Deciding what to wear to a wedding isn’t always easy, and while brides are our forté, we’re here to help wedding guests with our pick of the best wedding guest dresses and outfits. There’s just one rule to wedding guest fashion: never wear white to a wedding! With summer and weddings in full swing, and lockdown a distant memory, we have you covered with our picks for the best summer wedding guest outfits and dresses.
[words by Tabitha Syrett]
The Best Wedding Guest Dresses and Wedding Outfits
So you’ve made the cut, you’ve secured the invite – now comes the tricky part: deciding what to wear to a wedding.
Luckily for you, we know a thing or two about weddings, so we’ve picked out some of our favourite styles, trends and high street bargains for wedding guest dress and outfit inspiration.
Summer Wedding Guest Outfit Ideas
When it comes to deciding what to wear to a wedding, it’s not always just about the dress. Jumpsuits, skirts and co-ords also make for some really lovely wedding guest outfits.
Here are some of our favourite wedding guest outfit picks from top high street and online brands, available to buy right now.
Ghost Luella Dress in Pink Floral, £129
This stunning pink floral dress in Ghost’s signature soft crêpe fabric artfully glides down the silhouette and flatters any shape. It’s light and feminine keeping you cool in the heat, and both formal and understated, so there’s no way you’ll be underdressed or overdressed.
ASOS Forever New Satin Mini Dress, £110
White done right – this floral mini dress will have you looking effortlessly cute and couldn’t be more in tune with the season! Get those legs out and look fun and flirty while you do it.
ZARA Linen Blazer & Wide-Leg Linen-Blend Trousers, £49.99/£32.99
Whether you wear just the blazer or go all out with the trousers too, this stylish ensemble will have you standing out from the crowd with a sunny pop of colour. And best of all, you’ll be dressed for all weathers!
Ralph Lauren Floral Crinkled Georgette Tiered Gown, £299
Glide into every wedding with enviable elegance wearing this sweeping floor-length gown. With its lightweight Georgette ruffled skirt and pastel floral print, it is both sophisticated and whimsically romantic.
Pretty Little Thing Stone Abstract Midaxi Dress, £27
Spice up any wedding with this sultry figure hugging Midaxi dress. It perfectly treads the line between edgy, stylish and a little bit risqué.
RIXO Ariel Floral Midi Dress, £300
Add some vibrance to your summer wedding wardrobe with this watercolour sunset RIXO dress. You’ll bring some liveliness to the day and stand out from the crowd, while the subtle lines and refined cut of the dress detracts nothing from the bride’s starring role.
Nasty Gal Halter Knot Satin Wide Leg Jumpsuit in Berry, £47.20
Have some fun with this fashionable pink jumpsuit. With its cool soft satin fabric, but long flared trousers, you’ll be able to recycle it at parties throughout the year.
Ted Baker Darias IB Floral and Lace Mini Dress, £206
The puffed pixy-like sleeves, faded print and nostalgic lace – we couldn’t be more in love with this adorable dress! It calls to mind halcyon summer days while keeping it classy. And better yet, throw in a pair of tights and this could work just as well for a more wintery do, perfectly bridging the gap from summer to autumn.
REISS Roya Halter Neck Pleat Midi Dress in Red, £248
Turn heads in this trendy and exotic halter neck dress with endless versatility. Dressed down, it could make the perfect outfit for any beachside wedding abroad, but dress it up with a pair of fancy heels and a classic clutch bag and you’ll be the height of sophistication.
Whistles Poppy Panelled Satin Midi Dress, Red/Pink, £109
This dress just couldn’t be more fun! With its vivid colour palette, it will certainly have you standing out from the crowd, while its silky material effortlessly hugs the body while keeping you blissfully cool.
boohoo Sleeveless Double Breasted Blazer Dress in Stone, £21
If you’re an evening guest at a more casual summer wedding, the mini-skirt, collared neckline and sleeveless cut of this fashion-forward blazer dress is the epitome of easy-going chic and could be easily recycled at parties throughout the year.
Reformation Frankie Silk Dress in Buena, £300
Pull out all the stops with this glamorous figure-hugging silk dress. With its gorgeous dark green hue and ankle length, it also makes for the perfect autumnal transitional piece, further adding to its sustainability; Reformation is known for its minimisation of water, waste and energy footprints.
Reformation Carolena Dress in Luna, £248
With its fitted bodice, puff sleeves and polka dot pattern, we’re obsessed with this Reformation number. The high slit makes it perfect for a spring or summer wedding.
RIXO Frida Ruffled Floral-print Crepe Wrap Midi Dress, £265
The wrap silhouette of this RIXO dress is super-easy to dress up or down depending on the wedding style. With a lightweight crepe fabric and voluminous balloon sleeves, the bold green pattern makes it perfect for a spring or summer wedding – team with white accessories (the only way you can wear white on a wedding day!) to make the look pop.
Maternity Dresses for Wedding Guests
Shopping for fashion-forward maternity wear can be difficult at the best of times, but when it comes to wedding guest outfits, there’s a whole other kind of pressure.
