The best black wedding guest dresses might feel contradictory as fashion rules have generally discouraged the wearing of black to nuptials. However fast-forward to 2023 and black dresses for a wedding is a hugely popular trend that is sweeping this summer's occasion circuit.
When it comes to what to wear to a wedding, black dresses are for many the unlikely answer. Once seen as a hue to avoid for nuptial celebrations, as black dresses have moved from funereal to a sign of elegance, the best black wedding guest dresses have skyrocketed in popularity.
In the same way as questioning whether you can wear red to a wedding, this dark hue is often more associated with cooler months, there are plenty of options when it comes to the best summer dresses this season and black dresses are available in a host of silhouettes to suit every upcoming wedding celebration. So how do you ensure you end up with one of the best wedding guest dresses and not something somber? It's all about keeping it elegant and then adding playful pops of color or metallics through your accessories. This will ensure your outfit is still joyful, in line with the celebratory feel of the day.
Best black wedding guest dresses
If you're nervous and still asking yourself, 'Can you wear black to a wedding?', the first thing you should do is check the invitation for any dress codes and establish the type of wedding it is. For black tie weddings, the best black wedding guest dresses are pretty common, in line with the universal black tie dress code and the same can be said for cocktail hour celebrations. For other types of weddings, you may wish to ask the couple if they are ok with black, but as black dresses for weddings are now commonly accepted, it shouldn't be a problem, unless you're in highly traditional circles.
The best dresses for a wedding should feel celebratory, and black dresses add a dose of elegance and glamour to proceedings. To keep things wedding appropriate, look for ruffled details, embellishment and floaty fabrics so your look still feels romantic despite the darker hue.
RRP: $118 / £100.60 | When it comes to how to wear a wrap dress, few silhouettes are as universally flattering. Creating a natural hourglass silhouette, this LBD is a minimalist capsule wardrobe dream as it can be dressed up or down for various occasions. For a wedding, try adding a bold necklace & metallic bag.
RRP: $198 (US only) | Available in main, petite and tall ranges, as well as sizes 00-24, this dress is one of the best midi dresses for a wedding and beyond. With a Broderie Anglaise style trim, this super summery style is perfect for a summer wedding in warm weather and will pair beautifully with some dressy flats.
RRP: $85.99 / £49.50 | This satin V-neck design is a great base layer for building a chic wedding guest ensemble around. The classic, gently A-lined skirt, paired with a waist-cinching belt and flattering V-neck line can be restyled on repeat for a host of summer events. Just rotate brighter accessories to keep it fresh. Get money off your purchase with the latest Marks & Spencer discount codes.
RRP: $129.99 / £79.99 | This romantic and feminine dress makes for one of the best black wedding guest dresses. To add extra polish, try switching out the fabric belt for a leather design with a striking buckle to instantly elevate this look. You could even try one of the best designer belts to add further fashion flare.
RRP: $29.90 / £19.99 | How to wear ruffles has been a question on many fashionable minds this summer, as the latest fashion trends declared this textural look in for 2023. This mini dress is ready to party, with a chic asymmetrical neckline that will add curves to a smaller bust and elongate your frame thanks to the shoulder detail.
RRP: $147.98 (US only) | Chiffon immediately renders this dress evening-ready and this plus size wedding guest dress is both elegant and curve-loving. The empire line silhouette gives a high, narrowed waistline, before the skirt gently skims midriffs, hips, and thighs, completed with a floor-grazing finish, just add heels.
RRP: $520 / £370 | One of the most versatile black dresses on this list, this chic cowl neck design is one of the best cocktail dresses, paired with designer heels and a new season clutch, it exudes Stealth Wealth style. Post-wedding-season, slip this into your workwear wardrobe and team with a trench coat for Fall.
RRP: £165 (UK only) | One of the best plus size dresses, this lacey number delivers on glamour. The lined body, pared with the sheer lace sleeves offers light upper arm coverage, while the ribbon style belt helps to nip you in at the waist. In a midi length, the scalloped hem adds a delightful fashion-forward feel.
RRP: $598 (US only) | If you're looking for a black dress for a black tie function, this stunning, tiered, ruffled gown with scattered floral print ups the ante on the best black wedding guest dresses. The plunging V-neck is ideal for framing a bust, while the maxi length makes it ideal for a bridesmaid dress too.
RRP: $249 / £204.93 | Available up to a US size 16, this elegant and figure-flattering dress would be a great option for those looking for the best mother-of-the-bride outfits. With a defined waistline to nip you in, gentle ruching across the middle to skim your shape and a vertical ruffle to elongate your frame, this one's a winner.
RRP: $199 / £135 | A baby doll dress is a brilliant silhouette for those looking to emphasize the bust area and skim over middles, hips and thighs. With a fitted bodice until the empire line, this dress features a full skirt and directional puff sleeves for a more vintage aesthetic. It also has pockets, what's not to love.
RRP: $49.90 / £32.99 | This elegant satin dress has an almost faux cape look, thanks to the cutaway design at the shoulders. With a simple slip shape and fitted waist, this sweet dress has a relaxed but sophisticated style, perfect for wedding ceremonies and evening functions. Add a bold cocktail ring for a burst of color.
Can you wear black to a wedding?
While previous wedding guidelines would have ruled black as much as a no-go as wearing white as a wedding guest, in 2023 the fashion rule book has been ripped up and black is now very much on the yes list. Of course, you should always check the invitation for any special requests from the couple and if you're still unsure, it's best to message the bridal party and check.
Black dresses for a wedding are probably still most suited to those occasions with a cocktail hour or a black tie dress code, with more garden party-style affairs still stylistically suited for bright colors and floral prints, however some of the best black summer dresses will still work for these occasions. Over all,, you're looking for black dresses that still feel romantic and feminine to pay homage to the event and the happy couple
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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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