Summer Wedding Guest Dresses

summer wedding guest dresses

The summer wedding season is officially here and as one of the busiest times of the year for attending a wedding, it can feel overwhelming trying to figure out what you’ll be wearing to each one. And if you’re like me, you want to buy a new dress for every singe wedding you’re invited to. There’s just something so special about getting dress up, watching people you love get married, and dancing the night way. Yes, you can definitely re-wear dresses from past weddings but it’s always fun buying something new. 

Whether the weddings you are attending are black tie or have a formal, cocktail, or semi-formal dress code, I’ve taken it upon myself to round up the best dresses of the season to make your shopping easier. With these dresses, there’s no doubt you’ll be one of the best dressed guests! 

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Wedding Guest Dress Code Tips

Most couples will specify a dress code for their wedding and honestly, it’s a blessing when they do this. It helps eliminate the questions of whether or not you’re dressed up enough and helps guide your shopping. And if you’re given a dress code, make sure to follow it and have whatever you plan on wearing fall under that dress code. The last thing you want is to be over or under dressed! 

If the invitation doesn’t have the dress code listed, double check the wedding website before asking the couple or a member of the wedding party. If you still can’t figure it out, always dress for the location!

Black Tie

Black tie is typically the most formal wedding dress code (white tie is the most formal and is what you see at White House state dinners and royal events) you’ll see when it comes to weddings. Black tie indicates a formal, evening event where women should wear elegant floor-length gowns men should wear a full tuxedo. A great rule of thumb for a black tie wedding is to opt for a solid-color dress in a classic silhouette but depending on the location, you can definitely branch out with fun pops of colors, patterns, and textures. 

Formal

Formal, or black tie optional, is slightly less formal than a black tie wedding. Men aren’t required to wear tuxedos and women can wear floor-length gowns, fancy cocktail dresses, or even a dressy pantsuit. With true black tie attire, it’s not typically acceptable to wear a dress that shows the ankles but with formal dress codes, ankles can show.

Cocktail

Cocktail attire is one of the most common dress codes when it comes to wedding. It’s the perfect balance between fancy and comfortable while still being elevated for a special event. Women can wear short or midi-length dresses and heels and men should wear a full suit, no matter what the location is.

Semi-Formal

A little less casual than cocktail attire, think of semi-formal as dressy casual. When dressing for a semi-formal wedding, pay attention to wear the ceremony and reception will take place and have your attire reflect that location. For semi-formal weddings, women should wear short or below-the-knee dresses, an elegant jumpsuit, or a pantsuit. Men can wear a dress shirt and slacks with a tie.

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Wedding Guest Dress Tips

When getting ready to attend a wedding, consider the following tips to ensure you’re prepared and look the part!

Pack a Hair Clip

No matter what you do with your hair, after a few hours of being outside in the hot summer sun or dancing the night away post-dinner, you’re going to want to put your hair up. Instead of opting for your tried and true black hair tie, pack an event-worthy hair clip that you can easily put your hair up with while still looking the part.

Take Any Photos at the Beginning of the Night

If you want to take any pictures with friends, partners, or family members, take these photos before the reception! Trust me, after attending cocktail hour, having a few drinks and indulging in delicious appetizers, you’ll be happy you got them out of the way.

Be Considerate of the Couple

The last thing a couple is going to want is a million hands holding phones in their formal pictures (this includes during the ceremony and first dances!). If you want to take photos of the couple, snap them quick and then put your phone away and enjoy the moment. You can post to social media and send the photos to other friends/family members that didn’t attend the wedding later!

Avoid Wearing the Same Color as the Bridesmaids

This isn’t technically a wedding no-no but it’s something I try to avoid when possible. If you know what color dresses the bridesmaids are wearing, try to avoid the color or opt for a different hue so you look different. If you don’t know what color the bridesmaids are wearing, you can typically guess by the color scheme of the wedding website and invitations.  

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The Best Summer Wedding Guest Dresses

No matter what the dress code is for the weddings you’ll be attending this season, I’ve rounded up some great options I know you’ll love!

Satin Low-Back Dress

A stunning and affordable dress, this satin beauty is a great option for any formal/black tie optional weddings you might be attending this summer. It also comes in a pretty lavender color and can easily be elevated (or dressed down!) with a great pair of shoes and bag.

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One-Shoulder Pleated Dress

I love a fun dress for a wedding and this one is perfect for a summer wedding with a cocktail attire dress code. This one can easily be dressed down for date night with a cute pair of flat sandals, too!

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Strapless Ruched Midi Dress

Channel your inner Barbie with this gorgeous pink dress! The contoured bodice will give you the support you need in a strapless dress and the length is perfect for dancing the night away.

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Pleated Shell Mini Dress

If mini dresses are more your style, this strapless one is such a great option for a cocktail or semi-formal wedding. Pair it with a fun pair of lace-up heeled sandals and a simple bag to let the pleats shine!

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Smocked Embroidered Midi Dress

This dress is a great option for those more casual weddings and can easily be styled with sneakers or flat sandals on the weekends. I love the embroidered detail on this dress, too.

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Pleated Long-Sleeve Cut-Out Gown

Pleats and colorful dresses are in this summer, even for black tie weddings! This long-sleeve gown is a great option for a black tie wedding at a hotel (they are always so chilly!); it definitely has a classic silhouette but the cut outs and deep v-neck give it some personality.

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Halter Adjustable Strap Gown

When it comes to wedding guest dresses, you can never go wrong with a simple, solid color dress. They’re chic, there are so many styling opportunities, and you’ll have them for years to come. This dress checks all of those boxes and has adjustable straps!

