What to Wear to a Wedding: The Chicest Wedding Guest Attire For Every Type of Occasion

From black-tie and beach weddings to modern and modest affairs, we’ve rounded up the chicest wedding guest attire to wear to any—and every—type of wedding.
Last Updated
May 16, 2022

After years of canceled and postponed weddings, our summer schedule is finally packed with romantic RSVPs. As we plot these events on our calendars, the excitement of having something to look forward to has happily resumed. An integral part of the planning process—and for some, the most stressful—is deciding what to wear. Whether you’re attending a black-tie event or a party on the beach, deciphering the dress code is often easier said than done. 

As more weddings transform from traditional affairs into contemporary gatherings, it’s time to update your wedding guest attire accordingly. From exaggerated bows to sleek pantsuits, wedding guest outfits now run the gamut from classic to uber-trendy. And while few rules exist, there are guidelines to adhere to when attending certain ceremonies. Here, we break them down so you can earn the title of best-dressed wedding guest, no matter what type of event you’re attending.

1.

Formal Wedding Attire

This season, formal dressing is all about the details. Take No Pise La Grama’s fringed minidress or Alexia María’s column midi dress as examples of pieces with sophisticated features that ooze class. Soirée at sunset? Try Zimmerman’s strapless bustier dress with a romantic degradé effect. Style your statement dress like a pro with Rosantica’s feather-tripped clutch, vinyl Larroudé heels, a classic tennis necklace, and timeless earrings.

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2.

Daytime Wedding Attire

Daytime weddings call for festive floral frocks. Abandon your solid-color wedding guest dresses and choose a printed number, whether it showcases a tropical motif or colorful greenery. For the ultimate daytime ensemble, look for dresses with midi-lengths, like Oscar de la Renta’s painted landscape dress or Diane Von Furstenberg’s print of palms. Pair your dress with ladylike cat-eye sunnies, an elevated raffia handbag, and padded leather thong-toe sandals to be comfortable and fashion-forward.

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3.

Semi-Formal Wedding Attire

For a semi-formal wedding, choose elevated but approachable styles. Opt for a rich color palette with invigorating shades; pastel hues are always a safe bet. Enhance your look with Amina Muaddi’s signature mini box bag with a pavé chain, sculpted earrings, and a textured pair of bridal Manolo Blahniks. The best part about a simple, semi-formal dress? You can definitely wear it again.

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4.

Casual Wedding Attire

Approach a casual dress code with a relaxed look that's still refined. Our favorite way to nail this type of wedding guest dressing is with a silk slip dress. From Nanushka’s draped slit dress to Fe Noel’s sunset ombre to Intermix’s classic slip, there are a plethora of casual wedding guest dresses to choose from. Style yours with a pair of minimal PVS slides and Paco Rabanne’s clear acrylic version of its classic 1969 chainmail bag. Accessorize with Albert Coll’s baroque pearl drop earrings and Swarovski’s cushion cocktail ring for a polished, casual look.

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5.

Beach Wedding Attire

There is a certain joie de vivre associated with beach weddings—perhaps it’s the dreamy destination or the warm weather. As such, these celebrations often lean more casual (the attire has to be worn in the sand, after all). Opt for pieces with beachy textures, like Jonathan Simkhai’s fringed dress, and bright colors like ocean blue and canary yellow, as they photograph best against the picturesque backdrop. Style with beach-ready accessories like Jacquemus’ terry cloth heels, Cult Gaia’s mother-of-pearl clutch, and all gold jewelry to complement your sun-kissed glow.

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6.

Black-Tie Wedding Attire

Black-tie weddings are some of the most exciting to dress for—they offer a rare occasion to wear an elegant gown or suit adorned with jewels. Ultimately, black-tie dressing is all about elegance. Whether it’s sculptural ruffles by Aknvas or simplistic sheath gowns, black ensembles are the safest route. Accessorize your black-tie look with a satin evening bag, embellished Jimmy Choo heels, and, of course, diamonds for an elegant wedding-ready look.

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7.

Modest Wedding Attire

Some wedding ceremonies, culturally and religiously, require modest dressing and adhere to strict dress codes. Often, the rules are to cover one’s shoulders and choose a below-the-knee hemline. Opt for a more formal yet playful look with Proenza Schouler's high-coverage gown or keep it classic with Ronny Kobo’s marled knit maxi dress. There are plenty of modestly chic options to choose from; you can even achieve a Bohemian edge with Savannah Morrow’s robe style dress or Veronica Beard’s floral trim print. Or try a pantsuit with Cult Gaia’s floral satin blouse and matching trousers. Style the look like a pro with timeless, bold accessories, like Aquazurra’s glitter pumps, Pamela Love’s signet ring, and Valentino’s rock-stud pocketbook.

Wear it With

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