The Best Dresses for Summer Weddings, According to Our Style Editor
Summer in the South means three things: mosquitos, stifling humidity, and weddings. Lots of weddings. And with every joyous occasion comes an opportunity to ace the dress code test—or fail it. Dressing appropriately for weddings is hard enough to figure out the rest of the year (these vague references to attire are too much for our little hearts to bear), but add warm weather and breezy venues, and it only gets more difficult! But don’t fear: We’ve found six dresses that will solve all of your summer wedding wardrobe woes, whether the happy couple is celebrating in a rustic barn in the afternoon or a ritzy country club after dark.
When it comes to dress codes, summertime black tie weddings are a little more relaxed than their winter counterparts, so you’ll likely see a little bit of everything at these occasions. The venue also often determines just how formal you should go, but there are a few tried-and-true rules to live by, no matter where it’s held: Stick to midi- or full-length dresses, keep fabrics in mind (a cotton maxi won’t fit the bill, but a silk or brocade tea-length dress certainly will), and remember the transformative power of dynamite accessories and a good pair of heels.
Buy it here: Nicole Miller New York Sleeveless Cutout Back Printed Hi Low Gown, $158; dillards.com
As with summertime black tie weddings, you’ll probably see a little bit of everything at cocktail-attire weddings in the warm-weather months. Depending on the venue, you can turn up the formality or take it down a notch with your accessories. Really like to break it down? A tailored tea-length jumpsuit in crepe or silk is equally appropriate for the festivities.
Buy it here: Asymmetrical Crepe Fit & Flare Dress, $92; nordstrom.com
Florals? For a garden wedding? Groundbreaking. The Devil Wears Prada’sMiranda Priestly may think it’s a little expected, but if there’s a more appropriate place to wear a vibrant floral pattern than a garden wedding, we haven’t found it. Ruffle sleeves, linen, and a red-orange + pink color pairing make this pick feel especially fresh.
Buy it here: Floral Print Linen Tunic, $69.90; zara.com
Morning weddings call for delightfully ladylike looks. Fil coupé polka dots, chiffon-covered buttons, and a fluttery skirt that hits just below the knee earn this sweet lilac swing dress a spot on the winner’s podium. Stick to fresh, dewy makeup and delicate accessories for an ensemble that really hits the mark.
Buy it here: Hillary Clip Dot Chiffon Midi Dress in Lilac, $168; nordstrom.com
Spoiler! This isn’t a dress. A beach wedding is an excuse to lighten up and have a little more fun, especially when it comes to your wedding guest wardrobe. Trade your typical maxi for a patterned jumpsuit. With statement jewelry and a woven clutch, it feels just as light-hearted, plus you can boogie on down—and catch the sea breeze—without worrying about any unexpected, or unwelcome, reveals.
Buy it here: J. Crew Striped Halter Jumpsuit in Tushar Stripe Lighthouse, $148; jcrew.com
Afternoon weddings, especially those held beneath sprawling mossy oaks or on a farm, allow for more casual ensembles. A sundress with fun accessories and wedges is appropriate, as is a pretty blouse paired with a midi skirt. The color-blocked tiers on this fun-loving party pick dial up the festive vibes.
Buy it here: Tiered Halter Dress, $89.50; loft.com