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 What types of summer wedding guest dresses are appropriate?

Answer: It’s officially wedding season, and you’ll probably receive an invite or two to some summer nuptials. While it’s fun and exciting to celebrate a couple’s holy matrimony, the most frustrating part is figuring out how to do so in style. After all, you don’t want to look out of place or defy the bride’s wishes on the invitation concerning appropriate dress. Some invitations clearly state the dress code, while others don’t. So what do you do when you find yourself invited to a wedding but have no idea what to wear? Well, we’re here to crack those confusing wedding dress codes.

Black tie, white tie or formal

Since these weddings typically take place in the evening, this dress code is the most formal of the bunch. It’s time to turn up the elegance and charm in a floor-length evening gown such as Halston Heritage’s Rocket in the Sky or a short, elegant cocktail dress. Big and bold jewelry are the ideal choice for this ensemble. For white tie occasions, you can even wear matching elbow-length gloves with your floor-sweeping gown.


This is probably the trickiest to figure out, considering a variety of styles fall under this category. What you need to know? It’s best to lean towards the dressier side. A sexy and flirty cocktail dress works for a semi-formal occasion or a pretty blouse and skirt. If the wedding is during the day, go for lighter fabrics and colors (not white or ivory). For an evening affair, rich or deep hues like in this emerald Taylor cocktail dress are perfect.


Now that beaches have become the wedding destination of choice, embrace your inner bohemian in an easy, seaside look. A solid or floral print chiffon gown such as this Beachside Bash dress are great for this occasion. Be mindful of the elements outdoors and opt for a light dress with a longer hemline. Don’t forget to bring a pashmina, wrap or jacket just in case the wind picks up. To achieve the ultimate beach wedding style, opt for a full-length maxi dress that has a dynamic pattern or print or a halter or strapless style such as Mia Maxi by Shoshanna. A short lace dress is also an alternative. As far as shoes, flat sandals (this isn’t the time for flip flips, ladies) are appropriate.

Casual or informal

While casual can mean anything goes, it’s best to err on the side of business casual. For the perfect balance, a sundress or a nice blouse and skirt are great for a casual daytime wedding. A printed shift dress like Kaley from Tory Burch is also a fun, failsafe option. Shoes are going to make or break your look here so go for flat sandals or wedges. Stick with your natural, everyday look when it comes to hair and makeup.


Don’t take this category too literal. A festive wedding doesn’t have to be a themed event. It can also be a fun, lively party. So wear something fit for dancing like a cocktail dress with a bit of flair such as Rachel Roy’s striped or floral dress because these patterns as well as polka dots are acceptable for a festive wedding. To step up your style, pair your patterned dress with platform heels or espadrilles.

You do…

Want to keep it simple when it comes to your outfit, hair and makeup. It’s best to go for pretty or romantic frocks rather than edgy or provocative ensembles. Hair and makeup should be natural and effortless.

You don’t…

Want to wear white or denim (unless the invitation specifically calls for it). It’s an unwritten rule to not upstage the bride, and white should be reserved for the star of the show—the bride. But if you’re a fan of muted and neutral palettes, cream-colored clothing or print dresses with white backdrops are fine. When it comes to denim, the general rule of thumb is to leave the jeans at home.

From elegant to semi-formal, a few signature style staples can simplify your wedding guest style. It will definitely be a day to remember for the bride and groom. But you’ll also have an outfit to cherish for you.

What do you plan on wearing as a guest to a spring or summer wedding?