- Halogen 3/4 Sleeve Wrap Dress – Flattering blue wrap in a knee-length, 3/4 sleeve style.
- ASTR The Label Printed Wrap Midi Dress – Bright floral print in a midi length wrap dress.
A-line dresses are universally flattering, featuring fitted waistline with a skirt that flares softly. Look for tea-length, midi or maxi hemlines. Choose lightweight chiffons, silky jerseys or lace overlays. Opt for 3/4 length, long or flutter sleeve styles.
- Open Edit Flutter Sleeve Linen Blend Mini Dress – Sweet spring mini dress with fluttery short sleeves.
- Topshop Lace Overlay Midi Slipdress – Romantic lace overlay in blush pink.
- Treasure & Bond Wrap Maxi Dress – Airy black chiffon maxi dress with removable tie belt.
Shift dresses have simple, straight shapes that skim the body subtly. Look for fun prints and bold colors in cotton, linen or silk. Opt for short sleeve, sleeveless or cold shoulder necklines.
- Open Edit Printed Babydoll Minidress – Vibrant floral print shift mini with short flutter sleeves.
- Topshop Textured Minidress – Black and white color block shift with half sleeves.
- Sam Edelman Floral Print Keyhole Maxi Dress – Boho floral print in a flowy maxi length.
Classic shirtdress silhouettes with collar necklines and defined waists are perfect modest options. Look for midi, knee or tea length hems. Choose lightweight fabrics like chiffon, jersey knit or woven cotton.
- Topshop Split Neck MIDI Shirt Dress – Crisp white midi shirtdress with split collar.
- Open Edit Puff Sleeve Shirtdress – Black and white polka dot shirtdress with puff sleeves.
- Sam Edelman Tie Waist Short Sleeve Shirtdress – Coral shirtdress with removable tie belt.
Maxi dress and skirt hemlines ending at the ankle or floor are perfect wedding guest options. Look for lightweight chiffon, jersey or crepe fabrics. Opt for long sleeves, cold shoulders or fluttery cap sleeves.
- Open Edit Crinkled Chiffon Maxi Dress – Ethereal black chiffon maxi dress with flutter sleeves.
- Topshop Snake Print Flutter Sleeve Maxi Dress – Silky snake print maxi with fluttery short sleeves.
- Treasure & Bond Jersey Crossover Maxi Dress – Soft black jersey maxi dress with a crossover neckline.
Midi dress and skirt hemlines ending below or at the knee are perfect modest picks. Look for fun prints, lightweight jersey and flowing chiffon fabrics. Choose long, 3/4 or short sleeve options.
- Open Edit Puff Sleeve Floral Print Midi Dress – Dreamy blue floral print midi dress with puffed sleeves.
- Topshop Lace Yoke Babydoll Midi Dress – Sweet sky blue midi dress with lace yoke.
- Halogen Long Sleeve Leopard Print Midi Dress – Playful leopard print jersey midi dress.
Jumpsuits can provide an easy yet stylish one-piece outfit solution. Look for delicate lace, flowing wide leg pants and jersey fabric. Opt for short, long or flutter sleeve styles.
- City Chic Off The Shoulder Wide Leg Jumpsuit – Chic black off the shoulder jumpsuit with wide leg pants.
- Adrianna Papell Cape Jumpsuit – Dramatic black lace jumpsuit with flutter sleeves.
- Halogen Halter Neck Jumpsuit – Streamlined black jumpsuit with halter neck.
Best Colors for Guest Dresses
When choosing a dress color as a wedding guest, stay away from anything too bold or bright. Opt for these sophisticated neutral, pastel, dark and metallic shades:
Timeless neutrals like black, white, beige, gray and blush are always stylish choices. Opt for solid colored dresses in these hues.
- Black – LBDs are perfect for any wedding.
- White – Crisp, bright white looks stunning, just avoid creamy ivories.
- Beige and blush – Perfect soft, romantic neutrals.
- Silver and gray – Metallic sheens are great for glam weddings.
Soft powdery pastels complement fair skin beautifully. Dusty blues, blush pinks, minty greens and lavenders work well.
- Sky blue
- Pale pink
- Mint green
- Powder blue
Deeper more saturated colors like emerald, cobalt and burgundy can provide an elegant, dramatic look. Just avoid heavy fabrics.
- Emerald green
- Cobalt blue
- Wine red
- Navy blue
- Forest green
Natural earth tones like mauve, mustard and rust provide a laid-back boho vibe. Prints and patterns in these colors also work beautifully.
- Olive green
- Rust orange
- Mustard yellow
Metallic sheens and shimmers add glamour and light to any wedding. Opt for rose gold, bronze, silver and gold finishes.
- Rose gold
Fabrics to Choose
When selecting a wedding guest dress, look for lightweight, delicately textured fabrics that move with you and complement your shape. Recommended options:
Jersey knits hug curves comfortably while allowing stretch and movement. Jersey drapes beautifully and comes in matte and silky finishes.
Breezy chiffon offers ethereal lightweight flow. It works wonderfully for maxi dresses, wraps and skirts.
Lovely lace lends romance with its intricate patterns. Opt for lightweight laces rather than stiff brocades or heavy fabrics.
Silky crepe fabric drapes gracefully on the body. It works well for structured shift dresses and tailored silhouettes.
