Fall wedding season is right around the corner! In so many ways, the fall is the perfect time for a wedding. With cooler temperatures than in the summer months, it’s such a beautiful time with all the changing leaves! I may be a little biased since I got married in October on my sister’s front porch!
As a wedding guest, when that wedding invitation comes in the mail, you may wonder, what should a guest wear to fall nuptials? Good news, I’ve got you covered! In this post, I’ll break down wedding guest attire by dress code. And I have a roundup of the 40 best fall wedding guest dresses for you. We’ll look at black tie wedding attire, cocktail wedding, and outdoor or winery wedding dresses. I’ve also rounded up some jackets and shoe options to wear with your outfit.
First, let’s talk about what’s appropriate to wear to a fall wedding based on wedding dress codes.
What is appropriate to wear to a fall wedding as a guest?
You’re excited to celebrate with the happy couple and are ready to have a good time. But what should you wear to a wedding in the cooler months? Check your wedding invitation for the dress code. A black tie affair means you’re attending a very formal evening wedding with women wearing floor-length gowns and men in tuxedos. Formal or black-tie optional means you can choose from a floor-length dress, a fancy cocktail dress in a midi length, or a dressy pantsuit. For cocktail attire, you want a fancy midi or knee-length dress. For a dressy casual or smart casual event you want a step up from casual and from what you would wear to work. Think knee or midi-length skirts or dresses. And you can also wear nice pants and a nice blouse.
Adjust your outfit by the time of day and the location. A nighttime wedding is more formal than a daytime wedding. During the day, wear lighter colors and fabrics. At night, choose darker colors and more formal attire.
What should a female guest wear to a fall wedding?
For autumn weddings, you have so many different colors to choose from. From bright colors and jewel tones like emerald green, garnet red, sapphire blue, and deep purple. To fall earthy hues like oranges, harvest yellow, shades of brown, wine red, and plum, to rust, navy, and of course, black and dusty pink.
Floral patterns with dark backgrounds and fall colors are beautiful options.
Consider heavier fabrics like satin, thicker lace, velvet, and metallic blends.
Elevate your look with statement jewelry, shoes, and a bag.
For shoes, choose pumps or strappy pumps. Ankle boots or knee-high boots are a great option for outdoors as are chic flats.
For an outdoor wedding look for long sleeves. Dress in layers and carry a wrap, a short jacket, or a tailored blazer.
Ready to look at the best dresses for fall weddings? Let’s start by looking at attire for a black tie wedding.
The best wedding guest dress options
Black tie wedding
Black tie means you’re attending a very formal evening wedding with women wearing floor-length gowns and men in tuxedos. Look for full-length formal dresses or a formal jumpsuit. In the stores now you’ll see tons of one-shoulder dresses, metallics, sparkles, and sequins. Let’s dive in with my favorite dress of all.
Ralph Lauren V-neck Ruffle Trim Gown. This dress is utterly beautiful. The color is a very dark navy with a tiny bit of sparkle in the fabric. With a flattering crossover v-neck and short flutter sleeves, this is understated elegance. The ruffles on the bottom are perfect for someone who is smaller on the bottom. But as someone who is larger on the bottom, it’s so gorgeous, that I would be trying it anyway. The sizes are dwindling so here’s a second option for buying this dress.
Pisarro Nights, Sequin Long Sleeve A-line Gown. “Dazzling” and “very forgiving” is how one reviewer describes this dress. Metallics are super on-trend. With long sleeves, a flattering v-neck, and an empire waistline, this is a dress that works for just about every body type. Runs large. Size down one.
Mango, Gradient Draped Dress. The colors of this dress scream fall and I had to include it. With a drop waist, a ruched top, and a flowy skirt, this is a great dress to add dimension and curves all over.
After Six, Chiffon Gown. This is the perfect dress for a formal wedding. A deep-fitted v-neck top adds to the glamour, while a flowy a-line skirt is perfect for dancing. Comes in multiple colors.
Eliza J, One Shoulder Sequin Gown. If you’re ready to shimmer and looking for a fall alternative to black, brown is a great option. Brown is super chic and is the new black this fall. The ruched waist on this dress is perfect if you’re looking to add definition and curves to your waistline.
Dress The Population, Ariyah Floral Sequin Dress. Get ready to swirl on the dance floor in this multicolor blush sequin ballgown with a v-neck front and back. You will feel like a princess in this dress.
Ralph Lauren, Floral Ruffle Trim Georgette Gown. If you recognize this dress, that’s because I’m showing it above in navy. Here it is in dark navy with a dark purple floral pattern. This color palette is subtle and stunning and I had to include it.