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Plisse Halterneck Dress

If you have a garden wedding coming up, this dress is such a great option. The pleated skirt is so feminine and fun and the pattern is absolutely stunning. I would absolutely wear my hair up with this one to show off the gorgeous neckline!

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Brocade Strapless Gown

The moment I saw this dress my jaw basically hit the floor. It’s stunning and is perfect for a summer black tie wedding. All you need to do is pair this beauty with a simple pair of shoes and a classic pair of earrings like this pair and you’ll be ready to go!

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Ruffle Cap V-Neck Gown

This is another great option for a black tie summer wedding! This one is definitely screaming to be styled as glam as possible and who can say no to that? The jewel detailing around the waist is STUNNING!

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Asymmetrical Bow Dress

There is truly nothing better than a dress that makes a statement in a quiet way and the detailing on this one really hits the spot! I love this soft peachy-orange color and it’ll keep you cool at any outdoor wedding this summer!

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One Shoulder Draped Dress

She is chic and she is AFFORDABLE! For under $150, this dress truly couldn’t get any better. I love the slate blue color and the slit gives it a little sex appeal. Perfect for a black tie wedding!

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Strapless V Neck Dress

This dress is a showstopper and perfect for cocktail attire weddings this summer. Pair it with a strappy heeled sandal like this pair, this necklace, and a bold lip for an effortless wedding look.

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Strapless Bodice Gown

Anthropologie is one of my favorite places to shop for wedding guest dresses and for good reason, they have so many amazing options! I love this strapless floral gown for a summer black tie wedding. It’s simple and elegant, but has personality. The colors are truly so good!

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High-Neck Halter Dress with Slit

I will never say no to a gorgeous dress from Reformation and this one is next up on my wishlist! It’s perfect for summer black tie weddings but can also be worn for winter weddings as well. If you haven’t shopped at Reformation yet, check out my size guide here!

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Ruffle Peplum Halter Dress

Give me all the ruffles! This ruffle peplum halter dress is so darling and perfect for a semi-formal outdoor wedding. The pattern and color will make everyone smile, promise!

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V-Neck Slip Dress

You can never go wrong with a slip dress and this one is such a great option for all of your upcoming weddings. The color screams summer and the v-neck and chest detailing is oh so flattering. You can definitely have fun with this one when it comes to accessories!

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Faux Wrap Slip Dress

The pattern on this silk slip dress is absolutely stunning, it truly screams summer! This dress is definitely a good option to have in your closet because it can be dressed up or down which makes it great for a variety of wedding dress codes.

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One Shoulder Pleated Dress

Abercrombie has been killing it lately and this dress is no exception. The pleated detailing is very on-trend right now and the one shoulder gives it a little something extra. It also comes in black but I love the slate blue!

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Draped Fitted Dress

Would you believe me if I said this dress was under $30? It’s definitely a more casual dress but it’s a great option to wear for a casual, cocktail, or semi-formal wedding with a great pair of shoes (love this pair!) and accessories.

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Backless Long Sleeve Dress

I originally saw this dress in white and thought it would be a great reception dress for a fall/winter bride and when I realized it came in more colors (5!) I knew it would be a great wedding guest dress, too! I love the black for a summer black tie wedding that’s indoors but also love the pink. I’d do hair up with this one and simple accessories.

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Structured Bodice Midi Dress

If you have a casual, garden, or beach wedding this summer, this structure bodice midi dress is a great option. I love the seafoam color so much, it practically screams summer! It’s also 100% cotton so it’ll keep you cool. Also comes in black!

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High-Neck Mini Dress

Feminine and charming, you truly cannot go wrong with this Selkie mini dress. I can’t get enough of the silhouette of this dress and the colors/pattern are so fun! Depending on your height, keep in mind that you might need to get this hemmed (it looks like it’s on the longer side of a mini dress) prior to your upcoming wedding.

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Floral Bodice Midi Dress

Structured bodice dresses are very in this year and this one is such a great option for a more casual wedding! I love that the yellow gives the dress some color without it being too overwhelming. It can definitely be worn for baby or wedding showers, too!

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High-Neck Midi Dress

When it doubt, go simple if you have no idea what to wear to a wedding! I love that this dress has such a simple silhouette but still packs a punch. The color really couldn’t be better! I love the twist detailing on the neckline, too. For this dress, neutral accessories will be your best bet.

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Silk Midi Dress

It is the summer of color! A silk slip dress is always a yes in my book but this color is so unexpected, especially because most people gravitate towards neutrals when it comes to solid color wedding guest dresses. I would pair this with either white or metallic silver shoes to really let this color shine!

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Asymmetrical Ruffled A-Line Halter Gown

Another really fun floral dress perfect for a black tie summer wedding! The ruffle hem and a-line silhouette of this dress are so flattering. The flower detailing on the neck isn’t for everyone, but I think it’s so fun! Pair with simple accessories and wear your hair up with this one.

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Floral Fit & Flare Dress

En Saison makes so many stunning dresses that are perfect for a cocktail or semi-formal wedding and this one is no exception! I love the tie straps and the pattern is so darling. Plus, you absolutely do not need to wear Spanx with it!

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Feather-Trimmed Sequin Midi Dress

How fun is this dress?! If you’re going to a destination wedding or a wedding that has a theme, this dress is such a great option. It also comes in white and pink and think I need every single color. Who’s inviting me to their wedding next?!

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Chiffon Tie-Strap Midi Dress

This is the newest pattern in the dress I’m wearing in this post and I absolutely love it! The tie straps are so darling (and help get the perfect fit!) and it’s so flattering.

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Photography By Sam Brooks Photos

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