What to Wear to a Festive Attire Wedding This Holiday Season

Bring on the bling and let’s get the party started.
Three festive wedding outfits
Photos, left to right: Lane Bryant, Indochino, Lulus
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by
Sofia Deeb
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Sofia Deeb
Assistant Fashion Commerce Editor
  • Sofia writes and edits articles for The Knot Worldwide with a specialty in fashion and e-commerce.
  • Prior to The Knot Worldwide, Sofia was a writer for Santa Barbara Life and Style Magazine.
  • Sofia studied cultural anthropology and journalism at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Updated Nov 15, 2023

So, you've just been invited to a festive attire wedding. Before you can hit the dance floor, you'll need an eye-catching look to meet the occasion. Unlike more formal wedding dress codes, festive attire gives you a bit more creative freedom. If you're someone who loves bright colors, a funky printed button-down might be the way to go. Craving sparkles? Go all out with a sequin-embellished holiday wedding guest dress. No matter what you choose, it's a chance to have fun and embrace your own personal style while getting a little extra. Are you ready? Keep reading to learn more about festive wedding attire, get expert advice, and browse our shoppable picks for every dress code.

In this article…

What is Festive Attire for a Wedding?

"Festive attire is essentially a stylish mix of cocktail and semi-formal, with an added dash of fun," says Lulus Senior Vice President of Brand Marketing, Patrick Buchanan. A festive dress code is one of Patrick's favorites for weddings since it invites guests to be more playful with their outfits and really show off their personal style. Some examples of festive attire include dresses with movement and whimsical details such as tiered ruffles, bows, feathers, fringe, or 3-D floral appliques and suits in bold colors, fabrics, or prints. Basically, "if it makes you want to snap a selfie, you're on the right track!" he says.

Festive Attire for Women

According to Patrick, "dresses featuring rich embellishments, ornate fabrics, and fun patterns are ideal for this dress code." Floral jacquards, embroidery, rhinestones, sequins, and velvet are all examples of elements that offer a festive vibe. When it comes to colors, think bold, saturated hues like fuchsia, royal blue, teal, emerald and red. Metallics are a great option as well (and look great under candlelight).

If you're someone who prefers to keep things classic, Patrick's advice is to opt for a simple silhouette and pair it with statement jewelry and accessories. "Feel free to experiment with hem lengths, too. You can find a festive dress at any length--or even try a jumpsuit or two-piece dress for something a little more unexpected!" he says.

Festive Attire for Men

According to The Knot's associate menswear editor, Tres Dean, guys looking to wear festive attire to a wedding can't go wrong with deep greens. "You're going to want a shade that's a bit more vibrant than earthy--think emerald tones or deep green plaids," he says. "Speaking of which, plaids are a great standby as well and a plaid sport coat or a full suit with bold checks bring a jaunty vibe to a wedding guest fit." Of course, you can also incorporate some of these colors into accessories if you aren't feeling like wearing a brightly colored suit. Dean's favorite way to style a festive look around the holidays? A red holiday tie, a sprig of holly pinned to your lapel, or a pair of nice cufflinks with a subtle pop of color.

Festive Cocktail Attire Ideas

Cocktail attire is one of the most common wedding dress codes out there, so don't be surprised when you start seeing more and more festive variations of it around this time of year. Just like traditional cocktail attire, festive cocktail attire falls somewhere in between semi-formal and formal. Think: midi-length dresses with heels, and suits with ties. To achieve a look that offers a cheerful vibe without breaking the dress code, opt for brighter colors than you typically would. Feathers, fringe, and sequins are all par for the course.

Need some more inspiration? Check out these six handpicked styles:

Tuckernuck Hot Pink Feather Jamie Dress

Tuckernuck hot pink feathered festive wedding guest dress
Photo: Tuckernuck

Nothing says 'festive' quite like feathers. If you're looking for a cocktail wedding guest dress that makes a statement, this pink midi dress is sure to do the trick.