Satin has a luxuriously soft glow that photographs beautifully. Look for satin weaves and finishes rather than stiff taffetas.
Dress appropriately for the season and weather with these tips:
- Lightweight chiffon, lace and jersey knit dresses
- Floral prints and pastels
- Long, midi or knee length styles
- Coordinate with a scarf or wrap in case of chill
- Flowy maxi dresses or breezy midis
- Lightweight cottons, linens and chiffons
- Bright colors, tropical prints or nautical stripes
- Compact umbrella, fan, and touch up makeup
- Saturated colors like emerald, mustard and rust
- Velvets, lace, or jersey knits
- Long sleeves or layer with a jacket or wrap
- Velvets, silky jerseys and heavier knits
- Darker jewel tones and metallics
- Long sleeves and higher necklines
- Shawl or cover shoulders during the ceremony
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best color for a wedding guest dress?
The best colors for wedding guest dresses are neutrals like black, white, beige, gray, and blush. Soft pastels in colors like powder blue, lavender, and peach are also great options.
What should you not wear to a wedding as a guest?
Do not wear bright whites, ivories, or cream colors that could be confused with a wedding dress. Avoid short hemlines, revealing necklines, busy prints, and loud colors that draw attention. Don’t wear casual fabrics like jeans or mini skirts.
What do you wear to a daytime spring wedding?
Opt for a chiffon midi dress in pastels, light fabrics like lace or linen, and floral prints. Go for fluttery sleeves, wrap styles or shirtdresses. Coordinate with wedges or block heels and a jacket in case it gets chilly.
What kind of dress is too casual for a wedding?
Mini skirts, casual sundresses with spaghetti straps, and fabrics like denim are too casual. Avoid loud graphic tees or shorts paired with tights. Even if it’s a casual wedding, opt for a midi dress, jumpsuit or pantsuit outfit.
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What do you wear to a beach wedding as a guest?
Maxi dresses and skirts in lightweight fabrics like chiffon or linen work perfectly. Look for breezy cuts with flutter or cold shoulder sleeves. Flat wedding guest sandals are better for the beach. Bring a wrap for the ceremony or reception.
How do I choose a dress for a winter wedding?
Look for heavier fabrics like velvet, brocade, or wool blends for warmth. Opt for long sleeves and higher necklines, and rich colors like emerald, burgundy and navy. Pair with booties or heels and bring a cover up like a fur stole in case you get chilly.
Finding the perfect wedding guest dress is all about balance. You want to look stylish and put-together without detracting from the bride. Keep these tips in mind for choosing the length, color, fabric and accessories that complement the wedding theme.
Classy wrap dresses, flowing maxi dresses, chic jumpsuits and shirtdresses tick all the boxes. Lightweight jerseys, delicate lace and silky chiffon fabrics with modest necklines and sleeves are ideal. By dressing the part with grace, you’ll have peace of mind to simply enjoy being present with the happy
Tea Length Dresses
Vintage-inspired tea length dresses ending between the knees and ankles add retro flair. Opt for flared skirts, off the shoulder necklines and ditsy florals.
- City Chic Phoebe Bell Sleeve Dress – Retro blue tea length dress with flared skirt and bell sleeves.
- Adrianna Papell Floral Print Tea Length Dress – Sweet floral print tea dress with off the shoulder short sleeves.
- Alex Evenings Tea Length Dress and Jacket – Evergreen lace dress with matching bolero jacket.
Short cocktail length dresses can work for evening weddings. Look for subtle sheens, delicate sequins and ladylike details like illusion necklines.
- Tahari Lace Sheath Dress – Figure flattering navy lace cocktail dress.
- Adrianna Papell Sequin Cocktail Dress – Festive navy sequined cocktail dress with flutter sleeves.
- Alex Evenings Illusion Neckline Tea Length Dress – Elegant cocktail dress with sequin lace bodice and illusion neckline.
Slip dress silhouettes work beautifully layered under blazers, kimonos or lace overlays. Opt for spaghetti straps or cold shoulder variations.
- Nordstrom Satin Midi Slipdress – Luxe black satin midi slip dress.
- Wayf Millie Cold Shoulder Slip Dress – Laidback spaghetti strap slip dress with a cold shoulder silhouette.
- Halogen Lace Overlay Slip Dress – Sweet lace overlay adds dimension to a simple black slip.
Dress Code Considerations
Always check the wedding invitation for any stated dress code like black tie, formal, semi-formal, cocktail or casual attire. Here are some tips on how to navigate each:
- Black tie / Formal weddings call for floor length gowns, luxe fabrics and dressy accessories. A bold reception dress can transition from a more modest ceremony ensemble.
- Semi-formal and cocktail attire allows for more versatility – chic midi dresses, dressy jumpsuits, lace cocktail dresses or formal gowns all work. Just avoid ultra casual fabrics.
- Casual dress codes give flexibility for fun prints and fabrics like chiffons, linens and jersey. But you’ll still want a bit more polish with a midi dress or jumpsuit rather than your everyday sundress.
When in doubt, ask the bride and groom for any guidance. Offering options helps them clarify expectations politely.
The most important thing is honoring the couple with your presence and embrace the enjoyment of the special day! By following these tips, you can confidently choose attire that lets you shine while keeping the spotlight where it matters most.