Goodbye, long sleeves and deep tones….and hello, pastels and strapless dresses!
Spring is the time to shed the weight of winter, and that includes your choices in formal wear. From a flirty mini dress to an elegant pleated skirt, there’s no shortage of luminous looks to bloom into come springtime—especially if you’re the lucky holder of a wedding invitation.
Ready to spring into action? We’re feeling balmy and beautiful as we dive into what to wear to a spring wedding as a guest.
Spring Wedding Outfits: What to Consider
Maybe it’s a beachy getaway in San Jose (early summer tan, here I come), and you have to lean more into what to wear to a summer wedding. Or maybe you’re traveling to Denver for a mountainside ceremony (ski slopes, anyone?). Either way, spring weddings can happen just about anywhere—and that makes every outfit selection a little different.
Typically, spring festivities are less formal, as they’re often outdoors. However, that’s not always a given. Figure out what to wear to a formal wedding in the spring. To decide what to wear to a spring wedding, consider these wedding-day specifics before hitting “Check out” on that dress:
- Dress code – A wedding’s dress code is like your cheat code on what to wear, outlining the proper length, style, and formality of your outfit. You should always check the wedding invitation for the event dress code. White tie occasions call for floor-length ball gowns, high heels, and sparkling jewelry, while black tie allows formal midi dresses and flats to make an appearance. For more casual wedding attire, cocktail dress codes often include knee-length dresses, heels, or flats. For an informal affair, opt for casual dresses or jumpsuits.
- Weather – In reality, spring is a relative term. A Maine March and a Texas May may both count as “spring,” but they definitely don’t feel like the same season. Before picking the best dress option for your wedding, make sure you know the location’s climate patterns. Depending on the area, or if it’s an outdoor wedding, you may need a heavy coat or a very breezy silhouette for the wedding.
- Venue – City parks in bloom? Tropical coastlines? Hotel ballrooms? The possibilities for a spring venue are endless—and so are your spring wedding guest attire options. For an outdoor spring wedding, ensure your outfit (specifically, your shoes) can handle the outdoor elements, be it moist grass or uneven cobblestones. And match your outfit to the venue. While you may be dying to wear your glitzed-out floor-length gown, it’ll definitely feel out of place at a farmhouse wedding.
- Themes – Oftentimes themes are a useful fashion tool, particularly if you’re experiencing a bit of dresser’s block. Springtime weddings often bud with floral motifs, such as Garden Party, Bohemian Bash, or Enchanted Forest. Tune into the specific color palettes and aesthetics to inform your wedding day look—and don’t be afraid to rock a flower crown if the occasion calls for it.
Spring Wedding Outfits Ideas
During spring wedding season, the world is your fashion oyster. The season’s transitional vibe makes it the perfect backdrop for a number of styles, from frills and ruffles to silks and knits. Whether you’re on the beach or in the big city, you can capture the season’s joy with these beautiful spring wedding guest dress ideas.
#1 Florals, Florals, Florals
It’s safe to say that florals and spring fashion go hand in hand. A floral print dress is feminine, romantic, and eye-catching, making it the perfect match for the seasonal transition.
In particular, floral dresses are an excellent choice for floral-centric locations, such as gardens, parks, or botanical venues::
- Ditsy – Simple and subdued, a ditsy pattern involves very small flowers arranged uniformly across a piece of clothing. From far away, ditsy may not even appear as florals due to the print’s small size. This pattern works extremely well for bohemian or outdoorsy venues like farmhouses or vineyards, especially in a cute sundress silhouette.
- Tropical – Heading to warmer parts for a spring wedding? Consider a bright and bold tropical floral pattern. From fuschia lilies to green ferns, a tropical floral print dress will look stunning from the beachside ceremony to the boat reception.
- Retro – Get your groove on with the fun floral prints of the ‘60s and ‘70s. These retro patterns are typically non-uniform daisies or carnations, flushed with shades of pink, orange, brown, and mustard yellow. For a city wedding or cocktail dress code, it’s a winning dress design.
- Paisley – While not technically a floral pattern, paisley can have blossoms. This ornate textile is defined by its swirling teardrop-shaped figures, based on the Indian pinecone. For a wedding guest dress, a classic vibe can fit with cold weather and warm weather in the springtime.
#2 Make It Light, Make It Bright
Forget the deep, dark shades of wintertime. Spring fashion is all about color—and lots of it.
