Attending a fall wedding? We’re rounding up the best fall wedding guest dresses with sleeves and without, to the floor and to the knee, midi and mini, one-shoulder and sleeveless to show you the popular dress silhouettes and cuts for every body. From regular to plus size, there’s a dress for every wedding guest to wear in the fall. Plus, we’ll tell you what NOT to wear: it’s a major faux pas to avoid if you’re a wedding guest. Read on + subscribe for the latest to your inbox!
What do you wear to a fall wedding in 2023? That is a question many of you are wondering and, quite frankly, I was wondering the same thing. I’ve been invited to a handful of fall weddings for this year coming fresh off the summer wedding season means new fall colors, dress styles, and fashions to consider.
So, when Madeline wrote us about her fall guest dress question, I swooped in to help. Honestly, I never turn down the opportunity to find cute dresses to wear, especially with autumn just around the corner. I find it a fun task to figure out EXACTLY what to wear to a fall wedding as a guest. And I think I’ll make you all pretty happy with the HUGE round-up below.
Like this cute dress! ↓
But first, the question! She writes,
“Hi Emmaline! I’m hoping you can help. I’m going to be a guest at a fall wedding and I’m clueless about what to wear. What should a guest wear to an October wedding? The wedding is being held outdoors for the ceremony, then indoors for the reception. What are the best dresses to wear for fall weddings and what colors should I wear? Thank you!”
Great question, Madeline! Thanks so much for writing. In this blog post, you’ll find out everything you need to know for what to wear to a fall wedding and beyond, along with what to avoid. Let’s get started!
If you scroll down a bit, you’ll also find 50 (yep, I’m pretty intent on finding you a perfect dress) of the best fall wedding guest dresses 2023 has to offer, well into the 2023 wedding season. (P.S. Want to skip the advice? Just want to see the dresses? Scroll down the page to see which wedding guest attire suggestions made the list for fall! ↓)
What Should a Guest Wear to a Fall Wedding?
First, let’s talk about what a guest wears to a fall wedding, as in EXACTLY what to wear. It’s tough to nail down precisely what you need to wear as a wedding guest, so we’re outlining it for you. Note: the same general rules apply to all seasons, but this will have an autumn twist.
For fall wedding season, guests should wear attire that fits with the formality of the wedding. If you remember just one rule, it is to mind the dress code.
Typically, most guests will wear something with more coverage at a fall wedding vs. a summer one, simply due to weather. The change of weather can bring on chilly conditions, so it is best to err on the side of warmth when in doubt especially if cool winds, rain, or drops in temp are on the radar. Plus, it is simply good fashion sense to dress for the right season versus wearing a summer dress to a fall wedding.
Dress Code for Fall Weddings
Choose your guest dress based on the formality of the wedding. As a hint, you can figure out the formality of the event based on the invitation. A couple will usually indicate dress code on an enclosure card, so look for that, or consult the venue type/style to decide how dressy it is. Sometimes, the couple will indicate dress code on their wedding website. Either way, figure out if it is black tie wedding, cocktail attire, a less formal event, like a barn wedding or farmhouse rustic reception, etc.
From there, you’ll know how to dress properly for the wedding as a guest.
What Do Women Wear to a Fall Wedding? What Should Men Wear?
For most weddings, women wear a dress or dressy jumpsuit for a fall wedding. Men typically wear a suit and a tie.
If the wedding is casual, women might wear a maxi dress or a skirt and dressy blouse, while men wear a dress shirt and khakis.
Women should wear comfortable and dressy shoes: these are great affordable examples. The shoes should coordinate well with the dress (although they don’t have to match the color exactly). Make sure you have a pedicure if you’re wearing open-toe shoes. :) Pair the dress with a nice set of earrings (loving these at the moment!) and a necklace or bracelet and carry a stylish clutch purse or bag like this to hold your belongings.
Men should wear dress shoes, too, in colors that suit their attire.
What to Wear to an Outdoor Fall Wedding
Next, look to the location. This will determine how to dress properly for the weather.
As you mentioned in your question, the fall wedding you’re attending as a guest is in October outdoors (for the ceremony).
