20 Beautiful Petite Cocktail Dresses for Wedding Guests

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So, you've been invited to a wedding—how exciting! Part of going to a wedding means finding the perfect dress for the occasion. Since the goal is to look and feel 10/10, scoring a dress that has a seamless fit is a must. In fact, it should be a non-negotiable! But, for women looking for petite cocktail dresses, this is often easier said than done. Petite dresses aren't always easy to come by and the in-store selection usually isn't ideal either. Trust us, we feel your pain. But, the right dress is most definitely worth the search for a great, comfortable fit that doesn't require (too many) alterations.

When the wedding you're attending requires semi-formal attire, a cocktail dress is a good go-to option. Effortless yet elegant, cocktail dresses are easy to dress up or down for a look that you're bound to continue to pull out of your closet for years to come. This dress type can be defined as one that typically falls right above or below the knee, so it's usually on the shorter side. For petite people, finding this length can be difficult because a regular length can sometimes run too long. Instead of needing to be hemmed, purchasing from a designer or retailer that offers petite lengths eliminates the hassle of having to spend any extra money on alterations—meaning more of your dollars can be put towards accessories or shoes!

We've searched the market for the best petite cocktail dresses, some of which are versatile enough to be worn to a variety of different weddings, and some of which feel more trendy and modern. Here are our favorites.

01
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For an Effortlessly Stylish Look: Reformation Petites Gavin Dress

For an Effortlessly Stylish Look: Reformation Petites Gavin Dress

Courtesy of Reformation

Runs: True to size | Size: 0P-2P | Length: Midi | Materials: Crepe

If you want to look chic but don't want to look like you're trying too hard, opt for this beautiful Reformation dress. Simple but equally stunning, it comes in a few different colors and patterns and has a lovely fit.

02
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Most Feminine: ASOS DESIGN Petite Off-the-Shoulder Twist Detail Voile Mini Dress

Most Feminine: ASOS DESIGN Petite Off-the-Shoulder Twist Detail Voile Mini Dress

Courtesy of ASOS

Runs: True to size | Size: 00P-12P | Materials: Lace | Length: Mini

Looking for a sweet, fun, and feminine little number? Look no further. This lovely blush pink mini features a unique criss-cross lace pattern, off-the-shoulder puff sleeves, and a ruched bodice.

03
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Best LBD: ASOS DESIGN Petite Velvet Halter Cross Front Dress

Best LBD: ASOS DESIGN Petite Velvet Halter Cross Front Dress

Courtesy of ASOS

Runs: True to size | Size: 00P-12P | Materials: Velvet | Length: Midi

Make a statement in this fitted velvet LBD. Its daringly low plunge neckline paired with its open back and understated design makes for an unforgettable combo.

04
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For a Winter Wedding: Anthropologie Lace Mini Dress

For a Winter Wedding: Anthropologie Lace Mini Dress

Courtesy of Anthropologie

Runs: Small | Size: 00P-16P | Length: Mini | Materials: Lace

This lace mini's high neckline and long sleeves make it ideal for winter nuptials. The intricate embroidery in this rich wine color creates a luxurious look while the open back adds a flirty element.

05
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Best Puff Sleeve: Magali Pascal Puff-Sleeved Midi Dress

Best Puff Sleeve: Magali Pascal Puff-Sleeved Midi Dress

Courtesy of Anthropologie

Runs: Small | Size: XSP-XLP | Length: Midi | Materials: Silk

Sleek and chic, this black little number puts a trendy twist on a classic silhouette and fabric. The puff sleeves add subtle drama and the buttons are sure to elongate your frame.

06
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Most Playful: Hutch Colorblocked Bow-Tie Maxi Dress

Most Playful: Hutch Colorblocked Bow-Tie Maxi Dress

Courtesy of Anthropologie

Runs: Small | Size: 00P-16P | Length: Midi | Materials: Cotton

Dare to make a subtle statement in this super fun and playful cotton midi. With three different color-block options to choose from, we picture this bow-accented pink and red option attending a late winter or early spring wedding.

