Weddings can be hard to dress for. Maybe it's being held in a different country or climate, maybe you won’t know many people there and are feeling nervous about being judged, or maybe you need to find a dress that can take you comfortably from a church ceremony to a late night (and early morning) on the dance floor. There’s often a lot of pressure placed on this outfit choice too. That may be the fanciest outing you have planned that year, so you’ll want to make the most of it. If it’s been the topic of conversation amongst friends for months already, that outfit will likely appear in many photos for years, if not decades, to come.
With all of this in mind, my key thought when finding a wedding guest outfit is always, Will I be comfortable in this all day? For example, if I know it’s going to be a hot day, I would look for a dress made from natural fibres, 100% organic cotton or silk. I don’t want to be sweating in polyester. I would also look for something I can wear with comfortable underwear. There have been too many times that I’ve worn a dress that required a strapless bra, only to find I want to viciously rip off the metal-filled torture devise only two hours into a 12-hour event—never again! I’m actually a big fan of certain shapewear, as I love the feeling of being secure, and I feel like it helps my posture and eases back pain. But I would suggest wearing the shapewear before the event as a little test run. Sometimes, you might not notice areas that niggle without wearing it for a few hours, so it’s best to know beforehand. I go for shapewear shorts to prevent thigh chafing and will sometimes wear a shapewear slip dress on top of these and my bra for a smoother invisible-underwear look under tighter dresses.
You also want to feel comfortable mentally. For me, this is usually making sure I feel comfortable with how low-cut my top is, as I feel happier in an outfit that covers my chest. I’m all for pushing your boundaries when it comes to fashion. However, I believe that a day-long event like a wedding might be a better place to push your boundaries with something like colour or print, rather than shape or silhouette. Basically, you don’t want to be pulling up or tugging down areas of your outfit all day because you don’t feel sufficiently covered.
When choosing your outfit, you need to remember to look on your invite to see if the couple have given a dress code. But I always go by the rule that it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve likely seen that I enjoy a colourful or printed outfit. I very much enjoy a bold look. I also really enjoy the conversations these looks start. I find an outfit with a little story to tell is a brilliant way to meet people, and it’s especially helpful if you don’t know many people at the event.
I would take this opportunity to look to smaller brands that might have more unusual made-to-order or pre-sale pieces, such as Mary Benson, Loud Bodies and Olivia Rubin, as you usually have plenty of time to plan. I would also check out rental sites like Hurr or By Rotation. Hurr has dresses from brands such as Ganni, Selkie and my own brand, Dolly Rocket. Then as a starting point on By Rotation, I would search for the profiles “lucy_earnshaw,” “Jbird” and “abimarvel,” as they have lots of plus-size options you can rent. Next, I would look at ASOS Edition and Never Fully Dressed, which always have lots of beautiful dress options. One recent exciting addition to the plus-size world has been Sister Jane (available on ASOS). Although its plus-size pieces only go up to a size 22, I am always here for progress! Marks and Spencer’s has some gorgeous dresses in at the moment which are available up to a size 24 and, in some cases, are even available in longer lengths if you’re taller. I would also have a look on Simply Be, and although I find that some of their event dresses aren’t my style, there are a few gorgeous pieces by the brands Anaya With Love, Hope & Ivy and Jo By Joanna Hope. Don’t forget that Anthropologie, Warehouse and Karen Millen also have plus-size options now. Finally, if you have a higher budget, it’s worth looking at Marina Rinaldi, Coyan, Dima Ayad and 11 Honoré.
To help you with your search, I’ve pulled out a few of my favourite pieces below. With all these brands to explore, I really hope you can find a piece that makes you feel fabulous.
1. Florals From Mary Benson
First up is this beautiful creation from Mary Benson.
I really don’t think I can put into words how special I feel in this dress. It’s just magic! The fabric is organic cotton, so I feel comfortable in it all day, even on a warm, sunny day. Plus, the shape feels just the right amount of dramatic. The sleeves hold their puffed shape, and the print is filled with the prettiest flowers. It’s available in sizes UK 6 to UK 30, and because it’s made to order, you can get the length just right for you. The lead time for this is 21 days, so you will want to think about ordering it at least a month before your event. I’ve known the designer Mary Benson for over a decade now, and I love everything she creates—definitely one to keep an eye on!
2. Satin From Ganni
Next, I took this Ganni beauty for a whirl.
This Ganni dress is rentable from Hurr in sizes UK 6 to UK 24, and it feels like the perfect piece to rent for a wedding. It’s silk, which always feels like a treat to wear, and I found the gathered detailing looked incredibly gorgeous when rippling over my curves. I love that the pale-pink background feels like a traditional colour to wear to a wedding, but it’s modernised by the contrasting bright yellow, blue and hot-pink floral.
3. Leopard Print From Never Fully Dressed
I consider leopard print to be a neutral.
If you’re not wanting to wear a floral, I think this small-scale leopard-print dress from Never Fully Dressed would be a gorgeous option. This style feels quite new to me as a plus-size option. Most brands often shy away from drop-waisted, tummy-skimming silhouettes, so this is exciting to see. I’m team “leopard is a neutral,” so for me, this is a piece I can see myself getting a lot of wear out of past the event I originally bought it for. I love the idea of this layered up with a blazer or jumper and trainers.
More Plus-Size Wedding Guest Outfits I Love