Dresses to Wear as a Wedding Guest

Parker Johnson

Posted on August 04 2022

Women in formal pink wedding guest dress.

When two of our favorite people get hitched, our minds are already reeling through the most important decision on our part for the event: what to wear to the wedding as a guest. If you’re in the same boat, the possibilities may feel like they go from here to the moon.

Honestly? The answer to this question has a lot to do with the type of wedding you’re attending. We’ll start with the most formal possible scenario—what to wear to a wedding as a guest to a white tie wedding.

White Tie Dresses for Wedding Guests

Fact: white tie weddings are few and far between. Still, some ambitious couples may frame their wedding dress code under this term. If so, it’s time to pull out all the stops.

For a white tie event, super-revealing mini dresses are typically frowned upon. But, you can keep things sexy and alluring by choosing longer dresses for wedding guest attendance that highlight your figure. 

If you love to make a statement, you should choose one aspect of your ensemble to really show off—a pair of stunning chandelier earrings or an incredible tiara headpiece are the perfect counterparts to your best pair of formal, understated stilettos or classy pumps

Some experts remind us that married women can and should wear elbow-length white gloves along with the bride, which is always something to consider.

Black Tie Dresses for Wedding Guests

Black tie weddings are much more common than white tie affairs—men in tuxedos? Drop-dead gorgeous floor-length gowns? All fair game here. Black tie etiquette asks that all attendees embody a timeless, designer vibe—although a long, demure hemline isn’t totally mandatory.

We encourage you to keep things classy; if your neckline plunges, you may opt for a dress that reveals less below. Balance is key, and our recommendation will always be simple accessories like diamond pendants, pear stud earrings, subtle wrist-glam, and your best Chanel clutch (or something similar!). 

Cocktail Wedding Guest Dresses

If you’ve ever been to a business seminar or convention, you’re already familiar with the sea of sports jackets, flamboyant evening wear, and photobooth-ready accouterments. This is a party full of normal people pretending to be adults for the evening. There is no pretense, only good times to be had.

If you look fabulous and you’re not wearing a white dress, it’s difficult to go wrong here. Consider this your zone between a formal wedding and any Pinterest-approved backyard affair. You should be good to go with the right cocktail dress, purse, and regalia.

Beach Wedding Guest Dresses

An outdoor wedding on location may seem to complicate what to wear to a wedding as a guest, but it doesn’t have to. There are many ways to incorporate your cocktail attire best into something breezy, exotic, and low-fuss enough for a wedding on the beach.

If your host couple is putting everybody up in a hotel for the weekend, men often choose outfits as simple as polos and khaki shorts. If you have a date, you should dress to match—lighthearted, breeze, linen maxi dresses are one cute option, along with a pair of low-key wedges or lace-up leather sandals.

Casual Dresses for Wedding Guests

And, for the bride wearing a brand-new pair of Converse down the aisle? It always pays to read the room and dress accordingly. Black tie optional? How about black tie never?

Any dress and style suitable for a date will likely fly here, but avoid anything too risqué or attention-grabbing. After all, you are, in fact, a guest—let the stars of the show shine and back them up by putting on the ritz right along with them.

This type of wedding is also the perfect opportunity to shake things up with a wedding suit, à la our good friend Ellen DeGeneres. Bold patterns and outlandish, unique colors invigorate your look. Coordinate with your partner or date for an unforgettable evening and many, many photos to remember.

We love a great casual wedding, and many of our recommended styles for beach wedding guest dresses will also fit the bill perfectly here. A chill afternoon or evening is usually surrounded by close family and longtime friends. Our advice is to dress for a house party with a few subtle notes of refinement on top—just to show the betrothed that you truly care.

Our Favorite Dresses for Wedding Guests

If you have a very special event to shop for, we invite you to browse our full collection of guest outfits for weddings. You’ll find it all here with us. Accessories included, of course.

Our online boutique is always adding new stock, so we recommend checking back in frequently (or, at least, any time you have a couple of friends tying the knot!). Try your luck with any of our best. After all, is anything more fun than glamming up to celebrate the most important day in a couple’s new life together?

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