Best Cocktail Dresses for Weddings in Every Style

bright orange pink and sage cocktail dresses for weddings
photo: Briana Nolan | planning + design: Wild Heart Events

After all the love we’ve given our WFH clothes lately, we seriously can’t wait to dress up for the many celebrations on our calendars this year — and cocktail dresses for weddings are at the center of our fashion dream boards.

With glamour as the go-to theme for recent weddings, many couples are opting for glitzy cocktail attire as their dress code. And we can see why! From the ceremony to the reception to, ahem, cocktail hour, a fabulous cocktail dress always brings the party vibes.

Cocktail dresses for weddings are a classic for a reason — but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be modern, too! Whether you want to channel the opulence of decades past or switch it up with a funky new silhouette, there’s a cocktail dress for every style (and every style of wedding).

To help you prepare for your next wedding toast, we’ve rounded up the cocktail dresses for weddings that we can’t stop gushing over. From breezy summer slip dresses to elevated LBDs, these picks are guaranteed to make a fashion statement at your next event.

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What are cocktail dresses?

black floral and cream summer cocktail dresses for weddings
cocktail dresses: Lulus

Party attire at its core, cocktail dresses are versatile, playful, and always stylish. They first landed a spot on the fashion trends lists over a century ago, quickly becoming a wardrobe staple for Flapper-era party animals. Since then, cocktail dresses have withstood the test of time — and today they strike the perfect balance between formal and semi formal dress codes for evening events and special occasions.

While cocktail dresses for weddings do lean more on the formal side of dress codes, that doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate some personality to your look. With no rigid rules, you’re free to play around with colors, prints, textures, and silhouettes. After all, the best cocktail dresses are equal parts classy and fun.

Are cocktail dresses appropriate for weddings?

nude patterned floor length summer cocktail dresses for weddings
photo: Lacie Hansen

The answer is simple: YES! Weddings are the perfect opportunity to break out one of your favorite cocktail dresses and get glammed up. Plus, cocktail dresses for weddings can easily be dressed up or down with a few key accessories, making them perfect for everything from a black tie affair to a dressy casual beach bash.

However, it’s still important to check the dress code on your invitation before adding a new dress to your cart. If the dress code is anything less than semi formal, you may want to bench that cocktail dress until your next formal celebration.

GWS Tip: If the dress code does allow for cocktail attire, pay attention to the season and the venue of the wedding to get a better idea about how to style your cocktail dress. Since cocktail dresses for weddings can fall on a spectrum of formality, it’s always best to dress for the event to nail the perfect level of sparkle.

Where to buy cocktail dresses for weddings

glamorous pink satin cocktail dresses for weddings with draped neckline
cocktail dress: Moda Operandi

Not all cocktail dresses for weddings are created equal — but most of our favorites are just a few clicks away! Our go-to places to buy cocktail dresses for weddings are Reformation, Lulus, and BHLDN.

From sustainable finds you’ll wear for years to come to affordable statement pieces you won’t want to take off, these online shops have you covered. Plus, they each have collections specifically tailored for wedding season, so you don’t have to worry about arriving in the wrong look.

To keep you from going scroll-crazy, we’ve included our favorite ‘fits from these sites — as well as a few surprise looks from rad designers — in the list below. Let’s get into it!

Summer Cocktail Dresses For Weddings

pink floral summer cocktail dresses for weddings
summer cocktail dress: Lulus

We love summer weddings for SO many reasons — gorgeous outdoor ceremonies, dancing under the stars, and wildflower season, to name a few. But one of the best parts of a summer wedding has to be the fashion opportunities.

When choosing summer cocktail dresses for weddings, there are endless fashion-forward options that will help you stay cool all day and look good all night. Keep scrolling to see a few of our top picks!

1: Bright Orange Summer Cocktail Dress For Wedding

bright orange midi summer cocktail dresses for weddings with asymmetric neckline

This summer, we’re all about bold colors and dopamine dressing — especially when it comes to cocktail dresses for weddings. This midi dress will instantly brighten up any celebration with its very on-trend orange hue.

