Want to be the best-dressed wedding guest? Use our outfit guide, which includes summer- and winter-appropriate outfits from Asos, Mango and Simply Be
Wedding season is upon us – albeit in a slightly different capacity than we’re used to – leaving many invitees with the age-old dilemma of what to wear. And it’s a quandary that’s only worsened by the fact some ceremonies require more formal attire, while others are more casual.
But, on the whole, dress codes feel rather passé. A hat is mostly outdated, and thankfully there’s no shame in re-wearing the same outfit time and time again.
You should opt for something fun and versatile – the best types of outfits are those that will make you not only look good but, most importantly, feel good.
Invest in hardworking, timeless pieces that you can dress up to go to a church ceremony, or down for a picnic in the park – that way you will keep the cost per wear low. Plus, it’s more sustainable.
To help you on your quest to being the best-dressed guest, we’ve compiled a comprehensive directory of the brands you need to know, covering everything from winter and summer dresses to plus-size and long-sleeve numbers. Consider this your foolproof guide to nailing every ceremony you go to.
You can trust our independent round-ups. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
Summer wedding guest dresses
& Other Stories, Stories.com
With its extensive and ever-popular range of floaty minis and midis, there’s no denying that Scandi-brand & Other Stories has become a go-to for those searching for summer dresses. As such, it’s a great choice for wedding guest outfits too. Our favourite? This flowy puff-sleeve midi dress (£85, Stories.com), styled with a pair of strappy leather heeled sandals (£85, Stories.com) and a chunky gold necklace (£17, Stories.com).
Of course, there’s no denying that fashion retailer Asos is an ideal destination for wedding guest dresses, whatever the season, but its offering for summer is stellar. Despite having an extensive roster of high street labels, its own brand, Asos Design, has a great collection, from midi dresses (£38, Asos.com) to puff-sleeved minis (£85, Asos.com).
French Connection, Frenchconnection.com
With its summer-ready fabrics and prints, the dresses at French Connection are ideal for warmer climes, so a great choice particularly if you’re attending a wedding abroad. If it were us, we’d go for the Elitan river daisy drape midi dress (£120, Frenchconnection.com), which boasts sheer puff sleeves.
As brands go, H&M is known for its lightweight, floaty designs that are great for summer. And this light orange off-the-shoulder dress (£19.99, Hm.com), which features a pretty ditsy print and side slit, ticks every box you’re likely to have when it comes to wedding guest dressing – wear with a double-breasted blazer (£24.99, Hm.com). For something a little bolder, you can’t go wrong with this red back-laced dress (£24.99, Hm.com).
Realisation Par, Realisationpar.com
If you’re looking to invest in a stand-out wedding guest dress that you can wear time and again, head straight to Realisation Par. The Australian girl-next-door brand specialises in effortless slips and ditsy print dresses, making it a stand-out for summer. The brand’s Alba dress (£230, Realisationpar.com) comes in a milk-maid silhouette and is cut to a midi length. Boasting a firm, fitted bodice and pretty purple print, it’s a dress you can rely on.
The luxury sleepwear brand needs little introduction and is a firm favourite of ours here at IndyBest. Its linen dresses are ideal for a wedding on a hot summer’s day and are available in a range of colourways. You can’t go wrong with its latest number, the Belle linen dress (£197, The-sleeper.com), with its shirred bodice and square neckline. While it is an investment, it’ll become a mainstay in your wardrobe for years to come.
Zara’s lesser-known sister brand, Uterqüe is a top choice for its affordable yet sophisticated dresses. Sticking to a floaty formula, this flowing green gingham dress (£135, Uterque.com) is ideal for summer weddings, but will be something you’ll wear for other occasions too.
Winter wedding guest dresses
All Saints, Allsaints.com
Known for its stellar leather jackets, All Saints might not always be your first choice when it comes to dresses, but it does some beautiful designs. If you’ve got a winter wedding, this ondra two-in-one dress (£199, Allsaints.com) is a particularly strong choice – a slinky slip is layered with a cropped, button-up cardigan for extra warmth. Plus, the conker brown colour is perfectly autumnal.
At the more expensive end of the high street, Jigsaw’s pieces are likely to stand the test of time, meaning the cost per wear will be low. Unsure what to look for? We love this boat neck fit and flare (£45, Jigsaw-online.com) dress. With its gorgeous golden brown colour and satin-look fabric, it offers the optimal amount of statement, while it has long sleeves for extra warmth.
One of our favourite French It-girl brands, Maje produces high-quality dresses for all seasons, but its autumn and winter collections always stand out. This ruffled midi dress (£379, Maje.com) is ideal for the colder seasons thanks to its dark colourway and metallic threading. Plus, it can be worn during the festive period, adding to its versatility.
Often associated with tailoring, which Reiss really does excel at, its dresses are also fabulous. Opting for a dark colourway is the way to go for winter, and we love this Paulina embroidered mini dress (£185, Reiss.com), which we’d wear with tights and a leather jacket (£376, Reiss.com).
Another favourite for its winter staples, last year Reserved surprised us with its extensive offering, making it an ideal one to bookmark for the next ceremony you attend. This floaty, floral number (£39.99, Reserved.com) is a great choice for winter weddings thanks to its formal design and khaki colourway.
Plus-size wedding guest dresses
Whether you’re attending a formal wedding or something more laidback, there’s plenty to choose from at Curvissa, which stocks more than 3,000 high-quality pieces at pocket-friendly prices. While florals didn’t suffice for Miranda Priestly, we can’t fault this green printed mini dress (£29, Curvissa.co.uk) with its verdant colourway and bold print.
