With a number of brides and grooms forced to cancel their nuptials in 2020 due to the pandemic, 2021 is bound to be crammed full of wedding festivities. Thanks to vaccines, social distancing and mask mandates have begun lessening (via Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), but now we’re faced with a whole new dilemma — what wedding guest dress to purchase. After filling our closets with a year’s worth of sweats and athleisure, dressing up in your Sunday best may feel foreign.
Choosing the perfect dress that leaves you looking effortlessly hot (without upstaging the bride, of course) and comfortable enough to twerk at the reception is a mammoth task. But, fear not! We’re here to quell any lingering outfit anxiety. Professional stylist Donna McCulloch urges guests to “go big or go home to make the most of overdue wedding celebrations,” via Image.
Embrace the summer wedding look by ditching heavy fabrics like velvet and tweed in exchange for lightweight, flowing materials. With the help of some fashion experts, we amassed a list of the best wedding guest dresses, ranging from casual backyard reception frocks all the way to cathedral couture, that will have you saying YES to the dress.
There is no need to choose between comfort and style at summer weddings
Women’s Health Magazine assures us that we no longer need to choose between comfort and style with The Ellie Nap Dress. The dress in question is designed to be so comfortable that you can, well … nap in it. This dress is 100% cotton and 1000% flattering, thanks to its A-line shape, elasticated smocking, ruffled shoulders, and tiered midi skirt (via Hill House Home). If you’re looking for a casual chic option that’ll trick fellow attendees into thinking you’re in a Marc Jacobs fragrance ad, look no further than this hybrid garment.
Another comfortable option both us and Brides are obsessed with is the Lulus Multi Floral Print Halter Maxi Dress. The retro design includes a vintage silhouette, braided waist, neck ties, and pops of bright orange, yellow, and green (via Lulus). The lightweight chiffon material and open back will leave you feeling cool throughout any outdoor ceremony. Tobi head stylist Joanna Angeles calls halter necks and backless cuts both “flattering and perfect for hot summer nights” (via InStyle). Opt for the matching Fleur Real Green Multi Floral Print Scarf Ponytail Holder to complete the look.
Take a risk at summer weddings with fabric, color, or prints
There’s less pressure with weddings boasting smaller guest lists, so use the opportunity to take a risk. Stylist Cate Pope advises guests to, “Ditch the paisley or the boho and opt for unexpected fabrics and interesting cut outs” (via InStyle), like the Gabriela Hearst Greil Maxi Dress. The black leather bralette, waist cutouts, and airy cotton maxi skirt (via Net-A-Porter) are the perfect recipe for creating “a strong, confident and modern look.”
Boldness also means embracing color. “If quarantine has taught us anything, it’s that life is short, [so] show up and celebrate in COLOR,” says television host and stylist Melissa Chataigne (via InStyle). She recommends Ramy Brook’s Mel High Neck Midi Dress in Crimson Orange to turn heads your direction. The vivid color, edgy hardware, and twisted front waist band all come together to create a figure flattering silhouette (via Ramy Brook).
Finally, if playing with prints is more your calling card, Women’s Health Magazine vouches for Anthropologie’s Nerida Midi Dress. Created by Australian fashion designer Roopa Pemmaraju, this sustainable, cotton deep-V gown is a reflection of cultural exchange with its pattern of florals, fronds, and subtle sequins.
Summer weddings mean playing with separates and jumpsuits
There’s no set rule stating you have to wear a dress to a wedding. Opt for a fun matching set or jumpsuit to truly stand out (in a good way). Brides calls the Agua by Agua Bendita set”a stunning alternative to a traditional wedding guest dress.” The set, crafted from lightweight linen, features a square neckline top with short bell sleeves and an A-line floral printed maxi skirt (via Moda Operandi).
For a comfy pant option, the New York Post suggests the ban.do Easy Jumpsuit for more casual dress codes. But this plaid picnic pattern jumpsuit could easily be dressed up with the right accessories. The light weight, yarn dyed fabric is made of 100% cotton and is machine washable (via ban.do). And most importantly … it has pockets! Yay!
Another New York Post proposal is the Express Pleated Halter Culotte Jumpsuit. The pleated polyester jumpsuit features a back keyhole cut-out with button closure and a removable tie belt (via Express). Its flowing pant legs will literally give you a leg up on the dance floor. Remember to have fun, but don’t be the absolutely crazy person at the party.
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