07
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Best Wrap Dress: ASOS DESIGN Petite Wrap Around Pleated Mini Dress

Best Wrap Dress: ASOS DESIGN Petite Wrap Around Pleated Mini Dress

Courtesy of ASOS

Runs: True to size | Size: 00P-12P | Materials: Chiffon | Length: Mini

If there's one thing we're sure of, it's this: A wrap dress is never the wrong choice. This wrap-style bodice is uniquely paired with a pleated skirt in a pink floral print. We love how this mini almost appears as if it's a two-piece!

08
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For a Garden Wedding: Reformation Petites Juliette Dress

For a Garden Wedding: Reformation Petites Juliette Dress

Courtesy of Reformation

Runs: Small | Size: 0P-12P | Materials: Georgette | Length: Midi

Oh-so-romantic and effortless, you're bound to rewear this floral beauty again and again. This one is perfect for a late summer celebration in a garden or another outdoor setting—and we can't fail to mention that slit!

09
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Best Maxi: Adrianna Papell Petite Floral High Neck Halter

Best Maxi: Adrianna Papell Petite Floral High Neck Halter

Courtesy of Adrianna Papell

Runs: True to Size | Size: 0P-18P | Length: Floor-length | Materials: Chiffon

Cocktail dresses are typically on the shorter side, but that doesn't mean there's a strict rule against maxi dresses. Something floral like this one from Adrianna Papell is a nice balance between dressed up and casual. It can be tough to find petite maxi dresses, but this is a great option if you don't want to get yours hemmed.

10
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Most Vibrant: In The Style Petite x Lorna Luxe Sleeve Smock Dress

Most Vibrant: In The Style Petite x Lorna Luxe Sleeve Smock Dress

Courtesy of ASOS

Runs: True to Size | Size: 0P-10P | Materials: Cotton | Length: Mini

This is what they mean by "pretty in pink," right? We think yes. Plus, the gathering, fullness, and ruffles of this vibrant fabric make it all the more fun and flirty.

11
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Best Rewear Dress: Reformation Petites Twilight Dress

Best Rewear Dress: Reformation Petites Twilight Dress

Courtesy of Reformation

Runs: True to size | Size: 0P-12P | Materials: Viscose | Length: Midi

Tired of buying outfits for weddings (or any special occasion for that matter) that you'll never wear again? We get it. Opt for a staple like this classic square-neck, A-line midi. We love how the tie detail on the shoulders instantly elevate this minimalistic look.

12
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For a Stylishly Modest Look: Reformation Petites Juni Dress

For a Stylishly Modest Look: Reformation Petites Juni Dress

Courtesy of Reformation

Runs: True to size | Size: 0P-12P | Materials: Viscose | Length: Mini

If you're attending a wedding that requires a more modest look, the Juni dress is a perfect pick. Available in an ivory and blue floral print as well as this black and white polka-dot print, the shorter length beautifully complements its high neckline and long sleeves.

13
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Best Print: Reformation Petites Sigmund Dress

Best Print: Reformation Petites Sigmund Dress

Courtesy of Reformation

Runs: True to size | Size: 0P-12P | Materials: Crepe | Length: Midi

Turn heads in this stunning printed midi. Available in a variety of unique prints, its sharp square neckline and high slit make for an utterly iconic look.

14
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Best Off-the-Shoulder Dress: Club L London Petite Ruffle Off-the-Shoulder Mini Dress

Best Off-the-Shoulder Dress: Club L London Petite Ruffle Off-the-Shoulder Mini Dress

Courtesy of ASOS

Runs: True to size | Size: 4P-14P | Materials: Stretch satin | Length: Mini

There's nothing quite like an off-the-shoulder neckline to show off your décolletage. This black mini features a beautiful stretch satin fabric and an unforgettable ruffle detail.

15
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Most Subtly Sexy: ASOS DESIGN Petite Velvet Drape Corset Midi Dress

Most Subtly Sexy: ASOS DESIGN Petite Velvet Drape Corset Midi Dress

Courtesy of ASOS

Runs: True to size | Size: 00P-12P | Materials: Velvet | Length: Midi

Both sexy and elegant, this fitted velvet midi by ASOS is a dream. In deep navy blue, we love this piece's dramatic drapery and high slit.