If the wedding is being held outdoors, as you mentioned, it is a good idea to wear something warm so you aren’t freezing, as October can sometimes be chilly. Opt for warm, seasonal fall fabrics for dresses in satin, crepe, or velvet. Velvet guest dresses are quite popular for fall, but it’s not for everyone.
If you don’t want a thick or warm fabric, be sure to bring a shawl or a wrap that will coordinate with your dress and can be draped over your shoulders during the ceremony.
It can also rain in October, so bring an umbrella during an outdoor ceremony. (Don’t worry, a little rain is considered good luck.)
Do You Have to Wear a Dress with Sleeves?
No! However, as pointed out in the question above, sleeves can help you stay a bit warmer if the weather is cool outside.
As you’ll see in a minute in our round-up of dresses, you’ll see many fall wedding guest dresses with sleeves and without. There are countless necklines and silhouettes to name, so no, just because it’s fall doesn’t mean you have to wear sleeves if that’s not your style.
What Fabrics to Wear in Fall?
The best fabrics typically used in fall wedding guest dresses includes velvet, heavy crepe, and silk or satin. These are heavier but not as heavy as some winter wedding attire, so you’ll be warm but not sweating. :)
What Color Do You Wear to a Wedding in October?
This question is probably what many others are wondering: what color do you wear to an October wedding? Any of the below options are a good fit.
Fall Wedding Guest Colors
Go with autumnal shades of popular colors, like maroon or burgundy, marigold, rust, navy, or deep purples. Don’t wear white! It is also recommended to stay away from wearing red, as it distracts from the bride and can be very noticeable in photos.
The most popular colors for fall wedding guest dresses 2023 are:
• Lighter fall colors (best for daytime events): mauve, dusty blue, light grey, sage
• Darker fall colors (evening): emerald green, amethyst, rust, navy, and burgundy
Find a color that looks good on you and, when in doubt, always opt for a rich, vibrant hue that is appropriate for autumn wedding season.
Can You Wear Black to a Fall Wedding?
Yes, black is absolutely appropriate for evening wear and is considered formal wear for any wedding. This includes attire for guests to wear to a fall wedding.
Be sure to note the hemline and choose something appropriate, and make sure it looks stylish… like this (one of the best fall wedding guest dresses, IMO).
Mistake to Avoid for Fall Wedding Guest Dresses
There is one big mistake to avoid when you’re dressing as a guest: don’t wear white. The other mistake to keep in mind is do not wear the same color as the bridesmaids! You don’t want to accidentally join the bridal party. Hey, it happens! However, to avoid this, you can usually figure out what bridesmaids are wearing by asking around OR by looking at the wedding invitation. Traditionally, one of the main colors of the invitations — or the wedding website, save the date, etc. — is the bridesmaid dress color. Look for it, avoid selecting it as your guest dress color, and you’ll be good. :)
What NOT To Wear to a Fall Wedding
If you’re worried you’ll be a the wrong outfit to a fall wedding, simply avoid these items entirely:
• Do not wear white
It will upstage the bride.
• Do not wear low cut or revealing outfits
Keep in mind it is a wedding rather than a night out on the town.
• Avoid a dress that is sheer or too short
Mini length is fine, as long as you are covered; sheer outfits should be avoided for all wedding guests.
• Do not wear flip flops
Sandals are OK, depending on the formality of the wedding. When in doubt, you should always be dressed up and comfortable: browse 50 Most Comfortable Wedding Guest Shoes Ever for helpful suggestions on footwear.
• No jeans
Do not wear denim of any kind.
• Do not wear pastel colors
Say no to the summer colors you’re seeing in store at the moment: light pinks, light greens, yellow, etc. should be avoided as guest dresses for fall weddings.
• Avoid summery florals
Unless the colors have a fall vibe, avoid florals that are more suited to summer weddings. You’ll want to instead seek hues with jewel tones or deep earthy shades instead. We are sharing soe floral wedding guest dresses for fall in the list below, which you’ll see when you scroll down the page. ↓
• Follow the dress code of the invitation and follow its formality
Mind the dress code. When in doubt, always choose something more formal vs. more casual. It’s always better to be dressed up than not dressed enough for the occasion.
• Love the dress!
