6 Things to Consider When Shopping for a Wedding Guest Dress

Woman in pink dress looking over shoulder

Who doesn’t love going to a dreamy, romantic flower-and-lace-filled wedding? You get to celebrate your loved ones as they marry the love of their life and also catch up with friends and family you haven’t seen in a while. As part of the day’s festivities, the bride and groom will usually pick a dress code for the event, and that’s where I come in! Today, I’m sharing six tips I’ve learned over the years to help you make a smarter purchase for a wedding guest dress.

Tip 1 – Consider the Length

Have you ever worn a dress to a wedding that skims a little above the knee, only to sit down during the ceremony and have to use your purse to cover the rest of your legs? 😂 I have! One way I’ve learned to combat this is by only opting for calf-length dresses to weddings. I recently tried to foray into floor-length dresses but every time I ordered, the dresses were way too long. I had to choose between getting alterations (which last time, cost me around $80-$85) or returning the dress. So please keep in mind that if you do opt for a floor-length gown, it will most likely require alterations.

Tip 2 – Consider the Undergarments

The neckline and sleeve length of your dress is another factor to think about when assembling your outfit. If you have spaghetti straps, you’ll want to wear a strapless bra. If you have a low cut v-neckline, think about wearing sticky boobs or breast tape. And if your dress clings to your body and panty lines are visible, you could always go for a thong or no show briefs. Shapewear is also another great option to make sure your garments fit smoothly.

Tip 3 – Consider the Dress Code

I’ve heard of semi-formal and formal dress codes, but what happens when the ceremony you’re attending has a super specific dress code? I recently attended a wedding where the dress code was “neutrals.” I’d never heard of that before so I immediately went to Pinterest to get some image examples. A good idea from the start (what I didn’t do) is to ask the couple for more clarity on what this color palette means to them. This way it rules out miscommunication. (And by the way, even though I didn’t ask, I wore beige/tan and I was right 😊).

Tip 4 – Consider Buying Secondhand

I am a big advocate not only for the positive impact it makes on keeping older clothes out of landfills, but also because it means you are less likely to wear an item that someone else is. A tip I learned from my Nana that I find very helpful is not buying what’s currently in season. When you buy clothes that are currently popular in stores, there is a chance that someone else will be wearing the same thing.

Tip 5 – Don’t Let Your Accessories Dress Down Your Outfit

Accessories really have a way of adding more personality to your outfit. From jewelry to shoes to bags, the combinations are really endless. Some of the mistakes I’ve made in the accessories department are: Wearing a cardigan sweater instead of a blazer or dress jacket, Bringing a casual handbag instead of an evening clutch., and wearing simple jewelry when the rest of the outfit is also simple. I found that all of those choices really made my ensemble more casual looking instead of the evening glam look I was going for. So in accessories, consider items that will help balance your look, not dress it down.

Tip 6 – Consider Going Out of Your Comfort Zone

Special occasions like weddings are the perfect opportunity to wear something more refined, so why not push your own sartorial boundaries? You could try a different neckline, a color you usually don’t wear or even a bold pattern.

Please let me know if you found these tips helpful. If you have any other tips you’d like to share, please leave a comment below!


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