Wedding Guest Fashion Inspiration | Save, Spend, or Splurge!

August 3, 2013·
our wedding photo by Katelyn James Photography

What does a wedding guest wear to a WEDDING?! That is the question…

An awesome reader of mine sent me this email the other day:

Hi Molly!

I’m going to a wedding! It’s in California! It’s in 14 days and I have no idea what to wear. It’s at 4:30pm [church service] and then the wedding reception is after! I don’t know what to wear… It’s like smack in the middle of the afternoon. The bride says the dress code is formal but it’s California so I don’t know how much room there is for that. I was thinking of a Lilly dress BUT it’s a sundress and I need a dress that will also fit for the evening since the reception is at night. Can you help?!

Oh man – sometimes we totally overthink or stress out about what to wear as a guest to a wedding. Because you never want to be the girl that is TOO dressy and you never want to be the girl that is way UNDER dressed. So, how do you find the perfect balance?

Well, the keys to finding the PERFECT wedding guest attire are:

  • Look for classic cuts / shapes: You can’t go wrong with an a-line cut dress or an empire waist dress. Dresses with classic cuts and shapes always win!
  • Look for classic patterns / colors: It’s TOTALLY fine to wear a pop of color to a wedding – you don’t HAVE to stick to just black or navy (although black or navy you CAN’T go wrong!) – but just stick to patterns and colors that have that “classic” and “timeless” feel.
  • If you go for “trendy” – incorporate a “classic” cut or “classic” accessories: Trendy is totally fine to rock at a wedding, in fact, it’s super fun! So if you go for a trendy pattern on the dress, stick with a classic cut like a-line. Or, stick with classic accessories like nude pumps and pearls. If you’re unsure, don’t mix too many trends into one look.

Now, all the above tips are really meant for the wedding where you’re just “not sure” what the attire is or what to wear. If you KNOW it’s a trendy wedding, then go all out. If you KNOW it’s a casual wedding, then have fun! If you’re just NOT SURE what to wear that will transition well from ceremony to reception, stick with the classics – you can’t go wrong.

Now, for some actual SHOPPING IDEAS!

This reader was looking to spend $150-$175 on the dress for the wedding. I found some awesome options that would be great for ANY wedding (and really any time… because some of these dresses are so darn cute).

I have three categories: SAVE ($75 or less), SPEND ($75-$149), or SPLURGE ($150 or more). Links to where you can buy / look at each dress below the images.

SAVE Options ($75 or less):

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 (you should see the back of this dress!)


SPEND Options ($75-$149):

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5


SPLURGE Options ($75-$149):

1 / 2 (<—totally my favorite dress) / 3 / 4

So which one is YOUR favorite? What are your keys to being a well-dressed wedding guest?