Size range: XXS - 3XL

Indochino Harford Velvet Emerald Blazer

Indochino green velvet blazer festive wedding guest attire
Photo: Indochino

Whether you choose to dress it up with a collared shirt and tie, or down with a black turtleneck and sneakers, this emerald suit offers a festive way to switch up your wedding wardrobe.

Size range: Custom

ELOQUII Scarf Neck Textured Mini Dress

ELOQUII black sequin festive wedding guest dress
Photo: ELOQUII

Meet the little black dress of our dreams. All-over sequins and a draped scarf make an elegant pick for a cocktail dress code wedding.

Size range: 14 - 28

Helsi Lindsay Sequin Off-The-Shoulder Mini Dress

Helsi off-shoulder sequin festive wedding guest dress
Photo: Anthropologie

Looking for a festive cocktail wedding guest dress you can re-wear? You're in luck. This colorful sequined mini can double as your New Year's Eve look.

Size range: XS-XL

Topman Skinny Single-Breasted Velvet Blazer in Blue

Topman blue velvet blazer festive wedding guest attire
Photo: ASOS

You certainly won't feel blue while sporting this stylish azure blazer. Pair it with a printed tie or pocket square for an extra festive look.

Size range: 38 - 44

Lulus Fringe for Life Dark Green Velvet One-Shoulder Fringe Midi Dress

Lulus green velvet fringe festive wedding guest dress
Photo: Lulus

This fringe midi dress was practically made for twirling the night away on the dance floor. All you'll need is a comfortable pair of shoes to match.

Size range: XS-XL

Festive Formal Attire Ideas

If you were looking for a reason to dress to the nines, an invite to a festive formal attire wedding is certainly it. This dress code is especially popular around the holidays, and it's no mystery why. Festive formal attire embraces bright, cheerful colors—which differentiates it from a traditional black-tie dress code where darker shades are encouraged. Similar to festive cocktail attire, sequins, and metallics are also great options. Check out these six editor-approved looks to gain inspiration for your next festive formal wedding:

Harford Velvet Emerald Dinner Jacket

Harford velvet emerald blazer festive wedding attire
Photo: Indochino

Who says formal attire can't be festive? This elegant blazer, cut from velvet and satin, sets the record straight.

Size range: Custom

Tadashi Shoji Tera Sequin Velvet Gown

Tadashi Shoji red velvet sequin festive wedding guest gown
Photo: Tadashi Shoji

It's no mystery why this is one of our favorite holiday wedding guest dresses. All-over sequins and a one-shoulder neckline make it a festive pick for any formal occasion.

Size range: XXS - XL

ELOQUII Strapless Sequin Gown

ELOQUII strapless black sequin festive wedding guest dress
Photo: ELOQUII

Sexy? Check. Sparkly? Check. Size inclusive? Check. When it comes to festive wedding attire, this plus-size look has it all.

Size range: 14 - 28

Tanner Fletcher Walt Bow Blazer

Tanner Fletcher festive white blazer with pastel blue bows
Photo: Tanner Fletcher

This dreamy pastel suit is sure to get you in the party mood. Pair the eye-catching ensemble with an equally festive ruffled dress shirt.

Size range: 0 - 14

Reformation Pernille Silk Dress

Reformation silk festive wedding guest dress
Photo: Reformation

Heading to a coastal destination wedding? Here's a festive silk gown to add to your packing list.

Size range: XS - XL

By Watter Bloom Gown Pamplemousse

By Watters coral festive wedding guest dress
Photo: Watters Design

You can't go wrong with a pop of color. Especially when it looks this good. Pair this breezy coral gown with a pair of woven espadrilles for your next beach formal wedding.

