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 the summer months of June, July and August. If you’ve got an event or two you’ve RSVP’d “yes” for 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.

On that last one, we can help. At RetailMeNot, it wouldn’t be a stretch — albeit a bit boastful — to call ourselves professional wedding shoppers. We’ve already written about the dreamiest bridal shoes and most compelling wedding registry completion discounts, as well as affordable wedding dresses. 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 Summer 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 the tops 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.

Unique Summer Wedding Guest Dresses

With attire guidelines out of the way, let’s get down to the fun stuff: the actual dresses. Below, we’ve brought you our favorite dresses for guests at any kind of summer wedding — from casual beach events to more formal affairs.

— Editors’ Pick —

Best Summer Wedding Guest Dress Pick

A model wearing a yellow and blue floral dress from Karen Millen.
Image: Karen Millen

A floral dress is a classic choice for summer wedding guest attire, so don’t miss the Tailored Hand Drawn Floral Square Neck Midi Dress from Karen Millen. This striking yellow and blue floral pattern delivers the bold energy that 2024 is all about. Feel your most confident as you show up to celebrate your loved one’s happiest day. The square neckline and pencil fit is a sophisticated combination that works perfectly for many wedding dress codes. Now is a great time to shop this style and other stunning dresses from Karen Millen. The brand is offering an extra 15% off sale dresses now through July 3. Just use code DRESS15 at checkout to get the deal!

Price: $130, $324 at Karen Millen

Best Maxi Wedding Guest Dress

Image: 12th Tribe

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 maxi wedding guest dress, let us direct you to their Amelie gold halter gown. Shimmery, flowy and fitting, it works for anything from cocktail to beach attire.

Price: $88 at

Best Midi Wedding Guest Dress

A model in an asymmetrical dark green dress from Lulu's.
Image: Lulu’s

Asymmetrical dresses are a chic choice you won’t regret! The So Flirty One Shoulder Cutout Dress from Lulu’s is a design you’ll get great use of again and again because it’s simple yet stunning and ultimately versatile. Plus it comes in four gorgeous colors so grab the one you’re most excited to rock. Multiple shades are majorly on sale right now, so act fast if this dress is for you.

Price: Starting at $16.80 at Lulu’s

Best Short Wedding Guest Dress 

Image: Revolve

Yes, the Rowan Mini Dress from designer Lovers and Friends is a splurge, and yes it’s dry-clean only. But it’s also sexy, chic and playfully colorful, and an excellent option for petite sizes thanks to its short hemline, which creates the illusion of longer legs. Since it’s a short wedding guest dress, you can rock this one at a casual, cocktail or semiformal wedding.

Price: $188 at

Best Lace Wedding Dress

Image: Petal + Pup

The lovely Lauren dress from Petal & Pup hits mid-calf, making it appropriate for all kinds of events. In addition, the lace wedding dress features a deep navy color that could work for summer and fall affairs. For a summer wedding, we suggest dressing up the darker-color dress with a playful pair of shoes or a statement clutch.

Price: $89 at 

Best Formal Summer Wedding Guest Dress

Image: Astr The Label

When it comes to warm-weather weddings, sometimes less is more. From Astr The Label, the Gaia Midi Dress — which comes in nine eye-catching colors — is a great example. Add some heels and jewelry to make it a formal summer wedding guest dress, or throw on a pair of sandals for a more casual look.

Price: $98 at

Best Maternity Wedding Guest Dress

A pregnant woman in  a bright pink summer dress from PinkBlush.
Image: PinkBlush

The most important thing for pregnant women when it comes to getting dressed is staying comfortable. For summer weddings, keeping cool is a must, which is why we love this flowy, airy design complete with spaghetti straps. There are four colors to choose from including three summery hues and a classic black. Be cute and on theme while also feeling your best!

Price: $89 at

The post Be the Best Dressed Summer Wedding Guest of 2024 appeared first on The Real Deal by RetailMeNot.

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