Found: Your New Go-To Wedding Guest Cocktail Dress

These 24 picks are sure to get you in the *spirit*.
Three wedding guest cocktail dresses
Photos, left to right: ASTR The Label, Anthropologie, Showpo
Sofia Deeb
by Sofia Deeb
Updated Oct 02, 2023
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Our must-have for wedding season? A stylish wedding guest cocktail dress. With a midi length and stylish silhouette, they offer the perfect balance between formal and semi-formal, and frankly, we're big fans.

If your inbox is full of save-the-dates, chances are, a cocktail dress code wedding is in your near future, and we're here to help you dress the part. Here's the good news: when it comes to this dress code, you have plenty of flexibility where colors and patterns are involved (just steer clear of white. . . but you already knew that). Of course, accessories are always encouraged; fine jewelry, hairpieces, dressy shoes and elegant clutches are all great ways to enhance your cocktail outfit. And, as always, consider the season and venue while you're shopping for your look.

Below, we've gathered our favorite cocktail dresses for wedding guests, organized by season (you're welcome). We've even included some designer rentals that you can wear and return on the cheap. Now that you know what a cocktail dress code looks like, it's time to shop!

In this article...

Summer Cocktail Dresses for Weddings

It's important to consider the wedding location and venue when choosing your summer cocktail dress. For example, if you're looking for a cocktail dress for a beach wedding, a lightweight fabric or something sleeveless might make sense. Keep scrolling to find the best formal and semi-formal cocktail dresses for every summer wedding style.

ASTR The Label Marissa Satin Halter Neck Floral Midi Dress

Floral wedding guest cocktail dress from ASTR The Label
Photo: ASTR The Label

Attending a destination wedding this summer? Here's a cocktail dress you'll want to add to your packing list. With a halter neck and side leg slit, it will look elegant whether you choose to pair it with stilettos or sandals.

Reformation Joana Silk Dress Flambe

Pink strapless wedding guest cocktail dress from Reformation
Photo: Reformation

Get ready to show off your summer tan in this strapless number. Its streamlined silhouette makes it a classic choice for any event on your calendar. Plus, it's available in eight vibrant colors, if pink isn't quite your vibe.

Sandro Zola Dress

Green wedding guest cocktail dress from Sandro
Photo: Rent the Runway

Simple yet elegant, you'll stun in this summer cocktail dress. The satin slip has adjustable straps, a ruched bodice and an open back. To complement the minimalist silhouette, pair it with dangly earrings and colorful pumps.

Petal + Pup Vienna Strapless Midi Dress Green Tropical

Strapless wedding guest cocktail dress from Petal + Pup
Photo: Petal + Pup

This palm tree-printed midi dress has summer written all over it. With a strapless neckline and side leg slit, it will keep you cool and comfortable as you're sipping cocktails under the sun at a tropical destination wedding.

Banana Republic Kenza Linen Mini Dress

Looking to beat the heat? This lightweight linen dress will have you feeling just as cool as you look thanks to its breathable silhouette and sleeveless design.

ELOQUII Tiered Puff Sleeve Dress Golden Glow

Yellow wedding guest cocktail dress from ELOQUII

How about a dress to match the summer sun? With a sweetheart neckline, sheer bishop sleeves, and an A-line silhouette, this vibrant yellow cocktail dress is guaranteed to turn heads for all the right reasons.

Fall Cocktail Dresses for Weddings

Fall is the perfect time to embrace warm colors and rich, earthy tones. Plus, you have lots of fun fabric options—hello, buttery soft velvet. Check out our favorite fall wedding cocktail dresses that are both stylish and cozy.

Showpo Nicholla Midi Dress Copper

Cinnamon wedding guest cocktail dress from Showpo
Photo: Showpo

Like sugar and spice, this cinnamon color is oh-so-nice. This silky cocktail dress has a classic and comfortable silhouette. Short flutter sleeves and a ruched bodice add even more timeless elegance. Don't forget your gold hoops!

