Summer is officially wedding season. Although some couples have had to postpone their dates due to Coronavirus, plenty more are holding out hope for their August and September weddings.
You might still find yourself in need of a cute summer wedding dress yet, so we’ve searched the rails of the high street (as well as delving into the new season drops of our favourite online retailers) to bring you the very best summer wedding guest dresses for every type of occasion.
If the wedding you’re invited to does get postponed, you’ve got yourself an outfit for next year or one that’s easy to throw on a chic cover-up and use this autumn or winter.
Summer is the time of year when you can take inspiration from the weather and go as bold and bright as you dare, so there are plenty of patterns and prints in our edit. However, the trends for crisp poplins, Scandi-inspired neutrals, shirred prarie shapes and more delicate floral designs are certainly still on the radar too, so we’ve included something to cater for all tastes and budgets.
We’ve also compiled a couple of top tips for you, to ensure whatever you choose fits the bill.
Top Tips for Choosing a Summer Wedding Guest Dress
- Consider the dress code. Have the couple outlined a colour scheme to adhere to on their wedding invitation? Have they specified “black tie” or “cocktail attire”? Make sure you’re up to date.
- Make a mental note of what not to wear to a wedding. Y’know, the glaringly obvious like not wearing white, plus the unwritten rules like no denim and nothing too short.
- Don’t choose something which will have you upstaging the bride. Weddings might be a great excuse to buy a new dress, but don’t go too overboard.
- Wear colour in the summer to liven up the photographs. Any excuse, hey?
Now you know the rules, it’s time to get shopping. Ready to find your dream summer wedding guest dress for 2020? Keep scrolling…
Oh, and once you’ve found your perfect dress, why not browse our wedding guest hairstyle guide? After all, no look is complete without a beautifully styled barnet! Now, what are you waiting for?
1. Topshop Ivory Tiered Satin Slip Dress – £39
Ivory? To a wedding? Contain your outrage, because this watercolour floral dress from Topshop is actually 100 per cent summer wedding appropriate. The contemporary print ensures you’ll look pretty but definitely not bridal, and the strappy shoulders will keep you cool at an outdoor ceremony on a hot day. Just don’t forget your SPF.
2. H&M Pleated Satin Dress – £49.99
Prefer a dress with sleeves? The elbow-length angel sleeves on H&M’s emerald green satin dress have got you (literally) covered. This is a really versatile find that you can billow through the warmer weather in, but its festive colour means it could be dressed up with tights for autumn weddings or even Christmas parties too – well worth the under-£50 investment.
3. New Look Navy Belted Side Split Maxi Dress – £27.99
Navy isn’t just for winter weddings – it’s ideal as a wedding guest option all year round, and we can’t get over the amazingly low price of this New Look number. The split-hem is just right for showing off legs that have developed a little extra tan (real or otherwise). If you prefer something lighter, it also comes in pale pink.
4. Warehouse Spring Meadow Pleated Dress – £79
We took one look at the muted pastel palette of this Warehouse dress and it was love. The halterneck will show off your shoulders and make everything look longer and leaner in the process – simply pop on a pair of nude heels and you’ll be good to go.
5. & Other Stories Puff Sleeve Wrap Midi Dress – £120
& Other Stories is an absolute treasure trove of great occasionwear for summer 2020 – in fact, the hardest part was picking just a handful of pieces to highlight. However, our first honourable mention had to go to this periwinkle blue dress with puff sleeves and dreamy ruffles galore – it’s a full-on Cinderella moment in wedding guest dress form.
6. Miss Selfridge Pale Green Ditsy Hanky Hem Midi Dress – £35
Those who are typically drawn to long-sleeved looks don’t have to switch it up because it’s summer, as this Miss Selfridge dress proves. The open hanky hem, fresh green fabric and spray of florals make this firmly a summer wedding style – we’ll wear ours with a pair of comfortable yet chic white block heels.
READ MORE: 18 Rules All Wedding Guests Should Follow
7. River Island Light Pink High Neck Smock Dress – £42
Easy, breezy and definitely beautiful, the frilled high neck and textured dobby mesh on this River Island dress make it an almost ethereal choice. Complement yours with raffia or straw accessories; it’ll work whether the wedding’s the countryside or the shoreline.
8. Kitri Stephanie Lime Jacquard Wrap Dress – £145
Not quite been brave enough to venue into the world of acid brights as of yet? Meet Kitri’s Stephanie dress, which is the ideal place to start. The sharp, zesty-lime shade is made wedding ready with the addition of a modish jacquard print – order a size down if you like your look fitted, or stick with your usual for a looser, more relaxed version.
9. Zara Textured Midi Dress – £49.99
From lilac to lavender, purple is having a major moment when it comes to wedding attire this year, and this Zara dress is the perfect way to channel the trend. Bring out its even more glamorous side by adding an oversized statement earring or hair accessory.
10. ASOS DESIGN Lace Midi Dress With Ribbon Tie and Open Back – £75
With all-over wide-woven lace, a ribbon tie at the nape of the neck and a voluminous, full skirt, this rose-coloured ASOS dress couldn’t be more swoonworthy. Swipe on your finest red lip and get ready to wow.
11. H&M Beaded Dress – £39.99
For an equally romantic but even more intricate gown, look no further than this turquoise H&M dress. It looks far more expensive than its £40 price tag, so you can keep your shoes and accessories simple and understated.
12. Mango Short Sequin Dress – £69.99
Who says sequins aren’t for summer? Certainly not us, or Mango, as it turns out, because the Spanish store just unveiled this rather spectacular little buy. A tan mule will set it off in style; keep your make-up light and natural and let the sparkle do the talking.
