Wedding Attire As a Guest.

Wedding Attire As a Guest
la ligne dress

In my weekly email newsletter I have a Q&A series and for the past month or so, nearly every question has been around what to wear to any and every sort of wedding. Everything from daytime to black tie to more niche ideas like western (I have no idea on that one I am sorry) and beyond.

Choosing the right outfits to wear to a wedding can be challenging, especially after a pandemic! In a recent issue of Girls Night In, my friend Alisha joked that she needed a couch to 5k program for slippers to stilettos (or something along those lines). I need that too, but even more around small talk and socializing. Today I am rounding up lots of pretty and accessories. I went with three main themes: evening/black tie, day time, and beach. In between, I’ve also answered several reader questions. I hope this is helpful!

I would also add that Rent the Runway is amazing for wedding / events season! In fact, I have a partnership with them over on Instagram and my code is GRACE if you want to try it out and get 40% off the first two months of your plan. That being said, let’s dive in! I have rounded up my favorite ideas for black tie, day time, and the beach!

Wedding Attire As A Guest

Black Tie Wedding

Below I have rounded up a few of my personal favorite black tie dresses, shoes, etc. I have to be honest, I love formal wedding attire. It is so fun to get really, really dressed up and just have a NIGHT.

Wedding Attire As A Guest Black tie wedding guest attire

collage details: one // two // three // four // five // six // seven // eight // nine // ten // eleven // twelve // thirteen // fourteen // fifteen // sixteen // seventeen // eighteen // nineteen // twenty

Colorful Black Tie Outfit Ideas

I’ve included a lot of colorful dresses here as those are my personal favorite for black tie or black tie optional. My rule with a colorful formal dress is that I keep the rest of the look simple. So something like these nude sandals (a splurge but really comfortable and so chic), a big gold earring maybe, and hair slicked back into a low bun.

Black Tie Outfit Ideas

Classic Black Dresses

With a black dress, you can have a bit more fun. My favorite black tie outfit in a while is what I wore to the FLA’s. This asymmetrical black dress with these sparkly blue heels and my Grainne Morton earrings. I also LOVE this black feather dress, which I brought with me to Vienna. It is so sophisticated and elegant. I wore it with simple black sandals and a bold red lip. Note: for this brand, your dress is made to order so it won’t arrive for a while. It’s worth the wait!

Black Tie Hair

I am a big fan of wearing your hair in a low bun for black tie. These bobbie pins are the perfect way to add a little interest! Otherwise, I love a sleek blowout, waves, and a side part!

A few reader questions: 

Q: At the end of this month I am attending a family wedding at the Gibbes Museum. The theme is a black-tie masquerade party. Since it is a family wedding, I don’t want to wear anything too revealing and I also want to be comfortable. The party is outside where it’s gravel. Does such an outfit exist? Your help is much appreciated. Style – colorful since it’s springtime. budget – $500 or less. 

A: This event sounds fun… can I come? This green dress really speaks to me for that sort of event. Black tie w/gravel is so tricky (I have had a few events there so I know exactly what you are talking about). A wedge would be too casual, but I think that the Margaux City Sandal could be absolutely perfect for your event! It’s comfortable and elegant, but the slightly chunky heel will be good on the gravel.

Q: My sister’s second wedding is coming up at the end of May. It will be small, maybe around 30 people, and at a trendy restaurant with really good food and cocktails. I’d love some dress recommendations that walk the line between fancy and fun. Definitely not too formal – no first wedding vibes 🙂 I’d like to spend $250 or less!

A: Walking the line between fancy and fun… I love this Amanda Uprichard dress (the color is stunning) and it just got marked down to $243. Potentially too sexy but I love this ultra chic black dress from Cinq á Sept. This fit & flare dress is slightly higher than your budget but SO fun, I love the color and pattern. Also just slightly over budget (but if you love yellow, the color is just magical) this little yellow mini dress is so fun.

