Sunnier skies, warmer temperatures and higher rates of bachelorette-bearing pedal pubs wheeling around the streets of downtown Austin can only mean one thing: Wedding season is coming.
In the U.S., wedding season runs from late spring into early fall, reaching its peak in June, July and August. If you’ve got an event or two this upcoming season, you may already be feverishly trying to think up a gift, brainstorming your maid of honor speech and deciding what to wear.
Related: The Most Stunning Women’s Wedding Suits for a Gigantic Impression
On that last one, we can help. At RetailMeNot, it wouldn’t be inaccurate — albeit a bit boastful — to call ourselves professional wedding shoppers. We’ve already written about the best women’s wedding suits and flower girl dresses, as well as affordable wedding dresses and things that often get left off the registry. Now, we’re ready to take on this behemoth topic: what, oh what, should you wear to a wedding as a guest?
How To Choose a Wedding Guest Outfit With a Dress Code
Before you begin your shopping journey, take a moment to review the dress code specified on the wedding invitation. The kind of dress you wear to a black-tie or formal event will be different from a cocktail or casual wedding. For your reference, here’s a quick rundown of the different wedding dress codes:
- White-tie Wedding: The most formal of all dress codes, white-tie wedding attire means a formal dress: like an evening gown with a full-length A-line or sheath silhouette or a floor-length ball gown.
- Black-tie Wedding: The second strictest kind of dress code, black-tie calls for formal gowns that touch the ground or top of your shoes.
- Black-tie Optional: A fusion of black-tie and formal, the aptly titled black-tie optional dress code basically means you have a choice between black-tie and formal, the next step down in terms of dress code strictness. In terms of dresses, it means either a floor-length evening gown or a cocktail dress.
- Formal Attire: The most common wedding attire dress code, formal attire means you can wear a midi or knee-length cocktail dress.
- Cocktail: A small step above semiformal, cocktail attire means you should opt for a tea-length, knee-length or midi dress.
- Semiformal: Also called dressy casual, semiformal attire means you can go for a below-the-knee dress or a dressy skirt and top.
- Casual: Often used for beach and other outdoor weddings, casual attire can be a sundress, maxi dress or jumpsuit.
8 Gorgeous Wedding Dresses for Guests Under $100
With attire guidelines out of the way, let’s get down to the fun stuff: the actual dresses. Below, we’ve brought you our eight favorite dresses for guests at any kind of wedding — from casual beach ones to formal cold-weather events.
1. Best Spring Wedding Guest Dress
Perfect as a black-tie spring wedding guest dress, this retro-inspired number is made with delicate chiffon-like fabric, a tulip skirt and flutter sleeves. We like that it’s available in three colors — lillie rose, champagne and silver sage — as well as a wonderfully comprehensive range of sizes, from XXS to 3X.
Price: $78 at IvyCityCo.com
2. Best Beach Wedding Guest Dress
We recommend looking for a long, maxi dress — as opposed to a short one — when it comes to beach weddings for one simple reason: The seaside can get pretty windy. This pretty, mermaid-like maxi dress from Lulu’s is a great length and color for a beach wedding guest dress. In addition to working for oceanside, summer and outdoor weddings, you can rock this long, elegant dress at formal, cocktail and semiformal events.
Price: $89 at Lulus.com
3. Best Wedding Guest for Summer Indoor Wedding
When it comes to warm-weather weddings, sometimes less is more. From BHLDN, the bridal branch of Anthropologie, this satin charmeuse midi dress is a great example. Add some heels and jewelry to make it formal, cocktail or semiformal, or sandals for a more casual look.
Price: $168 at BHLDN.com
4. Best Boho Guest Wedding Dress
We’re kind of obsessed with 12th Tribe, a globally inspired women’s boutique. They’re best known for their festival collection, but they’ve got a pretty fantastic selection of bridal and wedding guest-centric attire. For those in search of a boho guest wedding dress, let us direct you to their Dayna Rust mini dress which is flowy, flattering and fitting for anything from cocktail to beach attire.
Price: $68 at 12thTribe.com
5. Best Maternity Wedding Guest Dress
Our pick for best maternity wedding guest dress is another black-tie-appropriate option. This elegant black dress features a flared trumpet skirt that complements your baby bump, as well as a neckline that can be pulled down around your shoulders. It’s made of a stretchy, comfy blend of rayon and spandex.
Price: $98 at Nordstrom.com
6. Best Embroidered Dresses for Wedding Guest
There is no shortage of embroidered dresses for wedding guest options out there, so we had a hard time picking just one. Finally, we settled on this flared number from Adrianna Papell, which features intricately embroidered flowers over a polyester lining. The stretchy fabric and swishy flared skirt are practically made for twirling around the dance floor.
Price: $179 at AdriannaPapell.com
7. Best Plus-Size Wedding Guest Dress
Wrap dresses are universally flattering, and this glossy, satin-style dress from ASOS is no exception. We like this green plus-size wedding guest dress for a summer or spring event, but it’s also available in black for winter and fall events.
Price: $87 at ASOS.com
8. Best Fall or Winter Wedding Guest Dress
What makes a cold-weather wedding guest dress different from a wedding dress for summer or spring often comes down to the material. Velvet dresses — like this stunning dusty purple one from Lulu’s — are a great option, since the material is luxurious and warm.
Price: $99 at Lulus.com
The post Affordable Wedding Guest Dresses to Wear This Season appeared first on The Real Deal by RetailMeNot.