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What to Wear to A Summer Wedding

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It may not be your special day, but that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to look gorgeous. The problem is that what to wear to a summer wedding can be tricky. Because you shouldn’t have to stress out about a wedding that isn’t yours, we’ve put together some tips to ensure that you’ll turn heads while sticking to the dress code. Now all you’ve got to worry about is how to get that cute groomsman to dance with you.

What to Wear to a Summer Wedding: Basic Dos and Don’ts


  • Wear summer colors like turquoise, melon, strawberry, and kelly green.
  • Wear cute pumps and/or sandals for an inside wedding/reception.
  • Wear black (with color) to an evening wedding.
  • Wear something sexy- but tasteful.
  • Wear a linen pants suit.
  • Wear a cool straw hat.


  • Wear white, unless the bride requests it. People will talk about you (and not in a good way).
  • Wear black to an afternoon/morning wedding. Pick something colorful.
  • Wear heels for an outside wedding/reception (your heel with get stuck in the grass).
  • Wear ultra low cut dresses, short-short dresses, shorts. If you wouldn’t want your grandma to see you in it, then don’t wear it.

What to Wear to A Summer Wedding: Dressing Tips

Dress for the time and place

Afternoon ceremonies tend to be more casual than evening soirees, so first take into account what time the event is taking place. At noon, it’s perfectly appropriate to wear a summer sundress or pastel skirt, while at six, it’s more fitting to wear a satin or chiffon cocktail dress. Many weddings nowadays call for a wardrobe change between a low-key ceremony and fancy reception. Determine how much to dress up or down according to the time and venue of the event.

Daytime Wedding Outfits

Have the Dance Floor Dress in Mint
Have the Dance Floor Dress in Mint, $119.99, Modcloth
floral maxi dress to wear to summer wedding
Calvin Klein Floral Maxi Dress, $74.99,
floral maxi dress to wear to summer wedding
Placement Floral Maxi Dress, $40 (on sale),

Evening Wedding Outfits

ASOS One Shoulder Drape Dress
One Shoulder Drape Dress, $85.74, ASOS

But by all Means, Do Dress

ASOS CURVE Wrap Front Maxi Dress

Yes, it’s summer, but that’s not an excuse to wear shorts and a tank top to a wedding. Even a low-key backyard affair calls for a skirt. While others may wear jeans to their friend’s special day, a fashionista doesn’t stray from decorum. Show the bride and groom that you understand the importance of their wedding and dress up.

Keep Color in Mind

Many weddings now have color themes, so if the invite is red and blue, you may not want to wear that color because the bride and bridesmaids will probably be wearing something of that hue. And while wearing white after Labor Day is no longer a fashion faux pas, it’s still disrespectful to wear white to a wedding. Also stay away from black. You don’t want to look like you’re going to a funeral.

Choose Complementary Accessories

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A metallic pair of sandals or shoes are the perfect partner to a summer dress. For a ballroom affair, select strappy stilettos or peep-toes. If the event is taking place out doors, you may want to opt for wedges or flats that won’t get stuck in the grass or sand.

What to Wear to A Summer Wedding: More Dressing Tips

Outdoor Summer Wedding Outfits

Wallpaper Floral Maxi Dress
Wallpaper Floral Maxi Dress, $98, LOFT
TopShop Tailored Strapless Jumpsuit
TopShop Tailored Strapless Jumpsuit, $120, Nordstrom
Laundry by Shelli Segal
Twist Front Matte Jersey Dress, $128, Nordstrom

Indoor Summer Wedding Outfits

Gemma Geo-Print Wrap Dress
Gemma Geo-Print Wrap Dress, $98, Banana Republic
What to wear to a summer wedding: Puff Sleeve Dress in Super 120
Splurge: Puff Sleeve Dress in Super 120, $199 at JCrew

It’s also important to choose the right bag. Find a small clutch or wristlet that complements your outfit and fill it with your essentials, among which should be powder. Summer means heat, and heat means sweat, so be prepared.

Go Light on Makeup and Jewelry

Fresh, minimalistic makeup is more flattering for a summer wedding. Ditch the heavy lipstick and apply a shimmering gloss to keep lips moist and shiny. Be sure to wear a sunscreen if you’ll be outdoors, but go light on the foundation or wear a light coating of powder instead.

Because you’re probably wearing a light, breezy dress, you should also go light on the jewelry. Cumbersome baubles look awkward with an airy ensemble, so trade your chandelier earrings for pearls or studs. A little bling goes a long way in the summer time. Keep it light, and you’ll look and feel better.


Tuesday 20th of June 2017

Hello! I have a wedding in Malibu I'm attending in a couple of days, and I'm having second thoughts about the dress I purchased. I'm super worried that the dress is too dark or not appropriate for the "ambience" of the wedding. The venue is at a ranch with the ceremony starting at 5 PM with reception to follow. I am trying to get as much feedback as possible to help make the appropriate changes. Here's the dress:

Catherine Brock

Tuesday 20th of June 2017

Sam, Thank you for dropping by. I don't think it's too dark for a 5pm wedding. How do you plan to accessorize it (shoes, jewelry)? Do you think the event is more on the casual side? (I'm thinking yes, because it's a ranch, presumably outdoors?) ~Catherine


Friday 9th of June 2017

Summer wedding at an exclusive country club. Wedding at 5:30 outside and reception inside at 6 for cocktails, dinner (surf and turf) and dancing. I was thinking a Michael Kors black chiffon dress (short) but now I'm not sure. I need help.

Catherine Brock

Monday 12th of June 2017


How short is the dress? Based on the venue and timing (early evening), it sounds like it should be OK, assuming the dress isn't really short/ really tight and as long as the bride isn't ultra conservative and/or sensitive.



Saturday 6th of August 2016

For a 5:30 wedding, should I wear a long sleeve dress or a short sleeve dress? Also, should I bring a bag with straps ( or should I bring a wristlet( Thank you!

Catherine Brock

Sunday 7th of August 2016


Short-sleeved dresses tend to work better. If you're worried about being cold, layer on a wrap or bolero. Cross-body bags are usually too casual for a wedding; I'd pick a clutch or wristlet.


beth johnson

Thursday 4th of August 2016

Can I wear pale pink lace short cocktail dress to a 4:30 Summer wedding ceremony, evening reception, outdoors?

Catherine Brock

Thursday 4th of August 2016

Beth, If it's not too short or too tight or too lacey (you don't want to compete with the bride after all), you should be OK. Catherine


Tuesday 2nd of August 2016

Thank you so much! I'm going to wear the Ralph Lauren dress and my sister wants to wear to the jcpenney one. So what should she pair it with? Also, what color cardigans go well with both of the dresses?

Catherine Brock

Wednesday 3rd of August 2016

Hi there,

The JCPenney dress has that lace detail, so she'll want to stick with delicate jewelry to go with it. Same with the shoe — a simple, elegant pump would work, for example. I don't think I'd pair either dress with a cardigan; it would probably be too casual. Try a wide scarf made of lightweight fabric and use it as a wrap. The brown dress would work with a soft ivory wrap. The deep purple of the Ralph Lauren dress would look stunning with a deep olive green. If that makes the ensemble too dark, try a soft shade of lavender.