Q: I’m in a wedding this June in Carmel, CA. The wedding is at a beautiful winery and I’m looking for a dress for the rehearsal dinner the night before. I haven’t been to CA in forever so unsure what the nighttime temperature situation may be, but it is June? Willing to spend $300-$350 on a dress I could ideally wear for other fancy occasions or as a wedding guest dress to another wedding!

A: I feel you on nighttime temperature… definitely pack a wrap! For wine country/a winery I always think of Reformation. I really love this (comes in so many gorgeous colors), this, or this!

Daytime Wedding

And here are some of my favorite daytime wedding ideas! Most summer weddings (at least the ones I have been to) are of the daytime variety… with an outdoor ceremony trickling into an evening reception. My goal is always to put together a look that is fun and festive but can easily transition from outside onto the dance floor.

A note about shoes!

For me, the biggest thing with a daytime event is always the shoes. You need a block heel! These Sarah Flint wedges are going to be my summer event shoes (I am old and don’t have any weddings this summer but I do have a lot of summer parties). A block heel will also do, you know how much I love my Loeffler Randall gold heels. I also highly recommend these Margaux heels, they are fabulous. Tall enough to make your legs look amazing, but comfortable enough to dance in, all night long. (I wore them to my 40th birthday and they passed the test of a very late night of dancing).

Daytime Wedding guest dresses Daytime Wedding guest outfits

collage details: one // two // three // four // five // six // seven // eight // nine // ten // eleven // twelve // thirteen // fourteen // fifteen // sixteen // seventeen // eighteen

Reader Questions: 

Q: My brother in law is getting married in Park City this summer in an outdoor, very casual ceremony.  I’d like to find something that can blend in as part of the family but is still fun and a bit special.  Since most of the (dress wearing) guests will likely be wearing cotton sundresses and this is not a high fashion crowd, I’m at a loss for what to wear! My ideal dress is jewel toned, in a fabric that works for outdoor settings (eg not satin), and nothing too tight or micro mini (I have little kids and wiping faces is tough in super short outfits). I’m built a lot like you but with wider hips, if that helps. $500 budget, but if we can stay under $300 I might top it off with the Loeffler Randall mules you love so much. Thank you!

A: I am not sure if this is going to be too dressy but since you said jewel tones and hips, I thought of this dress from Intermix which I bought a month or two ago and really love. I would also recommend this La Ligne dress which I have and love and have been wearing so often… La Ligne’s dresses tend to be cut tighter up top (which I like as I’ll skip a bra) and flowy through the hips. I feel like this dress can work in so many situations… you can make it more fashiony and dressy with a higher heel and more jewelry, or you can keep things casual.

Q: I have my brother’s wedding in Mexico in May and need a dress. The venue is more of a desert wedding than a beach wedding and I need a dress that I can easily travel with! Budget is $200.

A: I hear you on dresses that easily travel… I was just in LA and forgot my travel steamer… So I spent WAY too much time with the hotel iron trying to get all the wrinkles out of my dress. I personally love this pale blue dress ($119) or this green dress ($149). Both look like they’d travel well, and the colors would look pretty against a desert backdrop.

Peach Dress + Pearls wedding outfit

Peach Dress + Pearls

This Tanya Taylor dress is one of my absolute favorites. It pairs so well with this La Ligne bag! I’d wear this with the gold Loeffler Randall heels, above.

Beach Wedding

For a beach wedding, I like to go a little bit more boho. Easy slides (or lace up espadrilles / flats), and a floaty, diaphanous dress. On the bags front, there is no one doing straw bags and clutches quite as well as Pamela Munson. I love everything she does so so much.

Beach Wedding dresses Beach Wedding guest dresses

collage details: one // two (on sale!) // three // four // five // six // seven // eight // nine // ten // eleven // twelve // thirteen // fourteen (only $41!) // fifteen // sixteen // seventeen // eighteen

Disclosure: If you buy something through my links, I may earn an affiliate commission, at no cost to you. I only feature things I truly love here. Thanks for your support.

photography by Laura Saur.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment


  1. Dori:

    This was great! Such a good resource!

