There was one year I had five weddings. I remember being so overwhelmed with having to get so many wedding guest dresses. Luckily, the dress codes were pretty similar. So I was able to re-wear some of the evening gowns and just switch up my accessories. My friend heavily used Rent the Runway the year all our friends were walking down the aisle. I know it can sometimes be daunting when you get an invite to a special event. So I wanted to put together a very thorough post for you explaining wedding dress codes and giving you ideas on what to wear as a guest for spring and summer weddings.
Wedding guest dresses for every dress code: overall Dos & don’ts
DO try to adhere to the dress code
DON’T ignore the location of the wedding
DO play with color and prints
DON’T choose anything too bold that will overshadow the bride
DO choose footwear you walk (and dance!) in
DON’T try out brand new shoes the day of the wedding
DO check the weather
DON’T forget to bring a layer if it will be cool
DO dress tastefully
DON’T wear anything too revealing
DO err on the side of overdressing if you’re unsure
DON’T underdress ever
… and obviously, unless it’s a white party, NEVER wear white!
I find black tie weddings to be the easiest dress code since they’re so simple to understand: you wear an evening gown and dazzling accessories. During the spring and summer, I like to brighten black tie events with a pastel or a pop of color. I just always stay away from bright red, since I feel like it takes away from the bride.
This wedding dress code is very similar to black tie, just a little more relaxed. If you want to wear an evening gown, you can. Just tone it down with the makeup and accessories. If you prefer an ankle length gown or a midi, that works too! Just look for ones that have a touch of sparkle. Or turn it up with your accessories.
I love this dress code because chances are you probably already have a cocktail dress in your closet. If you want a new one, I recommend a soft metallic. That way you can wear it year-round! A little black dress (or navy) is also great since you can accessorize it so many different way. As for length, I usually like to stick with something midi, above the knee or asymmetrical.
For daytime weddings, I like to go with A-line or more flowing silhouettes, nothing too tight. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve worn this lace dress for daytime events. I first bought it in mint, then mauve and I’m honestly thinking about getting it in another color. It’s just so versatile! And unless the event is inside some fancy ballroom, I always wear a moderate block heel (flats would also work). You never know when you’re going to have to walk through grass at daytime weddings.
I honestly think this is the strangest dress code (apologies in advance if you chose it for your wedding!). The two words are polar opposites but I have seen it on a wedding invite. My advice? Go with a little black dress. LBDs are always safe. For summer, I like lighter materials, like poplin or cotton. And then I’ll add some champagne or nude accessories to lighten up my look.
Florals? For a garden wedding? Groundbreaking. I know, but it just fits so well! A pretty floral print in any length (except too short, obviously) works for a garden wedding. I also like a fruit print, as long as it’s not too vibrant. If you’re not a fan of prints, you can do a soft color. My number one tip? Make sure to wear sandals with a block heel, wedges or flats.
Barn parties have gotten so popular. They often can get cool, so depending on the weather, I’ll wear either a lightweight long-sleeve dress or bring a wrap. A safe bet is to think about the cottagecore trend: puff sleeves, ditsy prints and earth tones. Then just add a few country inspired accessories like western booties and belts.
Beach weddings are my absolute favorite (it’s the Pisces in me!). I always wear a flowing dress or jumpsuit with some special detail, like ruffles, lace or shine. And I always wear fancy flats so I don’t have to take my shoes off in the sand.