We love it paired with equally vibrant accessories, like a playful clutch or statement tassel earrings.

Shop This Bright Orange Midi summer Cocktail Dress

2: Silky Pink Summer Cocktail Dress For Wedding

dusty pink silky summer cocktail dresses for weddings

We’re seeing this elegant summer cocktail dress EVERYWHERE right now, and it’s safe to say we’re obsessed with its wedding day potential! With endless color and size options, this silky number is universally flattering and perfect for any and every occasion.

Shop This Silky Pink Summer Cocktail Dress

3: Whimsical Floral Embroidered Summer Cocktail Dress

whimsical floral embroidered pink summer cocktail dresses for weddings

Floral prints on summer cocktail dresses for weddings may seem overdone, but the embroidery on this gown adds some whimsy that feels fresh and fabulous. Talk about flower power!

Shop This Whimsical Floral summer Cocktail Dress

4: Regencycore Summer Cocktail Dress For Weddings

blue and white floral puff sleeve summer cocktail dresses for weddings

A little bit cottagecore, a little bit regencycore, this summer cocktail dress is sweet, stylish, and sure to turn heads. The puff sleeves also give you extra breathing room — essential for those hot July outdoor receptions.

Shop this Puff Sleeve Summer Cocktail Dress

5: Dreamy Blue Halter Summer Cocktail Dress For Wedding

pastel blue halter summer cocktail dresses for weddings

We couldn’t create a roundup of summer cocktail dresses for weddings without including at least one gem from Reformation, and this dreamy blue halter dress is one of our all-time faves. It makes a statement with an open back and flirty side slit. And that flowy skirt is to die for!

Shop this Blue halter Summer Cocktail Dress

6: Pretty In Pink Mini Summer Cocktail Gown

pink one shoulder pleated mini summer cocktail dresses for weddings

The details take center stage with this feminine mini summer cocktail dress for weddings. With ruffles, pleats, and an unexpected one-shoulder neckline, this Lulus pick is redefining “pretty in pink.”

Shop This Pink Pleated Summer COcktail Dress

7: Floral Midi Summer Cocktail Dress For Weddings

floral silk midi summer cocktail dresses for weddings

Our favorite summer cocktail dresses for weddings can be worn all season long, and this cowl-neck slip dress is no exception. It’s perfect for going from Sunday brunch to romantic date night to wedding cocktail hour.

Dress it up with sophisticated gold jewelry or tone it down with your favorite pair of sandals.

Shop This Floral Summer Slip cocktail Dress

8: Flirty Nude Summer Cocktail Gown

flirty nude summer cocktail dresses for weddings with tiered ruffles and bowtie spaghetti straps

Here at GWS, we say the more ruffles the better! This nude summer cocktail dress fulfills ALL our ruffle needs, and turns the look up a notch with a sultry form-fitting silhouette. Pair it with these gorgeous champagne velvet heels, and you’re golden.

Shop This Summer Cocktail Dress With tiered Ruffles

pink floral summer wedding guest dresses

Have more than one summer wedding on your calendar? We’ve got you covered with the trendiest wedding guest gowns for those hot summer nights!

Winter Cocktail Dresses For Weddings

purple velvet long sleeve winter cocktail dresses for weddings
winter cocktail dress: Lulus

Is there anything more elegant than sipping an Old Fashioned in an opulent ballroom, draped in a timeless dress? We’re manifesting this for all of the winter nuptials we’re invited to — and these gorgeous winter cocktail dresses for weddings are here to make it happen.

Our favorite looks make the most of cozy, luxe textures (hello velvet!) and pair great with the cocktail of your choice.

