I'm Going to 3 Weddings This Year—I Tried on 21 Dresses and Loved These 10

best-special-occasion-dresses-300168-1653678600389-main

(Image credit: @joiedejude)

I have never been so excited about wedding season. Emotionally speaking, I'm overjoyed that many of my friends who have had to postpone their weddings for almost two years are now getting to enjoy their big day. Sartorially speaking, it gives me the opportunity to finally put on a fancy frock and enjoy the love, fun, elegance and festivities that wedding season brings.

To get prepared for the upcoming ceremonies I'll be attending this year (one is a black-tie affair, and the others are cocktail and semiformal), I tried on a plethora of pretty dresses—21 to be exact—to find the three that speak to me the most. Today, I wanted to share the styles that particularly stood out to me and would be ideal for a variety of weddings or special summer soirées. Take a peek below to see some of my absolute favourites I tried and get inspired for your next special event.

best-special-occasion-dresses-300168-1653605179340-main

(Image credit: @joiedejude)

When it comes to semiformal attire, you can never really go wrong with Reformation's lineup of wedding guest dresses and party frocks. This gorgeous green slip dress immediately caught my eye for a day-to-evening outdoor wedding. I love the minimalist silhouette and pretty floral print. Moreover, the smocked bodice at the back provides extra comfort.

best-special-occasion-dresses-300168-1653605533212-main

(Image credit: @joiedejude)

Shop:

best-special-occasion-dresses-300168-1653605621095-main

(Image credit: @joiedejude)

Okay, if you are really going to splurge on an evening dress, I cannot recommend this stunning silk number from Cult Gaia enough! The marigold hue is beautiful (and it's the perfect colour for a summer wedding), but it's all the other details that make this dress supreme. The unique architectural gold-ring shoulders are striking, the cowl neck is sophisticated, the low back is gorgeous and the ultra-flattering bias-cut silhouette drapes on the body beautifully. I can see myself wearing this for countless special events and weddings for years to come.

best-special-occasion-dresses-300168-1653679795808-main

(Image credit: @joiedejude)

Shop:

best-special-occasion-dresses-300168-1653607545708-main

(Image credit: @joiedejude)

I'm always pleasantly surprised by the hidden gems I can find at Mango, such as this amazing vintage-inspired printed dress. The bold psychedelic pattern on this maxi dress is stunning and could certainly pass for designer. I also adore the effortlessly elegant maxi silhouette that gives me '70s Palm Springs vibes. Just add bold earrings, metallic heels and a vintage gold clutch and you're ready to go.

best-special-occasion-dresses-300168-1653608096088-main

(Image credit: @joiedejude)

Shop:

best-special-occasion-dresses-300168-1653606990523-main

(Image credit: @joiedejude)

There's no other way to say it: I am absolutely obsessed with this dress. Tove always makes beautiful dresses, but this one is on another level of chic. If you're looking for something fresh, unique and compelling, this is the perfect choice. Everything from the bold shade of blue made from Italian moiré fabric to the vintage-inspired silhouette and the charming bow details hit my eye just right. I cannot wait to wear this one.

best-special-occasion-dresses-300168-1653607132550-main

(Image credit: @joiedejude)

Shop:

best-special-occasion-dresses-300168-1653608221041-main

(Image credit: @joiedejude)

If you haven't checked out Sau Lee before, the brand does really chic occasion dresses with gorgeous silhouettes, sleek satin fabrics and a touch of playfulness. This one works great for a semiformal or casual-dressy event. Add a shawl, statement earrings, strappy sandals and a bold clutch and you have one really gorgeous wedding guest outfit.

best-special-occasion-dresses-300168-1653608353906-main

(Image credit: @joiedejude)

Shop:

best-special-occasion-dresses-300168-1653606693238-main

(Image credit: @joiedejude)

I love the stunning simplicity of Katie May's dresses. This is a great option for cocktail attire. The cowl neckline and pretty lace back add elegance and interest to the sleek midi silhouette. And the pretty lilac hue is so lovely. (Note: This dress also comes in a floor-length silhouette—great for more formal affairs.) 

best-special-occasion-dresses-300168-1653680045431-main

(Image credit: @joiedejude)

Shop:

best-special-occasion-dresses-300168-1653608895652-main

(Image credit: @joiedejude)

If you're looking for a trend-forward frock to win over the crowd, then this vibrant green dress from cool-girl brand Afrm is an ideal option. Everything from the cutouts to the strappy halter-neck straps and the standout green hue hits on some of this season's biggest trends. It also comes at a very reasonable price point. Just be sure to steam it first (my mistake before taking this picture!). 

best-special-occasion-dresses-300168-1653608788729-main

(Image credit: @joiedejude)

Shop:

best-special-occasion-dresses-300168-1653605848049-main

(Image credit: @joiedejude)

Sometimes, you put on a dress and just feel like it's meant for you. Case in point: Hill House Home's latest release, the Collector's Edition Ellie Nap Dress. It's everything I love in a dress—playful, fun, comfortable and eye-catching. The online pictures actually don't do it justice, it's even more beautiful in person. The ruffled shoulders and smocked bodice stay true to Hill House Home's classic Nap silhouettes, but it's the fuller tulle skirt that really gives this a more dramatic look, and it's practically made for the dance floor! The dress is unlined and sheer, so I do recommend wearing a nude bodysuit or a slip underneath. I was lucky enough to get my hands on this pretty pink dress (which doesn't actually come out on the brand's site until June 1). However, it also comes in navy and black lace, and they are wonderful options for daytime and evening affairs.

best-special-occasion-dresses-300168-1653679957400-main

(Image credit: @joiedejude)

Shop Similar:

best-special-occasion-dresses-300168-1653606338334-main

(Image credit: @joiedejude)

When it comes to sleek, minimalist wedding guest dresses, you simply cannot go wrong with Fame and Partners. I particularly love this luxurious forest-green hue for evening events. 

best-special-occasion-dresses-300168-1653606521015-main

(Image credit: @joiedejude)

Shop Similar:

best-special-occasion-dresses-300168-1653607378642-main

(Image credit: @joiedejude)

How striking is this blue hue? For a more traditional formal dress, this Aidan by Aidan Mattox satin gown is an absolute winner. The silhouette is super flattering, and all you need is a chic clutch and earrings to finish the look. My favorite part about the dress is the charming (and Insta-worthy!) bow detail in the back. 

best-special-occasion-dresses-300168-1653607488024-main

(Image credit: @joiedejude)

Shop Similar:

Shop a few of my favourite essentials to style the dresses with:

MORE DRESSES WE WANT TO TRY THIS WEDDING SEASON

Up next, I'm Over "Dated" Wedding Guest Outfits—9 Fresh Ideas I'm Trying Instead

Judith Jones
Senior Fashion Market Editor

Judith is the senior fashion market editor at Who What Wear and has worked in fashion for nearly a decade. Judith started on the Shop Who What Wear team, creating content and managing a team of merchandisers for the Who What Wear shopping app. She later crossed over to the editorial team, where she shares the coolest, most desirable fashion market finds and brands in her shopping-focused stories and social takeovers. She has become one of the top affiliate earners during her six plus years at Who What Wear. Before working in fashion, Judith was a TV host on the PBS travel show Globe Trekker (airing on Netflix and Amazon Prime) and shared her passion for travel and food. She studied at the prestigious London Academy of Dramatic Arts as well as Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York. She later studied fashion merchandising and design, which laid the foundation for her career in fashion.