Wedding Season What-to-Wear: Cocktail Wedding

Another wedding is on the horizon for me this weekend… It’s an early-evening affair, so I think a cocktail dress is in order.

The majority of the weddings I’ve attended in the past few years have been cocktail dress. This typically translates to: short dresses with stilettos,  fancy and polished without being too formal or stuffy. Think of your favorite night-on-the-town dress, and it’s likely appropriate for a cocktail wedding.

Cocktail is more formal than the outdoor or daytime wedding, so upping your fabric game is encouraged. Silk, chiffon, satin (snag something double-lined or heavy to reduce the chance of major wrinkling once the outfit is on-body), etc.

Both bright colors and deeper, darker colors are acceptable for a cocktail wedding. Prints are great, also. The main takeaway point is length– keep things on the short(er) side.Cocktail Wedding

1. JS Boutique ($178)
2. L.A.M.B ($337)
3. JS Boutique ($158)
4. Victoria’s Secret ($68)
5. Victoria’s Secret ($78)
6. Aidan Mattox ($300)
7. BCBG Max Azria ($268)
8. Forever 21 ($21)

Above are a few examples I pulled from the web. For short-and-bright, I love the amazing coral color and banded waist of the JS Boutique dress (1) and the amazing contrast of the turquoise and purple of the BCBG (7). All you would need to finish the outfit with these dresses is a pair of simple stilettos (think black or nude) and minimal jewelry.

Simple b&w prints stay fresh when paired with a draped skirt (L.A.M.B [2]) and super-short length (Forever 21 [8]). If you’re worried about going too short, dont’ wear skyscraper heels. Something a bit lower, or even a great wedge can tone down the Leg Factor.

I really love the pale pink Aidan Mattox (6)– it falls beautifully and that chiffon rosette is really interesting without being over the top. This would be stunning with nude heels and a light-colored blazer (white, maybe?), or all metallic accessories.

The Victoria’s Secret offerings (4, 5) are two deep, classic colored dresses in simple shapes (I would Spanx-it-up for dress 4, though, wouldn’t you?). To punch things up, I’d likely pick a contrast color for accessories– maybe something kelly green with the navy dress, or a purple theme with the crimson dress.

Finally, I’m drawn to anything Grecian– so of course I love the neckline on the royal purple JS Boutique (3), and love it double when paired with the flattering (and forgiving, for when you have several slices of wedding cake) line of the dress.

Thoughts? What is your go-to outfit for a cocktail wedding?


  1. Love #4- so classic and beautiful! I have a couple of these coming up so I’m looking forward to finding the perfect dress! Thanks for the help love!

  2. I love these wedding posts- they are so helpful! I have 2 weddings this weekend, and they’re both cocktail attire. (They even say that on the invitations.)

    I love the peach JS dress and I’m definitely getting the Lamb dress- it’s on sale right now at Nordstrom’s!

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