9: Regal Velvet Winter Cocktail Dress For Weddings

burgundy velvet deep v neck winter cocktail dresses for weddings

This regal burgundy winter cocktail dress for weddings feels absolutely decadent. It’s giving us red velvet cake vibes, but with a sexy and modern twist.

Plus, it has not one but two deep V’s — one in the front and one in the back, for extra drama.

Shop This Velvet Winter Cocktail Dress

10: Sophisticated Winter Cocktail Dress With a Plunging Neckline

sophisticated dark blue-grey velvet winter cocktail dresses for weddings with a plunging neckline

A cold-weather celebration doesn’t mean you have to totally cover up! Bare some skin this winter with this moody and sophisticated winter cocktail dress with a plunging neckline and open back.

Made with super-soft and stretchy velvet, you’ll be ultra comfortable cozied up next to the fire or working up a sweat on the dance floor.

Shop This Sophisticated Winter Cocktail Dress

11: Elegant Champagne Winter Cocktail Dress For Weddings

champagne satin winter cocktail dresses for weddings with leg slit

Although it comes in multiple flattering colors, we obviously had to choose a champagne hue for this stunning winter cocktail dress for weddings! Made with luxe satin, it’s flowy and relaxed, while still capturing those elegant winter vibes. Cheers to that!

Shop This Elegant Winter Cocktail Dress

12: Magenta Winter Wrap Style Cocktail Dress For Weddings

magenta long sleeve wrap winter cocktail dresses for weddings

Vibrant winter cocktail dresses for weddings really bring the party spirit, and this jewel-toned magenta look will keep things bright long after the sun sets. Style it with metallic or sparkly accessories for an overall dazzling effect.

Shop This Magenta Winter Wrap cocktail Dress

13: Silky Green Winter Cocktail Dress For Weddings

silk green long sleeve winter cocktail dresses for weddings

The green craze is here to stay — and while we love all the lime hues for warmer months, this rich olive is THE MOMENT for winter. With elegant front buttons and tailored cuffs, this winter cocktail dress combines retro refinement with today’s top trends.

Shop This Trendy Green Winter Cocktail Dress

14: Sleek Black Winter Cocktail Jumpsuit

sleek black winter cocktail jumpsuit for weddings

It may not be a cocktail dress, but this sleek black jumpsuit is party-ready and totally appropriate for a cocktail dress code.

If dresses aren’t your prerogative, or if you’re looking to keep your legs toasty during those chilly months, a cocktail jumpsuit is a modern and effortlessly cool option.

Shop This Sleek Black Cocktail Jumpsuit

15: Chic Cutout Winter Cocktail Dress For Weddings

chic long sleeve satin cutout winter cocktail dresses for weddings

This cocktail dress for weddings is a chic winter alternative to your favorite summer slip dress. The ruching detail on the sleeves is playful and flattering, and the cut-out in the back is super on-trend. What else can we say? It’s just TOO GOOD.

Shop This Chic Cutout Winter Cocktail Dress

green velvet winter wedding guest dresses

Looking for more cold-weather fashion inspo? Check out our full roundup of winter wedding guest gowns made to wow.

Formal Cocktail Dresses For Weddings

high neck mini length black formal cocktail dresses for weddings
formal cocktail dress: Anthropologie

If you’ve been invited to an evening celebration or black tie optional reception, formal cocktail dresses for weddings will ensure you look the part.

These picks are the elite of cocktail attire, with stunning fabrics and floor-length silhouettes that bring the drama. Because who doesn’t want to dress like they’re starring in a pivotal scene of Gossip Girl every once in a while?

16: Sage Formal Cocktail Dress For Weddings

sage off the shoulder formal cocktail gowns

Classic and sophisticated, this formal cocktail dress for weddings would be stunning for the mother of the bride (or the mother of the groom). The drapery around the shoulders adds a touch of opulence, and we love the little peek of skin on the shoulder.

