Master your outfit *and* the dress code.
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Before you know it, wedding season will be in full swing, and you've probably got a few save-the-dates hanging on your fridge. If any of those upcoming events require cocktail attire, a cute dress is an excellent outfit choice. Think of wedding guest cocktail dresses as somewhere in between formal and semi-formal; you don't need to rent out a glamorous evening gown, but it's probably best to leave the mini skirt in your closet. Instead, aim for something in the middle, like a midi-length dress or a hemline that hits just around the knee.
With this particular dress code, you have some flexibility when it comes to colors and patterns (but steer clear of white). You should also know that accessories are encouraged; fine jewelry, hairpieces, dressy shoes and elegant clutches are all great ways to enhance your cocktail outfit. And, as always, consider the season and climate while you're shopping for your look.
Below, we've gathered our favorite cocktail dresses for wedding guests, organized by season (you're welcome). We've even included some designer rentals that you can wear and return on the cheap. Now that you know what a cocktail dress looks like, it's time to shop!
In this article:
- Spring Wedding Guest Cocktail Dresses
- Summer Wedding Guest Cocktail Dresses
- Fall Wedding Guest Cocktail Dresses
- Winter Wedding Guest Cocktail Dresses
Spring Wedding Guest Cocktail Dresses
Spring is a wonderful season for weddings and wedding attire. We've pulled a variety of spring cocktail dress styles—from one-shoulder designs to dreamy floral prints. Remember: To prepare for a surprise spring shower, it wouldn't hurt to pack a jacket or shawl and an extra pair of shoes, just in case.
Reformation Twilight Dress in Verde
Springtime was basically made for florals, so you'll fit right in with this lovely green dress. It has a fitted bodice, smocked back and tasteful leg slit. Plus, the breezy tie straps make it an ideal choice for warmer weather.
ELOQUII Striped Sequin Slip Dress in Green and Neutral Stripe
Get ready to sparkle in this plus-size cocktail dress—we love the green, blue, black and purple stripes. With formal sequins and a skirt below the knee, you'll feel appropriately dressed. If the weather's chilly, make sure to pack a matching jacket or shawl.
Self-Portrait Square-Neck Guipure Lace Midi Dress in Burgundy
A lace cocktail dress in a dark color is a lovely option for weddings. This burgundy midi dress has a romantic square neckline, short puff sleeves and a formal gathered skirt. You'll definitely rewear this elegant outfit.
Alex Evenings Plus-Size Sequin Jacket and Midi Dress in Steel Blue
Because spring weather can be unpredictable, consider cocktail dresses with jackets. What about this sequin jacket and midi dress by Alex Evenings? The soft blue color is so seasonal, and the two pieces are perfectly coordinated. Accessorize with an embellished hairpiece and a small clutch.
Kiyonna Whimsy Wrap Dress in Plum Passion
Now here's a classic wrap dress that'll get a lot of use. We're obsessed with the flouncy ruffles that cascade down the skirt. The adjustable design allows you to customize your fit for ultimate comfort. And how pretty is that deep plum color?
Reformation Cyprus Dress in Jolene
This black floral cocktail dress is the definition of charming. The elbow-length sleeves are just perfect for spring, and we're really into the full skirt. Pair it with a cute headband, delicate gold jewelry and neutral heels for a semi-formal cocktail look.
Summer Wedding Guest Cocktail Dresses
It's important to consider the wedding location and venue when choosing your summer cocktail dress. For example, if you're looking for a cocktail dress for a beach wedding, a lightweight fabric or something sleeveless might make sense. Keep scrolling to find the best formal and semi-formal cocktail dresses for every summer wedding style.
ASTR The Label Santorini One-Shoulder Midi Dress in Retro Floral
To start our summer picks, here's a stunning one-shoulder midi dress that came to impress. This dress has so many trendy elements: a puff sleeve, retro floral print and unique handkerchief hem. You'll feel summery and appropriately dressed in this standout pick.
Nasty Gal Plus-Size Cowl-Neck Satin Midi Slip Dress in Black
Simple yet elegant, you'll stun in this black wedding guest cocktail dress. The plus-size satin slip has adjustable spaghetti straps, a draped cowl neckline and a chic side slit. To complement the minimalist silhouette, pair it with dangly earrings and colorful pumps.
Jonathan Simkhai Speckle Print Asymmetric Ruffle Dress
You'll feel oh-so-fancy in this strapless pink cocktail dress. With a romantic sweetheart neckline, ruffle accents and a red-speckled design, it's a statement-making dress that'll earn plenty of compliments.
Adrianna Papell Plus-Size Hand-Beaded Midi Dress With Flutter Sleeves in Twilight
Be prepared to twinkle all night in this shimmery navy midi dress. The intricate botanical beadwork and elegantly flared skirt make this outfit perfect for an indoor summer cocktail event. (Don't forget to add even more sparkle with your accessories!)
