29 Elegant Formal Wedding Guest Dresses For A Black-Tie Wedding

Dial up the glitz and glamour

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wedding guests

PHOTO BY LEO PATRONE

When you receive a wedding invitation for a black-tie wedding, you likely fall into one two categories: thrilled beyond belief or filled with dread. While dress codes have eased up more and more over the years, certain brides and grooms are all about hosting a fancy fête, which means their black-tie invitation equates to you wearing your swankiest attire.

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.

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

01
of 29

Alexander McQueen One-Sleeve Lace and Crepe Gown

black tie dress

Courtesy of Net-a-Porter

Attending a wedding is an investment so invest in a dress that you'll wear again and again. This elegant gown is crafted from exquisite crepe and hand-cut eyelash lace making it perfect for a black-tie wedding and all your future formal events.

02
of 29

BHLDN Navy One-Shoulder Dress

Brixen Dress

 Courtesy of BHLDN

This one-shoulder dress is divinely chic and for the guest who seeks a classic silhouette with an updated twist. Crafted from soft and comfortable jersey, you'll have no problem making your way around the dancefloor.

03
of 29

Self-Portrait Metallic Flocked Chiffon Midi Dress

Midi Dress

  Courtesy of Net-a-Porter

Shimmering subtle leopard spots make this dress fun but elevated. Wear yours with matching black accessories for a sophisticated monochromatic look.

04
of 29

Marchesa Notte Draped Corseted Sequin-Embellished Gown

black tie dress

Courtesy of Farfetch 

If you're petite and a floor-sweeping gown is not really your vibe, a tea-length option might but more your speed. This exquisitely draped and corseted dress in deep navy and allover sequin embellishments is equally fit for a black-tie wedding as a maxi gown.

05
of 29

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 is at once formal and effortless.

06
of 29

Rebecca Vallance Puff Sleeve Gown

black tie gown

Courtesy of MyTheresa

We love a good puff sleeve moment and this stunning gown from Rebecca Vallance is no exception. Wear yours with chic kitten heels, modern jewelry, and a bold red lip.

07
of 29

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!

08
of 29

BHLDN High Neck Slip Dress

slip 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.

09
of 29

Area Embellished Off-the-Shoulder Gown

black tie dress

 Courtesy of Moda Operandi

Off-the-shoulder is oh-so-popular but stand out in this perfectly peachy gown featuring a subtle band of crystals around the bodice. We're loving this look for an impossibly chic city wedding.

10
of 29

Jenny Packham Sequined Chiffon Wrap Gown

black tie dress

 Courtesy of Net-a-Porter

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.

11
of 29

Saloni Silk-Satin Gown

black tie dress

Courtesy of Moda Operandi

While many gravitate towards black for a black-tie wedding (with good reason!), try going the navy route. It is just as sophisticated and classy and it can be worn all throughout the seasons.

12
of 29

Monique Lhuillier One-Shoulder Glittered Tulle Gown

black tie dress

Courtesy of Net-a-Porter

For those attending a black-tie wedding around the holidays, a dress featuring a little sparkle is a no brainer. This dreamy tea-length dress is crafted from glittered tulle giving it just the right amount of subtle shimmer.

13
of 29

Markarian Floral-Print Silk-Satin Gown

black tie dress

 Courtesy of Moda Operandi

For a spring black-tie wedding, florals are an automatic and classic choice. We're picturing this floor-length beauty at a gorgeous garden wedding surrounded by rich greenery.

14
of 29

Baacal Mirror Caftan

black tie caftan

 Courtesy of 11 Honoré

Nothing exudes more effortless elegance than a beautifully made caftan. This sophisticated style features tiny shimmering mirrors and unique shirred cuffs.

15
of 29

Alexis Tiered Ruffle Cotton Dress

black tie dress

 Courtesy of Moda Operandi

Wondering what to wear to a black-tie wedding on or by the beach? Opt for a colorful floor-length gown crafted from lighter fabrics like cotton and linen. Wear yours with a pair of wedges and your hair in loose waves.

