The saying goes “always a bridesmaid, never a bride,” but if we’re being real, should probably start with “always a wedding guest.” You have a fridge full of save the dates, your 2023 weekends booked out, and the first weddings of your year coming up quicker than you expected. As winter starts to fade away and our calendars are turning another month, it’s time to start preparing for the spring weddings we have coming up.
Of course, all seasons bring unique, special details to a wedding, but there’s just something about a spring wedding. The optimism of the warm months is in the air, you get to get dressed up and go to an event to celebrate people you love, flowers are blooming… and the colors? It’s the time of year when it feels like anything is possible, and a spring wedding is the perfect way to commemorate the season.
Whether you have a garden wedding, black-tie wedding, or destination wedding coming up this spring, here’s exactly what to wear to nail your look.
What to wear to a spring wedding
If you want your wedding look to be flirty and fun, a mini dress is your best bet. And don’t be fooled: a mini dress doesn’t have to feel casual.
For your standard wedding dress code, a midi dress is the perfect choice. It’ll ensure you’re dressed up for the occasion, but can still move and dance comfortably all night long.
If the wedding you’re attending has a more formal dress code, it’s time to pull out a floor-length dress that’ll turn heads.
Not into dresses, or just want to spice it up and stand out from the crowd? These jumpsuits are just as dressy, but give an out-of-the-box chicness to your wedding guest look.
Looking for shoes you can dance the night away in (but still wear way beyond the wedding?). Look no further.
If you’re someone who doesn’t love wearing heels (or if the wedding is going to take place in a grassy area—you don’t want heels digging into dirt!) these flat shoes are still dressed-up enough to be wedding-appropriate.
Everyone needs a good occasion bag in their life, and these versatile ones will make you pat yourself on the back every time you reach for it.
A hair accessory is a small detail that can pack a big punch. Your look will be taken up a notch with the addition of any of these.
Especially if you’re wearing your hair up, don’t underestimate the power of a good earring. Choose the right ones, and they’ll pull your look completely together.
Whether you need something subtle or statement-making, any of these pair well with a wedding-worthy dress.
Because a good wedding look isn’t complete without a little sparkle on your wrists.
Your hands are on display all night at a wedding, from when you’re holding a drink and chatting during cocktail hour through eating dinner, which means they should be accessorized to perfection.
Figuring out what you’re going to wear to a wedding is one thing, but you can’t forget about what you’re going to wear under. Make sure you’re prepared with the right bra, shapewear, and underwear before the big day.
Odds are, you’re going to need a makeup touchup at some point throughout the night. Keep a few travel-sized items in your bag so they don’t take up too much space, but ensure you’re prepared for anything. A perfume roller baller is also great to pack to freshen up with throughout the night.
Whether you or someone else need a bandaid from those brand-new heels, you’ll be glad you have some packed, as well as some mints, a hand sanitizer, and a portable phone charger (which you’ll likely need after taking pics all night) in your going-out bag.
Spring wedding guest outfit ideas
Looking for a dress you can wear to your upcoming spring wedding, but actually get use out of beyond it? This versatile, midi number is it. In five beautiful shades, it can be dressed up or down in the future, but for your spring wedding, is an absolute showstopper. With a statement clutch and heels that are just the right height, you’ve got a perfect semi-formal look.
Some pieces are just too good to be true, and this dress is one of them. The colors, ruffles, floral print—if you have a formal spring wedding coming up, this is wedding guest perfection. Pair it with a bag in a similar tone, white heels, and earrings that are just as beautiful as the dress itself.
For a more casual affair, this mini dress is the fun, out-of-the-box option that’ll make you the star of the show (after the bride, of course). As if the bright green shade wasn’t enough, the cape detail solidifies it as one of the prettiest cocktail dresses we’ve seen this season. To elevate it even further, heels in a pop of color make it a spring wedding guest dress dream.
Wedding dress code tips
While some weddings won’t specify a dress code, many will, and if the bride and groom take the effort into guiding you to what you should wear, you should take it as a blessing.
When you’re given a dress code, follow it, and make sure the attire you’re planning on wearing falls under it. The last thing you want is to show up in a black-tie dress while everyone else is super casual or, worse, show up super casual when everyone is dressed for a black-tie event.