Shop This Sage Formal Cocktail Dress

17: Refined Off-the-Shoulder Formal Cocktail Dress

dusty blue off the shoulder formal cocktail dresses for weddings

It can be tough to find formal cocktail dresses for weddings that nail the balance between sexy and sweet, but this gown is here to play. With a sultry side slit and sweetheart neckline, it’s tailored to show off your curves — and gives you the opportunity to show off your statement heels, too!

Shop This Dusty Blue Formal Cocktail Dress

18: High-Neck Formal Cocktail Dress For Weddings

dramatic black halter formal cocktail gown

We don’t know what it is about this twist high-neck detail, but we can’t take our eyes off of it! Complemented with floor-length black satin, this formal cocktail dress is dripping in je ne sais quoi.

Shop This Halter Formal Cocktail Dress

19: Plunging Navy Formal Cocktail Dress

plunging navy formal cocktail dresses for weddings with high slit

The “JLo at the 2000 Grammys” of all formal cocktail dresses for weddings, this plunging look is bringing the drama. While the neckline, open back, and front slit scream party, the toned-down navy color and luxe texture keep it classy for a formal event.

Shop This Sexy and Sultry Formal Cocktail Dress

20: Glittery Gold Formal Cocktail Dress For Weddings

glittery yellow formal cocktail gown with ruffles

For the maximalists out there, this glittery formal cocktail dress is SUCH a vibe. No need for a disco ball — you’ll be the center of the dance floor with layers dazzling gold tulle.

Shop This Glittery Formal Cocktail Dress

21: Black Asymmetrical Formal Cocktail Gown

black asymmetrical formal cocktail gown with a leg slit

How cool are asymmetrical necklines on formal cocktail dresses for weddings? With this stand-out detail and timeless silhouette, you’ve got a look that can hold its own at any formal affair.

Shop This Asymmetrical Formal Cocktail Dress

ladies in colorful and patterned semi formal wedding attire for a warm weather ceremony

Does your wedding invite call for a semi formal dress code? We’re here to help you nail the look.

Designer Cocktail Dresses For Weddings

romantic red floral designer cocktail dresses for weddings
designer cocktail dress: Oscar de la Renta

If two years of buying nothing but loungewear has made you want to splurge on a gorgeous gown, you’re not alone! These designer cocktail dresses for weddings are so swoon-worthy, you’ll be looking for excuses to wear them any chance you get.

From giants like Oscar de la Renta to the beloved Aussie label Zimmermann, these designs are truly works of art.

22: Neon Yellow Designer Cocktail Gown

neon yellow floor length designer cocktail dresses

We have two words for this stunning designer cocktail dress: sunshine chic. With elegant draping at the neckline and an unexpected twist detail in the back, this bright gown was designed to light up a room.

Shop This Neon Yellow Designer Cocktail Dress

23: Silk Handkerchief Designer Cocktail Dress For Weddings

floral silk handkerchief designer cocktail dresses for weddings

Take your favorite handkerchief look from day to evening with this iconic designer cocktail dress for weddings. Made with Italian silk for an effortlessly enchanting silhouette, this blooming gown would charm for a spring or summer wedding.

Shop This Handkerchief Designer cocktail gown

24: Playful Pink Tulle Designer Cocktail Gown

strapless pink tulle designer cocktail dresses for weddings

Electric pink, legs for days, and tulle that dreams are made of — this designer cocktail dress was not made to fly under the radar. If you’re the main character, this is the designer look for you.

Shop This Neon Pink Tulle Mini cocktail Dress

25: Statement Black Designer Cocktail Dress

off the shoulder black mini designer cocktail dresses for weddings with bow detail

Statement bows are one of our favorite trends right now, especially when paired with designer cocktail dresses for weddings. Featuring this truly iconic duo (plus a romantic rose detail in the front), this is THE cocktail dress for sipping martinis well into the night.

Designer Cocktail Dress With a Statement Bow

26: Modern Mini Designer Cocktail Dress

statement floral mini designer cocktail gowns with puff sleeves

Fierce and floral, this designer cocktail dress for weddings walks the line between flirty feminine and structured masculine. Rock it with a pair of black boots to up the cool factor or keep it sweet with strappy heels.

