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When attending a wedding, choosing a chic purse to hang on your arm is just as important as selecting the right dress to wear. While you certainly don't need to pack a lot of items for the night, there are a few staples you'll want a small purse for while dancing, secretly wiping tears from your eyes, or holding a drink and grabbing a passed hors d'oeuvre.
The perfect wedding guest purse should be small and compact, as a tote or anything large isn't going to look right with cocktail or party attire. Ideally, you'll have enough room for the essentials, which might include lipstick, a coin purse with some dollar bills, your ID, your keys, and your phone (give or take a few). If you want something to hang over your shoulder so your hands are free, opt for a small handbag or mini crossbody. And if you don't mind holding your bag or sticking it under your arm, a clutch is also a great option (even better, a clutch with a chain that can be put inside the bag if you want).
A great rule of thumb is to choose a purse that coordinates with the color of your dress, or opt for a versatile piece that can be worn with almost anything for future events. As for budget, splurging on something expensive isn't necessary, as there are some budget-friendly options that are just as gorgeous as the designer pieces out there.
Below, we've put together a list of purses for wedding guests that run the gamut from pricey to affordable, and from colorful to more muted, versatile tones.
Most Chic: Marina Raphael Chandelier in Pink Silk
Colors: Black, pink, blue, white | Materials: Silk, satin, Swarovski crystal
If you're looking for something that will stand out and stand the test of time, look no further than this exquisite bag from Marina Raphael. Between the bucket silhouette, pear-shaped Swarovski crystal adornments, pink silk interior, and pink stain handle, this bag is an absolute must-have for any event, no matter the dress code.
Most Versatile : Jules Kae Brea Large
Colors: Bone, Chartreuse | Materials: Vegan leather
This chic option will quickly become your go-to wedding guest purse, thanks to its versatility and simple colors. You can leave the gold chain on or remove it to carry as a clutch. It's small enough to look stylish, but it still holds an impressive amount of items.
Most Sparkle: Whiting & Davis Solier Ruffle Bucket Bag
Colors: Gold, silver | Materials: Brass mesh with crystals
For some glitter and glitz, opt for this metallic option that puts a dressed-up spin on the bucket bag. The crystal mesh adds so much pretty sparkle and the brass handle is a beautiful touch.
Best Metallic: Anthropologie Beaded Metallic Clutch
Colors: Silver, gold, black, ivory | Materials: Glass, polyester, cotton
This comes in four different basic colors, and no matter which one you pick, it's a versatile option that can also be used for many different weddings. The beading adds some sparkle and the tassel is a pretty add-on.
Most Unique : ASOS Design Cage Sphere Clutch Bag
Colors: Gold | Materials: Caged metal
The unique sphere shape of this cage bag will really stand out, making it the perfect trendy option. Your items will also be in full view, so be sure to make everything aesthetically pleasing.
Best Envelope Clutch: Saint Laurent Uptown Leather Clutch
Colors: White | Materials: Leather
An envelope clutch is a classic option that will never go out of style. This one features YSL's signature logo, as well as a convenient magnetic closure. Small and slim, this is the ultimate party clutch.
Best Woven Option: Show Me Your Mumu Agnes Woven Bag
Colors: Beige | Materials: Faux leather
This woven and faux leather purse is definitely on the more casual side and is perfect for daytime or beach weddings. The gold hardware makes it feel more dressed up and the chunky chain is on-trend.
Most Fun: Olga Berg Carlita Carnivale Clutch
Colors: Multi | Materials: Fringe and raffia
This colorful bag isn't going to match everything, but it's so much fun that it's hard to resist. The multi-colored fringe and raffia are especially great for summertime weddings with a festive dress code.
Best Gold Option: Cult Gaia Mini Nala Metallic Leather Fan Clutch
Colors: Gold | Materials: Leather
This fan-shaped clutch is unique but not overwhelming, and won't distract too much attention from the rest of your look. However, be sure to keep in mind that it's a smaller size than the standard clutch, and may not fit all of your necessities.
Best Beaded: Judith Leiber Couture Envelope Beaded Clutch Bag
Colors: Light siam, prosecco, jet, emerald, midnight navy, hematite, rhine | Materials: Satin, crystals
While this bag is a bit of a splurge, it's also a classic evening beaded bag that you'll probably use for countless events. Get it in a bright color like this light siam shade, or opt for something more neutral, like hematite or jet black.
Most Modern: Sophia Webster Clara Box Bag
Colors: Black, silver, rainbow | Materials: Satin
The boxy shape of this bag is modern and unique, but still elegant, thanks to the black satin. The double butterfly closure is a beautiful detail, and it also comes with a detachable strap so you can adjust how you want to wear it.
Best Wristlet: Brahmin Daisy Bag
Colors: Peacock, prism, sherbet, carnival | Materials: Croc-embossed leather
A wristlet is a great option if you want something very small that is easy to carry throughout the entire night. This one from Brahmin is unique and funky, and comes in shiny metallic shades that are fun and colorful.
Most Stylish: Christian Louboutin Loubi Twist Patent Zip Clutch Bag
Colors: Nude | Materials: Patent leather
For something that is chic and timeless, there's this nude Christian Louboutin bag. Made of shiny patent leather, it features a unique shape and the brand's signature red interior for a pop of color.
