Don’t let a fridge covered in save-the-dates from your cousin, your best friend, your work wife and your partner’s second-something-once-removed get you down. Rather than puzzling over vague, Pinterest-inspired dress codes or despairing as you mentally calculate the cost of your mandated Morocco trip, remember this: how often do you get to dance with all your friends at the same time? When will you have another excuse to network with your friend’s aunt who used to manage Beyoncé? Weddings are a time for love, for joy, for not losing your mind over what you’re going to wear, pack, spend.
When shopping for dresses to wear to a wedding, we’re all aware of the general guidelines. Namely: (1) Don’t wear white, ecru, eggshell, milk, mother-of-pearl or any one of the Eskimo’s 50 synonyms for snow. (2) Keep your hemlines respectable. (3) Don’t upstage the bride. (4) Don’t wear a dress that could get you mistaken for a member of the bridal party. And (5) — this one’s especially tricky — follow the dress code. If you’re lost, do not be ashamed to ask the maid of honor for a second opinion. Also, don’t forget to dress for yourself. You’re not going to have fun if you spend the whole day feeling as if you’re wearing a costume that doesn’t suit you.
In the interest of totally alleviating your wedding guest dress-shopping stress, we went and found 20 wedding-appropriate dresses, one for every type of nuptials-centric gathering imaginable, be it a fancy dinner, a boho blowout in sunny Ojai, an over-the-top black-tie affair, or anything in between. Click through the gallery above for an expert roundup of dresses to wear to a wedding, complete with occasion-specific shopping tips for any not satisfied with the selection at hand. Consider this an advanced class in dresses for wedding guests. We’ll call it What to Wear to a Wedding: 301.