16
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Best Mock-Neck Dress: Reformation Petites Archie Dress

Best Mock-Neck Dress: Reformation Petites Archie Dress

Courtesy of Reformation

Runs: True to size | Size: 0P-12P | Materials: Viscose | Length: Mini

This dress comes in emerald green or a black, white, and green floral print called Veuve. Featuring a smocked, mock neck and sleeves, this mini screams effortless sophistication.

17
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Best Fabric: Maeve Jacquard Mini Dress

Best Fabric: Maeve Jacquard Mini Dress

Courtesy of Anthropologie

Runs: True to size | Size: 00P-16P | Materials: Jacquard | Length: Mini

There's nothing quite like jacquard fabric to exude pure luxury. This floral mini by Anthropologie would be beautiful for attending any wedding no matter the season.

18
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Most Flirty: ASOS DESIGN Petite Ruffle Mini Dress

Most Flirty: ASOS DESIGN Petite Ruffle Mini Dress

Courtesy of ASOS

Runs: True to size | Size: 00P-12P | Materials: Chiffon | Length: Mini

We can't stop staring at this bold ruffled mini by ASOS. The bright red hue combined with its flowy silhouette makes this stunner nothing short of flirty, fun, and just a hint of sexy.

19
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Best Back: Ever New Petite Bow Back Mini Dress

Best Back: Ever New Petite Bow Back Mini Dress

Courtesy of ASOS

Runs: True to size | Size: 0P-10P | Materials: Stretch satin | Length: Mini

This just may be the perfect example of party in the back. Featuring a sophisticated and clean high-neck, long-sleeve look in the front, the stunningly low back is polished off with a bow.

20
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For a Summer Wedding: ASOS DESIGN Petite Ruffle Mini Dress

For a Summer Wedding: ASOS DESIGN Petite Ruffle Mini Dress

Courtesy of ASOS

Runs: True to size | Size: 00P-12P | Materials: Chiffon | Length: Mini

This ruffled mini's chiffon fabric is light, airy, and whimsical. Ideal for summer nuptials, the bright yellow, pale orange hue is vibrant and fresh.

What to Look for in a Petite Cocktail Dress

No matter your height, comfort and confidence is key. Start by looking for silhouettes that accentuate your best features and details that elongate your frame. We especially love a high slit, a plunging V-neckline, or buttons sewn vertically from the top to the bottom to do just that. Next, consider your shoes. You'll most likely want to wear a heel if you're opting for a midi dress. Because this length hits mid-calf, it tends to visually shorten your legs if worn with a flat shoe. But, if you're attending outdoor nuptials whether it be on the beach, on a farm, or on a mountain top, heels might not be an option—and that's okay! If landscape limitations (or your comfort level) have you set on wearing a shoe like a sandal or a ballet flat, it's usually best to choose a cocktail dress in a length that hits above the knee. This will ensure that your legs still look long and lean—even without a heel! Most importantly, remember to slip on your dress one or two times before the wedding to ensure that the length is falling to the best point, you're comfortable, and that the fit is stellar. Plus, have some fun with accessories! We recommend keeping your neckline open with no necklace and wearing a drop earring to further elongate all of your features.

FAQ
  • Do cocktail dresses have to be short?

    Traditionally, a cocktail dress is a shorter dress, something that hits at or just above the knee. This is because the shorter length makes them appear more casual and less formal. However, there are no strict rules; in some cases, a midi or maxi dress can be appropriate as cocktail attire as well.

  • Can cocktail dresses be casual?

    With the right accessories, a more casual dress can easily be worn as cocktail party and wedding attire. These more casual dresses tend to be even more versatile.

  • Should you avoid white cocktail dresses to a wedding?

    Generally speaking, the one fashion rule most people seem to continue to follow at a wedding is to avoid wearing white unless you're the bride. Even if your cocktail dress is casual, your best bet is to opt for any other color aside from white.

Why Trust Brides

Contributing writer Jessica Booth is a journalist of over 10 years and a freelance writer whose work has appeared on sites such as Bustle, Insider, Redbook, and Refinery29.

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