It’s hard to beat a summer wedding—sunny days, cheerful color palettes, and outdoor celebrations make this an idyllic time of year for couples to say “I do.” If you’re wondering what to wear to a summer wedding this season, you’ve got plenty of options. From breezy linen gowns to elevated separates, there’s something for everyone. Read on for a breakdown of how to choose what to wear to a summer wedding according to dress code, venue, and season. (or jump straight to our summer wedding outfit moodboards!)
While the longer days and rising temperatures of summer often lead to more laid-back wardrobe choices, a summer wedding doesn’t always mean a casual dress code. Instead, you should take cues from the dress code included in your wedding invitation, along with the location and time of day.
If it’s a black-tie wedding, more formal attire is to be expected regardless of the weather. For men, a black-tie dress code typically calls for a tuxedo—but you can tailor it to the season by opting for a suit made from breathable fabrics like silk or a wool blend. For women, steer clear of cocktail-length dresses (even if it’s hot out!). You’ll want to opt for a long gown made with shimmery or lightweight fabric like chiffon.
For semi-formal weddings, there’s more room to play with things like colors, shoulder cuts, and hemline variation—for example, midi dresses and bold colors for women and a linen suit in a lighter color for men.
Formal or black-tie weddings typically take place later in the day, after 5:30 or 6:00 p.m. For men, a black-tie event requires a tuxedo (not a black suit). For women, formal floor-length gowns are expected. That said, dressing for a formal summer wedding doesn’t have to be complicated—there are plenty of gorgeous options to play around with while still staying within the dress code.
Formal events don’t mean you can’t still be bold with your outfit choice. Summer is all about bright colors, which is why we love this square neck dress in a summery hot pink shade.
For a foolproof and timeless choice, you simply can’t go wrong with a classic black tuxedo. Be sure to pick out a bowtie, too—we prefer self-tie bow ties over pre-tied ones for a more refined look.
This elegant dress is made of sleek and shiny satin, an excellent fabric choice for staying cool in the summer while still dressing to impress.
While bright colors are certainly on-trend, jewel tones are just as appropriate for a formal summer wedding. This fitted slip dress is ultra-sophisticated, and the high neckline creates a flattering silhouette.
We’re swooning over this glam silver number! The shimmery silver lamé creates eye-catching depth, and the thoughtful pleated detail adds an extra touch of drama without going overboard.
This elegant maxi dress is both romantic and dramatic thanks to its artful pomegranate print, self-tie neckline, and stitched-in sash, which come together to create a stunning silhouette.
This silk chiffon gown was practically designed for summer! The bright canary yellow is perfectly on-trend for the summer season, and the twist knot detail at the neckline adds a sophisticated touch.
Glossy satin fabric makes this sheath gown a prime pick for your next formal summer wedding event. The one-shoulder neckline and elegant back train create an alluring silhouette.
It doesn’t get more summery than a shimmery floral print, and this dress does it right. A sophisticated high collar adorned with dainty ruffles balances a look that’s both elegant and playful.
If you’re looking to shake up the standard black tuxedo look, you can always opt for a color like navy. This look is still tailored and polished enough for a formal summer wedding.
We love this navy satin gown for two reasons: Its versatile blue hue works for just about any time of year, and its drapey cowl hem framing the floral lace inset in the back is simply stunning.
A semi-formal dress code can be tricky to decipher, but it usually falls somewhere in the middle of casual and formal. For women, this means shorter hemlines or elevated separates—just be sure to keep things elegant, like finishing your look with refined accessories. A shorter cocktail dress length might be appropriate depending on what you know about the couple’s style, but if you’re unsure, it’s best to stick with tea-length or midi dresses.
For men attending a semi-formal wedding, you can hang up your tux and replace it with a matching suit jacket or a blazer and dress pants. For summer weddings, lighter hues are standard—consider light grays or blues, and finish off with a classic leather dress shoe. Keep reading for our favorite semi-formal summer wedding attire for guests.
This vibrant orange dress is the perfect shade for summer, and the cut-out along the waist is subtle enough to leave you with a sophisticated look that still has some flair.
This dress fuses two of our favorite trends for summer wedding styles: an asymmetrical shoulder and statement puff sleeves. The breezy handkerchief hem strikes the perfect balance between formal and casual.
This rose-colored midi dress is what summer dreams are made of! Eye-catching embellishments like the Swiss dot texture, flirty ruffled tiers, and fluttering split sleeves keep this look elevated.
A tan suit is perfect for a more laid-back style that still looks put together. We love this one thanks to its linen material, which will keep you cool in the summer heat.
A dress with a fitted silhouette and flowy skirt is 100% summer approved. We love this one for its flattering square neckline and dainty ruffle straps that tie in the back.
This darling dress comes in a breathable woven chiffon fabric to help you beat the heat in style. Adjustable tie straps, a ruffle-trim neckline, and elegant pleating throughout the skirt bring it all together.