Shop This Modern Floral Designer cocktail Dress

Petite Cocktail Dresses For Weddings

timeless mini petite cocktail dresses for weddings with a statement bow
petite cocktail dress: Anthropologie

If you haven’t noticed, we love cocktail dresses for their versatility — they truly come in every shape, size, silhouette, and style. With petite cocktail dresses for weddings, you can find a look that suits your body type, without sacrificing your sartorial style. After all, dressing up for a meaningful event should mean looking and feeling your best!

27: Navy Floral Petite Cocktail Dress For Weddings

navy floral petite cocktail dresses for weddings

Made with sustainable lightweight fabric, Reformation’s breezy petite cocktail dresses for weddings are as wearable as your favorite summer sun dress, but with a more refined touch. This navy floral pick would look gorgeous for an enchanting garden or backyard wedding.

Shop This Navy Floral Petite cocktail gown

28: Ruched Petite Cocktail Dress For Weddings

rust ruched petite cocktail dresses for weddings

The warm, earthy hue of this petite cocktail dress has us dreaming of endless summer nights. It would simply shine with gold accessories and a shimmery eyeshadow look that matches its glow.

Shop This Ruched Petite Cocktail Dress

29: Romantic Floral Petite Cocktail Dress

floral summer petite cocktail dresses for weddings with side slit

With dainty tie straps, this romantic floral petite cocktail dress can be adjusted to flatter your body (and couldn’t be more perfect for a summer soiree). It also comes in polka dots for a classic take on a dress you’ll be wearing for years.

Shop This Summer Petite Cocktail Dress

30: Elegant Cowl Neck Petite Slip Dress

black cowl neck petite cocktail dresses for weddings with an open back

Looking to upgrade your LBD? This slim-fitting petite cocktail dress has all the essential features of a classic black dress, plus some elevated details that really take it to the next level. We need it, like, yesterday.

Shop This Cowl Neck Petite cocktail Dress

31: Electric Blue Petite Cocktail Gown

electric blue one shoulder petite cocktail gown with buckle strap

For those that like their petite cocktail dresses for weddings with a side of flair, this striking gown checks all the boxes. Style it with your hair tied back to let that rad buckle detail shine. And the flowy body of this gown is perfect for summer and spring.

Shop This Electric Blue Petite Cocktail Dress

32: Black Lace Petite Sheath Dress

sheath black petite cocktail dresses for weddings with lace

With a mix of floral and geometric lace, this black petite cocktail dress is unexpected, in the best way. Let the intricate details take center stage and pair it with classic black pumps and a matching bag — perfect for a monochrome look that is anything but boring.

Shop This Black Lace Petite Cocktail Dress

33: Hot Pink Pleated Petite Cocktail Gown

hot pink pleated petite cocktail dresses for weddings

Hot pink petite cocktail dresses for weddings? Yes, please!! We have heart eyes for the ruching details and flattering pleats on this look. Talk about a seriously fun and flirty vibe!

Shop This Hot Pink Petite Cocktail Dress

Are you prepared for wedding season?

purple kitten heels with flower bead details
shoes: Anthropologie

Choosing the perfect cocktail dresses for weddings is just the first step to getting your wardrobe ready for an event-filled year. Next, it’s time for our favorite part: picking out some rockin’ kicks!

The classic shoes to wear with cocktail dresses for weddings are a pair of elegant heels — and we’ve got you covered with a roundup of our very favorites. But, different events can call for different shoes, and we also love western boots as an on-trend and ultra comfy option for summer celebrations or outdoor parties.

If one dress just isn’t enough (because same), don’t forget to check out our lists of wedding guest dresses for spring, summer, fall, and winter. And be sure to let us know in the comments what style you’re most excited to wear to your next soirée!