Most Whimsical: Loeffler Randall Feathers Bag
Colors: Oyster, mist | Materials: Ostrich and turkey feathers, leather
Calling all fashion-forward brides, this feathered purse is fun, feminine, and bold. It will definitely make a statement and will be a great staple piece to keep in your closet.
Best Fringe: Cult Gaia Banu Mini Embellished Fringe Clutch
Colors: Silver | Materials: Polyester
If you really want to make a bold statement, then opt for this Cult Gaia bag (we're absolutely swooning over the metallic fringe). This is a trendy and very different option for a big night out or a black-tie affair.
Best for a Beach Wedding: Cult Gaia Eos Rattan Clutch
Colors: Natural | Materials: Rattan
When attending a beach wedding, you probably don't want to carry a bag made of heavy materials like suede, crystals, or velvet. Instead, opt for something like this rattan clutch, which feels just right for a ceremony by the ocean.
For a Summer Wedding: BTB Los Angeles Sera Oversize Fringe Straw Bag
Colors: Green, grape, yellow | Materials: Straw, polyester
For a summer wedding, especially during the day, you typically want something that feels a bit more casual and relaxed. This fringe straw bag is a perfect fit and comes in such fun, bright colors.
Best Designer Bag: Jimmy Choo Madeline Soft Leather Crossbody
Colors: Black, light silver | Materials: Viscose, leather, crystal
If you want to splurge on a designer evening bag, this Jimmy Choo option is a good pick. It's versatile so you can get a lot of use out of it, and it can be worn as a convenient crossbody.
Most Fun Color: Rebecca Minkoff Ruched Clutch
Colors: Bougainville and 7 others | Materials: Polyurethane
Neutral shades like beige, silver, or black are great, but sometimes you just want a really bold color. This ruched clutch comes in several different bright hues, like this Bougainville shade that will stand out in any crowd.
Best Embellishments: Nina Kaidy Feather Trim Satin Clutch
Colors: Black, red rouge, pearl rose, white | Materials: Textile, feather
This satin clutch features crystal and feather embellishments, so it kind of has it all. The feathered detail makes it fun, and the crystals give just enough sparkle.
Best Multi-Color Bag: Kurt Geiger London Party Envelope Crossbody Bag
Colors: Multi, nude, bright pink | Materials: Acrylic, polyester
This rainbow patterned multi-colored bag is fun and unique and will be a nice pop of color against any dress. If you prefer a more subtle piece, the nude hue is a bit more understated and just as pretty.
Cutest Mini: Il Bisonte Contessina Mini Croc-Embossed Shoulder Bag
Colors: Winter white, purple | Materials: Crocodile-embossed leather
The crocodile-embossed leather design of this bag gives it a really nice texture, and the mini size is an adorable touch. A great option if you're looking for a neutral-colored purse.
Most Elegant: Kelly & Katie Princess Pleat Clutch
Colors: Gold metallic | Materials: Satin
The timeless design of this pleated clutch will work for almost any wedding and with almost any dress. The shimmery gold color is just as versatile, and with the snap closure, you don't have to worry about anything falling out.
Most Budget-Friendly : INC International Concepts Bowah Hands Through Clutch
Colors: Black | Materials: Faux leather
This inexpensive clutch is a great choice if you're looking for something budget-friendly. The oversized bow detail is cute, and the overall look is chic and holds a decent amount of items.
Best Black: Versace Virtus Suede Crystal Clutch
Colors: Black | Materials: Leather
V-studded leather gives this bag a bit of an edge and the gold hardware makes it luxe. It's a pretty shoulder bag that can be worn for an evening event like a wedding or rehearsal dinner.
What to Look for in a Wedding Guest Purse
When shopping for the right wedding guest purse, you have to decide if you want something versatile that can be used as your go-to evening bag, or if you want something more bold, trendy, and fun that will make a statement. For a purse that can be used for almost every wedding (and more), opt for neutral shades like black, white, nude, metallic gold, or silver. For a standout piece, look for bright colors, interesting designs, and funky embellishments.
What's more, you should also search for functional pieces. If your purse can't even hold your phone, what's the point of having it? A wedding guest purse should be small enough to be handheld, but with a large enough pocket to hold your essentials without bulging. Lastly, look for something that is comfortable for you. Some people might prefer to hold onto a clutch or stick it under their arms, while others might want a strap to wear with the purse instead.
What color should a wedding guest purse be?
The color of your bag really depends on personal preference. A neutral shade like black, white, or nude will go with almost any look and any event—while a bright, bold purse is fun but not as versatile. And while guests are normally advised to avoid white dresses for a wedding, a white purse is okay.
How much will a wedding guest purse cost?
There is no set amount for a wedding guest purse; what you spend depends on your budget. If you feel like you want to splurge, these purses can cost upwards of a few hundred or even thousands of dollars. If you want something more budget-friendly, you can find great options for less than $50.
What style should you look for in a wedding guest purse?
The best wedding guest purses are functional and compact. A small crossbody or shoulder bag is a great option for throwing over your shoulder. A clutch is a go-to evening bag style, as well. If you want to merge both, get a clutch with a detachable chain.
About the Author
Contributing writer Jessica Booth is a freelance writer and formerly served as an editor for seven years. Her work has been featured in Bustle, Insider, Redbook, and Refinery29.