The 30+ Best Summer Wedding Guest Dresses for Every Type of Ceremony

If your fridge is currently covered in Save the Dates and you feel like your calendar has every other weekend blocked off for fast-approaching weddings… same. It’s the era of every 20 and 30-something having half-a-dozen weddings on the horizon, and odds are, you have at least one wedding approaching during the glorious warm months of summer.

Picking out a wedding guest dress is always a little intimidating, but picking one out for the summer months arguably increases the difficulty tenfold. Steamy, hot weather and getting dressed up don’t necessarily mix, but we’re here to tell you that picking out a summer wedding guest dress should actually be something you’re celebrating. Buttery yellows, dreamy florals, delicate fabrics—hallelujah, you get to wear something beautiful and don’t have to cover it up with a coat or jacket!

From black-tie to casual beach weddings and everything in between, these 30+ wedding guest dresses will put you at the top of the best-dressed guest list at the upcoming nuptials your attending.

Wedding Dress Code Tips

While some weddings won’t specify a dress code, many will, and if the bride and groom take the effort into guiding you to what you should wear, you should take it as a blessing. 

When you’re given a dress code, follow it, and make sure the attire you’re planning on wearing falls under it. The last thing you want is to show up in a black-tie dress while everyone else is super casual or, worse, show up super casual when everyone is dressed for a black-tie event.

If the invitation doesn’t give a dress code, double check the wedding website, and if that still turns up no information, reach out to a bridesmaid to ask (avoid bothering the bride with questions you can get answered elsewhere). If they still don’t know, dress for the location. 95% of the time, you aren’t going to show up to a ballroom in a sundress or wear a floor-length gown to a beach wedding.

Casual & Semi-Formal Summer Wedding Guest Dresses

The absolute best thing about casual and semi-formal weddings is that you can usually wear the dresses you get for them to multiple events afterward: dinner dates, bridal showers, engagement parties, bachelorette trips—you name it. If a wedding ceremony calls for a casual dress code, short dresses and ones that fall into the sundress category are both fair game.

Semi-formal wedding attire can feel like a big question mark. This dress code gives you a bit of flexibility in what you choose to wear, so the season of the wedding and the venue where it’s taking place should both play a major factor in the dress you choose. For the summer months, pastels, florals, and lightweight fabrics are great options for a semi-formal dress code.

Cocktail & Formal Summer Wedding Guest Dresses

A cocktail dress code allows for a wide variety of outfit choices, the most common being a cocktail dress (obviously). It’s more casual than black tie, but still calls for an elevated, special-event worthy look. For a cocktail dress code, your best bet is to opt for a short or midi dress and heels. 

One of the most common dress codes you’ll see on a wedding invite is “formal.” These are probably the dresses that come to mind first when you think of a wedding guest dress. Formal wedding dress code is a step down from black tie, and gives you a bit of leeway in what you can wear. A fancier cocktail dress can fall under the formal dress code, but when in doubt, a longer dress is a great option for formal attire.

Black Tie Optional & Black Tie Summer Wedding Guest Dresses

Black tie weddings are generally the most formal dress code you’re going to see. They’re most common when the wedding reception is going to be held in a ballroom.

The best practice for when a black-tie dress code is specified is to wear a floor-length dress. Obviously, which floor-length dress you choose can vary widely. A plain, solid-colored dress in a classic silhouette is a no-fail option, but you can also branch out and opt for a dress with a pop of pattern or texture. The only “rule” you need to focus on is your dress’ length—the rest is up to you.

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Source: Anthropologie Weddings

Don’t bring anything you don’t need

While it’s generally better to be over-prepared, the last thing you want at a wedding is to be lugging around stuff you don’t actually need. For example, don’t bring a jacket just on the off-chance you get chilly if you know you aren’t ever going to actually put it on (guilty).

Try to contain everything you’re bringing into a small clutch or crossbody, and avoid carrying around anything that doesn’t fit in it. If you feel like you have to bring a giant bag to carry what you’re planning on bringing, rework it to fit into something smaller. The last thing you want is to be caught in photos with a bag on your shoulder and a bunch of things in your hand (which should be holding a drink anyway!).

Don’t wear white

This one is a no-brainer, but can also sound like an old-school rule that might not be a thing anymore—but that’s not the case. For best practice, avoid wearing white at all costs. Yes, that includes a floral dress that has a white base color. 

If you’re taking pictures, do it at the beginning

After an open bar, hours of mingling, and time spent on the dance floor, odds are, you’re going to look your very best at the start of the wedding. If you’re planning on taking pictures to remember the night, do it as early as you can (as long as it’s an appropriate time to do so). This obviously doesn’t apply to taking pictures with the bride and groom; that’s something you should do whenever is best for them.

Consider your social media etiquette

Something your bride and groom might not want? A million hands up holding a phone, taking photos while the bride is walking down the aisle. If you want to take a few pictures, you should! But don’t spend big moments throughout the night messing around on your phone to post them immediately; instead, take the photos, but post them later on and enjoy the moment.

Pack a hair clip (just in case)

Let’s be honest: No matter what you do to your hair, after more than six hours of activity, you’re probably going to get to the point where you want to put it up.

Rather than resorting to a black hair tie, pack a special occasion-worthy clip in your bag that you can put your hair up into whenever you’re ready. Rather than looking like you just threw it up, it’ll trick everyone into thinking it was a part of the plan all along and will end up elevating your entire look halfway through the night.

Avoid wearing the same color as the bridesmaids

Obviously, this isn’t a hard-and-fast rule, and nobody is going to judge you if you happen to wear something that’s the same color as the bridesmaids’ dresses. But if you know what color they’re wearing and can help it, opt for a dress in a different hue. 

If you don’t know what color the bridesmaids are wearing, you can likely figure it out by the color scheme of the wedding website and invitations. 

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