Exactly What to Wear to Each Type of Summer Wedding

Lauren Caruso
What to Wear to a Summer Wedding
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Photo: Candace Napier/STYLECASTER

If you’re anything like us, we’ll wager a guess that you have a calendar filled with weddings this summer. With probably a couple in May, one in June and July each, and two more during Labor Day Weekend alone, the marathon of summer nuptials can get exhausting—and they’re not even here yet.

MORE: 50 Genius Wedding Ideas to Help You Throw the Most Unique Wedding Ever

And while we love any excuse to dress up, figuring out what to wear to a wedding in the summer is equally as tiring: Not only are there a million rules—don’t wear the same color as the bridesmaids, you can’t upstage the bride, black might be a no-go in some circles, and for the love of all things holy, don’t wear white, unless, of course, it’s a white wedding—but decoding the invitation can also give just about anyone a headache. What the hell does “beach formal” even mean?

MORE: A Pre-Wedding Diet That Literally Only Lasts 5 Days

Luckily, we broke down each of the major dress codes (we’re talking casual, black tie, and everything in-between) and found one hell of an outfit for you to wear to each type of summer wedding. Ahead, you’ll find five wedding dress codes, five outfits, and, if karma’s on your side, five open bars to hit.

A version of this article was originally published in May 2017.

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STYLECASTER | What to Wear to a Summer Wedding | Casual Wedding Outfit
Casual Wedding

Arguably, casual weddings are the hardest to dress for: Jeans and a tee certainly won't do, but you don't want to show up in a cocktail dress when everyone looks two degrees of separation from a pair of sneakers. Instead, opt for a flowy dress that you'll feel comfortable eating and drinking in—most casual summer shindigs have buffets, rather than sit-down dinners—and a pair of sandals that you'll actually wear again. Top it off with a statement bag and simple jewelry.

Veda Paradiso Dress, $345; at Shopbop
Anne Thomas La Baule in Mastice + Mesh, $75.99; at Need Supply
Cornelia Webb Charmed Necklace in Gold, $77; at Tictail
Mercedes Castillo Pom Crossbody Bag, $995; at Mercedes Castillo
Tenoverten Nail Polish in Baxter, $18; at Tenoverten

Photo: Candace Napier/STYLECASTER
STYLECASTER | What to Wear to a Summer Wedding | Beach Formal Outfit
Beach Formal

The good news about "beach formal" weddings is that the beach can only be *so* formal. (We're pretty sure they tack on that last part to make sure nobody shows up in a bathing suit coverup.) At any rate, a swingy midi dress in a poplin fabric paired with a thick heel is a great foundation, and here's your excuse to bring the rattan bag you've been wanting to show off. Oh, and take it from someone who's been to enough beach weddings during golden hour to know better by now: Bring sunglasses.

M.D.S. Stripes Wyatt Cami Dress, $245; at M.D.S. Stripes
Pixie Market Bamboo Ring Straw Bag, $95; at Pixie Market
Butter London Nail Lacquer in Minted, $15; at Butter London
RAEN Durante Sunglasses in Rose, $170; at Raen
Mejuri Layered Spheres Choker, $72; at Mejuri
Maryam Nassir Zadeh Sophie Sandal, $410; at The Dreslyn

Photo: Candace Napier/STYLECASTER
STYLECASTER | What to Wear to a Summer Wedding | Cocktail Attire Outfit
Cocktail Attire

Cocktail attire doesn't have to be synonymous with little black dress. A color-blocked number, like this Staud Takeshi dress, will stand out among the rest of the guests—in a good way.

MILLY Color-Block Dress, $350; at Bloomingdale's
& Other Stories Heeled Leather Sandals, $85; at & Other Stories
Eddie Borgo Chet Minaudiere in Linen, $1,117.50; at Shopbop
Mango Metallic Hoop Earrings, $9.99; at Mango

Photo: Candace Napier/STYLECASTER
STYLECASTER | What to Wear to a Summer Wedding | Black-Tie Optional Outfit
Black-Tie Optional

We love the idea of swapping out your traditional black gown with something more playful for a black-tie optional affair, like the C/MEO Collective Charged Up Jumpsuit shown. Pair it with an ultra-feminine bag, geometric earrings, and some shoes you'll be able to walk in.

MILLY Stretch Silk Sarong Jumpsuit, $695; at MILLY
Laura Lombardi Gate Earrings, $180; at Laura Lombardi
Charles & Keith Lace-Up Strappy Leather Sandals, $79; at Charles & Keith
J.W. Anderson Medium Pierce Bag, $1,690; at Need Supply Co.
Smith & Cult Nail Lacquer in Feed the Rich, $18; at Net-A-Porter

Photo: Candace Napier/STYLECASTER
STYLECASTER | What to Wear to a Summer Wedding | Black Tie Outfit
Black-Tie

The most formal of all dress codes—save for White Tie, which is usually reserved for Gala-like affairs—black-tie weddings mean you're pulling out all the stops. Go for a demure short-sleeve gown with a high slit, a traditional minaudiere, and a swipe of red lipstick to truly get into character. Nobody has to know your earrings cost less than $10.

Reformation Winslow Dress, $268; at Reformation
Fay Andrada Lasso Cuff, $195; at Spring
Club Monaco Cedrika Heel, $295; at Club Monaco
H&M Rhinestone Earrings, $7.99; at H&M
INC International Concepts Tamme Clutch; $59.50; at Macy’s
NARS Audacious Lipstick in Annabella, $34; at Sephora

Photo: Candace Napier/STYLECASTER
STYLECASTER | What to Wear to a Summer Wedding | Pin It
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What to Wear to a Wedding In The Summer | @stylecaster

Photo: Candace Napier/STYLECASTER

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  • STYLECASTER | What to Wear to a Summer Wedding | Casual Wedding Outfit
  • STYLECASTER | What to Wear to a Summer Wedding | Beach Formal Outfit
  • STYLECASTER | What to Wear to a Summer Wedding | Cocktail Attire Outfit
  • STYLECASTER | What to Wear to a Summer Wedding | Black-Tie Optional Outfit
  • STYLECASTER | What to Wear to a Summer Wedding | Black Tie Outfit
  • STYLECASTER | What to Wear to a Summer Wedding | Pin It
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