Your Guide on What to Wear to a Summer Wedding
Warm breezes, golden sun rays, lush foliage—it’s no wonder summer holds two of the top five months to throw a wedding.
That said, if you’ve been invited to a nuptials event this summer, you’ll want to make sure that you’re dressed for the part. If you already know what to wear to a spring wedding, it’s time to learn about dressing for a summer wedding.
While summer is a season of bountiful style, it also has its fashion foes. Besides the typical summer wedding dress code and venue, you may have to consider humidity, high temperatures, and even outdoor terrain when picking your outfit.
It’s a multi-factor fashion equation, but we’re here to help you solve it.
Summer Wedding Outfits: What to Consider
Every wedding is like a beautiful snowflake (or perhaps a seashell)—no two are quite alike.
When deciding what to wear to a June wedding or what to wear to a July wedding, you’ll need to consider the factors that make this celebration unique.
To start, gather as much information on the event details as you can to build a stylish and wearable outfit that fits the bill.
Dress Code or Formality
Most weddings are not your typical day-to-day events. They’re a chance to celebrate a couple’s love in style and refinement—and that usually involves a dress code.
A wedding dress code sets the formality level (a.k.a., the vibe) of the celebration, so that you know exactly how fancy or casual to dress.
When it comes to summer weddings, it’s no different. The soon-to-be-weds can opt for any number of dress policies:
- White tie – The fanciest of all dress codes, white tie, means floor-length gowns—no ifs, ands, or buts. Jewelry, clutch bags, and heeled shoes are practically required as accessories.
- Black tie or formal – A classic wedding dress code, black tie, leaves a little room for interpretation. When deciding what to wear to a formal wedding, a stylish floor-length dress is a go-to choice, but sleek jumpsuits, fancy two-piece sets, and even shorter dresses are excellent modern formal attire options—and they might work better for a formal summer wedding.
- Cocktail – Also known as semi-casual or black tie optional, a cocktail dress code has a simple solution—the cocktail dress! Knee-length or even slightly shorter dresses are appropriate cocktail attire at these events (although don’t go too short). Similarly, a polished jumpsuit or two-piece set can be a show-stopper, particularly paired with glittering statement earrings and accessories.
- Informal – Informal wear doesn’t mean you’ll be arriving at the wedding donned in your favorite pair of wide-leg jeans. Instead, think silky slacks, fitted blouses, flowy day dresses, and chic sandals.
There’s a big difference between summer in Toronto and summer in Charleston. To build a functional outfit, you’ll need to consider the summer climate of the wedding’s location—especially if it’s outdoors, such as:
- Temperature range
- Wind chill
- Overcast conditions
- Sunset time
If you’re expecting cool breezes, opt for a light layer.
That draped jumpsuit with high heels may look sensational inside an air-conditioned ballroom. But outside on the beach? That’s a recipe for a fashion disaster.
Summer opens the door to an entire world of outdoor wedding venues. While gorgeous, these locations can make it slightly tricky to rock a fancy outfit. As a summer wedding guest, your outfit may need to prove foolproof against these popular outdoor venue choices:
- Grass lawns
- Wineries or vineyards
- Barn houses or farms
- Boats or yachts
If the wedding invitation reads Fairytale Wonderland or Nautical Dreams, you might freeze—how does one dress for a theme?
In the case of more festive weddings, simple is best. Try to pick colors and fabrics that fit the given aesthetic—neutrals and linens can stun any seaside, while florals and lace are perfect accompaniments to magical gardens.
Summer Wedding Outfit Ideas
‘Tis the wedding season to play up the fun! Summer wedding wear is all about brightening and thriving. Whether you’re on the beach or on a restaurant patio, every summer wedding is a chance to indulge in the season’s flirtatious and carefree style.
Coming up blank? Start with our top outfit ideas on what to wear to a summer wedding.
#1 Go Light and Airy
When it comes to a summer wedding guest dress it can be hard to strike a balance between formality and comfort under the sun. Fortunately, long gowns and sleeves don’t have to mean instant sweat—all thanks to breathable and lightweight materials.
Airy fabrics can keep you glamorous and cool under the summer sun:
- Cotton – Breathable and oh-so-soft, cotton is more than your everyday fabric. This natural fiber lets the air circulate, keeping you cool and sweat-free. Not to mention, cotton wedding guest dresses come in a wide variety of shades and thicknesses.