13. Sezane Nissa Dress – £140
Parisian brand Sezane is an expert on bringing French chic to UK shoppers (just ask the Duchess of Cambridge, who was recently spotted in one of its jumpers). The Nissa dress combines a maximalist print with an elegant pleated skirt and tie shoulders, and frankly, we can’t imagine a summer wedding location it wouldn’t work for.
14. French Connection Esi Crinkle Midi Tea Dress – £90
When it comes to wedding guest dresses, you really can’t go wrong with a tea dress, especially when it’s as floaty and fabulous as the French Connection Esi. The angel sleeves and sheer overlay in the skirt make it feel super feminine, while that pumpkin orange colour will keep all eyes on you when you enter the room.
15. Monsoon Trixie Burnout Floral Tiered Maxi Dress – £110
We’ve got two words for the Monsoon Trixie dress, and those words are blooming lovely. From the gorgeous curved neckline to the ruffled tier at the bottom, it’s a tropical vision and we are Here. For. It.
16. Ghost Margaux Midi Dress – £149
90s brand Ghost has had the resurgence to end all resurgences, and now you can barely scroll through an Instagram feed without spotting one of its cult dresses. Many of its pieces are satin or floral, but we’re rather head-over-heels for this brighter animal print number. Well, if you can’t say hello yellow in the summer months, when can you?!
17. & Other Stories Voluminous Off Shoulder Maxi Dress – £120
This frilled & Other Stories maxi dress is basically begging to be worn to a beach wedding, but would also look great anywhere from a manor house to a city hall. Our favourite detail in the marble print, which makes a refreshing change from the usual flowers or spots. Bonus: it’s also made with sustainably sourced materials.
18. Chi Chi London Chester Dress – £90
We adore the retro ’60s vibes of the Chi Chi Chester dress, and the combination of pale blue and mustard yellow feel perfectly suited to scorching summer days. The black of the halter neckline and waistband will look great extended to your accessories – add your favourite black heel and clutch for easy cohesion.
19. Next Sage Frill Jacquard Strappy Dress – £85
All hail next, champions of the wow-factor high-street maxi. This strappy sage beauty is a brilliant choice if you struggle wearing a heel, because it’ll look just as refined with some smart flat sandals.
20. Ted Baker Sayana Cabana Halter Neck Midi Dress – £149
This slinky satin Ted Baker dress makes for a seriously sexy ensemble. It’ll look equally great with gold or silver jewellery, and you could extend the metallics to your shoes and bag too. And if you’ve found your perfect ‘my lips but better’ nude lipstick, now would be the time to use it.
21. Simply Be Glamourous Floral Fit And Flare Dress – £42
If this glamorous dress doesn’t earn you at least three compliments, we’ll eat our hats (or fascinators, as the case may be). It goes up to a UK 28, and is worth every penny of its £42 price tag, because after the wedding, you can wear it again and again, to office, drinks or on your next holiday. Talk about a gift that keeps on giving.
22. Emory Park Maxi Tea Dress With Tie Waist in Gingham – £42
This Emory Park dress is a masterclass in nailing trends – not only is gingham set to be everywhere for S/S 20, it also ticks boxes for its puffed sleeves, square neckline and contemporary prairie feel. Team it with sleek, classic accessories like pearls to avoid any picnic table quips.
23. Free People Paradiso Maxi Dress – £88
For a more laid-back, boho wedding (think fields and flower crowns), Free People should absolutely be your first port of call, because you’ll uncover dozens of gems, like this Paradiso maxi dress. In addition to this jade grass colourway, it also comes in five other equally lovely shades, from meringue to mossy gold.
24. Reiss Jenna Printed Midi Dress – £245
Summer wedding, but make it monochrome? Reiss has got your back. The clean lines, geometric print and neck tie make the Jenna a timeless dress that’s a no-brainer for those who like to buy once and wear forever (well, we can’t imagine ever getting bored of a gown this glamorous).
25. Never Fully Dressed Pink Lemons Midi Dress – £79
How cute is the print on this Never Fully Dressed Pink Lemon design. The bright and fun lemons make it a lovely choice for a destination wedding, and the figure-hugging fit and cowl neck will make your silhouette look incredible.
26. Reformation Nikita Dress – £265
American brand Reformation’s designs don’t come cheap, but boy, are they worth the spend if you can stretch to it; we love the Nikita dress from its strap spaghetti-tie shoulders to the very bottom of its trumpet skirt. A straw bag would be a flawless finishing touch.
27. Next Wrap Blend Linen Dress – £40
Linen is a top fabric to look for on your quest for a wedding guest dress for summer – there’s a reason most of us invest in it for our beach breaks, as it has high permeability, which means air can flow through easily and keep your skin cool. We’re head over heels for this dotty khaki Next dress, which also comes in navy, if you prefer, and a choice of regular or petite lengths.
28. Stradivarius Printed Long Dress With Ruffles – £25.99
Balloon sleeves, tiered skirt, stunning florals; this Stradivarius dress really does have it all, and for a smidge under £26 – we’re sold. It may be long sleeved, but it’s sheer enough to still feel light and airy, and avoid any hot and sticky situations (outside of the reception dance floor, of course).
29. Zara Satin Dress – £29.99
Zara has made our summer wedding guest fantasies come to life with this dress. We can’t imagine a more subtle yet striking look to wear to watch your loved ones tie the knot. The tangerine colour is warm and vibrant, with a beautiful sheen from the satin that’ll look uber-glam in photos.
Now you’ve got your summer wedding guest dress sorted, make sure you check out our 18 rules which all wedding guests must follow! You don’t want to get caught out.