Jenny Yoo, Ellis Flutter-Sleeve Open-Back Stretch Velvet Gown. Velvet is the perfect option for a fall dress. This one comes in multiple colors. With a v-neck front, a-line silhouette, and flutter sleeves, the open back steals the show on this dress.
J. Crew, Full-length Luster Crepe V-neck Slip Dress. J.Crew is famous for their slip dresses and they’ve come out with a limited edition full-length slip dress for wedding season. This crepe fabric is “smooth and drapey with a luxurious sheen.” With an elegant v-neck, thin straps, and a zipper back. So simple yet gorgeous.
Mango, Asymmetric Bow Dress. This one-shoulder red bow dress is a stunner. Get ready to show off your shoulder in this beautiful eye-catching dress.
Adrianna Papell, Illusion Mermaid Gown. This sleeveless beaded, mesh yolk dress creates the illusion of a strapless dress, but with the detail of a sleeveless top for comfort. With eye-catching beading around the neckline, a slim, fit, and slightly stretchy fabric.
Aqua, Pleated Shimmer Gown. This stunner will make you feel beautiful. With a v-neck front and back, and a sleeveless top with an on-trend pleated shimmery skirt that’s relaxed through the hips. This dress gets rave reviews for being super flattering.
For cocktail attire, you want a fancy midi or knee-length dress. Or an elevated jumpsuit. Consider details like lace and sequins. In the stores, you’ll see trending pieces with tons of one-shoulder looks, metallics, bright red, and pleats.
Mango, Back Detail Satin Dress. The color of this dress is gorgeous. The flutter sleeves with a small cutout in the back, a higher waist, and flowy fabric make for a flattering dress.
Nordstrom, Blair Embellished Fit & Flare Dress. This dress is so good! With a v-neck, a fit and flare style, and sequins and lace you have a gorgeous party dress. And it comes in 4 colors. Consider sizing up.
Mango, Wrap Dress With Hoop Detailing. A wrap dress is a universally flattering style. And this is one that’s versatile enough that you can dress it up for a wedding with shoes, a bag, and sparkling jewelry, or dress it down for every day.
Ralph Lauren, Metallic Stretch Knit Cocktail Dress. This knit cocktail dress is a knockout with metallic tan and gold stretchy material, an a-line silhouette, pleating, and twist detail on the front. And since it’s from Zappos, if you need a dress at your house in a couple of days and are an Amazon Prime member, you can use your Amazon Prime shipping to get it to your doorstep fast.
Banana Republic Factory, Pleated Midi Dress. I love that Banana Republic Factory offers special occasion dresses that you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg for. Their items are always on sale and likely to be under $100. This one has 14 five-star ratings. Reviewers call it slimming and stunning with a boatneck, fit and flare style, and flutter sleeves. The pleats are very on-trend. It’s one you can dress up for a wedding or dress down. Comes in 2 colors.
J.Crew, Bubble-skirt Drop-waist Dress. This J.Crew dress is giving me serious Jackie Kennedy vibes. With a midi length and a fitted top and a “floaty, bubble skirt”, it’s the perfect little black dress. Plus, “it’s made with our organza fabric, which is smooth and silk-like with a luxurious sheen.” It looks so luxe!
Banana Republic Factory, Flutter-sleeve Knee-length Dress. Here’s another good-looking dress at a reasonable price from Banana Republic Factory. It’s hard to beat how figure-flattering an empire waist is. It has a straight neckline with short flutter sleeves. And comes in 3 colors.
Banana Republic Factory, High-neck Knit Knee-length Dress. Another one from Banana Republic Factory that’s a big hit. Get ready to show your shoulders off in this sophisticated halter neck style. Comes in 4 colors.
J. Crew, Short-sleeve Maxi Slip Dress. This dress is simple and elegant with a v-neck collar and short sleeves. Reviewers with hourglass and curvy figures give it rave reviews so it’s worth a try even if you’re curvy below the waist. Comes in 2 colors.
Loft, Chevron Clip Smocked Midi Dress. Here’s a dress that’s versatile enough to dress up for a wedding or dress down for every day. It has a flowy midi skirt with a tie waist, a mock neck, and elbow-length puff sleeves.
Anthropologie, The Katerina Button-Front Dress. The details on this dress are stunning. With an empire waist and plunging v-neck, the vertical buttons at the waist draw the eye up and down. The full skirt gives maximum comfort. This comes in 2 colors.
Ming Wang, Butterfly Sleeve Crêpe de Chine Wrap Dress. If you want the practicality of a dress you can wear to work or to a wedding, this little black dress is for you. With beautiful fabric, and a hem that’s sewn at the bottom so you don’t have to deal with the skirt flying open, this is a great option.
