18 Elegant Formal Wedding Guest Dresses for a Black-Tie Wedding

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19 Best Black Tie Wedding Guest Dresses of 2022

Brides / Chloe Jeong

Receiving an invitation to a black-tie wedding can be exciting but also a little daunting at the same time. After all, a black-tie dress code is one of the fanciest out of the bunch and requires guests to wear their swankiest attire. But fret not! With so many gorgeous formal outfits on offer, there's a black-tie ensemble out there to suit every style and budget.

What Is Black-Tie Attire?

A black-tie dress code is reserved for formal weddings and events. Guests typically wear floor-length gowns and tuxedos when attending a black-tie wedding.

For fall and winter weddings, formal attire feels all the more appropriate—especially for nuptials timed to the holidays or New Year’s Eve. Full-length gowns are perfect for such occasions, whether you’re into a seasonal long-sleeve style, textured velvet number, or sparkling sequins. If you’re one to follow trends, consider puff sleeves, allover florals, and bold styles in statement-making hues. For subdued tastes, you can’t go wrong with a gorgeous black gown, whether that means a one-shoulder silhouette, plunging V-neck, or asymmetrical shape.

Read on for the best wedding guest dresses for a black-tie wedding for every style, budget, and season.

Most Elegant: Lulus Satin Surplice Maxi Dress

pink gown

Courtesy of Lulus

Channel Old Hollywood glamour in this stunning, floor-sweeping gown. The thigh-high split not only adds an element of sexiness, but it's also elongating, to boot.

Best Jewel Tone: Lulus Burgundy Satin Maxi Dress

Slip Dress

Courtesy of Lulus

Nothing exudes more effortless elegance than a flowing maxi dress. This satin style in a rich burgundy is as chic as ever for fall nuptials.

For the Minimalist: BHLDN High Neck Dress

black dress

Courtesy of BHLDN

For the minimalist guest, this fitted slip is a supremely sophisticated and flattering choice. Complete the look with statement earrings and dewy makeup.

Best Little Black Dress: Amanda Uprichard X REVOLVE Gown

maxi dress

Courtesy of Revolve

No matter the occasion, you can never go wrong with a classic black dress. We love this one in particular for its body-hugging silhouette and sexy front-cut detail. Wear with statement earrings to highlight the shoulder-baring neckline.

Best Pink: AIIFOS Isabelle Dress

pink dress

Courtesy of Revolve

Pretty pink hues are always a good idea for spring and summer nuptials. We love this shimmering pink frock for the guest who is drawn to feminine silhouettes.

Best Strapless: Solace London Black Maxi Dress

strapless dress

Courtesy of Revolve

Attending a wedding is an investment so invest in a dress that you'll wear again and again. This elegant strapless gown would make a timeless addition to any formal wardrobe.

Most Festive: Retrofête Marie Dress

sequin dress

Courtesy of Shopbop

Attending a wedding during the holidays? This captivating gown made from allover sequin embellishments is a striking choice for any formal occasion that calls for festive attire.

For an Autumn Wedding: Hutch Bow-Tie Maxi Dress

black tie dress

Courtesy of Anthropologie

Equal parts eye-catching and sophisticated, this two-tone dress is a show stopping option for a black-tie wedding. The combination of classic back and rich bronze makes this look perfect for an autumn affair.

For a Beach Wedding: Mac Duggal Indy Chiffon Dress

maxi dress

Courtesy of Nordstrom

Wondering what to wear to a black-tie wedding on or by the beach? Opt for this breezy floor-length gown with a showstopping lace-up back. Wear yours with a pair of wedges and your hair in loose waves.

For a Summer Wedding: Reformation Westerly Dress

floral dress

Courtesy of Reformation

If you're headed to a summer or destination wedding, this Reformation dress is a no-brainer. Dressy enough to adhere to a black-tie dress code and playful enough to complement a destination wedding venue – this dress is the best of both worlds.

Best Budget: ASOS DESIGN Cami Maxi Slip Dress

black tie dress

 Courtesy of ASOS

The not-so-simple slip dress has made a major comeback. This high shine satin slip dress features a crisscross back and a gentle cowl neckline for a look that feels at once formal and effortless.

Best Gold Style: Sabina Musayev Metallic Dress

Sparkle Dress

 Courtesy of Sabina Musayev

A wedding around the holidays calls for a festive dress. Bring on the sparkle and bring on the bows. Keep accessories simple; this dress does all the talking!

Most Classic: BHLDN Satin Charmeuse Maxi Dress

green dress

 Courtesy of BHLDN

This one-shoulder dress is divinely chic for the guest who loves clean and classic silhouettes. This timeless number features a flowy skirt making equal parts stylish and comfortable.

For a Spring Wedding: Hannah Artwear Open-Back Floral-Print Maxi Dress

floral dress

Courtesy of Net-a-Porter

For a spring black-tie wedding, florals are forever classic. We're picturing this floor-length, diaphanous gown at an outdoor wedding surrounded by rich greenery.

For a New Year's Eve Wedding: ASOS EDITION Ombre Sequin Wrap Dress

sequin dress

Courtesy of ASOS

Give them glitz and glam in head-to-toe sequins. This statement-making gown is perfect for a New Year's Eve black-tie wedding. Keep accessories minimal; this dress does all the talking.

Best Navy: Reformation Ingrid Dress

navy dress

Courtesy of Reformation

While many gravitate towards black for a black-tie wedding (with good reason!), try going the navy route. The deep blue hue is sophisticated, elegant, and seasonless.

Most Sexy: Rebecca Vallance Jagger Gown

gown

Courtesy of Shopbop

A black-tie wedding calls for gowns in rich textured fabrics with a hint of sparkle. At once elegant and sexy, this Rebecca Vallance is sure to secure your spot as the best-dressed guest.

Best Halter Neck: JETS Lalita Wrap-Front Dress

halter neck dress

Courtesy of Anthropologie

If you're looking to show off those shoulders and arms, go with a halter-neck dress. We love this bright and bold style for a seaside wedding held at a fabulous tropical locale.

What to Look For in Black-Tie Wedding Guest Outfits

A black-tie dress code traditionally calls for formal outfits like floor-length evening gowns, tailored jumpsuits, and tuxedos. If you're not sure where to start, it's helpful to let the venue and season guide your decision-making process. For winter black-tie weddings, look for outfits crafted from warm and textured fabrics like lace and velvet. Soft pastels, as well as pretty floral prints, are perfect for spring and summer weddings, while jewel tones like emerald green, classic navy, and, rich burgundy are always a fitting choice for fall or winter nuptials. Certain details like dramatic skirts, classic necklines, and shimmering embellishments will instantly make a silhouette feel black-tie-worthy. And if you're looking for a foolproof black-tie outfit, you can never go wrong with a timeless black gown or jumpsuit.

FAQ
  • What is a black-tie dress code?

    A black-tie dress code is reserved for formal weddings and requires that you wear a formal outfit like a floor-length gown and tuxedo.

  • What should a wedding guest wear to a black-tie wedding?

    Guests attending a black-tie wedding typically wear floor-length evening gowns. Formal dresses in black and navy are also a popular choice for black-tie weddings as are gowns with allover embellishments.

  • Can I wear a short dress to a black-tie wedding?

    Short dresses are typically more appropriate for less formal weddings. When in doubt, run your outfit by the couple or opt for a floor-length gown to err on the safe side.

Why Trust Brides

Contributing writer Sophie Moore is a former fashion editor at Brides and is an expert in all things bridal attire, from couture wedding gowns to the perfect "something blue" accessory. She researches and sources the best fashion items for brides, grooms, wedding guests, bridal parties, and more.

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