3 Big Rules to Follow When Shopping for Wedding Guest Dresses

3 Big Rules to Follow When Shopping for Wedding Guest Dresses

Posted by Dimitra Designs on Dec 8th 2023

You’ve had the “Save the Date” on the fridge for so long that your eyes started glazing over it. “I’ll pick something to wear when it gets closer,” you told yourself.

Then the wedding invitation arrived, and you stuck that on the fridge, too. “I’ll get something this weekend,” you lied to yourself again.

Now, the wedding is a month out, and you’re tearing through your closet in search of anything that could pass as a wedding guest dress! Your old prom dress definitely won’t fit, and everything else is stale.

Don’t worry—we’ve got you. Take a deep breath and continue reading our guide to wedding dress attire for guests. We’ll answer your questions and give you the tips you need to choose the right ensemble for the big day.

1. Know the Dress Code

There is nothing more humiliating than walking into a black-tie wedding in a hot pink knee-length party dress. Likewise, it can be humbling to stroll into a casual wedding in a floor-length gown.

The key to choosing stylish but unobtrusive wedding guest attire is paying attention to the event’s dress code. It’s almost always noted somewhere on the invitation. If not, you won’t be bothering the bride and groom if you send them a quick text to double-check!

The most common wedding guest dress codes include:

  • White tie
  • Black tie
  • Cocktail
  • Semi-formal
  • Casual
  • Tropical
  • Themed
  • Come-as-you-are

Note that every dress code has slightly different rules. While you wouldn’t wear white to 99% of weddings, it may be appropriate at a tropical wedding!

2. Don’t Match the Bridesmaids

If you don’t think of yourself as a stylish person, choosing a wedding ensemble might make you panic. You might look to the closest example. What are the bridesmaids wearing?

Stop! Avoid matching the bridesmaids if at all possible. You don’t want to accidentally look like a lost member of the wedding party. The bride and groom chose those gowns so their bridesmaids would stand out. Choose a different color and dress style if possible.

With that said... can you wear a bridesmaid dress as a wedding guest? Absolutely! If you have something in your closet from a previous wedding, that is fair game. You might want to double-check that other guests don’t have the same idea.

3. Rock Great Accessories

What separates a wedding guest from a member of the bridal party? You have the freedom to accessorize! Make sure to choose comfortable shoes, plus bring layers if you think you need them. A chill outdoor reception can quickly turn into a toasty turn on the dance floor!

Here are a few tips for how to accessorize wedding guest outfits:

  • Consider a tasteful clutch instead of a bulky purse
  • Choose shoes you’ve worn before to prevent blisters
  • Statement jewelry adds bling without looking too distracting, but stick with one bold piece
  • A bolder dress calls for simpler accessories, like a sleek sandal or nude purse

Wedding attire for guests can be a little bit unique and flashy. Try to balance flashier dresses with subtler accessories and vice versa. If you’ve been waiting for an opportunity to wear your best bling, this is a great opportunity. As long as you don’t wear white or upstage the bride, you should be fine!

Choosing Wedding Reception Attire Is Easy at Dimitra Designs

Our number one tip for buying wedding guest dresses? Go to a boutique that dresses wedding guests every day of the week! At Dimitra Designs, we’re pros at helping our stylish customers choose dresses, jumpsuits, and gowns. We’ll help you choose something flattering and versatile that you can wear to the next wedding, too!

Start by checking out our selection of wedding guest dresses, from cocktail dresses to formal wedding guest attire. Need a little extra help? Make an appointment, and one of our wedding professionals will pull some fantastic pieces for you. You’re going to look fabulous!