Whether you’re an evening guest or you’ve made the cut for the whole wedding, you and your bump are going to want an outfit that’s not only comfortable but oozing in style. These maternity pieces certainly top the style stakes.
ASOS DESIGN Maternity tie Waist Maxi Dress, £55
The floaty, light fabric and gorgeous baby-blue pastel hue make this an ideal wedding guest dress for pregnant guests in the spring or summer.
Flounce London Maternity Long Sleeve Satin Wrap Maxi Dress in Cinnamon, £55
You may be pregnant, but you can still make a statement! In the rust-orange colour of the season, this long-sleeved dress is just perfect for an autumn or winter wedding.
Wedding Guest Outfit Etiquette
- Avoid white if possible.
- Remember: less is more when it comes to make-up, hair styling and accessories.
- Opt for nude nail varnish. It matches any outfit and is less noticeable when chipped.
- Take a shrug, structured blazer or pashmina so you can party on into the evening when the temperature drops.
- Don’t show too much skin: legs or chest, not both.
- Most important of all, don’t upstage the bride!
Can you Wear White to a Wedding?
The answer to the question whether you can wear a white dress to a wedding when you are not the bride no – it is still frowned upon. This is because the bride should always be the one to stand out on her wedding day and one of the ways she does just that is by being the only one in the room wearing white.
Are There Exceptions to Wearing White to a Wedding?
There are exceptions to the rule if, for example, it’s a non-traditional wedding. Are your friends having a non-religious wedding? The bride may be happy with you wearing white – but make sure you check first. Just because the bride is wearing a different colour, doesn’t mean you can assume white is ok.
You may be able to wear white to a wedding if it’s a patterned dress with hints of white, according to bridal experts. Just steer clear of full-length gowns.
Can you Wear Off-white or Cream to a Wedding?
We’re afraid that if the bride is a traditionalist, then off-white is also off the cards.
What is she opts to wear ivory, cream or champagne herself, and you’re accidentally matching her hue? When it comes to cover ups or jackets, the bride may be more relaxed – though it’s always best to check first.
Can you Wear Black to a Wedding?
You really shouldn’t turn up to a wedding in a black dress – you’re not attending a funeral.
But in recent years, the old adage that forbids wearing black to weddings has changed with some brides even dressing their bridesmaids in black.
If you do choose to wear black to a wedding, make sure your look is in good taste. The key is to choose a black piece that’s festive, formal, and special enough to not be mistaken for funeral attire.
7 Things a Wedding Guest Should Never Wear to a Wedding
What colours are not If you’re a wedding guest, this one’s for you! The happy couple have made the effort to invite you to the best day of their life, so please make the effort and dress accordingly. Here are seven things that you should never wear to a wedding…
White or Ivory
This is probably the most important rule. Do not, we repeat, do not wear a white or cream coloured dress to a wedding.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve just come back from the Caribbean and have the most fabulous tan ever and the perfect white dress to show it off – this shade really is off limits. Instead, wear something in a colour and leave the whites to the bride.
You really shouldn’t turn up to a wedding in a black dress – you’re not attending a funeral. If you don’t suit pastels, then go for a number in a striking emerald or scarlet.
Wearing grey to a wedding is okay, or a dark navy but black really shouldn’t be worn to a wedding. It’s also considered unlucky and you wouldn’t want to be a bad omen, would you?
Anything too Loud
The bride and groom should be the focus of attention on their big day. That’s not to say you shouldn’t look your best and dress up for the occasion but you need to blend in, so that means not turning up in anything loud and garish.
Tiaras or Sparkly Headpieces
If you’re married yourself, you may have a tiara carefully wrapped up in tissue paper somewhere that you’re just dying to wear again. Well, forget it and keep your sparkly headpiece for a Christmas party or ball. Have a great up-do instead if it’s an elegant evening event – you can always wear a sparkly diamante clip or accessory in the back of your hair.
Jeans and a Nice Top
Remember, you’re going to a wedding where the bride and groom will have invested a lot of time and money in getting the day just right. So don’t come in anything too informal.
Make an effort. So no jeans, trainers, tracksuits – no matter how comfortable you like to feel. The same also goes for children, too.
Dress for the Occasion
On the other hand, you don’t want to be too formal either. If the wedding has a country-style theme and it’s in a barn where you’re going to be sitting on hay bales, then a silk coat dress with matching hat and Jimmy Choos is probably a bit too much. Match your outfit to the theme of the wedding.
Remember – it’s a Wedding, not a Night Out
Even if you’ve spent the last six months in the gym, you’ve lost a ton of weight or you’ve got a great pair of legs and want to show them off, you really shouldn’t wear anything skimpy to a wedding. So no hot pants, no super-short minis and no bras on display.
Guests should dress for weddings in an outfit that’s going to add to the occasion in a positive way. If you’re wearing a dress, ideally you want something below the knee or just above.
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