What to Wear to a Summer Wedding

Our best tips for being the best-dressed guest at your next summer wedding!

Wedding guest in red dress
Maja Topcagic/Stocksy United

Summer is by far the most popular season for weddings—especially for women, and in places with historically warm weather. While sunshine and high temperatures are nice in theory, they can make figuring out what to wear to a wedding as the guest a little tricky. 

We love summer weddings, and so have put together our best tips and advice on summer wedding attire to guarantee that you're the most stylish (and appropriately dressed) attendee time after time.

First, some basic reminders of proper wedding guest attire, based on the formality and time of day:

  • Informal, Daytime: A skirt and top or even pants (but no jeans), and no high heels required. 
  • Informal, Evening: An informal evening wedding suggests a dress, and allows for a lot of flexibility. You could wear a maxi dress and flat shoes, or a little black dress and heels. 
  • Semi-Formal, Daytime: A cocktail dress and heels or dressy separates.
  • Semi-Formal, Evening: A semi-formal daytime wedding suggests a cocktail dress and heels or dressy separates; an LBD is an excellent option.
  • Black Tie Optional: Black tie optional weddings mean you can wear either a cocktail dress and heels or a formal dress. (Trendier dressers may opt for a jumpsuit as well.)
  • Black Tie: A black tie wedding requires a formal dress or your dressiest cocktail attire.

Now, some do's and don'ts of summer weddings:

  • Don't wear black or sequins to a daytime wedding, as those are colors and details best reserved for evening occasions. (The sparkle will make you look overdressed.)
  • Do take your cue regarding the level of formality for a summer wedding from the invitation. If no dress code is given, you can bet that the fancier the invitation, the dressier the occasion.
  • Don't, for any reason, wear white to a wedding. (Unless the invite specifically says "white wedding" in which case all guests are asked to wear light colors.)
  • Do look for dresses in pretty feminine prints like florals, and in bright cheerful colors that wouldn't feel right during the colder months. (Examples would be pink, lavender, mint green, peach or light blue.)
  • Don't wear something too sexy just because it's going to be warm. Weddings are never an occasion for inappropriate levels of cleavage, thigh visibility or gratuitous cutouts.
  • Do remember that weddings after 6 p.m. are traditionally more dressy than daytime ceremonies, and adjust your outfit and accessories accordingly.
  • Don't go overboard on heavy, chunky jewelry—try the personal jewelry trend instead.
  • Do feel comfortable wearing something you already wore to a spring wedding—repeat dresses are easy if you just change up the accessories.

Need more suggestions for what to wear to a summer wedding?

  • Summer weddings call for light fabrics that breathe! Look for silk, satin, linen blends and other natural fiber fabrics. Note that anything like polyester or other synthetic fabric will capture body heat and make you sweat!
  • We created a helpful (and shoppable!) guide of suggestions of dresses to wear to a wedding, and many of them will work especially well for spring and summer weddings.
  • If you're on a budget, check out these 10 stylish dresses to wear to a spring wedding—all for under $200. If a certain style or fit won't work for your body type, check out those brands and shops to see what else they have in the same price range. (We love looking for easy-to-dress-up simple frocks from Forever 21, Topshop, Zara and Mango.)
  • Our comprehensive wedding guest attire guide has plenty of tips for both men and women, no matter the season.
  • Looking for wedding guest attire tips just for men? Read this! We advise avoiding black and other dark colors, as well as wool and other heavy fabrics typically worn in fall and winter. Choose a lighter colored suit in cotton, linen or seersucker.

The bottom line with dressing for weddings—no matter the season—is to honor the occasion for the bride and groom. This may very well be the most special day of their lives, even if it's just one of a dozen weddings you're attending this year. Find a dress, jumpsuit or separates that feel special, make you feel amazing when you wear them, and won't offend someone's grandmother.