As a spring wedding guest, it’s time to let your love of all things bright and light shine. Echo the season’s natural beauty with bold hues and pretty pastels, perfect for a garden reception or a church ceremony. Need some tonal guidance? Consider these particularly stylish spring color pairs:
- Sky blue and ochre
- Marigold and coral
- Royal blue and orange
- Baby pink and peach
- Soft green and white
- Teal and navy blue
- Scarlett and bold pink
- Lavender and magenta
#3 Be Romantic
Ah, spring—the season of romance. If there’s any time to don a flirty or romantic silhouette, this is your chance.
While looking for your next spring wedding dress, join the birds and the bees with an outfit adorned in dreamy details that just says love is in the air:
- Ruffles – Playful yet elegant, ruffles are the ultimate flirty accessory for any dress. Pick a cocktail dress with a ruffled hemline for subdued romance, go for zig-zag ruffles on a floral dress for a flirtatious look, or play out your princess-at-the-ball fantasy with a tiered ruffle gown.
- Off-the-shoulder necklines – A little bit of exposed shoulder goes a long way in a beautiful gown. Up the romance with an off-the-shoulder neckline, with delicately draped sleeves hanging off the arms. This silhouette is especially flattering on plus-size wedding dresses, adding an alluring shape to the upper half of your body.
- Uneven hemlines – There’s something so feminine about flowy dresses, an uneven hemline blowing in the wind. Look for A-symmetrical flair in a lightweight fabric chiffon that dances with you all night long.
- Lace details – Lace is one of the few romantic textiles that looks gorgeous in every season, but especially in spring. A touch of lace on the neckline, sleeves, or bodice of a dress creates a fanciful aura that’ll dazzle on the dancefloor all night long.
#4 Pick Spring-Ready Fabrics
As the weather warms up, your winter closet will start to feel less comforting and more cloying. Leave behind the thick wools and velours of the coldest months—it’s time to enter spring with light and breathable fabric weaves.
The weather in spring can range from somewhat chilly to blazingly hot. However, almost any outdoor spring wedding will be under somewhat warm conditions. Stay cool and collected with these lightweight (and spring-approved) weaves for a dress:
- Satin – Often confused with silk, satin is an ultra-smooth fabric weave that can be made from silk, cotton, or other materials. This shiny and thin material makes a perfect dress that is elegant and will stay wrinkle-free throughout the entire event.
- Chiffon – Take romance to the max with this sheer and “fluffy” fabric. Chiffon is an incredibly light fabric weave made from silk, cotton, nylon, or other materials. Its sheer texture can be used in single layers for accents (such as sleeves) or layered for full coverage.
- Crepe – A unique weave, crepe is a three-dimensional fabric texture with tiny ripples. This delicate weave feels incredibly light on the skin, and it can be made with wool, silk, or synthetic materials. For a peasant-style floral dress in spring, it’s the perfect texture.
#5 Layer Up
So, maybe that spring wedding isn’t exactly a tropical vacation getaway. How do you pick what to wear to a cold spring wedding?
In the case of colder climates, layers are your best friend. By smartly assembling different pieces in your wedding outfit, you can stay at the perfect room temperature throughout the entire event. To start, choose a dress on the thinner side or with less coverage. Then, add easily removable pieces, like a chic jacket to your outfit, that still obeys the wedding dress code, such as a:
- Silk or lace shawl
- Embroidered cardigan
- Lightweight trench coat
- Wool cape
- Princess-cut coat
- Leather or silk gloves
- Silk scarf
Karen Kane—Your Wedding Guest Style Guru
From women's boho clothing, like trendy chiffon to classic wrap dresses, and plus size black dresses, a spring wedding is the perfect chance to showcase your brightest style. Rock the garden steps, church aisles, or ballrooms with these fun ideas for a spring wedding outfit—complete with our own wedding guest dresses.
No matter your fashion needs, Karen Kane is here to fulfill them in style. Our wedding guest dresses use ethically-sourced and sustainable fabrics so that you can feel good while you look good. Even better, I make sure our clothes are available for all fashionable guests, with a size range that includes petite wedding dresses and plus size wedding dresses.
This wedding season, blossom into style with Karen Kane.
Adam Ley. Everything you need to know about the Paisley pattern. https://adamley.co.uk/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-paisley-pattern/
Masterclass. What Is Satin Fabric? A Guide to the Types, Characteristics, and Uses for Satin. https://www.masterclass.com/articles/what-is-satin-fabric-a-guide-to-the-types-characteristics-and-uses-for-satin
Sewport. What is Chiffon Fabric: Properties, How its Made and Where. https://sewport.com/fabrics-directory/chiffon-fabric
Sewport. What is Crepe Fabric: Properties, How its Made and Where. https://sewport.com/fabrics-directory/crepe-fabric
Vogue. Summer Wedding Dress Codes Decoded. https://www.vogue.com/article/summer-wedding-dress-codes