If the invitation doesn’t give a dress code, double check the wedding website, and if that still turns up no information, reach out to a bridesmaid to ask (avoid bothering the bride with questions you can get answered elsewhere). If they still don’t know, dress for the location. 95% of the time, you aren’t going to show up to a ballroom in a sundress or wear a floor-length gown to a beach wedding.
Black tie weddings are generally the most formal dress code you’re going to see. They’re most common when the wedding reception is going to be held in a ballroom.
The best practice for when a black-tie dress code is specified is to wear a floor-length dress. Obviously, which floor-length dress you choose can vary widely. A more plain, solid-colored dress in a classic silhouette is a no-fail option, but you can also branch out and opt for a dress with a pop of pattern or texture. The only “rule” you need to focus on is your dress’ length—the rest is fair game.
A cocktail dress code allows for a wide variety of outfit choices, the most common being a cocktail dress (obviously). It’s more casual than black tie, but still calls for an elevated, special-event worthy look. For a cocktail dress code, your best bet is to opt for a short or midi dress and heels.
Semi-formal dress codes are one step down from cocktail—think dressy-casual. There’s also a lot more flexibility in what you can choose to wear. A fun jumpsuit or dress you would wear to a nice restaurant are great options. For footwear, you can stick to your go-to heels, or choose a more elevated flat.
While it sounds self-explanatory, seeing a “casual” dress code description can sometimes feel even more confusing than a black-tie one. For a casual wedding, you can opt for a sun dress and sandals, trousers and a fun blouse, or a casual jumpsuit. Keep it along the lines of what you would wear to a brunch with friends on a Saturday afternoon. From your favorite wedges to a more casual pair of heels to a pair of sandals, any footwear goes here.
How to nail your wedding guest look
Don’t bring anything you don’t need
While it’s generally better to be over-prepared, the last thing you want at a wedding is to be lugging around stuff you don’t have to be. For example, don’t bring a jacket just on the off-chance you get chilly if you know you aren’t ever going to actually put it on (guilty).
Try to contain everything you’re bringing into a small clutch or crossbody, and avoid carrying around anything that doesn’t fit in it. If you feel like you have to bring a giant bag to carry what you’re planning on bringing, rework it to fit into something smaller. The last thing you want is to be caught in photos with a bag on your shoulder and a bunch of things in your hand (which should be holding a drink anyway!).
Don’t wear white
This one is a no-brainer, but can also sound like an old-school rule that might not be a thing anymore—but that’s not the case. For best practice, avoid wearing white at all costs. Yes, that includes a floral dress that has a white base color.
If you’re taking pictures, do it at the beginning
After an open bar, hours of mingling, and time spent on the dance floor, odds are, you’re going to look your very best at the start of the wedding. If you’re planning on taking pictures to remember the night, do it as early as you can (as long as it’s an appropriate time to do so). This obviously doesn’t apply to taking pictures with the bride and groom; that’s something you should do whenever is best for them.
Something your bride and groom might not want? A million hands up holding a phone, taking photos while the bride is walking down the aisle. If you want to take a few pictures, you should! But don’t spend big moments throughout the night messing around on your phone to post them immediately; instead, take the photos, but post them later on and enjoy the moment.
Pack a hair clip (just in case)
Let’s be honest: No matter what you do to your hair, after more than six hours of activity, you’re probably going to get to the point where you want to put it up.
Rather than resorting to a black hair tie, pack a special occasion-worthy clip in your bag that you can put your hair up into when you’re ready. Rather than looking like you just threw it up, it’ll trick everyone into thinking it was a part of the plan all along and will end up elevating your entire look mid-way through the night.
Avoid wearing the same color as the bridesmaids
Obviously, this isn’t a hard-and-fast rule, and nobody is going to judge you if you happen to wear something that’s the same color as the bridesmaids’ dresses. But if you know what color they’re wearing and can help it, opt for a dress in a different hue.
If you don’t know what color the bridesmaids are wearing, you can likely figure it out by the color scheme of the wedding website and invitations. Of course, this isn’t a hard-and-fast rule, but is something to consider if you can.