18 Elegant Black-Tie Dresses for Wedding Guests

Gorgeous gowns from Lulus, Reformation, ASOS, and more

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Brides / Chloe Jeong

Attending a black-tie wedding is a perfect opportunity to break out your glitz and glam. After all, a black-tie wedding is one of the fanciest occasions a couple can have, which begs the question, "what am I going to wear?" A black-tie dress code calls for swanky attire, from tuxedos to red carpet-worthy gowns. 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.

Whatever your style preferences may be, there's a black-tie ensemble out there for you. To help narrow down your search, we've researched the best black-tie wedding dresses for every style, budget, and season. For something utterly elegant, we love the SOLACE London Dolly Maxi Dress and the Rebecca Vallance Jagger Gown. For a black-tie occasion in the spring or summer, you can't go wrong with a floral frock, such as the Reformation Jasen Dress and the Mac Duggal Leena Floral Chiffon Gown.

Read on for the best wedding guest dresses for a black-tie wedding.

Most Elegant: Lulus Outstanding Elegance Deep Rose Satin Surplice Maxi Dress

Pink Gown

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! With various color options to choose from, this dress is appropriate for a black-tie affair at any time of the year.

Price at time of publish: $86

Best Jewel Tone: Lulus Constantine Burgundy Satin Maxi Dress

Slip Dress

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 or winter nuptials. And at an affordable price, it makes for a budget-friendly option you can wear again for any other formal occasions to come.

Price at time of publish: $70

Best Strapless: SOLACE London Dolly Maxi Dress

Strapless Dress

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. Plus, the structured shape and textured detail make it an oh-so-flattering frock.

Price at time of publish: $540

For a Beach Wedding: Mac Duggal Leena Floral Chiffon Gown

Floral Dress

Saks Fifth Avenue

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

Price at time of publish: $598

For an Autumn Wedding: Hutch Bow Tie Dress

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

Price at time of publish: $218

Best Little Black Dress: Amanda Uprichard X REVOLVE Zahara Gown

Maxi Dress

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.

Price at time of publish: $260

Best Pink: AIIFOS Isabelle Dress

pink dress

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. The dreamy silk fabric and draping fit add a whimsical touch.

Price at time of publish: $750

For a Summer Wedding: Reformation Jasen Dress

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.

Price at time of publish: $298

Best Gold Style: Sabina Musayev Ray Dress

Metallic Dress

Revolve

A wedding around the holidays calls for a festive dress. So bring on the sparkle and bring on the bows. Keep accessories simple and let this stunning dress do all the talking!

Price at time of publish: $490

For the Minimalist: BHLDN Serephina Crepe Maxi Dress

black dress

BHLDN

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

Price at time of publish: $220

Best Navy Style: Reformation Ingrid Dress

Navy Dress

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 appropriate for any season. This number from Reformation offers a slim-fitting bodice, removable straps, and a relaxed-fitting skirt to combine style with comfort.

Price at time of publish: $348

Most Budget-Friendly: ASOS DESIGN Cami Maxi Slip Dress

Cami Maxi Dress

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.

Price at time of publish: $73

Best Muted Florals: Reformation Veria Silk Dress

Floral Dress

Reformation

This halter-neck dress is divinely chic for the guest who loves clean and classic silhouettes. Timeless and on-trend, this Reformation number features a pretty floral print and an alluring open back.

Price at time of publish: $378

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

ASOS EDITION Ombre Sequin Wrap 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, as this dress does all the talking.

Price at time of publish: $275

Most Sexy: Rebecca Vallance Jagger Gown

Sparkle Gown

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.

Price at time of publish: $840

Best Halter-Neck:: JETS Lalita Wrap-Front Cover-Up

halter neck dress

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. You're sure to turn heads when you step into the venue in this vibrant ensemble.

Price at time of publish: $300

Most Festive: Retrofête Marie Dress

sequin dress

Shopbop

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

Price at time of publish: $615

Most Fun: Hannah Artwear Rio Open-Back Floral-Print Silk-Habotai Maxi Dress

Floral Dress

Matchesfashion

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

Price at time of publish: $540

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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