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 dresses, 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
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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!
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.
RRP: $589 / £370 | Yellow is one of the biggest fashion color trends of 2023 and this pastel iteration is ideal for a summer wedding. The V-neck is flattering on fuller busts, while the pretty layers of tulle ensure this dress is elegant and feminine.
RRP: $319 / £159 | The best green dresses dominated last summer and they're set to make a return this season. With a higher waistline this dress will elongate your lower torso and creates a nipped-in hourglass style waist for a curve-loving fit.
RRP: $89 / £89 | Florals are a fail-safe option for the best wedding guest dresses and we're not complaining. This midi dress offers a bustier style with a square neck and a midriff skimming empire line. The pretty bloom print feels romantic too.
RRP: $398 / £445 | An empire line dress is a flattering silhouette on those looking to create an hourglass body shape. This strapless style dress can be paired with a cropped cotton cardigan should you want some upper arm coverage.
RRP: $159 / £140.04 | 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 A-line skirt, coupled with the drape chiffon and bowed top will create a curvaceous silhouette.
RRP: $589 / £375 | 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 rehearsal dinner dresses for pre-events.
RRP: $179 / £149.74 | The clever placement of this floral print will help to lengthen you, drawing the eye down the center of your silhouette. The clever embroidered tulle yoke bares shoulders and upper arms while still delivering some coverage.
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.
RRP: $2,795 / £3,150 | Crafted in floral brocade, this chic midi dress is ideal for a summer wedding guest look. The pastel blue hue is bang on trend, while the slit allows you to flash a little leg, while still maintaining the refined appeal of this regency-core style.
RRP: $446 / £259 | If you're looking for the best wedding guest dresses, look no further than Karen Millen. With a vast selection that covers everything you need for special occasion outfits including the best petite dresses, you're sure to find a winner.
RRP: $865 / £715 | Oversized bows were a popular runway trend and this Bernadette dress exudes the look perfectly. With a directional one shoulder this is a New York Fashion Week 2023 trending style, you can wear this for seasons to come.
RRP: $395 (US only) | In petite and plus size, this silky yellow dress is ideal for creating hourglass curves. With a standout empire waist to pull you in and a pleated skirt to add curves to hips, this striking strapless dress is quite the show stopper.
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.
RRP: $205 / £210 | Super slinky, this grey Reserve number utilizes flattering ruche detail to drape across your silhouette. The one shoulder dress is a style we have continued to see both on the runway and at straight to market brands for the season ahead.
RRP: $39.99 / £27.99 | 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 easily dressed up or down.
RRP: $109.50 (US only) | Blue is one of this season's hottest hues and this gorgeous lacey number is ideal if you're looking for the best plus size wedding guest dress. With a flattering V-neckline and elegant A-line cut, you'll look picture-ready in no time.
Best wedding guest dresses - FAQs
When it comes to the best wedding guest dresses, these are some of the most commonly asked style questions that will help you decipher what you and can't wear to a wedding.
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 Princess of Wales) 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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