The best wedding guest dresses to buy this summer, as selected by a fashion editor
Our fashion editor selects the best wedding guest dresses this season, to provide you with style inspiration and high-street options for your next event
Diary bursting with invites? The best wedding guest dresses will see you through a summer season of parties. As the sartorial pressure mounts, we're easing the burden with our guide to the top frocks, alongside some key wedding dressing rules to keep in mind when selecting your dress.
The best wedding guest dresses should offer timeless style. While they might give a nod to the latest fashion trends, if you've got a stack of invites, you're going to want your frock to offer a decent cost-per-wear. Easy to dress up and down or reinvent with new accessories, the right look for a big day will depend on the style and location of the wedding and if you plan to wear a hat or fascinator to complete the look.
Offering elegance and the need for minimal styling, begin your search by assessing the theme of the day, as the best wedding guest dresses for a black-tie event can differ from those for a garden affair or religious ceremony. If that wasn't tricky enough, wedding guest dressing comes with its own set of style rules too.
Establishing the big no-nos, such as whether you can wear white, or the same color as the bridesmaids, will help you narrow down the vast dress offering this season and avoid any fashion faux pas.
Best wedding guest dresses as chosen by our fashion editor
From the best midi dresses to dramatic maxi styles, the best wedding guest dresses come in a variety of shapes and designs to match every taste and body type. In general, a midi, midaxi or maxi length dress is most appropriate for wedding guests, as a longer line frock will avoid wardrobe malfunctions on a windy day, while any length over a mini will also ensure you're not tugging at a short hemline.
And while a dress might feel less versatile than a coord, when it comes to what to wear to a wedding, you can rework block-colored dresses all season long by switching up your accessories for each occasion - a great styling hack if your diary is full of invites. If you're not looking to invest, the best designer dress rentals will ensure you get maximum style without commitment - winning!
Hobbs Marcella Beaded Dress
RRP: $630 / £299 | A wedding guest dress that will take you from the summer season into winter with ease, this berry-hued, fit and flare dress is ideal for hourglass body shapes. The nipped in waist and fuller skirt has a gorgeous '50s feel to it too.
Ted Baker Glitzee Dress
RRP: $475 / £295 | If the wedding includes an evening party or cocktail hour, then this sequin frock should be on your list. The coloring helps to blur the lines between seasons, making this ideal for parties year-rounder. Get ready to shine on the dancefloor.
Whistles x Hai Pink Slip Dress
RRP: £198 (UK only) | One of the best pink dresses, you can reinvent this slip style again and again. A great base layer, wear it for wedding season bare-armed or with a neatly cropped jacket and layer it over fine knits once Fall comes into play.
Nobody's Child Esme Floral Midi Dress
RRP: $91 / £75 | Florals are a fail-safe option for the best wedding guest dresses and we're not complaining. This midi dress offers a more bodycon silhouette, ideal if you're not a fan of fuller skirts. And the pretty bloom print feels utterly romantic too.
J.Crew Ruffle-Sleeve Dress in Ramie
RRP: $363 / £300 | A pretty, ruffled design, this dress gives a nod to some of the biggest Fall 2022 fashion trends, helping you to stay ahead of the game. Pair this light and floaty number with your best sandals for a glorious, wedding-ready look.
Adrianna Papell Floral Print Chiffon Gown
RRP: $279 / £241.49 | One of the best plus size dresses, Papell understands how to make the best wedding guest dresses. A stylish dress to hide a tummy, the fabric will drape over a midriff, while the crossover bodice is flattering on a large bust.
Needle & Thread Floral Wonder Ruffle Dress
RRP: $559 / £355 | In three lengths and up to a size 20, you can opt for this sensational frock in a mini, midi or gown length. Loved by brides and wedding guests alike, Needle and Thread also make some of the best bridesmaid dresses, and have a kids line too.
Betsey & Adam One Shoulder Sheath Dress
RRP: $219 / £185.36 | Tapping into the dopamine dressing trend for bright color clothes, this striking orange dress features a party-ready bowed shoulder. Make sure to get yourself one of the best strapless bras, or a multiway design to wear for the night.
Phase Eight Beverley Midaxi Dress
RRP: $250 / £140 | One of the best mother of the groom dresses, as well as a show-stopping frock for any wedding guest. Using clever placement of vertical and diagonal stripes to lengthen your silhouette, we love the ochre hue, as it works in all seasons.