    4.25.22 Reply
    • grace at the stripe:

      So glad it was helpful! Thanks!

      4.25.22 Reply
  2. Shana:

    gorgeous round up and so thoughtful – thank you! i agree that with an outdoor wedding comment, shoes are the tricky and i usually have to start there and work up, not ideal 🙂

    4.25.22 Reply
    • grace at the stripe:

      Thank you! And yes, agreed… I prefer to start with the dress and build out my accessories from there. But it’s kind of the reverse when there is grass or sand.

      4.25.22 Reply
  3. Beth:

    This was so helpful, thank you!

    4.25.22 Reply
    • grace at the stripe:

      I am so glad!!!

      4.25.22 Reply
  4. Larissa:

    Grace, this is by FAR the best wedding dress roundup I’ve seen this year–THANK YOU for putting in the time and effort to find and share your recs!

    4.25.22 Reply
    • grace at the stripe:

      Thank you! It was a lot of work, so I really appreciate the note!

      4.25.22 Reply
  5. Ellen:

    Hi Grace – fantastic roundup. But when I click on link 8 for the deep orange dress it says link not found.


    4.25.22 Reply
  6. Tiffany:

    These are great suggestions! It would be fun if those asking for help reported back – a blog post of what they wore would be a great follow up!

    4.25.22 Reply
  7. Molly:

    Thank you so much for this – it’s SO helpful (for more than just weddings, too – you’ve got some great pieces here for some fancier summer dinners1)

    One question – how do you find the Loeffler Randall sandals (and the Dolce Vita ones too, but I cannot remember if you have them?) are for dancing? They would be perfect for a wedding I’m going to in August but we are a big dancing crowd and I’m worried about sliding out of them on the dance floor. Thank you!!!

    4.25.22 Reply
    • grace at the stripe:

      The Loefflers are great. My feet do slide out a little (but honestly, at that point I take the shoes off and dance barefoot), the Dolce Vitas are a little bit harder. For dancing, nothing beats the Margaux uptown sandal. No slipping off, + they are really really comfortable. I danced in them til 2am on my 40th birthday if that is any indication 😉

      4.25.22 Reply
      • Molly:

        Thank you for the honest review! I might just have to come up with another excuse to get them because they are just that fab!

        4.25.22 Reply
        • grace at the stripe:

          no prob! They really are so comfortable. The Dolce Vitas are less comfortable but they’re a lot higher, for a higher sandal they are still quite comfortable.

          4.26.22 Reply
  8. mary:

    I really love that black dress on you. So chic!

    4.26.22 Reply
    • grace at the stripe:

      thank you!

      4.26.22 Reply
  9. Maggie:

    All of these dresses are so fabulous, it’s a bummer that my wedding attending days have just about concluded. But a friend is throwing herself a graduation party this summer after completing her MBA and it’ll be cocktail attire, so I’ve already started browsing dresses online for that. I really wanted to get the Somerset mini dress from Anthropologie, but rumor has it that it’s VERY mini (short) and at 6’ it sounds like that’s not the route I want to go. But at least I have one dress up event to look forward to!

    5.7.22 Reply
    • grace at the stripe:

      I know, I feel the same! I actually have two this fall which is exciting, but generally speaking yes, wedding attending is pretty much no longer a thing for me!

      5.8.22 Reply
    • grace at the stripe:

      And yes – I think the Somerset mini might be too short… it is short-ish on me and I’m 5’8!

      5.8.22 Reply
  10. Katherin:

    Beautiful options for a younger set.
    I’m 61 and need to hide a waist with more than love handles due to medication weight.
    Would love to see some options that flatter my age.
    I have a semi-formal beach wedding in Sept. at an exclusive resort. Need pre and post dresses too. Oh, and the bride decided to take the option of wearing white, cream and black away! Help!

    7.31.23 Reply