Weddings are experiencing a big boom this year. According to a recent Pinterest trend report, searches for "wedding guest outfit inspiration" have doubled since last year and are up by 3800% year over year — which means guests will need a lot of outfit ideas.
We consulted several style experts, starting with fashion journalist Zanna Roberts Rassi, who recently stopped by TODAY to share a few stylish looks for every kind of wedding, whether you're headed to a garden party or a black tie event.
Keep reading to see all of the top recommendations from Rassi and other fashion experts, as well as from reviewers and the Shop TODAY team's research. We had our experts address common wedding guest questions, from what not to wear to a wedding to whether wearing black is acceptable for a guest.
Wedding guest dresses trending in 2023
Some trending styles for wedding guest dresses in 2023 include gowns for women and black tuxes for men if you're going to a black tie reception. For a slightly less formal event, Rassi recommends a cocktail dress where "formal meets fun" — think strappy maxi dresses or one-shoulder designs.
In terms of hues, apple green is the biggest color of this season, according to Rassi. "You want to be in harmony with nature" when it comes to a destination wedding or a beach venue. As for accessories, "the rattan bag is key here" and you can find many iterations that you can wear after the wedding party. Also, she advises wearing a wedge when you're heading to a location with a virescent and uneven terrain.
When it comes to a beach wedding, you'll want to be mindful of the color palette and your choice of footwear, Rassi says. Opt for breathable fabrics and fun prints — leave heavy fabrics like denim and wool out of the equation.
Style expert Katie Sands also previously stopped by TODAY to share wedding guest attire options for women. "I am seeing a lot of spaghetti straps and midi dresses" that can be worn in different kinds of wedding ceremonies. Also, Sands agrees that green is the color of the year and you will see many styles in different tones such as sage, lime, olive and more.
Additionally, Sands suggests packing light for a destination wedding and choosing fabrics that fold easily and don't wrinkle. "You want to dress comfortably and wear something that is forgiving and you can be in all night long."
Best wedding guest dresses for spring and summer
Whether you're heading to a formal wedding or cocktail party, this dress is the one for a form-fitting look. Aside from hugging and accentuating your favorite qualities, the ruffle detailing adds a modern twist to the traditional bandage style. "The slit was high and sexy but did not move around your thigh as you walk, so you don't have to worry about wardrobe malfunctions," added one satisfied Amazon shopper.
If you're looking for a floral wedding dress that will fit effortlessly, this option is a safe choice. The dress is made from a thicker material and features a back zipper for a flattering silhouette. You can select from a standard or custom size along with your preferred height for a more personalized fit.
Pastel dresses are a great option for a spring and summer wedding. This maxi dress comes with long sleeves and a side slit for an alluring feel. The smooth satin-like fabric is a plus for formal events, and this one will have everyone asking you for a dance.
Dance the night away in this romantic ruffled midi dress with fluttery sleeves and a dramatic side split. The rose-colored dress will become a wardrobe staple whenever you have a last-minute event.
Simplicity is key with this navy sheath dress — and it makes for the perfect canvas for accessorizing. This Lands' End dress gives more of a professional look when you're going from the courthouse to the post-nuptial dinner.
Lime green is a great hue to welcome the couple at the ceremony. This tiered midi dress features a V-neckline with a fitted bodice that accentuates the body. You can wear this dress at most events and is a comfortable dress you can easily dress up or down. It also comes in five different colors in case you want to mix and match with your friends.
You can easily re-wear this sleek number for years, and it works for a number of black-tie occasions. The flirty gown features a sweetheart neckline and a side slit that will cause a major impact on the dance floor.
Flared cuffs are having a moment this season, and this eye-catching silhouette from Eloquii is perfect for a formal wedding or a proper church ceremony. It's made with a knit scuba fabric that feels lightweight and hides any imperfections. One reviewer confirmed this dress is better than expected and "fits like a glove, yet not constricting. There is a good amount of stretch, but it still holds its shape."
This is a dress you'll wear multiple times once the wedding night is over. The classic design features an invisible zipper closure, a tie fastening on the back and elegant ruffles that lend a sophisticated feel. It also comes in six classy hues to choose from.