Safiyaa Dania Draped Cady Midi Dress
RRP: $1,535 / £1,095 | If floaty frocks don't set your pulse racing, try one of this season's best green dresses in a more tailored silhouette. The streamlined design is ideal for rectangular body shapes, while the draped neckline will add curves to a bustline.
Karen Millen Petite Silk Cotton Dress
RRP: $480 / £279 | If you're looking for the best petite dresses for an occasion, look no further than Karen Millen. With a vast selection that covers everything from what to wear to a wedding to what to wear to a job interview, you're sure to find a winner.
Roksanda Brigitte Bow-Shoulder Dress
RRP: $1,199 / £895 | Pink is certainly the new black this season - one of the biggest fashion color trends of 2022, this particular iteration is available up to a size 22. The cotton material will keep you cool, while the A-line skirt is ideal for the dancefloor.
Boden Frill Neck Floral Dress
RRP: $180 / £120 | In petite, regular and tall, this floral dress is ideal for creating hourglass curves. With a standout waistband to pull you in and a tiered skirt to add curves to hips, this pretty pastel toned dress is one you can wear again and again.
Zara Printed Midi Shirt Dress
RRP: $69.90 / £49.99 | Take it back to nature with this directional print. One of the best shirt dresses, this midi length design can easily be worn as a wedding guest dress and then reworked for more casual events with your best white trainers.
Reserved Patterned Dress
RRP: £39.99 (international delivery available) | With a coordinating 'mini-me' version, if you're attending with a child, you could go for a matchy-matchy look. In a fun and bold print, this playful dress is ideal for summer wedding season and after.
H&M Lyocell-Blend Flounced Dress
RRP: $49.99 / £34.99 | The best wedding guest dresses don't have to cost the earth. If you've got a diary full of invites and nothing to wear, check out Scandinavian clothing brand H&M for its pretty frocks that can be dressed up or down by switching up accessories.
Simply Be Mixed Print Wrap Midi Dress
RRP: £39 (UK only) | Double the print, double the fun, this bold clashing wrap dress is universally flattering and the pink and orange combo certainly packs a stylish punch. Tone the dress down by opting for neutral accessories and go light on jewelry.
Marks & Spender Mix Print Dress
RRP: $84.99 / £69 | Easy to style up or down, the mixed print across the midriff ensures this tea dress will elegantly skim your curves for a flattering finish. The double floral design is ideal for wedding season. Try teaming with espadrilles for a classic look.
Best wedding guest dresses - FAQs
When it comes to the best wedding guest dresses, these are some of the most commonly asked style questions.
Can I wear a sparkly dress to a wedding?
In general, it is fine to wear sequins to a wedding, although you should consider the color of the sequins, the time of year and the style of the wedding before choosing your dress.
If the wedding includes an evening black-tie party or a cocktail hour, then sequins are expected, however, if you're going to a wedding that involves an afternoon tea, or a beach ceremony, sequins might be seen as 'over-the-top' for the event.
You will want to avoid sequins that are too light - ie. too white or a very light silver, as you don't want to upstage the bride. Equally if you can find out the color of the bridesmaid dresses, you might want to avoid that color sequin too. If you're still unsure, ask the bride for her thoughts, she'll appreciate the thought and can put your mind at ease.
Can you wear polka dots to a wedding?
This might seem like an odd question, but many polka dot dresses have a white base color, meaning that the majority of your dress could still end up being white. To avoid any chance of upstaging the bride, it is best to avoid white-based prints, unless there is a significant amount of color in the dress.
Polka dots on any other color base fabric that is not white or champagne is absolutely fine. One of the most classic and timeless prints, you can guarantee that a polka dot dress won't date and can be worn for multiple weddings, even serving as an answer for what to wear to the races or what to wear to Wimbledon (like the Duchess of Cambridge) too.
Can wedding guests wear the same color dress as bridesmaids?
It's best to avoid wearing the same color as the bridesmaids where possible, as you don't want to look like you're part of the bridal party if that's not the case. While this isn't a massive faux pas, in order to avoid this, ask the bride if she can give you a heads-up on the color theme of the wedding, so you can avoid accidentally matching.
Rivkie is a fashion editor, writer and stylist with over fifteen years' experience in the industry. Having studied design and pattern cutting at the London College of Fashion, Rivkie fell in love with styling and journalism, covering fashion weeks in London, Paris and New York.
Specialising in plus size fashion, Rivkie has long championed that style is for everyBODY and has been a regular talking head on a host of radio stations and television shows, pushing for greater representation for plus size women and fashion throughout her career.
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