10 best wedding guest outfits

From embellished dresses to show-stopping skirts, we’ve tried a range of options to bring you fashion-forward pieces from the high street to see you through wedding season and beyond

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The Independent Online

Aside from longer days and warmer climes, spring brings with it an avalanche of “save the date” cards and a race to find a good wedding outfit.

But dressing for the occasion can get a little tricky when it comes to decoding attire requirements – is it black tie, garden, beach or casual? 

Whatever the criteria, mastering the perfect wedding look means straddling tradition and contemporary style. But most importantly, the outfit needs to be one that you feel confident in. 

Whether you’re heading to the country, jetting off to sunnier climes or a trendy city ceremony, we have everything you need to guarantee your spot as the most stylish guest on the big day.

The invites have landed: now let’s go shopping.

1. ‘Mae Frill’ jumpsuit: £175, Whistles

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Jumpsuits exude an air of nonchalant cool that traditional dresses just don’t. So, if you’re looking to stand out against a sea of fancy frocks, this could be the best option. In a striking sunny hue, this one has a flattering fitted waist, easy-to-wear culotte bottoms and frills on the top that lift it from casual to celebration-ready. Comfortable and chic, pair it with heels to elongate legs. 

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2. ‘Flowerbed’ embroidered dress: £300, Needle & Thread 

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Black is a contentious colour when it comes to weddings but if you really can’t leave your LBD at home, opt for one with some coloured embellishment. This embroidered dress from the cool British occasionwear brand Needle & Thread makes us feel springy just looking at the clusters of small flowers in yellow, pink, green and blue. Falling to mid-thigh, the semi-sheer tulle overlay lined with a fitted black camisole slip has a pretty frilled hem, while detailing on the shoulders and cuffs makes it feel more occasion-y. It also gets bonus points for its flattering sheer three-quarter-length sleeves. It comes in nude. 

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3. Wrap-over jacquard skirt: £69, Cos

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A show-stopping ensemble doesn’t have to mean buying a completely new outfit. Try looking for pieces that can work with what you already have in your wardrobe. Enter the statement skirt: this wrap-over option from Cos would look great with a crisp white shirt. Made from a jacquard material in botanical and navy hues, the A-line shape will flatter most figures and the fabric tie adds an extra flourish.  

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4. ‘Miller’ jacket (£250) and trouser (£125), Reiss

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Not a fan of traditional skirts or dresses? There are plenty of smart alternatives for you to choose from. We love a trouser suit, especially this cool light blue one from Reiss. The double-breasted jacket has an almost retro feel and the slightly padded shoulders add structure. The mid-rise trousers with the crease make the ensemble feel sharp. Wear yours with turned up sleeves and a silk camisole. Pieces are available separately in sizes 4-14. 

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5. ‘Tropical garden’ tie-back dress: £39, Warehouse 

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Summer weddings and tropical prints go well together, we think. This leafy design with pops of citrus orange makes an impact without risking upstaging anyone. The length is midi (bang on trend) and the nipped in waist with a tie-up back means you can adjust the fit. We love the effortlessness feel of this piece and think it would look best paired with mid-heeled sandals and a box clutch. 

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6. Vintage leaf barrette: £12, Accessorize

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We’ll take a sparkly hair accessory over a formal hat any day: our favourite is this gold-coloured leaf-shaped barrette from Accessorize that combines a modern and vintage aesthetic. Finished with crystal gems and faceted stones, it’s a fast-track to pretty hair and stays securely in place without pinching or slipping. Wear yours with a low ponytail or a textured half-up do.

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7. Embroidered openwork blouse: £35.99, Mango

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Whatever type of ceremony you’re attending, this ladylike blouse is a winner. The cotton fabric is amped up with the frill on the sleeves and high neckline, as well as by the yellow and blue embroidery. We’d wear ours with a high-waisted pleated skirt, but it would also look great with wide-leg trousers. 

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8. Natural cylindrical heel sandals: £68, Office

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Weddings call for shoes that will elevate your outfit in the style stakes, as well as being stable enough that you can throw some shapes in them on the dancefloor. This teal shoe with a silver block heel ticks both those boxes: the buckle fastening means they will be no slipping out of them and the velvet makes them feel a luxe choice fit for a celebration.   

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9. Double-breasted frock coat: £59.99, Zara

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Yes, it’s spring, but there’s no guarantee of fine weather. This smart nude-pink coat will protect you from brisk breezes and stop you shivering during ceremonies in stone-cold venues. The straight silhouette, lapel collar and long sleeves add structure to feminine outfits, while the gold-coloured buttons on the cuffs and front give it a stylish edge. And if the sun does come out, take it to drape over your shoulders at the end of the party.

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10. ‘Mia’ nappa leather shoulder bag: £225, L.K.Bennett

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A bag is essential at a wedding. Not only do you need somewhere to stash your essentials, but it also keeps your hands free for important things like confetti and champagne. Our pick is this small shoulder bag from L.K.Bennett that offers a modern way to wear florals. Adorned with laser-cut leather petals, it’s pretty with a bit of an edge. We love this marshmallow pink colour but the bag also comes in red, blue, cream and black. Wear it cross-body or on your shoulder. 

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The Verdict: Wedding guest outfits 

If it’s a dress you’re after, we think Needle & Thread’s elegant ‘Flowerbed’ design fits the remit, while Reiss’ Miller trouser suit offers a seriously stylish alternative for those looking to shun tradition. We also have to mention Accessorize’s super-elegant hair barette which, if you can’t afford a while new outfit, will instantly update your look.

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