- Linen – No fabric says “summer” quite like linen clothing. This flax-derived fiber is loosely woven, giving it a sturdy texture and high breathability. As a bonus, it absorbs moisture easily when sweating, making it great wedding guest attire material.
- Silk – This luxurious fabric is ultra-light and ultra-chic for dresses. Silk is excellent in hot climates, but it’s not the most breathable fabric. To avoid sweat stains, avoid styles with tight fits or fabric touching the armpits.
#2 Show Some Skin
Every wedding dress code deserves to be respected (i.e., no mini skirts or plunging necklines). However, that doesn’t mean you have to cover every part of your body, especially when summer weather comes around.
To keep yourself cool, consider dresses that cut down on coverage. For wedding guests, that could mean designs with:
- Sleeveless or strapless necklines
- Knee-length or shorter hemlines
- Cutout designs (open backs or chest panels)
- Loose and billowy silhouettes
- Skirt slits
- Two-piece sets
#3 Pop With Color
If there’s any season to rock bold, vivid palettes, it’s summer.
Before picking your favorite eye-catching color, take a moment to consider the location and theme of the wedding party. Hot pink may look great on you, but it might look out of place inside a candle-lit antique farmhouse.
As such, always double-check the wedding’s location and plan accordingly with brilliant shades like:
- Canary yellow
- Kelly green
- Royal blue
#4 Be Down To Earth
The natural world is a canvas to draw inspiration from—while your outfit can certainly mirror the tropical hibiscus florals of New Orleans, you can also emulate the warm, arid tones of the southwest or the cool neutrals of the west coast.
Fortunately, earth tones come in a variety of subtly striking shades that work with most skin tones, including:
- Mud green
#5 Relax Your Silhouette
Even lightweight fabrics can become cloying when they sit tightly on your skin. Instead, opt for a loose-fitted silhouette. Flowy, fashionable dress styles will keep you twirling through an entirely outdoor ceremony and wedding reception like a summer breeze:
- Wrap dresses – Known for their signature wraparound waistline, wrap dresses have a timeless look befitting any outdoor event. In particular, this versatile design is an excellent choice for petite wedding guest dresses, thanks to its streamlined and lengthening silhouette.
- Blouson dresses – Bohemian yet classic, this design is the dress equivalent of a loose blouse tucked into an A-line skirt. The loose sleeves, unfitted bodice, and slightly flowy skirt will keep you cool all day long.
- Slip dresses – Want the curves of a body-con dress without the tight fabric? Look for a slip dress, which just skims the shape of your body but leaves some breathing room. Silk is a lightweight fabric and a particularly beautiful material for a silhouette.
- Peasant dresses – Puffed sleeves are the star of the peasant dress, complete with a fitted bodice and a knee- or ankle-length skirt. This country-chic look will fit right into any barnhouse or vineyard celebration.
- Maxi dresses – Unleash your inner bohemian with a traditional boho maxi dress. This flowy floor-length design gives you the most room to play, with a wide variety of sleeves and necklines.
#6 Add a Sun-Proof Accessory
No summer outfit is complete without a few shades of cute accessories. The right pieces won't just elevate your look—they’ll keep you cool, calm, and sunburn-free.
Besides jewelry and a purse, consider these handy additions for your next beach or summer wedding attire:
- Fashion hats
Karen Kane—Styles to Walk Down Every Aisle
From floral maxi dresses to chic silk slips, there’s no shortage of beautiful summer wedding looks. If you’re still wondering what to wear to a June wedding, this guide is the perfect place to start.
The next step? My own wedding guest dress collection.
At Karen Kane, women’s boho clothing is more than just what looks good—it’s also what feels good. From plus size wedding guest dresses to stylish jackets, the Karen Kane collection is made with sustainable fabrics in a wide range of sizes, because everyone deserves quality clothing, no matter their body or budget.
Find the wedding guest dresses that beat the heat and bring the heat today.
Elle. 12 Of The Best And Worst Fabrics To Wear In Summer Heatwaves If You Want To Avoid Sweat Patches. https://www.elle.com/uk/fashion/what-to-wear/a22069616/best-worst-fabrics-summer-sweat/
Vogue. Summer Wedding Dress Codes Decoded. https://www.vogue.com/article/summer-wedding-dress-codes
Wedding Wire. The Top 5 Most Popular Wedding Months—and Why Couples Love 'Em. https://www.weddingwire.com/wedding-ideas/most-popular-wedding-months