HelloMolly Lucy Loves Midi Dress Orange

Floral wedding guest cocktail dress from HelloMolly
Photo: HelloMolly

We simply can't get enough of the warm autumn tones in this floral slip dress. To say we're *falling* in love would be an understatement. Fine jewelry, strappy heels and a small clutch would perfectly complement this seasonal look.

ASTR The Label Marin Dolman Sleeve Midi Dress Wine

Wine wedding guest cocktail dress from ASTR The Label
Photo: ASTR The Label

Now here's a classic midi dress you're guaranteed to get plenty of use out of. We're obsessed with its breezy silhouette featuring bishop sleeves, an A-line skirt and a side leg slit. And how pretty is its jewel-toned color for fall?

ASTR The Label Nalani Wrap Front Hi-Lo Dress

Floral wedding guest cocktail dress from ASTR The Label
Photo: ASTR The Label

Step into spooky season in this unique pick. We love it's high-low silhouette and comfortable wrap waist *almost* as much as we love its dark floral print.

ASTR The Label Vanozza Metallic Long Sleeve Midi Dress

Metallic midi dress from ASTR The Label
Photo: ASTR The Label

Tis the season of pumpkin spice—we had to throw in this clove-colored cocktail dress. Its square neckline and dramatic side leg slit make for a fun fall silhouette. Plus, its long sleeves will keep you warm if you're attending an outdoor event.

Showpo Loving Blind Midi Dress Wine Velvet

Velvet wedding guest cocktail dress from Showpo
Photo: Showpo

This velvet wedding guest dress is one of our favorites for the fall. We're loving everything about this pretty midi: the super-soft fabric, the ruched waist and the luscious maroon color. Make sure to bring a light jacket to face the autumn chill!

Winter Cocktail Dresses for Weddings

Real talk: Winter is one of our favorite seasons for cocktail dresses. Enter: long sleeves, luxurious fabrics and deep, alluring hues (think: navy, black and burgundy). Here are our favorite fancy cocktail dresses curated exclusively for the cooler weather. Don't forget to add a cozy faux-fur wrap or coat.

Significant Other Demi Backless Long-Sleeve Column Gown

Brown satin wedding guest cocktail dress from Significant Other
Photo: Anthropologie

Sophisticated and simple, this satin cocktail dress is a foolproof choice for your winter event. It has a twist-front bodice and long balloon sleeves that are oh-so chic for the season. Plus, it's available in five different color options.

Showpo Lorelei Midaxi Dress Noir Floral

Floral midaxi cocktail wedding guest dress from Showpo
Photo: Showpo

Who says you can't rock florals in the wintertime? Certainly not us. We love this long-sleeved option, featuring a deep V-neckline and button details, for looking cute and cozy throughout the season.

ELOQUII Knot Front Pleated Skirt Dress Cabernet

Pleated wedding guest cocktail dress from ELOQUII

This red dress is perfect for your next winter wedding. Its deep V-neckline, long sleeves and twisted silhouette offer a timeless look you're sure to love. For accessories, try silver jewelry and neutral-colored heels.

Lulus Alluring Dream Burgundy Floral Mesh Lace Trumpet Midi Dress

Burgundy wedding guest cocktail dress from Lulus
Photo: Lulus

Here's a sleeveless option for when the weather hasn't quite gotten the memo that it's winter yet. Its burgundy color makes it a fitting choice for the holidays. And let's be real, there's never a bad time to rock lace.

Mac Duggal Draped Puff-Sleeve Trumpet Midi Dress

Gold wedding guest cocktail dress from Mac Duggal
Photo: Anthropologie

This festive gold pick will seamlessly take you from wedding season to holiday season and beyond. With all-over sparkles, long balloon sleeves, and a mock neckline, it's as cute as it is cozy.

Adrianna Papell Beaded Short Sheath Cocktail Dress in Black

Winter wedding guest cocktail dress from Adrianna Papell
Photo: Adrianna Papell

You're guaranteed to shine in this winter cocktail dress (literally). Its all-over sequin embellishments were designed to catch light in the loveliest of ways.

