11 Stunning Cocktail Dresses for Wedding Guests

Gorgeous silhouettes and pretty prints for any season.

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wedding guests

 Photo by Rachel Havel 

If you’ve had a wedding save-the-date (or several!) prominently placed on your refrigerator, the chances are good that said nuptials have been postponed or rescheduled. As a wedding guest, that means you have a lot more time to search for the perfect outfit. If cocktail attire was the requested dress code for an upcoming wedding, that could leave a lot of room for interpretation as a wedding guest. So, you’ll want to consider a few things.

First, what season is the wedding? If it’s in the spring or summer, bright colors, playful prints, and pastel shades are idyllic while deep jewel tones and metallic fabrics are gorgeous in the fall and winter. Then, what type of venue is it? For an outdoor wedding, you can easily get away with lighter and floatier fabrics like cotton, eyelet lace, jersey, or chiffon. If the wedding is in a banquet hall or a historic building, elegant fabrics like satin, velvet, taffeta are perfectly polished. Beading and sequins can totally work for a cocktail look, too, in a shorter length. Another consideration is the time of day. If the ceremony is in the morning or early afternoon, a dress that skews more casual is entirely appropriate, while late afternoon and evening weddings call for more formal elegant styles. Finally, while cocktail dresses are generally a midi length or higher, you can still wear a maxi, but in this case, it’s best to opt for a more casual fabric. 

Ahead, the best cocktail dresses for wedding guests, for every style, season and budget.

01
of 11

Reformation Kourtney Floral Dress

cocktail dress

Courtesy of Reformation

We love the ‘60s feel of this floral print, which was a big trend for 2020. To wit, the thin straps and show of leg make this dress feel sweet yet statement-making as a wedding guest. 

02
of 11

Self-Portrait Off-The-Shoulder Gown

cocktail dress

Courtesy of MyTheresa 

You’ll light up the dance floor in this off-the-shoulder fuchsia dress, complete with a flattering built-in bustier with a retro mood. This look is perfect for an evening wedding in late summer or early fall. 

03
of 11

Marchesa Notte Off-the-Shoulder Duchesse-Satin Midi Dress

cocktail dress

Courtesy of Net-a-Porter

This romantic off-the-shoulder number is the epitome of elegance. If you're looking for the perfect cocktail dress for a formal wedding that isn't black, your search stops here!

04
of 11

Aidan by Aidan Mattox One-Shoulder Puff-Sleeve Dress

cocktail dress

 Courtesy of Bloomingdale's

Not all LBD’s are equal. This one-shoulder style makes a glamorous statement with just enough influence from the ‘80s to feel party perfect.  

05
of 11

Camila Coelho Deep-V Dress

cocktail dress

Courtesy of Revolve

For the daring minimalist, this sleek and sexy dress is a lovely choice for an evening summer wedding. We like it with strappy metallic sandals and minimal jewels. 

06
of 11

Needle & Thread x Jasmine Hemsley Harmony Ruffled Floral-Print Tulle Midi Dress

cocktail dress

Courtesy of Net-a-Porter

We can’t think of a more idyllic garden wedding-guest dress than this tiered number by Needle & Thread. Keep accessories neutral so the whimsical floral print can shine. 

07
of 11

AMUR Hiyori Dress

cocktail dress

Courtesy of Shopbop

Giving a new meaning to the term “flower girl,” this strapless dress is utterly sweet. The clean lines and pleated detailing give it a modern feel that’s so sophisticated with minimal sandals and delicate jewelry.  

08
of 11

Boohoo Boutique Lo Floral Satin Ruffle Dip Hem Dress

cocktail dress

Courtesy of Bohoo

If you’re looking for a romantic and affordable floral-print midi dress, look no further than this flowing number from Boohoo. It’s incredibly versatile for spring and summer weddings both in the day and night. 

09
of 11

Retrofête Tilly Sequin Tie-Sash Midi Dress

cocktail dress

 Courtesy of Saks Fifth Avenue

Sparkle, but make it sophisticated in this high-neck midi dress from Retrofête. With clean lines, it’s a sleek way to boldly-colored sequins. 

10
of 11

Brock Collection Quadrella Floral Midi Dress

cocktail dress

 Courtesy of MyTheresa

Springtime florals don’t have to be pastels and bright hues — case in point, this ultra-chic sheath with a bustier-style bodice. 

11
of 11

Michael Costello X Revolve Midi Dress

cocktail dress

 Courtesy of Revolve

Not only is periwinkle a universally flattering color, but the expertly placed ruching on this strapless gown makes for a flattering fit for almost every body type.

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