Best wedding guest dresses for fall and winter
Slip into this off-the-shoulder dress before hitting the ceremony. This figure-flattering design features a ruffled high-low hem and a stretchy knit that will accentuate all your curves. "It hugs you at the right spots too, which helps to enhance the curves! Definitely a great buy!" shared one customer.
For warm fall or uncharacteristically sunny winter days when the weather is a bit breezier, this elegant maxi dress from Baltic Born will keep you fresh and comfortable. It has a front slit and a stretchy bodice to keep you moving all night.
This satin dress will make a sparkly statement when you arrive at the wedding party. The one-shoulder neckline and asymmetrical hemline will soften your curves while enhancing your figure. All you need is a fuzzy shawl to match the fall aesthetic.
If you want a simpler silhouette, look no further than this washable silk that features an elegant bias cut. The dress comes with adjustable straps, a satin texture and a midi length that can be worn for casual or formal events. You can never go wrong with a slip dress and you can elevate it with accessories. Sands recommends going big with your accessories like a big floral earring or custom jewelry.
Velvet and dark green are two elements that pair well together. Toast with wine while modeling this maxi gown at the ceremony. With a high slit and form-fitting silhouette, you're bound to get many compliments. Also, you can adjust the straps of this dress so it doesn't squish your décolletage.
Any body type can embrace a bodycon design with the right stretch. This wedding guest dress features a mesh outer fabric that looks polished and modern, simultaneously. The design comes in plus sizes and may become your go-to classic outfit to RSVP to the rest of your wedding invitations.
Beach wedding guest dresses
Perfect for an outdoor wedding, the fabric of this Lulus midi dress is super light and flowy — which is essential when the weather is unpredictable. "This dress was form-fitting, sexy and comfortable! I got so many compliments when I wore it to a wedding!" said one buyer who rated it five stars.
Enjoy the view of the ocean and seagulls in this eye-catching midi dress. The design features a velvet material that flows effortlessly, along with a comfortable stretchy smocked back for comfort. The inconspicuous floral detailing enhances the silhouette of the dress — an A-plus.
This dress is nice enough to wear to the wedding, but you can still flaunt it on a nice sunny day. It's bright, fun and airy, plus, the open shoulder makes for a unique touch.
For an outdoor wedding, a dress with built-in UPF is an added plus. That's why we love this tunic dress from Coolibar, which comes in both solid colors and prints and is made with sun protection included.
Match the party's festive decor with this floral chic dress featuring a bateau neckline and sheer details with flared sleeves. This dress offers the perfect amount of elegance and comfort for a bright summer wedding.
Green is one of the hottest colors of this year, and this maxi dress's particular hue is perfect for a waterfront ceremony, especially while the sun sets. The dress has a side slit and a mock neck that bestows modern elegance.
Long wedding guest dresses
When the lights start to shimmer, you'll sparkle along with the wedding decor with this modern and elegant dress. It works well for a gala-style reception, featuring a hidden zipper for a seamless silhouette. For less than $100, you can look glamorous and feminine for any upcoming wedding celebration.
Sands said a jewel-toned dress works for every occasion and for every season. This one-shoulder split dress has an asymmetric cut that works well if you have a wider back. The dress combines a bias-cut skirt and a thigh-high slit for a seductive feel.
Whether you have a black-tie or backyard wedding, this corset maxi dress lends a glamorous feel. This is a great design to take on the wedding season by storm, thanks to the body-skimming fit. The shiny fabric and draped details embody the true meaning of glamor.
This style will be a showstopper when you enter the dance floor. The flattering drape and cinched bodice add a touch of opulence to the outfit. While the dress alone already makes a statement, for extra glamour, we suggest pairing this dress with strappy sandals.
Feel like a high society member with this elegant maxi dress. The sultry design is ideal for a formal wedding, whether it's outdoors or indoors. With a satin finish and embellished neckline, this dress feels like a fairytale. All you need is a pair of stilettos and the right accessory to further elevate the look.
Dress in this exquisite, comfortable design and you'll be happy to attend all the wedding invitations you RSVP'd to this year. The design features a curve-hugging silhouette and a hidden tie-back for a polished, event-ready look. It offers a goddess-like feel thanks to the halter neckline and a bias cut fit.
