The Best Wedding Guest Dresses for 2022

wedding guest dresses

As engagement season ramps up, chances are you’ll start to see those wedding invitations come in for those spring, summer, and fall weddings. Once you figure out what to wear to a wedding according to the dress code (black tie optional, anyone?), it’s time to go shopping for those wedding guest dresses!

While finding the perfect frock can be fun, it can also be a tad bit stressful. Not only is it hard to plan 6 months+ ahead for an event, but you’ll want to shop for the best wedding guest dresses according to formality as well as season. After all, that gorgeous lemon taffeta strapless gown is perfect for a spring or summer wedding, but might feel off for a fall or winter.

So, we went shopping for the perfect wedding guest dresses for every time of year and venue! Read on below to find your perfect look.

Wedding Guest Dresses by Season

As soon as you get a wedding save the date and you know you’re going to attend, you’ll want to start combing through your closet to see if you have an outfit that works. While most of us have a great black cocktail dress (our go-to color for weddings), it can also be a good excuse to get a great new dress, especially one that might work better for the season than one you already have. Here’s what you’ll want to keep in mind when shopping for wedding guest dresses for fall, winter, spring, and summer.

Fall Wedding Guest Dresses

Fall can mean different things depending on where in the country the wedding is located. For instance fall in Miami can still be pretty warm. San Francisco also sees some of their warmest days this time of year as well, while northeastern cities like Boston and NYC start to see crisp days and chilly nights. That doesn’t mean you can’t wear a strapless gown, however. You’ll just want to make sure you plan ahead and bring a wrap or light coat that can keep you warm should the temperatures dip.

Winter Wedding Guest Dresses

Winter weddings aren’t as popular as summer or fall, but they do happen. They can be especially fun around the holidays (especially New Year’s Eve), when any excuse to get out of the house and travel can be a welcome treat. With that said they can be the hardest weddings to dress for, since short dresses can be a bit unpractical in frigid temperatures. You’ll definitely want to think about heavier fabrics like velvet and opt for long sleeve dresses vs. short sleeves. Accessories like shawls, gloves, and practical undergarments like pantyhose can also offer some additional layers of warmth.

Spring Wedding Guest Dresses

Ah, Spring. The flowers are blooming and couples are starting to get hitched! We love this time of year for weddings, but it can also be unpredictable with last-minute snowstorms and rain showers. Look at average temperatures in the wedding area to get a sense of what you can expect, and plan accordingly. Layers of fabric will still be your friend, and don’t forget the umbrella to make sure your hair and outfit stay dry no matter the weather conditions.

Summer Wedding Guest Dresses

We love summer weddings, because some of our favorite colors and fabrics work perfectly for summer wedding guest dresses. Strapless dresses with bows in bright colors like yellows and pinks are also fun, as are slinky black slip dresses paired with chic jackets for cool summer evenings. The one thing to keep in mind with summer weddings, however, is that they can get HOT, especially if they’re outside. You’ll want to have some sort of protection against the sun and sweat, so you may want to avoid fabrics like silk which don’t do great with moisture. You might also want to bring a foldable fan to keep you cool, and be sure to wear sunblock and stay hydrated.

There are certain colors that ALWAYS work great for weddings, and some that you should never wear (like white, unless the wedding dress code specifically calls for it). When you start your search for the perfect dress, be sure to use these terms to help filter your choices.

Black Wedding Guest Dresses

The most popular wedding guest dress color is definitely black. That’s because it works for every season and you never have to worry if it’s going to clash with the wedding colors. Plus, you can always a wear a black dress again, meaning you’ll get lots of use from it.

Green Dresses

Green is a color that works for spring, summer, fall, or winter, and it tends to look great on every skin tone. We love it paired with black or gold shoes, and fun gold accessories. You could even consider a hot pink purse if you want a pop of color.

Navy Blue Dresses

Navy blue is great for spring and summer weddings, especially if you’re at a waterfront venue. Even if nautical is not your vibe, it’s a great alternative to black that can be dressed up or dressed down and definitely worn again without being too obvious.

Pink Dresses

Pink is always fun for a wedding, especially in the warmer months. It works for casual and semi-formal weddings, and in some instances you can even find a great pink gown for a black tie wedding. While blush pink is beautiful, you might want to opt for darker shades of pink in case the bridesmaids are wearing a lighter shade.

Red Wedding Guest Dresses

Red is one of my favorite colors to wear to a formal wedding, especially around the holidays. It’s elegant and classic, and you’re bound to be able to wear a red dress again to a number of different events and parties.

Blue Dresses

If you’re looking to go a little more vibrant than navy blue, a classic blue will do the trick. This color can look beautiful for so many wedding venues, from rustic barn to a modern ballroom. Also, it looks great short or long!

Yellow Dresses

I recently bought a yellow Badgley Mischka strapless dress for a summer wedding, and I thought it was such a fun and different color choice for a warm-weather wedding. Paired with metallic gold, silver, or even hot pink shoes (Barbiecore is totally on-trend right now) a yellow dress can be made more neutral or pop depending on your accessories.

Burgundy Wedding Guest Dresses

A classic for fall and winter weddings, burgundy is a neutral just like black or navy. In fact, burgundy (or ruby red) can be considered a jewel tone alongside sapphire blue, amethyst purple, emerald green, and citrine yellow.

Emerald Green Dresses

Like ruby red and yellow, emerald green is a jewel color that is such a gorgeous option for weddings. While it can work for winter months, I think the color really stands out in fabrics like silk, chiffon, and tulle.

Purple Dresses

Purple is an unexpected wedding dress color, yet it fits into so many different wedding themes and settings. You can go for a lighter perfect shade for spring and summer weddings, and dark for fall or winter.

Gold Dresses

While not a great choice for a brunch wedding, gold wedding guest dresses are perfect for evening weddings that will have a party atmosphere. Depending on the fabric you choose they can be more casual or formal, and accessories are key! Don’t shy away from mixing metals, combining gold and silver earrings, necklaces, and shoes.

Wedding Guest Dress Styles

Most people aren’t aware that certain wedding dress codes call for specific dress styles. For instance a black tie and formal wedding would typically indicate full-length gown, while a shorter dress would be more appropriate for a semi-formal wedding. Also the seasons, as mentioned above, might play into the dress style you’re looking for. Longer sleeves will help keep you warm in the winter months and an off-the-shoulder could be perfect for spring or summer. Below are several of the most popular wedding guest dress styles.

You Might Also Like: Your Guide to the Most Popular Wedding Dress Styles

Long Sleeve Dresses

Long sleeves are totally in, for both the bride AND wedding guests. They’re also a popular option for the mother of the bride and groom, so if you have a child’s wedding on the horizon it could be something to think about.

Midi Dresses

If you’re not familiar with the term, a “midi” dress is one that falls anywhere below the knee and above the ankle. This makes it a versatile style for any season and wedding dress code, since it could work for both casual and formal.

Long Wedding Guest Dresses

If the wedding invitation calls for a black-tie or black-tie optional attire, you’ll want to consider going with a long dress. Black-tie dresses are historically supposed to be floor-length, but the rules have been loosened over the years so you can opt for any longer length that you like best.

Off the Shoulder Dresses

Off -the-shoulder dresses are some of my favorite. They are always unique and flattering no matter your body type. When trying on off-the-shoulder dresses, however, just make sure that the fit is comfortable and the material stays up. You don’t want to be adjusting your dress all night.

One Shoulder Dresses

Beautiful for formal weddings, a one-shoulder dress can work with a variety of materials, including a more fitted spandex or even a flowy chiffon.

Short Wedding Guest Dresses

Most guests opt for shorter styles. After all, they’re easier to dance in and there are more places you can wear it out to after the wedding. (Like date night!) Just make sure the wedding attire calls for casual, semi-formal, or cocktail attire. And remember, not too short! This isn’t a nightclub, it’s a wedding.

Tea Length Dresses

If you’re looking for a vintage vibe, a tea length dress could be perfect for you. Tea length, which hits three to four inches above the ankle, is a popular choice for a daytime wedding. We love tea length dresses in unexpected fabrics (like tulle) which make them more playful than matronly.

Maxi Dresses

Maxi dresses are long dresses typically made of a breathable fabric, like cotton, silk blends, or linen. They’re perfect for a beach or rustic casual wedding, and are great for warmer months.

The Best Places to Buy Wedding Guest Dresses

Searched through your closet and decided you have nothing to wear to that wedding? You’ll want to start shopping! Give yourself enough time to receive the dress if you’re ordering it online (as well as shop for a backup if it doesn’t work out). You’ll also want to see if you need alternations, which can take a few weeks to make.

Below are a few of our favorite locations to shop for wedding guest dresses at!

Nordstrom Wedding Guest Dresses

Our go-to option for all dressy events, Nordstrom is an easy place to shop at since they offer both online and in-store options. I love ordering online and picking up in-store, so I can easily try my purchase on and immediately return something if it doesn’t fit.

Macy’s Wedding Guest Dresses

If you’re shopping on a budget (and who isn’t) Macy’s is the Queen of Sales. It seems like they’re always having at least a 30% off sales, which means you can get that dress you’ve been eyeing for a major discount.

Amazon Wedding Guest Dresses

Yes, even Amazon has some great deals on dresses you can wear to a wedding! Because the quality can vary, however, you’ll want to make sure you read a product’s review, and that it has a good return policy.

Lulus Wedding Guest Dresses

Lulus is an affordable option for wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses, and even wedding guest dresses. They have thousands of styles, with plenty under $100 and even under $50!

Wedding Guest Dress FAQ

Where should I buy wedding guest dresses?

While I love ordering dresses online, I gravitate towards stores that also have brick and mortar locations that I can easily return the dress to if it doesn’t work, or exchange for a different size in person. Stores you should add to your list that also have physical locations include:

Nordstrom (great for edgier styles)
Macys (always on sale)
Saks Fifth Avenue (designer picks)
Dillards (more conservative attire)
JCPenneys (perfect for classic MOB and MOG dresses on a budget)

That doesn’t mean we don’t shop at online-only stores, however! These only-only retail sites are always in our rotation:

Net a Porter (the latest styles)
The Outnet (major designers at half-off but with limited sizing)
Revolve (sexy and trendy)

Is a long dress appropriate for a wedding?

Absolutely! In fact, floor-length gowns are expected at a formal and black-tie wedding.

What should you not wear to a wedding?

Unless told otherwise, you’ll want to avoid wearing white or a print with lots of white in the background. You should also avoid wearing lighter colors such as beige and ivory. If you’re having second thoughts, you probably shouldn’t wear it.

Can you wear an above the knee dress to a wedding?

Yes. Just be mindful not to wear a dress that is TOO short or too revealing in any way. After all, you’ll be surrounded by friends and family members of the couple getting married (and you might be in a religious venue as well). Bottom line? eWear something that wouldn’t’ be offensive to someone’s grandma! 🙂

Where are you buying your wedding guest dress? And what color/style are you getting? Let us know in the comments section, below!


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