Banana Republic Factory, Halter Pleated Maxi Dress. This halter pleated maxi dress is on-trend with pleats and perfect if you want to show off your shoulders. And this rich brown color sings of fall. Comes in 3 colors.
Alex Evenings, Three-Quarter Sleeve Taffeta Sheath Cocktail Dress. If you’re looking for a super sophisticated satin shiny dress that draws the eye to your face, defines your waistline, and covers your arms, here’s a great option. Comes in 5 colors.
Tuckernuck, Poppy Red Blythe Dress. The stunning detail on this swing dress is the ruffled very high neckline with a gorgeous bow at the back of the neck. It’s the perfect dress for short hair, a side-swept look, or an updo. Comes in 5 colors.
Outdoor or winery wedding
For an outdoor fall wedding or winery wedding, research the vibe of the venue online. Is it rustic and charming or more elevated? Choose a look that fits the venue. Consider a chic jumpsuit as a comfy alternative.
For shoes, skip stiletto heels so you don’t sink into the ground. And be prepared to walk on rocky areas or gravel. Consider block heels or ankle or knee-high boots. And dresses with heavier fabrics and long sleeves or ¾ sleeves to keep you warm.
Let’s look at dresses!
Banana Republic Factory, Vegan Leather Knee-Length Dress. I’m always worried about faux leather being too binding. But the shape of this dress is a great option for curvy figures below the waist. This wrap-style vegan leather dress with long sleeves and an a-line skirt will make you feel luxurious, super stylish, and on-trend, and keep you warm for an outdoor wedding. Comes in two colors.
Fraiche by J, Wrap Front Long Sleeve Dress. This long dress is easy to wear with a draping skirt and tulip hemline that opens in the front. The v-neck draws the eye to the face, the belt is detachable so you can use your own if you’d like. The long sleeves will keep you warm from a chill in the air. Comes in 7 colors.
Tuckernuck, Onyx Falling Flowers Bouquet Lyles Dress. This charming scoop-neck maxi dress with a slight metallic shimmer is fun, flirty, and striking. Remove the waist belt and add your own. The elbow-length sleeves will keep you warm against a fall chill. Comes in multiple patterns.
Loft, Satin Wrap Midi Dress. This glam satin midi-length wrap dress has a v-neck with a collar and a slim skirt. The long sleeves will keep you warm against the fall air.
Boden, Placement Print Maxi Dress. This jersey a-line maxi dress is as high on comfort as it is class with a swing shape, and striking black print. Easily wear this dress with knee-high black suede boots.
Julia Jordan, Floral Ruffle Tiered Midi Dress. This dress is full of bold fall colors with a floral pattern, midi length, flutter sleeves, and a flirty tiered skirt. Wear a brown or black moto jacket over top for an edgy look and heels or ankle boots.
Chaus, Floral Metallic Smocked Waist Long Sleeve Tiered Midi Dress. Here’s another flowy floral midi dress with a stunning pattern and a touch of metallic shimmer that plays on fall yellows and oranges. Pair this with taupe heels or ankle boots. Or knee high boots.
Julia Jordan, Floral Tiered Flutter Sleeve Midi Dress. A stunner for fall. Every detail of this dress is beautiful, from the bright colors of the floral print to the cut of the dress. Reviewers say it’s very pretty and flattering.
Boden, Tie-Back Gathered Midi Dress. A perfect winery dress with an elegant shape, fluttery short sleeves, and a beautiful tie at the back of the neck for a romantic touch. This floral multicolor midi dress will be the perfect dress amidst the changing leaves. Style this with ankle or knee high boots and a brown suede short jacket.
Maggy London, Twist V-Neck Long Sleeve Midi Dress. This decadent purple midi dress has a flattering and feminine empire waist. And a twisted v-neck for visual interest. Enjoy the long sleeves in the outdoors.
Open Edit, Long Sleeve Faux Wrap Jersey Dress. This stretch jersey dress with easy wrap draping has long sleeves and a collar with a deep v-neck.
Mango, Printed Shirt Dress. This flowy shirt dress captures the yellows of fall with a black backdrop. Wear it with black heels or black boots for a stunning all-black look.
Mila Mae, Long Sleeve Satin Shirtdress. This satin pleated shirt dress with a point collar and long sleeves is a luxurious option with a distinctive look for an outdoor fall. Comes in two colors.
Outdoor weddings are beautiful! Plan to bring layers like a pashmina wrap, shrug, tuxedo jacket, cropped, or leather jacket. Add a felt hat and a cozy scarf for added warmth.