One rule that you should follow is… love the dress you wear! As a wedding guest, you want to feel confident and stylish in the dress you wear to a fall wedding, winter, spring, or summer. For fall, cover up so you’re warm, but don’t be afraid to show off your curves and unique silhouettes, necklines, and cuts of the season. We’ve got you covered in the list below!
Now that you are more familiar with what to wear to an October wedding (or September through November in general), let’s take a look at the dresses!
I present… the best fall wedding guest dresses 2023 has to offer. I hope you find a dress you absolutely love! Enjoy!
For more options, check out this amazing collection of wedding guest dresses for autumn here.
Best Fall Wedding Guest Dress Styles for 2023
EDITOR’S NOTE: Many of these dresses are shown in one color, but there are more colors from which to choose here. If it is shown in black or emerald but you prefer navy or burgundy, click on the photo and you’ll see more colors in that style. Hope it helps!
1. Off-the-Shoulder Midi Fall Dress in Navy, $49
First up: what do you think of this dress for a fall wedding? It’s cut beautifully in a midi-length hem, very on-trend right now. The off-the-shoulder neckline adds visual interest and the cute ruffle hem finishes the look. I love this color for wedding guest dresses: navy goes with everything! Great price, too. Buy here.
2. Sleeveless Bodycon Dress with Midi Length, $72
This is one of the most popular wedding guest dresses for fall 2023: it goes with virtually everything and the length is perfect. Buy here.
3. Maxi Dress with One-Shoulder Neckline, $68
For under $70, this gorgeous black maxi dress with a short slit and a one-shoulder neckline is an elegant choice! You can get it here in other colors, too.
4. V-Neckline Maxi Dress, $84
This stunning floor-length maxi dress features an elegant v-neckline and a pretty shade of burgundy. However, I’m also IN LOVE with this dress in royal blue, as seen here. Great choice all around! The light grey is the perfect answer to what to wear to a fall wedding as a guest. See it here.
5. Mauve Purple Midi Dress with Straps, $72
Remember when I mentioned mauve as one of the fall guest dress colors? Here’s a great example of the shade and the cut of a midi-length dress, along with a strappy neckline. This is a beautiful dress you’ll love to wear. Buy here.
6. Dark Green Guest Dress, $72
When you love the style above but prefer a different color, opt for this dark green dress instead. It’s not quite emerald, so that’s a good thing if you’re looking to wear more of an earthy green shade. You can get it here.
7. Satin High-Low Midi Dress, $72
Wow: this dress packs a stylish punch! It features the soft, satin fabric we talked about for wearing to an October wedding. It’s shiny, features a deep and rich shade of navy blue, and has one strap for fun style along the neckline. On the hem, you’ll notice a midi length that swoops in the back for a fun high-low hemline. Love this dress! Buy it here.
8. Fall Floral Wedding Guest Dress, $64
There admittedly aren’t many fall wedding guest dresses that are floral in print and look appropriate for the event, but this is the exception! This fall pattern looks lovely on a maxi-length skirt, a notched neckline with straps, and pretty colors. Buy here.
9. Black Half-Sleeve Sheath Dress, $62
If you’re looking for the best fall wedding guest dresses with sleeves, but you’re not sure you want to commit to a full sleeve, we have just the thing: a half-sleeve sheath! This style is formal and figure-flattering with a short hemline with a nice high neckline. Love this for many occasions, but particularly weddings!
10. Tiered Emerald Green, $69
Ooh, lovely tiers of emerald green make this dress a winner for fall weddings! Love this color, cut, neckline, all of it! Buy here.
11. Off-the-Shoulder Maxi Dress with Sleeves, $89
This is quite a gorgeous style and color for fall wedding guests to wear! Burgundy is shown here, but I also like this dress in emerald here. You can’t deny how lovely and romantic this maxi dress really is, from its drop-shoulder sleeves to its elegant floor-length maxi skirt that is made for dancing! Love this look. Buy now.
12. Pleated Midi with Tie Straps, $82
Do you love the tie-strap trend as much as I do?! I love the femininity it adds to any dress. This one, in particular, is a fan-favorite: it is a shorter length than a floor-length skirt; this shade of blue is amazing for fall weddings. To top it off, there is adorable pleating on the skirt with a hint of ruffles. So cute! Buy it here.
