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Photo by Chris & Ruth Photography
The destination wedding is back in a big way, with couples looking to jet to worldly locales for their celebrations. And if you’ve been invited to join one, congratulations! It’s truly one of the most fun experiences to dress for and attend.
When it comes to picking the perfect party outfit, there are more than a few things to keep top of mind before packing your suitcase. “The top considerations for dressing for a destination wedding are the location, the weather, the venue of the event, time of day, and season,” says Tiffany Moss, resort wedding manager at Atlantis Paradise Island in Nassau, Bahamas. “Warmer climates can be challenging to dress for because the days are very hot and can be humid, while evenings can be cooler and you will need a light coverup.”
Meet the Expert
In her role as Resort Weddings Manager at Atlantis Paradise Island, Tiffany Moss works with couples from around the world to help execute their perfect destination wedding.
Moss reports that during her 10 years of experience, she has noticed that guests attending destination weddings love to have fun with their looks. “There is an opportunity to show off your creativity and unique style with a destination wedding,” she says. “In addition to the wedding day, there are often multi-events happening as part of the celebration—a welcome reception, rehearsal dinner, and a farewell brunch—which means you can curate a whole wardrobe of amazing looks from casual to formal.”
To help you travel in style, we found 20 amazing wedding guest looks to wear for every breezy, beautiful destination wedding event.
Best Two-Piece: Lulu’s Top Tier Babe Blue Floral Midi Dress
Courtesy of Lulus
Runs: True to Size | Size: XS-XL | Materials: Rayon | Length: Midi
This dainty floral midi dress is the perfect choice for a tropical garden wedding, or the day-after wedding brunch. Separates are also a sustainable choice, as you can incorporate the top and skirt into your everyday wardrobe.
Best Jumpsuit: Bronx and Banco Hanna Jumpsuit
Courtesy of Revolve
Runs: True to Size | Size: XS-XL | Materials: Silk | Length: Floor
Forever one of our favorite looks for wedding guests, a jumpsuit always looks polished and elegant. This yellow floral style is made for dancing under a star-lit tropical sky.
Best Halter: Reformation Lizabeth Dress
Courtesy of Reformation
Runs: True to Size | Size: 1-14 | Materials: Rayon | Length: Ankle
Ever since Meghan Markle stepped out in her Stella McCartney halter reception dress, we’ve been obsessed with this style for both brides and wedding guests. It’s easy to wear and always looks elegant.
Best LBD: ASOS Design Peekaboo Shoulder Tuck Midi Pencil Dress
Courtesy of ASOS
Runs: True to size | Size: 0-8 | Materials: Polyester | Length: Knee
A sleek black dress always delivers, and this pencil skirt number is great for a formal evening celebration. Bonus points for the draped bodice and the cold one-shoulder design.
For a Black-Tie Wedding: David’s Bridal One Shoulder Gown
Courtesy of David’s Bridal
Runs: True to Size | Size: 1-15 | Materials: Jersey | Length: Floor
Jersey is one of the best fabrics you can choose for a destination wedding—it packs easily and it’s a flattering choice for every shape and size. The sleek silhouette of this column gown makes it a top fashion pick for black-tie nuptials.
Most Colorful: Farm Rio One-Shoulder Fringed Printed Voile Midi Dress
Courtesy of Farm Rio
Runs: True to size | Size: XS-XL | Materials: Viscose | Length: Midi
Rainbow brights are currently a huge fashion trend and if you’re looking for a tropical-inspired dress that packs a color punch, this one’s for you. The printed Macaw parrots and tropical foliage, paired with a fringe sleeve and hemline, make for an unforgettable destination ensemble.
Most Fashion-Forward: Tory Burch Crepe Long Dress
Courtesy of Tory Burch
Runs: True to Size | Size: 0-14 | Materials: Crepe | Length: Floor
This structured gown is a fashion-forward choice for weddings at any locale. We love the modern silhouette of the dolman sleeves, the flattering hourglass shape, and the muted yellow hue.
Best Shirt Dress: Rachel Parcell Belted Floral Dress
Courtesy of Rachel Parcell
Runs: True to Size | Size: 00-18 | Materials: Rayon | Length: Mini
Fun and flirty, this shirt dress is a literal ray of sunshine thanks to its colorful sunburst pattern. This mini is perfect for all destination wedding events and will become your favorite summer look post-nuptials.
Best A-Line: Hill House Home The Ophelia Dress
Courtesy of Hill House Home
Runs: True to Size | Size: XXS-XXL | Materials: Cotton | Length: Midi
This dress combines a timeless silhouette with two of our favorite dress details: smocking and puff sleeves. Wear it with hoop earrings and mules for a flawless wedding guest look.
Chicest Mini: Significant Other Elsa Smocked Tiered Mini Dress
Courtesy of Intermix
Runs: True to Size | Size: 2-12 | Materials: Cotton | Length: Mini
This sassy mini has the most incredible tiered ruffle at the hemline and laser-cut pattern design. Additionally, the pale orange hue and smocked texture make this an uber-stylish wedding guest dress select.