Spring Wedding Guest Cocktail Dresses

Spring is a wonderful season for weddings and wedding attire. We've pulled a variety of spring cocktail dress styles—from one-shoulder designs to dreamy floral prints. Plan for a surprise spring shower—pack a jacket or shawl and an extra pair of shoes, just in case.

J.Crew Collection One-Shoulder Ruffle-Hem Dress in Painted Floral Print

At the intersection of sweet and sexy, you'll find this floral midi dress. An asymmetric neckline and tiered ruffle slit are just a few of its standout features. Pair it with a rattan bag and heeled sandals for a spring wedding.

Show Me Your Mumu Greta Dress

Pink wedding guest cocktail dress from Show Me Your Mumu
Photo: Show Me Your Mumu

Whimsical ruffle detailing gives this sheath midi dress a distinctive spring look. Go for a Barbiecore vibe with the pink, or choose from one of the ten other color options.

ASTR The Label Santorini Floral One Shoulder Midi Dress

One shoulder wedding guest cocktail dress from ASTR The Label
Photo: ASTR The Label

Florals for spring? They're groundbreaking to say the least. Strut your way into the season in this printed one-shoulder midi dress and a comfortable pair of block heeled sandals.

ELOQUII Shirred Wrap Dress Sunlit Allium

Lavender wedding guest cocktail dress from ELOQUII

This charming cocktail dress has got us in a lavender haze. Not only is its pastel color perfect for spring, but its wrap silhouette is also ultra flattering. Pair it with nude-colred accessories, or even a pair of lavender pumps if you're into the monochromatic vibe.

Reformation Genesis Silk Dress

Green floral wedding guest cocktail dress from Reformation
Photo: Reformation

Florals were practically made for spring, so you'll fit right in with this lovely midi dress. It has a fitted bodice, ruched waist and tasteful leg slit. Plus, its off-shoulder neckline makes it an ideal choice for warmer weather.

Hello Molly Sleek Night Satin Dress

A satin slip dress is a classic option for weddings. This blue design features a structured sweetheart neckline and several buttons towards the slit. One thing is for sure: You'll definitely rewear this look.

Midi Cocktail Dress

Cocktail dresses are typically midi in length (a.k.a.: perfect for striking a balance between casual and dressy).

Satin Cocktail Dress

A satin slip dress is our go-to for a cocktail dress code wedding. Not only are they ultra-versatile, but they're also timeless and can be easily accessorized.

Wrap Cocktail Dress

A wrap silhouette is as comfortable as it is classic. When it comes to cocktail weddings, opt for a wrap dress in fabrics such as satin, velvet or crepe.

Floral Cocktail Dress

Floral cocktail dresses are the perfect choice for spring (and all year round TBH). Pair one with nude-colored block heels and a rattan bag for the next cocktail dress code wedding on your calendar.

Long-Sleeve Cocktail Dress

It's true–cocktail dresses don't have to be sleeveless! Long-sleeved cocktail dresses are an excellent choice for the fall and winter months when you don't feel like lugging around a coat all night.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cocktail Dresses for Weddings

What is a cocktail dress for a wedding? How can you tell?

A cocktail dress is a semi-formal dress designed to be worn for special occasions such as a wedding. They can easily be dressed up or down, depending on the shoes and accessories you pair them with.

What is the difference between a cocktail dress and a formal dress?

What sets cocktail dresses apart from other styles is their length. While formal gowns are typically floor-length, cocktail dresses are slightly shorter, falling anywhere from just below the knee, to the mid or lower calf.

Do cocktail dresses have to be sleeveless?

The short answer is no. Cocktail dress styles vary from season to season. While strapless and sleeveless styles are certainly popular in the spring and summer months, there are plenty of options with sleeves to rock in the winter and fall as well!

Can I wear tights with my cocktail wedding guest dress?

Absolutely! Comfort is a key factor to consider when choosing a wedding guest dress, and if adding tights to your ensemble can help with that, we say go for it. If you're attending an outdoor wedding, you might want to wear a pair of nude-colored tights under your dress to keep warm without changing the overall look of your outfit.

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