13. Black Sleeveless Maxi, $99
Make an entrance in this gorgeous black sleeveless maxi dress with a deep v-neckline, straps, and a figure-flattering fit. Buy it here.
14. Rhinestone Embellished Mermaid, $69
Deck your dress out to the hilt with these elegant rhinestones, embellished along the neckline of a mermaid-fit dress with a maxi length. Lovely! Perfect for elegant and formal weddings this fall. Buy here.
15. Hunter Green One-Shoulder Asymmetrical, $72
Dress to the 9’s with this fun wedding guest dress for fall! It features a trend-forward shade of hunter green, a one-shoulder neckline, and an asymmetrical hem. Love it! Buy here.
16. Copper Wedding Guest Dress, $84
This shade of copper is amazing and perfect for fall. You can get it as shown with a high neckline and halter style and long-length skirt. What a beautiful jewel tone to wear! Buy now.
17. Mock Neck Maxi, $84
The same dress as above, but as you can see, the color changes the whole look! If you prefer it in burgundy, here’s another fab option. (See more colors here.)
18. Navy Blue Lace Sleeveless, $78
A lace dress in navy is always a good idea! It makes one of the best guest dresses to wear to fall weddings, period. Love this look and the cute neckline! Buy here.
19. Long Sleeve with Maxi, $108
Wow! Turn heads at the wedding with this perfect-for-fall maxi dress with long sleeves and a surplice maxi form-fitting waist. Buy it here.
20. Cold-Shoulder Burgundy Jumpsuit, $68
This elegant jumpsuit is a great alternative to fall wedding guest dresses. The cold-shoulder cut-out makes it exceptionally stylish. Love the color! Buy here.
21. Short Scalloped, $50
The cutest little black dress has arrived! This short scalloped dress in black is a perfect choice for what to wear. Get it here.
22. Flutter Sleeve Maxi in Sage, $94
23. Navy Blue Ruched Surplice Maxi, $59
This dress has it all. A navy blue color — perfect for fall weddings! — a surplice maxi cut and a beautiful ruching style along the waist. Buy here.
24. Purple Surplice Maxi, $59
This is the same dress as above, but in purple to show you another option. Gorgeous! Get it here.
25. Forest Green Backless, $89
Attending a fall wedding with a formal feel? Wear this guest dress and feel beautiful during the ceremony and reception! It is perfect in forest green with a long maxi length skirt. Buy here.
26. One-Shoulder Ruffle Maxi Mermaid Dress, $89
A one-shoulder ruffled maxi mermaid dress is pure perfection! Love, love, love this formal fall wedding guest dress. Buy it here.
27. September Floral Dress, $69
While this dress is called September Sunsets, it is one of the best fall wedding guest dresses for September through November. I love this floral pattern and cut! The cute sleeves are the icing on top. Buy now.
28. Burgundy Fall Floral Dress, $69
Yes, this is the same dress as above, but in a swap of burgundy! This might be the perfect October wedding guest dress, particularly for outdoor weddings. Buy here.
29. Wrap Maxi, $79
Wear this wrap dress to your fall wedding as a guest and again to other formal occasions! It has a lovely style, a beautiful shade of burgundy, and a nice length. Buy here.
30. Wrap Dress in Black, $79
The same style but this time shown in a black maxi with those cute sleeves! Buy it here.
31. Black Sleeveless with Ruffles, $89
Wow, this dress is quite the statement-maker! This is what to wear to a fall wedding as a guest with a formal and elegant setting. It has a sweet ruffle on one shoulder, a classic black color, a floor-length cut, and a sleeveless neckline. Buy here.
32. Satin Maxi in Rust, $70
I can’t get enough of this maxi guest dress in satin with this shade of orange. Rust is one of *the* colors for fall and I’m here for it! Buy here.
33. Navy Satin, $70
Here’s an alternate color to the style above in navy blue. I love this one, too! This wedding guest dress is ideal for September, October, and November weddings. Buy now.
34. Black and Red Floral, $78
There are not too many flower-print dresses that are good for fall wedding guests to wear, but this is another exception. It is one way to wear a hint of red without upstaging the bride, as it’s more muted and mixes in nicely with the coordinating black floral pattern. Love this one! It is highly rated by customers so that’s a plus! Buy here.