For Beach Nuptials: Rujuta Sheth Kaftan
Courtesy of Anthropologie
Runs: Large | Size: One Size | Materials: Viscose | Length: Ankle
We truly love caftans as they’re comfortable, cool, and ever so stylish. Accessorize this look with tassel earrings and gladiator sandals, for a boho-beautiful style made to be seen on a pink sand beach.
Best Strapless: Lulus Make a Move Black Satin Floral Jacquard Strapless Midi Dress
Courtesy of Lulus
Runs: True to size | Size: XS-XL | Materials: Woven satin | Length: Midi
This strapless dress is not only super-cute, but also incredibly cool thanks to its metallic floral brocade design. It’s a piece you can wear to a formal, semi-formal, or cocktail attire wedding.
Best Animal Print: Dolce & Gabbana Leopard-Print Dress
Courtesy of Net-a-Porter
Runs: True to size | Size: IT36-IT50 | Materials: Silk-blend charmeuse | Length: Knee
Spotted on Khloe Kardashian for her sister’s recent Italian wedding, this Dolce & Gabbana leopard print dress is a piece you will absolutely have fun wearing. Make this look extra glam by adding gold hoops, bangles, and layered pendants.
Best Floral: Ted Baker Dulina Dress
Courtesy of Ted Baker
Runs: True to size | Size: 2-12 | Materials: Linen and viscose | Length: Floor
We like to call this pattern “happy fashion.” The tropical color palette, ruffled skirt, and elegant halter neckline makes this maxi dress pure joy.
Best Empire Waist: Tanya Taylor Marisa Dress
Courtesy of Tanya Taylor
Runs: True to size | Size: 0-22 | Materials: Polyester | Length: Mini
This fit and flare mini dress has so many features to love, like the delicate blossom pattern, off-the-shoulder neckline, shoulder ties, and a wonderfully inclusive size range.
Perfect Slip Dress: Reformation Marguerite Silk Dress
Courtesy of Reformation
Runs: True to size | Size: 0-12 | Materials: Silk | Length: Midi
This fitted slip dress might be our top choice for destination wedding events. We love the sexy silhouette, side slit, and faux wrap skirt.
Best Ruffles: ASOS Edition Floral Midi Cami Dress
Courtesy of ASOS
Runs: True to size | Size: 0-14 | Materials: Polyester | Length: Midi
This dress is a beautiful example of the lingerie-inspired vibe seen on many fashion runways. The butter yellow color is also on point, a must-have shade of the season.
For a Formal Wedding: Ieena for Mac Duggal Ruffle Tiered Floral Cut-Out Chiffon Gown
Courtesy of Mac Duggal
Runs: True to size | Size: 0-12 | Materials: Chiffon | Length: Floor
If you’re planning to attend a formal destination wedding, we absolutely recommend this super-chic choice. The dramatic ruffle shoulders will make for an incredible photo moment, to boot.
Best Ruching: V. Chapman The Lily Dress
Courtesy of V. Chapman
Runs: True to size | Size: 00-14 | Materials: Polyester | Length: Midi
This frilly, peony pink dress is perfect for an intimate brunch wedding. Because it’s made with just a touch of stretch, it fits like a glove and is a great choice if you have curves.
Best Under-$100: ASOS Design Curve Textured Twist Front Pleated Midi Dress
Courtesy of ASOS
Runs: True to size | Size: 12-26 | Materials: Sheer chiffon | Length: Midi
Chiffon is a great fabric for any warm-weather wedding, and this trendy midi dress will become an instant summer classic in your wardrobe for years to come.
What to Look for in Destination Wedding Guest Attire
When searching for a destination wedding look, aside from the dress code and locale, you should pay close attention to the fabric composition of your clothes. The outfit(s) you choose to travel with should be crafted from materials that do not easily wrinkle when packed. For example, linen is a great warm-weather choice because it’s cool, but it’s also famous for creasing; similar to wool and silk which can be challenging in the heat. However, cotton blends are a great choice, while rayon and viscose also travel well. Bottom line, it may take some time to find styles that are just right for your destination, so start shopping early!
It all depends on the location. A proper high heel can be challenging for beachy celebrations, or venues that lack proper flooring. Steer clear of pumps and opt for flats, wedge sandals, or espadrilles if you’re unsure of the locale.
A classic pashmina is always a go-to for chilly evenings. They will keep you warm and are a must if the wedding will be held in a heavily air-conditioned space.
Sunglasses are the best accessory to showcase your personality! Have fun with the color and go for larger frames to protect your eyes from the sun. Also, choose polarized lenses for added UV protection.
About the Author
Alison McGill is an award-winning editor, writer, creative producer, media personality, and brand strategist. She was the Editor-in-Chief of Weddingbells for two decades, a role which also included being the Editorial Director of Weddingbells’ sister publication Mariage Quebec. Her work has appeared in The Kit, Fashion, Hello! Canada, The Toronto Star, and more.