Getting an invite to a friend’s or family member’s wedding in the post is one of the best things that will come through your letterbox.
However, with it comes a whole host of planning, but obviously not quite as much as the couple getting hitched...
There’s getting there, staying there, the present and – of course – the outfit. And then the what-ifs: will it be sunny? Is everyone else going long or midi? Long sleeve or no sleeve? And, for goodness sake, what colour are the bridesmaids’ dresses?
(No one wants to turn up accidently looking as if they’re trying to fit in with the bridesmaids.)
This year, it’s all about the midi wrap dress. But if that’s not for you, look to Nineties inspired silk slip-style bias cut dresses in bold colours and punchy patterns, or go for this year’s other trend: big sleeves.
Of course, our tried-and-trusteds of florals and polka dots are all this season, too.
But when are polkas dots not in fashion? We’ve whittled our floral, polka dot and wrap midi obsession down to include just a few in the list.
We’ve spent hours matching dresses to heels, clutches and accessories to find the best on the market at the moment.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
Warehouse yellow satin frill tea dress: £40, John Lewis & Partners
The designs at Warehouse this season have been so excellent that it’s been hard to pick just one dress, but this elegant, long satin dress is sleek and super-easy to wear. The front buttons are thankfully simple to do up and we especially love the double-layered frilled capped sleeves, asymmetric hem and front split, all of which give a floaty feminine silhouette. It’s easy to dress up with bright accessories and can also be toned down with trainers for summery daytime events too. It also comes in green.
Topshop white floral plunge midi dress: £49, Topshop
It’s the second cheapest dress on the list, and we can’t get enough of this midi number, not only for its affordable price tag, but for its wonderfully puffed sleeves and pretty, yet simple print, which make it an absolute winner. The V-neck is low, but not too revealing for a wedding while the middle panel of the dress is very flattering – and we love the romantic take on the floral print.
Monki neon floral silky V-neck wrap dress: £35, Monki
Monki’s ever reliable great prints and affordable designs don’t let us down here, and this neon floral design just screams summer event. We especially like that the wrap dress has a nifty button at the waist to secure the wrap over and we also like the asymmetric hem and its ever-so-slightly puffed shoulders.
Reiss Alli floral strappy dress: £115, Reiss
If you’re after a bare-arms number we love this muted-coloured floaty dress. Our favourite thing about it is the spaghetti straps which criss-cross multiple times at the back and the very deep V-shape it creates, so it’s all about showing off the back. The dress is fully lined – so nothing see-through here – and it has a nice side split, too.
Ghost lavender Meryl dress: £145, Ghost
Dresses from Ghost have been flying off the shelves this season after its recent revival thanks to Instagram and its go-to bias cut slip designs, and none more than this Meryl dress. With its silky look, beautiful long line of button fastenings, front shoulder pleats, padded shoulders and flattering side tie, a lot has gone into this design to give it the effortlessly chic look. It comes in a whole array of colours, but we love it in lavender.
Rixo Romeo tulip slip dress: £285, Rixo
This wonderfully sleek 100 per cent silk tulip and spot slip dress has a hand-printed design and is a generous midi length – even on our tester who is 6ft 1in. It is the most expensive on the list by far, but its beautiful cut and ease to wear – as well as all the compliments you’ll get – make it worth it. Go for sleek hair and red lipstick when wearing this to an event. We’ll also be pairing it with a woolly jumper and white trainers in autumn to get the most out of it.
Whistles lunar spot tie shoulder dress: £109, Whistles
When aren’t polka dots in fashion? Never. But this season, they’re absolutely everywhere. With its layer ruffled front, pretty tie shoulder detail, deep V-cut back and gorgeously summery colour, this dress is perfect for somewhere with sunnier climes and reminds us of the dresses flamenco dancers wear. We love its flattering – and generous – fit and length, and are pairing it with strappy heeled-sandals and oversized earrings.
Kitri Ayesha green wrap dress: £125, Kitri
We just can’t get enough of this luscious green this season. This crepe and silk mixed dress has elbow-length sleeves and a wrap side tie that gives it an effortless silhouette. Each design comes in a limited edition, so you’re unlikely to bump into someone else wearing the same (great dress).
Urban Outfitters x Laura Ashley exclusive Georgia off-the-shoulder midi dress: £85, Urban Outfitters
This dress comes from the genius collaboration between Urban Outfitters and Laura Ashley: think classic floral prints partnered with modern cuts. With its big sleeves, bardot neckline, full skirt and huge rose bloom print, this really is a statement dress and is our favourite from the collection. Wear it with understated layered gold necklaces and open toe heels.
Hobbs Lana tux dress: £149, Hobbs
If you’re after a Kate Middleton kind of look, this is it. This pastel blue fitted dress sits just above the knee and oozes sophistication. We love the sheer long sleeves and the double breasted “tux” look. It is also available in black.
Miss Selfridge coral cowl neck midi slip dress: £20, Miss Selfridge
We can’t get enough of silk-look slips and love the cut of this one with its cowl neck, midi length and spaghetti shoulder straps. It’s certainly more forgiving than you’d think and this coral colour shouldn’t just be confined to your nail varnishes. Wear it with big hair accessories.
The verdict: Women’s summer wedding guest outfits
The Warehouse satin frill tea dress is the dress that keeps on giving – it’s versatile and affordable, and will suit lots of body types. But, if you want to splash out, the Rixo Romeo tulip slip dress absolutely won’t disappoint you either.
IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.