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It’s wedding season and determining who I’ll marry one day has never been lower on my to-do list. As invites and save-the-dates pile up on my kitchen counter, I’m left with a far more pressing question: what to wear to a wedding in 2022. Some couples had to postpone their big day multiple times over the last two years so they’re going bigger and better than ever. On the other hand, some are ready to get right to it and keep it simple. I have an invite for a beach wedding, a barn wedding and a “low-key” city wedding (that I’m pretty sure will be the opposite). Time’s ticking for me to say “I do” to various wedding guest dresses.
When I start my process of occasion-wear shopping, I like to scroll through my Instagram explore page and Pinterest for inspiration. Once I have a general idea of what vibe I’m going for, I consult the experts—most retailers have dedicated pages on their sites for wedding guest dresses. Amazon, for example, has an entire hub for brides, guests, bridesmaids and bachelorette parties with outfit options at every price point.
Searching through virtually every site on the internet is obviously very time-consuming. While I could keep it simple and find a classic silk dress to wear for every occasion, it isn’t in my nature to forfeit an opportunity to dress up (or wear something new and sparkly). Since I’ve spent days creating my ultimate wedding guest outfit combos, I figured I might as well share them with other guests in need (you’re welcome). Keep reading for seven complete looks, for seven venues. I haven’t reached 21 Dresses status yet, but it’s only a matter of time.
Let’s kick things off with the best venue: the beach. As a guest, I’m always excited to attend a beach wedding because I know I’m in for a beautiful, breezy night. Because of the atmosphere, beach weddings usually end up being a bit more casual than other venues. This means you can be comfortable and play up your accessories. This year, I’m excited to wear bright colors to beach weddings and glow in my golden hour Instagram pics.
Kyra Maxi Dress
This lime dress is a total vibe for a beach wedding (which is the perfect venue to show a little more skin). You’re guaranteed to get great photos with the ocean in the background against the dress’ tangy hue.
Jamm-3 Slide Sandal
Let’s be honest, your shoes won’t probably stay on for long at a beach wedding. This pair is easy to slip on and off.
H.O.W. We Are Chic Top Handle Bag
I love adding an unexpected pop of color and this orange bag is the cutest statement piece. Plus, you’ll want to use it all summer long.
If you’re attending a city wedding, your cool factor automatically just went up. City weddings aren’t for everyone because they can be a bit of a logistical nightmare (can you imagine fitting 200 people into any restaurant in New York City?). Carrie Bradshaw is the ultimate city wedding muse so it’s only appropriate that I recommend the Norma Kamali dress that she wore in the Sex and the City reebot.
A city wedding gives you the opportunity to wear something sleek and modern. This Norma Kamali dress
is known for being incredibly flattering and you’ll be able to wear it to many other events.
Carmen Heeled Sandal
You’ll have to explain to everyone that these heels aren’t Bottega Veneta and that they’re actually just really good Steve Madden dupes
for under $100.
Les Petit Bag
Since the dress and shoe combination is simple, you have room to play up your accessories. I love this unexpected fringe evening bag.
I have yet to attend a traditional wedding in a place of worship so I’m pulling inspiration from the royals. Wearing a sophisticated (and more conservative) dress is always a good call but that doesn’t mean you can’t put some personality into your accessories. Instead of wearing a huge hat (unless that’s your vibe, then please do), rock a statement bag like a feather clutch.
Low-Back Bias Dress
Anthropologie has a great selection of wedding guest dresses in regular, petite and plus sizes. This low-back dress shows just a bit of skin while still being conservative enough to wear in a setting like a church.
Rosie Ankle Tie Sandal
Ankle tie sandals are one of my favorite shoe trends because the style elongates the leg and looks super chic. This pair by Open Edit looks way more expensive than it is.
Ostrich Feather Embellished Clutch
This feather clutch comes with a chain cross-body strap so you can wear it hands-free with ease.
There is something so dreamy about a rustic barn wedding (it’s probably the inevitable string lights). I’m personally planning on going in a floral super-feminine direction with my barn wedding look. I love how delicate florals and ruffles contrast against the aging barn and you won’t look over or underdressed.
Ruffled Floral Dress
This ruffled floral dress is perfect for a barn wedding location because while it’s formal, it still matches a more rustic vibe. The delicate sleeves elevate the dress and people won’t believe that you got it for only $50.
High Heeled Platform Sandals
This pair of pink heels add an extra girly flair to the look.
Mini Pleated Clutch With Bow
This girly bag with bow detailing will hold all of your essentials for the night.
Please consider this my official plea to be invited to your vineyard wedding—I already have an outfit! Play into the shades of the vineyard (and the wine of course) by wearing green, yellow, blue or shades of purple and red. A vineyard is a setting where I’d feel comfortable wearing a short dress as long as the dress’s details can make up for the lack of length: puff-sleeves, ruffles and bows are all fair game.
Wearing a short dress to a wedding is totally ok as long as it’s still formal enough for the venue. This tiered Ulla Johnson dress
looks like it was made for a day of wine tasting at a vineyard.
Braided Heel Sandal
of affordable heels come in 18 (!) different colors so you can pick the shade to dance the night away.
Sac Mini Bag
Forget a clutch and go for this wrist-sling bag instead
! The smooth leather will rest comfortably on your arm all evening.
If the invitation says black-tie, that is your opportunity to treat the evening like your personal Met Gala. Since you literally can’t be over-dressed, go all out! Play into formal trends like feathers, sequins and oversized silhouettes to make your look stand out.
Floral Sequin Midi Dress With Feathers
A fancier dress code means more room to have some fun with a fashion statement! This sequined dress with feather trim is reminds me The Great Gatsby in the best way.
Strappy Tie Mid Heel Sandals in Green
The dress has a lot going on so it’s best to keep the shoe choice on the simpler side. This pair will compliment the dress without competing with it.
Think out of the box and get this box handbag to compliment the look.
If the bride is having a garden wedding, there’s a good chance she’s a Bridgerton fan. Use the garden as your mood board and lean into shades of pink. Anything from a slip dress to a corset-style gown works in a garden setting—just be careful not to mistake the venue for being casual. A dramatic floor-length dress is absolutely the way to go.
I’m personally a major fan of the brand Fanm Mon which specializes in dreamy linen dresses. This pink ruffled gown takes the garden theme literally (in the best way) and will look stunning in photos.
Antilique Strappy Sandal
This pair of strappy heels go with everything so you’ll be able to get your money’s worth throughout the summer.
Ruffled Fabric Shoulder Bag
A surprise pop of color always serves a look well. This ruffled bag modernizes the linen dress.