16
of 29

Silvia Tcherassi Cold-Shoulder Cutout Satin Gown

black tie dress

 Courtesy of Net-a-Porter

For a summer black-tie wedding, opt for a sleeveless or cold shoulder style. This gown featuring a flattering knitted sweetheart neckline and cutout back would be right at home at spring or summer wedding.

17
of 29

Try a High-Neck: Jay Godfrey Brisco Gown

High neck dress

 Courtesy of Jay Godfrey

If you're looking to show off those shoulders and arms, go with a halter-neck dress. Wear your hair up to showcase the bow at the back.

18
of 29

Badgley Mischka Off-the-Shoulder Gown

black tie dress

 Courtesy of 11 Honoré

This off-the-shoulder gown is the epitome of old Hollywood glamour and could easily be worn to a black-tie wedding or on the red carpet.

19
of 29

Johanna Ortiz Tiered Floral-Print Silk-Blend Dress

black tie dress

 Courtesy of Matchesfashion

Headed to a destination wedding that calls for black-tie attire? Look no further than this gorgeous cream and blue floral print dress. Once you slip this elegant number on, you'll instantly feeling like you're on vacation.

20
of 29

Reformation Front Slit Dress

black tie dress

 Courtesy of Reformation

For a winter wedding, long sleeves are a must. With a plunging neckline and a thigh-high slit, this long sleeve style from Reformation provides coverage with a twist.

21
of 29

Alexis Floral Pleated Gown

black tie dress

Courtesy of Farfetch

Headed to a destination wedding or a tropical-themed backyard wedding? Then you need this whimsical yet sophisticated floral pleated gown. Complete the look with a grass friendly wedges and a woven clutch.

22
of 29

Alexia Maria Bow Back Dress

black tie dress

Courtesy of Saks Fifth Avenue 

Go bold with a red formfitting dress complete with an exaggerated bow at the back. Experiment with accessories like delicate personal jewelry and a metallic bag to round out the look.

23
of 29

Needle & Thread Butterfly Meadow Gown

black tie dress

 Courtesy of Shopbop

For a spring black-tie wedding, think soft pastels and floral embellishments. This Needle & Thread gown is the perfect combination of gauzy tulle and unique beadwork.

24
of 29

Plus Size Perfection: Prabal Gurung Long Sleeve Wrap Front Combo Dress

Prabal wrap dress

 Courtesy of 11 Honore

A contrast of bronze sequins and black jersey make this dress flattering and eyecatching. The faux wrap design cinches you at the waist while the sexy high slit elongates your legs.

25
of 29

Fame and Partners Blouson Tie Waist Dress

black tie dress

 Courtesy of Shopbop

Deep jewel tones like emerald green is a supremely sophisticated alternative to wearing black to a formal wedding. This versatile green hue could easily be worn to a winter wedding in a ballroom or a spring wedding in a garden.

26
of 29

Jenny Yoo Velvet Flutter Sleeve Dress

black tie dress

 Courtesy of BHLDN

A black-tie wedding in the winter calls for a gown in rich textured fabrics like luxurious velvet. This elegant flutter sleeves style comes in 5 sophisticated colors to complement every skin tone.

27
of 29

BCBGMAXAZRIA Pleated Georgette Gown

black tie dress

Courtesy of Bloomingdale's 

Looking for a dress that will take you from the ceremony to the afterparty? This dress features a flouncy pleated skirt guaranteed to stun in photos and move with you on the dancefloor.

28
of 29

ASOS EDITION Ruched Halter Neck Maxi Dress

black tie dress

Courtesy of ASOS 

You don't have to break the bank to get a black-tie worthy outfit. Look like a million dollars in this slinky halter neck maxi dress. Add your go-to fancy earrings or your favorite statement shoes to kick it up a notch.

29
of 29

Zimmermann Ruffle Gown

black tie dress

 Courtesy of Zimmermann

A ballgown might seem like the last thing you'd want to wear to a hot summer wedding but this dreamy ruffle gown is crafted from supremely light silk linen organza making it the perfect choice for a warm-weather formal affair.

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