Wedding Guest Dress Codes

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I ordered this red number online for a wedding last summer and couldn’t wait to wear it, until it arrived and I realized I had no business wearing something this low cut to a wedding! Online it looked like I could easily adjust the straps to make the V a little bit higher, but that definitely didn’t work out in person and the dress was lower quality than what I was hoping for. After completely freaking out, I ended up borrowing a dress from a friend at the last minute (thanks, Rox!) and saved the red dress for one of my favorite events, Fashion 4 Paws, this spring instead.

To save you the stress of what I went through, I’m sharing some of my favorite picks for wedding attire — all affordable, of course — broken out by dress code. (Disclaimer, half of these dresses overlap with each other when it comes to dress codes — categorizing them was harder than I thought!)

Casual Wedding – while this means you can pretty much wear whatever you want, it’s still a wedding so you should look nice! Dresses should be a step above a sundress, but no need to pull out the satin.

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Backless Skater Dress | Lulu*s – this almost veers into cocktail territory, but you all know I love a good backless dress! The high neck helps balance out the open back

Home Before Daylight Dress | LuLu*s – I love the sophisticated cut of this dress and the simple style allows you to accessorize with fun shoes or statement jewelry!

Floral Print Maxi | ASOS – while this is satin, I’m putting it in casual because of the fun print. I would 10/10 wear this to either a casual wedding or a dinner out!

Cocktail / Dressy / Semi-Formal – this basically means that your dress can be above the knee or tea-length. I think cocktail attire is the most fun because you get to buy (or rent!) something that feels really special but completely speaks to your personality.

Red Lace Dress | Zaful – can you believe this dress is under $50? I’ve worn it to two weddings, once in red and once in blue, and am planning on wearing the red dress again to a wedding in September!

3D Floral Cami Dress | ASOS – I mean, how pretty is this? It’s such a flattering cut too!

Floral Satin Slip Dress | TopShop – how dreamy is this dress? Wait until you see the back! And at under $80, this is a major steal

Beach Formal – I’ve actually never been to a beach wedding! I used to always want to get married on the beach so I’m hoping one of my friends will do this so I get to experience it in real life! Beach formal doesn’t mean casual, but you can definitely go for more of a floaty, boho look. Think maxis and bright colors!

Sugar Plum Striped Maxi Dress | Vici Dolls – I can’t put my finger on it, but I am obsessed with this dress. It’s a little bit brighter than I usually wear, but I still want it!

Ohana Key Hole Maxi | Vici Dolls – if this doesn’t scream “beach” to you, idk what does.

Casanova Ruffle Wrap Dress | Vici Dolls – this dress is SO FUN! It reminds me of the 💃 emoji. I can just see myself twirling on the dance floor in this

Formal / Black Tie – I’ve only been to one black tie wedding and rented a dress from Rent the Runway because I was struggling with finding a dress I loved in-store. (Why I didn’t turn to online, I don’t know. It was 2015 so maybe I get a free pass?) In a nutshell, black tie or formal means floor-length and fancy AF.

Cold Shoulder Cowl Back Dress | ASOS – how pretty is this emerald green color? I’m not usually crazy about cowl lines, but I think it works here

Strappy Back Maxi | ASOS – at under $70, this black dress is sleek but still has some personality, thanks to the back details. Definitely a number that can be worn again and again to formal events

Heavenly Hues Dress | LuLu’s – this was one of my bridesmaids dress options that didn’t make the cut, but I absolutely love the silhouette and it comes in a ton of colors!

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