Size range: XS - XL

Festive Casual Attire Ideas

A festive casual dress code gives you flexibility to show off your personal style, so why not go bold? Whether you choose to rock a sequined mini dress, a bell-bottomed jumpsuit, or a colorful graphic button-down, the important thing is that you feel confident. While festive attire can skew a bit more elevated, there are plenty of ways to dress down your look, such as opting for a pair of boots instead of heels or skipping out on a tie. For more inspiration, check out these festive casual looks that are available to shop now:

Lane Bryant Lurex Blouson-Sleeve Crinkle Knit Dress

Lane Bryant metallic festive wedding guest dress
Photo: Lane Bryant

You'll make the whole place shimmer in this metallic midi dress. A knee-length skirt and breezy A-line silhouette ensure this pick is both comfortable and cute.

Size range: 10 - 40

PHIX Red Chiffon Sequin Button-Down Shirt

PHIX red sequin festive wedding guest shirt
Photo: PHIX

This sequined button-down has party written all over it. We think you'll love it for your next wedding, and nights out afterward.

Size range: XS - XXL

Torrid Mini Payette Sequin Tank Dress

Torrid sequin festive wedding guest dress
Photo: Torrid

Who needs a disco ball when you've got a dress like this? Its bold sequin embellishments are guaranteed to get the party started.

Size range: 10 - 30

Lulus Made to Mingle Teal Metallic Long Sleeve Wide-Leg Jumpsuit

Lulus metallic wide-leg festive jumpsuit
Photo: Lulus

At a festive attire wedding, plenty of dancing is to be expected. Why not step into something a little more comfortable, like this metallic jumpsuit?

Size range: XS - XL

'Alexis Zambrano x Tombolo' Matrini Cabana

Tombolo martini glass festive wedding guest shirt
Photo: Tombolo

Here's a look that's sure to lift your spirits (pun intended). The genderless button-down features a playfully embroidered shaker and martini glass.

Size range: XXS - 3XL

Abercrombie & Fitch Fringe Mini Dress

Black Abercrombie & Fitch fringe mini wedding guest festive dress
Photo: Abercrombie

Does it get any more festive than this fringey number? Top off your look with bold colored accessories and you'll be ready for a night of celebration.

Size range: XXS - XL

Accessories for Festive Attire Weddings

Maybe you're not ready to go all out with a full sequin dress and that's okay. There are plenty of ways to make an outfit more festive. "Accessories are an excellent way to achieve a more festive look," Patrick shares. "The right accessories can add shine, color, movement, or texture to your look." At the end of the day, a festive dress code is about being more playful with your look, and according to Patrick, even a hair accessory like a dramatic ribbon bow or fancy headband can achieve that. There are countless festive accessories on the market right now, but these are a few of our favorites:

Susan Alexandria Martini Earrings

Susan Alexandria martini festive wedding guest earrings
Photo: Susan Alexandria

Here's something to sip on: These hand-beaded earrings are shaped like tiny dirty martinis. Talk about a festive way to accessorize.

Jennifer Behr Sheryl Headband

Jennifer Behr floral festive wedding guest headband
Photo: Jennifer Behr

Seriously, who can resist a pop of color? This whimsical floral headband is sure to become your new go-to for the wedding day (or any day).

Loeffler Randall Rochelle Dune Mini Bow Clutch

Loeffler Randall metallic bow clutch festive wedding guest accessory
Photo: Loeffler Randall

Here's an accessory you're bound to have on repeat. The classic gold clutch, featuring a detachable chain, will elevate your outfits for any occasion.

PHIX Red Sequin Ring Tie Neck Scarf

PHIX red sequin scarf festive wedding guest accessory
Photo: PHIX

Found: The perfect accessory to "tie" your wedding guest outfit together. Adorned in red sequins, this neck scarf offers a unique look with a bit of rocker flair.

Tie Bar x Miller High Life Vintage Champagne Of Beers Pocket Square

Tie Bar x Miller champagne festive pocket square wedding guest accessory
Photo: Tie Bar

Champagne taste on an, er, beer budget? Cheers to finding the ideal accessory for your festive attire wedding! We're undoubtedly obsessed with the vintage-inspired graphic on this pocket square.

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