Wedding Season Is the Worst — Make It Suck Less by Looking Your Best

Four wedding guest styles staples that help combat wedding season fatigue.
Publish date:
August 1, 2016
fashion, summer, wedding fever, wedding outfits

​I am definitely not getting married anytime soon. Despite the strength of this statement, I do feel that it is relevant to once again mention that, in the last year, every single one of my best friends has gotten engaged. (I know, I know, way to belabor the point, Kathleen.) One of my coworkers once likened it to a crack in a dam: One couple leads to a full-on tsunami. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm incredibly happy for all of my lovely friends and their equally amazing partners, but I will continue to openly admit that it was initially disconcerting when my friends started bringing wedding magazines on our group excursions and discussing wedding planning whenever conversations lulled.

Yet, through a couple of well-timed journalistic projects, as well as more than a few glasses of wine, I have come to terms with the multitude of impending nuptials and plunged headfirst into planning my attendance. A lot of work goes into attending a wedding! When I first realized that weddings included not just bachelorette parties (obviously awesome), but also engagement parties and bridal showers, I was more-than-slightly gobsmacked. The time commitment alone (not to mention the financial commitment) was especially intimidating for me when all of my friends decided to get married within (almost) the same calendar year.

That being said, once you're at a fun party (a.k.a. wedding) with all of your friends, all of the stress of planning fades into the background. However, for me the biggest issue so far has been finding appropriate dresses for all of the different wedding occasions, as well as the different TYPES of weddings that one can attend.

I've never been one to slack on outfit planning, but due to recent stressful life circumstances (read: traveling all the time for my job), I have found myself scrambling to find a suitable dress for wedding occasions more often than I'd ever like to admit.

Recently, I was at a last-minute, three-day photo shoot in LA, where I spent the entire shoot desperately trying to find a spare hour to escape to the mall to grab a dress for a wedding that I was flying to directly from LA. It became a running joke among the crew that I was destined to show up at the ceremony (and perform my reading!) in the ratty jeans and Converse that I wore to set every day.

Finally, at 8:30 p.m. on the last night of the shoot, I sprinted out to Bloomingdale's and managed to grab a dress in the 10 minutes before the store closed (it was a miracle, truly). Luckily for me, that wedding specified "cocktail attire," which was not very specific, but pretty easy to grab in a pinch. Much more frustrating are invitations that read "black tie encouraged" (what do you mean, "encouraged"? Just tell me what to wear, darnit!), "garden party attire," or the completely baffling "summer formal."

Therefore, with my own struggles in mind, I want to present to you my favorite dresses I've found so far this summer for weddings. This list is by no means exhaustive, so by all means please let me know what other wedding types I should be planning for in advance of all of my other friends getting engaged.

"Summer Formal"

I've been obsessed with long formal florals since I bought a long Reformation floral dress in March and then proceeded to wear it to any and all formal events for more than three months. Please see the evidence below:

last night was 👌🏻

A photo posted by Kathleen Braine (@braine_child) on

double rainbow all the way

A photo posted by Kathleen Braine (@braine_child) on

Last night: approximately 2:00 AM. #college

A photo posted by Kathleen Braine (@braine_child) on

These dresses are gorgeous and classic enough to work at black tie weddings, but the florals and light fabrics can also fit in at more casual affairs.

"Garden Party"

The prototypical summer wedding, right? My favorite perk of these garden party–appropriate gowns is that they can be worn to friend number one's wedding and then repurposed a month later for friend number two's bridal shower without causing any serious offense (or worrying too much about your repetitive Instagram game).

All-Purpose Maxi Dresses

I love maxi dresses and I don't care who knows it. I've heard some (probably crazy) women say that maxi dresses can be unflattering, but to that I say what I say to the romper naysayers: You just have to find the perfect one for you. The orange Alice and Olivia number (pictured way above) is actually the dress that I grabbed in the Great Bloomingdale's Panic of 2016 (I know, it worked out freakishly well, and I feel like all my shopping karma is possibly used up).

"Black Tie"

Black tie weddings are simultaneously my favorite and least favorite type. They allow you to dress up and look glam, but they also challenge you (especially in the summer) to find an affordable dress that is also comfortable and doesn't make you feel like you're about to faint. The below dresses split the middle quite nicely. And, to readdress the earlier "black tie encouraged" mandate, though I respect the efforts of a bride and groom to allow their guests to be comfortable, my usual move with that sort of confusing direction is to err on the side of black tie, but do it subtly (a.k.a. don't show up like Rihanna at the Met Ball). These dresses also check that box: