Wedding Outfits For Every Venue & Occasion
Hey there, Jess here! In case you don’t know me, I’m the EHD Office Manager and Market Editor. Today, we wanted to cover something VERY important…wedding guest fashion. This year has been my first “wedding year,” meaning I feel like every weekend, I’ve been a guest at a friend’s nuptials (but really, it’s only been five events). And while five weddings in one year is laughable to some of my other friends who have been averaging EIGHT for the past six years, putting together a stylish look for each has not been as easy as I had hoped. Now, I am a big fan of the repeat outfit (two years of events in the same light blue maxi dress will prove that) but I wanted some fresh looks. My main problem was that all of these weddings are at different venues (restaurant garden patio and formal forest to name a couple ), so I couldn’t really repeat even if I wanted to because a ballgown is a little much for a backyard wedding.
After a few of the other ladies in the office shared my fashion woes, we thought “wait, maybe our readers also struggle with this, too” and were prompted to pull together an extensive wedding guest outfit guide. We thought through what would be most helpful to us, and dividing styled out looks by venue (or dress code, in some instances) felt right. Here’s where we landed: garden, seaside, alternative venue, semi-formal day, semi-formal night, formal. That’s six different types of weddings/venues with dress and shoe pairings for multiple body types, including petite, plus and tall. Our hope is that you (and I) will be prepared for any wedding ever. Sound good? Great. Let’s dive in.
First up, we have the garden wedding. Florals may not be required (or groundbreaking) but definitely encouraged. It’s also not a bad idea to be able to blend in with the surrounds after one too many champagnes when your “cool” uninhibited dance moves decide to make an appearance, am I right? For this type of venue, think upgraded flirty sundress with a fun-yet-simple shoe. Here, we stuck to happy, bright colors and flowy fabrics. We really love #9 and #10. The dress is light, playful and fitted, but you can still wear a bra with it (a deal breaker for me). Plus, those lilac shoes are so cute and look like you could dance in them all night. P.S. I blame Arlyn’s lilac trend post for making me kinda like purple now. WHO AM I??
1. Tiered Maxi Dress | 2. Mere Flat Slide Sandal | 3. Yellow Button Front Dress | 4. Floral Mini Dress | 5. Criss Cross Slide Sandals | 6. The Claudia Sandal | 7. Halter Maxi Dress | 8. Tie Bodice Dress | 9. Lilac Shoes | 10. Red Floral Dress | 11. Yellow Sleeve Tie Front Dress | 12. Three Strap Mule | 13. Creme Floral Mini | 14. Reed Strappy Flat Sandal | 15. Cut Out Maxi Dress
Seaside/ Beach Wedding
Next up is the seaside wedding. For this type of venue, we suggest pieces that are a little more muted in tone (but still fun!)…like the ocean. In our experience, being near water means windy conditions so we kept most of the dresses long to avoid any Marilyn Moments—CYA…literally. #3 is a super flattering cut and at first look seems conservative but the fringe trim gives it a little playfulness. It also comes in petite, regular and tall. We also LOVE #4 and #10. Both of these could also go with the gingham dress for a great pop of color.
1. Short Sleeve Dress | 2. Lula Block Heel Slingback Sandal | 3. Gingham Off The Shoulder Midi Dress | 4. Remi Ankle Strap Sandal | 5. Blue Maxi Dress | 6. Daria Wrap Midi Dress | 7. Off The Shoulder Midi Dress | 8. Wedge Lace-Up Espadrille Sandal | 9. Floral Midi Dress | 10. Ruffled Heels | 11. Embroidered Plunge Front Maxi Dress | 12. Mel Slide Sandal | 13. Tiered Maxi Dress | 14. Low Scoop Ruffle Dress | 15. Michelle Cork Mules
Alternative Venue Wedding
What is an “alternative venue” you may be asking yourself? This is a wedding at a place like a brewery, art gallery, museum, restaurant, antique shop (people have done this and it’s pretty cool)…basically, anything NOT in a ballroom or by the ocean. This type of venue almost begs for you to think a little out of the box for your look. It’s a little more casual but a lot more fun. Number #9 and #10 are a great example of this. The well-fitted and brightly colored jumpsuit (comes in Regular too) is not the average wedding garb but so fun. Add those INCREDIBLE Rachel Comey striped heels and you have a knockout look. We also love love #15 and #16. A monochromatic look always comes off thought out and very chic.
1. Check Dress | 2. Blue Pumps | 3. Criss Cross Maxi Dress | 4. Cream Heeled Mules | 5. Belted Floral Midi Dress | 6. Rehearse Heels | 7. Kimono Wrap Dress | 8. Open Toe Suede Mules | 9. Striped Heels | 10. One Shoulder Jumpsuit | 11. Nancy Two Part Sandals | 12. Gingham Tie-Strap Dress | 13. Kaden Sandal | 14. Striped Linen Dress | 15. Green Slingback Shoes | 16. Ditsy Deconstructed Midi Dress
Semi-Formal Day Wedding
Now we move onto our more classic types of wedding attire. These are the styles you would probably wear to a church wedding depending on time of day/dress code required. Of course some churches prefer a more modest look than the reception might so adding a cover up for the ceremony is probably a good idea:) Now let’s start with a semi-formal day wedding. But what does semi-formal really mean? Could that term be vaguer? Well, I looked it up and the consensus was that it lies somewhere between formal and cocktail. Basically, this is not a dress you can dress down for brunch, but also not so formal that you couldn’t wear it out on a nice date. I hope that helps.
For our picks, we kept the color palette bright and the length mid to mini. It’s daytime so subtle patterns and eyelet fabrics are great; just casual enough with some flair. If you want something more structured like #3, #10 and #14, then go for a jewel to light color. This way it won’t feel like you missed the daytime memo. Also, never underestimate the power of a ruffle. They are fun and very forgiving. For your convenience we have devised a simple math equation for optimal ruffle forgiveness success:
Planned # of Pieces of Cake Eaten – Planned # of Songs Danced To = Ideal # of Ruffles
1. Red One Shoulder Dress | 2. Ava Leather Stiletto Sandal | 3. Cutabout Mini Dress | 4. Yellow Tiered Dress | 5. Sazzle Two Part Sandals | 6. Blue Embroidered Pencil Dress | 7. Luisa Sandal | 8. Embroidered Tassel Skater Dress | 9. Block Heel Sandal | 10. Drigs Dress | 11. Posted Ankle Strap Pump | 12. Floral Frill Dress | 13. Saffy Block Heel Pump | 14. Bow Twist Textured Midi Dress | 15. Rona Two Part Sandals | 16. Striped Mini Dress
Semi-Formal Night Wedding
Moving on to the sultry sister of the daytime semi-formal wedding: the nighttime semi-formal wedding. Finally, a wedding where you can wear a dark color that will hide the inevitable spilled drink on the dress by someone else. It literally happens to me at every wedding. For this roundup, we went a little darker but kept the playfulness alive and well. We love #1 because it seems conservative (high neck + mid length) but hello, it’s gold leopard print. Who’s conservative now?? We also are big believers in the flatters-everyone wrap dress. They may seem like a daytime style but as you can see from #4 and #15, as long as it’s in a luxe fabric, they are a GREAT semi-formal option.
1. Cowl Jacquard Midi Skater Dress | 2. Cut Out Sandal | 3. Dress With Rubberized Print | 4. Green Wrap Dress | 5. Shine On Sandal | 6. Lace Midi Dress | 7. Fergie Lace-Up Sandal | 8. Floral Maxi Dress | 9. Flutter Sleeve Crepe Sheath Dress | 10. Metseya Pump | 11. Ruffle Sleeve Midi Dress | 12. Kendally Pumps | 13. Polka Dot Mini | 14. Flory Geisha Printed Platform Sandal | 15. Thrive Dress
For the grand finale, we have the mother load of weddings: the formal wedding. Now, while it can seem intimidating at first RSVP, let’s be honest, who doesn’t’ love getting really dressed up every once in a while?? I mean, if prom was the last time you wore a floor-length gown, it’s been too long. We all ooo’d and ahhh’d over #8. It’s pretty much a home run. But for something a little more modest, #10 is so pretty. You are protected in the front with some flirt in the back…a pretty dress mullet. Solids are great for formal attire but not the only option. If you want to have a little more fun with some pattern, #1, #3 and #11 are still formal and sophisticated but say “I’m a stylish risk-taker.” Isn’t that the ultimate wedding guest goal??
1. Pretty Floral and Bird Embroidery Dress | 2. Penny Knotted Lamé Sandal | 3. Sunflower Ruffled Dress | 4. Ankle Strap Sandal | 5. Rose Gown | 6. Lucy Dress | 7. Pairus Scalloped d’Orsay Pump | 8. Off the Shoulder Tulip Gown | 9. Hazel Pumps | 10. Dusty Rose Dress | 11. Kimono Wrap Gown | 12. Carrson Sandal | 13. Sleeve Lace Top Pleated Midi Dress | 14. Cascade Cape Gown | 15. Floral Knotted High-Heel Sandals | 16. Valerie Rose Gold Espadrille Sandals | 17. Fatima Dress
There you have it! A complete guide to all things wedding guest fashion. Let’s raise a glass to the fact that you and I will never have to stress about what we are wearing to a wedding again and can focus on finding the perfect gift…and date. 🙂
What did you think of the combos? Let us know your favorites! Any great wedding outfit sources we missed? Have a great weekend. xx