A staple on the high street since the Thirties, make Evans your go-to for chic designs in UK sizes 14-32. You can expect affordable occasionwear that you’ll re-wear time and again. Looking for something slinky? Try this baby frill dress (£80, Evans.co.uk) paired with these slingback flatform espadrilles (£22.40, Evans.co.uk).
Nobody’s Child, Nobodyschild.com
Having recently extended its clothing offer to include extended sizes, one of our favourite eco-conscious brands knows how to do occasionwear. A great choice for winter and summer alike, for the latter we’d opt for this green and black ditsy dress (£39, Nobodyschild.com), accessorising with a padded, velvet headband (£8, Etsy.com).
Violeta by Mango, Mango.com
Featuring in our guide to the best plus-size brands, Violeta by Mango boasts an extensive range of trend-led pieces. If you’re unsure about which wedding guest look to plump for, this ruffle printed dress (£59.99, Mango.com) is ideal for a summer shindig.
Simply Be, Simplybe.co.uk
A firm favourite when it comes to plus-size clothing, Simply Be not only has an exceptional collection of own-brand clothing, it also stocks a range of popular labels such as Tommy Hilfiger. For a wedding guest outfit, look no further than this crinkle wrap midi (£39, Simplybe.co.uk) – featuring a statement red and pink colour scheme and animal print, it’s bound to stand out.
Long-sleeve wedding guest dresses
With M&S recently adding British brand Finery to its roster, you can trust it’s a label to know. Founded by former Asos and Topshop directors, it offers playful styles, contemporary silhouettes and luxe touches. While of course it offers short-sleeve numbers, its collection of long-sleeve dresses is exemplary. For something fun and floaty, make a beeline to this knee-length green floral dress (£49, Finerylondon.com).
A firm favourite among the A-listers – including the likes of Kate Middleton, who wore a dress from the brand for her anniversary photo with husband Prince William – it’s also a popular choice for wedding guests and bridesmaids alike. With its signature vintage-inspired aesthetic and delicate floral and star prints, we’re obsessed. Unsure what to go for? The Madison dress (£145, Ghost.co.uk) is fun, floaty and totally gorgeous.
Haeni Kim founded this small independent brand after growing increasingly frustrated by being unable to find hard-working, well-made hero pieces that didn’t break the bank. Understanding that people want to feel fancy but comfortable, its long-sleeve dresses (and entire range, for that matter) are phenomenal. If blue is your colour of choice, we don’t think it gets much better than the Norah dress (£165, Kitristudio.com) with its ivory floral print and cornflower colourway.
It’s hard not to love sustainable fashion brand Omnes, a label founded on the idea that eco-friendly clothing doesn’t need to be expensive. Launching in 2020, everything is responsibly sourced and accessibly priced. We are such a big fan of the brand, it came out top of our review of the best women’s ethical fashion pieces for £50 and under. And we’ve got our eye on this pink check reversible midi dress (£75, Omnes.com) – not only does it have long sleeves, but it can be worn for just about every eventuality.
Ethical luxury brand Seraphina prioritises sustainability and high-quality fabrics to make sure its ethos of slow fashion is consistently realised. The result? Beautifully handmade clothing that is made to last. Luckily its collection of long-sleeve dresses is extensive, our favourite being this pink dress (£295, Seraphinalondon.com) with its ruffled detailing and tiered design. Want to match with your little one? Check out the brand’s mini-me collection.
Temperly London, Temperleylondon.com
British designer Alice Temperley makes occasionwear dresses like no other, and her label is a particularly great go-to for long-sleeve designs. For something bright, bold and elegant, turn to this pink wrap dress (£240, Temperleylondon.com) and style with a pair of white strappy heeled sandals (£85, Stories.com).
Elegant wedding guest dresses
It should come as no surprise that we’ve featured Whistles as a top destination for elegant wedding outfits. While of course a popular choice for bridalwear and bridesmaids dresses, it stands out for its effortless looks for guests too. This camo safari midi dress (£169, Whistles.com) is the perfect way to welcome in the summer party season with its soft yellows and pinks.
Paloma Wool, Palomawool.com
Instagram It-girl brand Paloma Wool makes some of the most beautiful outfits we’ve seen, and if you’re looking for a slinky number, it’s got to be the Hilton (£142, Palomawool.com). Made from 95 per cent silk, it’s backless, boasts a deep V-neck and is everything you’d want and more from an elegant wedding guest dress.
This US-brand earned its cult status thanks to it becoming a destination for floaty, feminine and vintage-inspired dresses and blouses. But it’s also got strong environmental and sustainability credentials. You’re bound to be the best-dressed guest in the Juliette dress (£218, Thereformation.com), which is slim fitting through the bodice and boasts a relaxed skirt. This brand is an ideal destination for winter and summer weddings alike.
Having recently launched its debut bridal collection, Rixo is also the perfect destination for elegant wedding guest dresses. Its instantly recognisable vintage-inspired pieces mean it offers everything from party-ready minis to timeless midis. Our favourite is this 100 per cent silk vintage rose number (£255, Rixo.co.uk) thanks to its backless detailing. The long sleeves and high neckline counter the shorter hemline, making it an ideal choice for the upcoming wedding season.
Loved by the likes of Gigi Hadid, Sandro is the epitome of Parisian cool – think lace dresses, sleek tailoring and staples with a twist. If you’re after effortless elegance, allow these pieces to elevate your everyday wardrobe. And we think there’s no better dress than this yellow long dress (£219, Sandro-paris.com) for summer soirées.
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Looking for more outfit inspiration? Read our guide to the best summer dresses for every occasion
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