35. Magenta Satin Cut-Out Maxi Dress, $88
Here’s a bold jewel-tone dress if you’re looking for it! This magenta maxi dress is a fun dress to wear to a fall wedding and has just the right color to be bold, without going overboard. Buy it here.
36. Short Velvet Dress, $58
Looking for short-fall wedding guest dresses? We found one in velvet you’ll love in a shade that is perfect for the season. Buy it here.
37. Classic Guest Dress, $89
This dress will make you look good, feel good, and fit into nearly any wedding theme or color palette. It’s a classic choice for a reason! Buy here.
38. Dark Green Satin Faux-Wrap with Sleeves, $64
This is one of the best fall wedding guest dress options on this list. I love the sleeves, the faux-wrap style, and the color. Buy here.
39. Strappy Royal Blue, $84
Alluring! This dress is named All This Allure because it brings a lot of trend to the party: it is a strappy backless dress in a bold shade of royal blue. Get it here.
40. Cut-Out Dress in Burgundy, $72
Wear one of the most popular dresses this fall with this burgundy midi-length dress! Great color, cut, and style. Buy here.
41. Tiered Dress in Navy, $69
Triple tiers of beautiful ruffles make this a lovely dress to wear. Shown in navy. Buy here.
42. Short Dress with Long Sleeves, $50
This popular dress is perfect for the occasion and suits your needs if you want a short skirt with long sleeves. Great combination! Buy here.
43. Navy Blue Ruffled Lace, $92
Bring on the lace with this darling dress in navy blue with a ruffly-tiered sleeveless silhouette. Shop here.
44. Satin Midi V-Neckline Dress, $78
Get this dress in gorgeous navy blue satin: it is a perfect wedding guest dress for autumn! Buy here.
45. Off the Shoulder Maxi Dress, $89
A classic, off-the-shoulder neckline and long-length skirt make this a perfect guest dress for fall. Buy here.
46. Dark Green Bodycon Dress, $54
This simple yet elegant dress is a beautiful choice: it is in dark green for fall, has a bodycon style, and thin straps. Buy here.
47. Backless Strappy Dress, $89
This dress has a backless style with straps, a v-neckline, and a long flowy skirt. It is a beautiful attire option for fall! Buy here.
48. High-Low Satin Dress, $86
Va-va-voom! Make a statement in this high-low dress with a maxi skirt and soft sumptuous satin. Love the high neckline here! Great for formal weddings. Buy here.
49. Hunter Green Backless Dress, $74
A gorgeous dress like this is picture-perfect for the fall wedding season. Buy it here.
50. Wine Red Floral Maxi, $78
And last but not least, this floral maxi dress is a stunning example of what to wear to a fall wedding. Buy it here.
Where to Shop for Guest Dresses for Fall
If you love the styles here, click on your favorite dress to shop, buy it, or browse other styles! If you need more suggestions, you can find more styles at Lulu’s in their often-updated, always-visited collection where you can browse by top rated, new, and favorites by real customers. The reviews are a great way to determine sizing, fit, and quality; we’ve heard amazing things about these.
They make it easy to shop by style, too, so if you find a dress you love, click on it and then scroll down to a section that looks like this:
From there, you’ll be shown suggestions of dresses in the same color, with similar cuts, silhouettes, or lengths, and similar fabrics. I use this feature all the time when I’m looking for what to wear as a wedding guest because you may find a dress you love, but it’s not *quite* what you’re looking for.
This feature helps you to sort by style and I often (okay, more frequently than I’d like to admit) “add to bag” and find the perfect dress in this section by doing so. ;)
If you have more questions on fall wedding guest dresses, attire, and accessories, let me know in the comments box below and I’ll swoop in to help. That’s what I’m here for! I hope you find a dress that makes you feel beautiful, you dance the night away, and you have the best time at the wedding.
Thanks so much for writing and I hope it helps! Have fun!
ON TO YOU: Tell me which dress you love the most for fall weddings from this list! I’d love to hear it! Mine is #16. I don’t know if I could pull off the color, but I sure love the cut of it and the fabric!