This ruched dress is designed to hug all your curves and give you a glamorous look. The maxi dress is fully lined and a great option to wear at a black tie and formal event. The nude illusion is what gives the attire a more sensual flair while accentuating your figure. It also features one of the style trends for 2023: spaghetti straps.
Maternity wedding guest dresses
If the extra pregnancy weight is a concern, don this elegant column dress. The material is thick and opaque enough to hide your undergarments.
Look like a true goddess in this feminine maxi dress from Motherhood Maternity. You can wear this one for a black-tie or beach wedding without any complications. The long tail is ideal to hide your feet when you want to stay barefoot all night.
This ombre midi dress gives some mermaid vibes. It features a sleeveless, fitted silhouette that won't make you feel constricted, even if your belly grows a few inches.
For women that want to keep the party going during their pregnancy, this chic dress from ASOS will do the trick. The one-shoulder style is excellent for those on maternity leave that want to look effortlessly classy. The sage green is also the perfect hue for a garden ceremony or beach wedding.
Frequently asked questions
What should I wear to a casual beach wedding?
Whether you're celebrating next to the Atlantic or at a resort destination, you should keep in mind that the weather can be anything from hot, humid or rainy.
"You'll also want to consider the terrain when picking out your footwear," says The Budget Savvy Bride founder Jessica Bishop. "Stilettos won't work great for a wedding in the sand. The most important thing is to choose an outfit that suits the level of formality of the event. When in doubt, run your wedding attire questions by the couple to get confirmation if you're unsure."
For most outdoor ceremonies, it's OK to show more skin and wear "spaghetti straps, plunging necklines and higher slits. Stay away from casual shorts or flip-flops, even on the beach!" wedding planner Taryn Blake suggests.
Can I wear black to a wedding?
Stylists agree that black is a chic neutral that can be worn for all occasions for a touch of elegance. "Black is not reserved just for black-tie weddings — it's a staple in a wedding wardrobe. Black dresses in classy, slip-inspired designs are having their moment this summer!" shares Blake.
While black can be associated with funerals and mourning, Bishop said it's also a chic choice for a wedding. "In the past, people have been a bit superstitious about wearing black to a wedding, but there is no hard-and-fast rule against it.
"You'll just want to make sure your outfit is appropriate for the vibe and formality of the event. Black is best suited for formal, evening occasions, but that doesn't mean you couldn't wear a black sundress to an outdoor beach wedding," she adds.
What colors should I not wear to a wedding?
There is a general consensus, at least in Western cultures, that white is reserved for the bride. "In my opinion, the only color to steer clear from is white, unless explicitly requested by the couple. Any other color is fair game, though you may want to keep to hues that won't have you sticking out like a sore thumb in a group of people," says Bishop.
Bishop also suggests being cautious with bold colors like neons, wacky patterns and anything that draws attention away from the couple.
What should I wear to a wedding if I'm older?
Age is not a factor when it comes to feeling fabulous and donning trendy styles. "Mature doesn't mean it can't be fun. Opt for a pop of color, a pattern or a unique fabrication like an off-shoulder style," Blake explains.
Comfort is key wherever you go, but your choice of dress will depend on different factors such as the style of the fabric, the season and the formality of the event. Bishop mentioned that "fit is important, so having something tailored to your measurements will help you feel confident. Accessories can be key to making you feel your best, with shawls, wraps or boleros serving to cover areas you might feel insecure about. As a guest, two-piece dresses for women and suits for men are perfect."
Meet the experts
- Katie Sands is a style expert and lifestyle influencer. She recently spoke to Shop TODAY about Target's spring fashion collection launch.
- Zanna Roberts Rassi is a New-York based fashion and beauty journalist and co-founder of Milk Makeup.
- Jessica Bishop is the founder of The Budget Savvy Bride, an online resource for couples looking to plan a cost-effective wedding.
- Taryn Blake is the founder of her namesake event planning company where she focuses on high-end weddings and corporate events. She recently spoke to Shop TODAY about comfortable shoes to wear to a wedding.