What to Wear to a Summer Wedding

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I’ve received five wedding invitations for 2016, and three of them are this summer. And every time I pull back the doors to my closet, I let out a long, exasperated sigh. So, I’m making a mental list to try an organic spray tan, get a pedicure, and find the perfect dress (or two!) for all these warm-weather affairs.

Below, we’re decoding what to wear to six types of weddings this summer.

White Tie –


Lucky you, this dress code most likely means an evening of Champagne, black truffle risotto, and a string quartet. You’ll want to look extra glam for this ritzy occasion.

WEAR THIS: Full-length ball gown with dramatic jewelry and a bold red lip. This gorgeous Aidan Mattox gown – with gold sequins and a godet skirt – fits the bill. Want something less flashy? This black BCBG Max Azria gown with a halter neckline is simple but lavish.

Black Tie –


Almost as fancy as a white tie soireé, a black tie wedding calls for a long evening gown, as well. Prepare for an opulent evening of ornate hors d’oeuvres, toasts given with Champagne, and the soft strum of a harp.

WEAR THIS:  This tulip and eggshell color block gown is perfect for a Saturday afternoon or Sunday brunch formal wedding, while this black and gold lace gown would look marvelous for an evening gala reception.

Formal –


Enjoy an evening of shrimp cocktail, crisp white wine, glowing paper lanterns, and soft piano.

WEAR THIS: Grab your favorite LBD or splurge on a new cocktail dress. (And yes, black is okay at a summer wedding! Just pair it with a fun pop of color, like a bright lipstick or a colorful bib necklace.)  This floral lace dress (with a scalloped hem!) is flattering and festive, and this floral silk dress – that looks hand-painted – is perfect for strolling the venue’s garden after the ceremony.

Semi-Formal –


This kind of wedding is a mix between Formal and Casual. For a daytime shindig, stick with lighter colors. For an evening fête, choose darker hues. Be sure to bring your dancing shoes!

WEAR THIS: Think smart black pants and a gold sequined top or a dress with fun details, like this beaded high-neck midi dress or this indigo dress with mini pom-poms.

Beach Semi-Formal  –


A destination wedding in Hawaii means white sand, fruity drinks in carved-out coconuts, and the cheery twang of a ukulele.

WEAR THIS: A floral-print dress, flat sandals, and a hydrating sunscreen. This lightweight crepe wrap dress from ASOS is pretty and relaxed. Want to kick it up a notch? This floral gown with cape sleeves and a knife-pleated skirt is dressier, and it’s begging to be paired with a bold, neon lipstick.

Casual –


A backyard crawfish boil reception calls for a sunny sundress and strappy sandals. After all, you’re going to spend the evening playing lawn games and eating ice cream sandwiches – the bride’s favorite dessert of all time.

WEAR THIS: A kindred nod to gingham, this navy and cream windowpane dress is super cute for sun-drenched, merry festivities.

(A note from the author: I’ve never attended a white tie or black tie affair, so if you’re having a fancy summer wedding and you’re feeling generous, shoot an invitation my way! Would love to pull out my sequined godet gown – ha! – and dine on black truffle risotto.)

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