Wedding season is around the corner. Whether you just have one to go to this year, or say – 8, like one of my coworkers – you're going to need a dress (or five). Not all weddings are created equal, just like not all summer weddings should be treated the same when it comes to dressing. There are outdoor weddings, indoor weddings, black-tie weddings, casual weddings, destination weddings, and just about everything in between. If you have a handful of weddings this summer, finding the right dress for each occasion is not an easy or fun task. So I decided to make it a little easier on you by sharing a bit of inspiration! I divided weddings into three main wearing occasions: beach, casual, and formal. Of course each wedding is a little different, but most would fall into one of these three categories.
Check out my picks for the best dresses for each type of wedding, that can work for all different types of budgets. All of these fabulous dresses are under $100, with many under $50!
Let's start with the most casual and work our way up.
Beach weddings are the epitome of casual – meaning, you can definitely get away with showing a little more skin. You often can wear casual sandals or even go barefoot. Thin straps and flowy fabrics are welcome. I would even venture to say that bold prints are the most accepted at such an affair. Pick a dress that's breezy and breathable, since it'll likely be pretty toasty out!
Sometimes it can be hard to decipher if you should be wearing a more casual or formal dress for a particular wedding. Although there are no set rules, there are some indicators of a more casual setting. If the wedding is outside, for example, you likely can be a little more on the casual side than if the wedding is in a church. Sometimes day weddings are a little less formal than evening weddings – but again, totally depends on the wedding, and that's up to you to determine which direction you'd like to go. If you do go the casual route, there are many knit dress options that would work wonderfully! A fit and flare is an easy go-to, as it looks refined, but it's super comfortable and flattering. A simple shift paired with a statement flat or neutral heel will be sophisticated and a bit of an unexpected choice!
A lot of your more traditional weddings skew to the formal end of the spectrum. Not necessarily a black tie affair (although it can be), but the expectation is to still be dressy and refined. For my formal occasions, I usually steer clear of knit dresses, which are definitely more casual. If you don't know the difference between a knit and woven, an easy tell is that a knit is very stretchy (in both directions) usually with more drape, and a woven is more structured, and only has stretch if spandex is included. Woven dresses are definitely more formal-occasion-friendly, and perfect for your formal weddings! There are, of course, exceptions to the rule, like ponte dresses. Ponte is a thicker, heavier weight, knit fabric that is refined, a little more structured and smoothes the silhouette (see dress on far right). Regardless of the dress you choose, you'll probably want to pair it with a dressy pair of sandals or heels, and perhaps a shrug or cardigan.
Until next time–