Mac Duggal Ruched Off-the-Shoulder Midi Dress in Emerald Green
This dressy green cocktail dress definitely deserves attention. We absolutely love the one-shoulder neckline, ruched bodice and sleek slit. On top of all that, the rich emerald color is such an elegant shade for a formal cocktail event. Add bold earrings and black or nude stilettos to heighten the look.
$298 | Verishop
Leota Curve Perfect Wrap Dress in Orchid Meadow
This floral frock is a summer cocktail dress you'll seriously want to consider. The jersey fabric is soft, breathable and resists wrinkles, so you'll feel comfortable and ready to celebrate. Whether you're sipping bubbly on the beach or enjoying the air-conditioned indoors, you'll be grateful you chose this piece.
Fall Wedding Guest Cocktail Dresses
Fall is the perfect time to embrace warm colors and rich, earthy tones. Plus, you have lots of fun fabric options—hello, buttery soft velvet. Check out our favorite fall wedding cocktail dresses that are both stylish and cozy.
BHLDN Louisa Dress in Cinnamon
Sugar and spice, this cinnamon color is oh-so-nice. This silky cocktail dress has a classic wrap skirt that falls so beautifully. Short cap sleeves and a bow-tied belt add even more timeless elegance. Don't forget your gold hoops!
Adrianna Papell Long-Sleeve Hand-Beaded Sheath Dress in Black
This black cocktail dress is so chic, we can't even handle it. It has the coolest tux-inspired collar, not to mention stunning beadwork. Plus, you'll stay nice and warm in the long sleeves!
Reformation Melba Dress in Mademoiselle
There are so many beautiful autumn cocktail dresses to choose from. This eco-friendly floral midi has a sophisticated V-neck, subtly puffed sleeves and an adjustable tie waist. Fine jewelry, strappy heels and a small clutch would complement the outfit nicely.
City Chic Halter Twist Dress in Clove
It's the season of pumpkin spice, so we had to throw in this clove-colored cocktail dress. The halter neckline and draped front design make for a really fun fall silhouette. It would look so good paired with a cute coat and pumps.
Cider Elegant Velvet Midi Dress in Olive Green
This velvet wedding guest dress is one of our favorites for the fall. We're loving everything about this pretty midi: the super-soft fabric, the ruched bodice and the luscious olive green color. Make sure to bring a light jacket to face the autumn chill!
Kiyonna Plus Wildflower Embroidered Dress in Onyx
We just can't say no to a beautifully embroidered floral cocktail dress. This enchanting style has a sheer overlay, velvet accents and short flutter sleeves. You'll gladly dance the night away in this wildflower-inspired piece.
Winter Wedding Guest Cocktail Dresses
Winter wedding cocktail dresses are some of the most beautiful. Enter: long sleeves, luxurious fabrics and deep, alluring hues (think: navy, black and burgundy). Here are our favorite fancy cocktail dresses curated exclusively for the wintertime. Don't forget to add a cozy faux-fur wrap or coat.
Kiyonna Mon Cheri Lace Cocktail Dress in Rose Gold
Modern meets glamour with this floral lace cocktail dress. The dress has a rose-gold metallic shimmer that will stand out gorgeously in the winter season. And did you catch those lovely scalloped details on the neckline and bottom hem? Sign us up!
$178 | Nordstrom
ELOQUII Sheer Midi Dress With Slip in Black
You'll look super chic in this black midi cocktail dress. The sheer dress has puff sleeves, an attached slip and allover polka dots for a fashion-forward winter wedding guest outfit. Bonus: The short sleeves will keep you cool while you're dancing!
Ivy City Co. Sweetheart Dress in Midnight
This dressy velvet cocktail dress is perfect for your next winter wedding. The sweetheart neckline, three-quarter sleeves and A-line skirt look beautiful in the embossed floral print. For accessories, try silver jewelry and neutral-colored heels.
Boohoo Plus Off-the-Shoulder Wrap Midi Dress in Berry
Here's another short-sleeve cocktail dress that's still winter-appropriate. The deep berry color is undeniably seasonal. And, the elegant off-the-shoulder neckline would look great accessorized with some statement jewelry.
Adrianna Papell Petaluma Sequin Dress in Navy
If you're searching for a winter cocktail dress that's on the shorter side, try this modest knee-length dress. The navy fabric is embellished with tiny crystals, sequins and beading, so you'll literally sparkle all night long. The elbow-length sleeves offer the perfect amount of coverage while still being dressy enough for cocktail attire. Simply add a coat and you'll be all set!
Saylor Cecilie Velvet Dress
Sophisticated and simple, this glittery velvet cocktail dress is a foolproof choice for your winter event. It has a square neckline and chic side slit that are so trendy for 2022. Most importantly, you can rent it for just $30 for four days (what a steal!).