If a dress isn’t quite your style, no worries—this wide leg jumpsuit totally hits the mark for a semi-formal outfit alternative. The punchy orange hue is on-trend for summer, and the wide leg design offers a modern silhouette.
Some hear the word “casual” and assume it means anything goes, but that’s not exactly the case when it comes to weddings. A casual dress code is certainly the most relaxed compared to other dress codes, but there are still a few rules to keep in mind for this type of event. Namely, a casual dress code isn’t a green light to show up in shorts or tennis shoes (unless the couple has stated otherwise.)
When choosing what to wear to a casual summer wedding, thinking of business casual outfit ideas is a helpful benchmark for what’s appropriate. For men, dress pants or khaki pants paired with a button-up shirt is a good starting point. For women, sundresses, shorter hemlines, and jumpsuits are all fair game, and there’s more room to play with trendy patterns and colors.
We love this festive floral dress for its lightweight poplin fabric, which is an excellent fabric choice both for casual weddings and beating the summer heat.
With a casual dress code, don’t be afraid to go for bold color choices, like the cheerful yellow in this adorable floral crepe dress.
We adore the sweetheart neckline on this dreamy dress! Accents like a ruffled edged hem and adjustable tie straps help elevate this summer wedding-approved outfit.
This breezy mini dress is both charming and romantic, with peasant sleeves that add a touch of bohemian flair.
You can’t go wrong with a crisp button-down shirt, and the lighter shades and classic checkered pattern are perfect for summer.
Navy chino pants are incredibly versatile and can work with a variety of different patterns and colors. We love this pair for its sleek slim-fitting style.
This dress will make all your retro fashion dreams come true! This stylish shift dress is structured yet delicate, and we’re obsessed with the ‘70s-inspired floral print.
This breezy laguna-themed shirt is perfect for staying cool and stylish at your next casual summer wedding event.
If you’re looking for something other than slacks to wear with a button-up shirt, go for a pair of light linen chinos. These are made with a breathable, stretchy linen blend to keep you cool and comfortable all day.
This dress is simple yet oh-so-chic thanks to the stylish halter neckline and crisscross straps in the back, and the chartreuse color is perfect for summer.
Whether you’re attending a rustic-themed wedding or are simply looking for some country flair, this floral mini dress makes it happen.
It doesn’t get more tropical than this palm leaf and toucan-adorned linen dress. The wooden buttons perfectly tie the summer vibes altogether.
Once you decide on the perfect summer wedding guest outfit, don’t forget to finish your look with shoes and accessories! While it’s easy to leave these as more of an afterthought, the shoes and accessories you choose can do a lot to bring your look together. Here are a few things to keep in mind before you shop and a few of our favorite picks.
When choosing the shoes you’ll wear to a wedding, it’s important to remember that you’re going to be on your feet for several hours, if not more. That means you want to choose something that’s not only stylish, but functional and comfortable, too.
For a formal summer wedding with a fancier dress code, flat shoes aren’t ideal. Instead, go for a block or wedge heel so you can show up in style without sacrificing comfort. These heels are our pick for something elegant that won’t leave you in pain by the end of the night.
For a beach summer wedding, the rules are a bit different—even if it’s a formal event, you’ll need shoes that allow you to walk through sand. These tropical-inspired wedge heels have an ankle strap for extra support, and they’re definitely beach-wedding approved.
For a casual summer wedding, super high heels aren’t expected, but that doesn’t mean you should reach for your favorite pair of flip flops. We love how luxe these knotted slide sandals are, and the 2-inch heel is ideal for ensuring you’re still comfortable.
Accessories can do more than you think when it comes to elevating an outfit. From colorful jewelry to cute clutches, there’s plenty of room to play around with whatever items you choose.
Replace your typical purse with a small handheld clutch. Since it’s such a small item, feel free to go for something decorative or colorful, especially since bold colors are on-trend for summer. We love this ocean-inspired mother-of-pearl clutch for its removable chain!
For a beach summer wedding, you simply can’t go wrong with this boho woven clutch—the material practically screams summer!
For jewelry, statement earrings are having a moment. We recommend statement earrings if you plan on wearing your hair up, like these modern rectangular drop earrings. The gold color is versatile enough to go with just about anything.
For necklaces, it’s best to choose based on the style and neckline of your dress. A high neckline works best with a shorter length necklace to create visual balance—try a chunky choker like this one.
While statement jewelry is certainly fair game, remember to keep things balanced. If you plan on sporting dramatic chandelier earrings, keep the rest of your jewelry simple.
Whether you go for a fluttery dress or tropical-inspired print, summer is the perfect time to experiment with bright colors and fun prints. What matters most is that you find something you feel great in (while still adhering to the couple's dress code!). With the help of our list, you should be ready to show up to your next summer wedding event in style, no matter what the wedding theme may be!
If you’re looking for more wedding guest etiquette tips, Zola’s Expert Advice has you covered. From throwing the perfect bridal shower to figuring out what to write in a wedding card, being an amazing wedding guest just got a little bit easier!