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You've RSVP'd to the wedding, you've sorted your transport and hotel, but you've still not decided what to wear. You know it's going to be a dress, but you don't know much else. Luckily, we've done the leg work for you. Whether you're after a maxi or a midi, a plus size or a petite, here's our pick of beautiful wedding guest dresses for the big occasion.
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"Being only five feet tall, any dress longer than just below the knee looks ridiculous on me."
There are no strict rules when it comes to petite dresses for a wedding, but it does help to be aware of your proportions. While we're certainly not guilty of making a beeline for petite ranges, this rose print Precis Petite number is the ideal dress for shorter women. Not only will the higher waistline suit a number of different body types, but the knee length cut will elongate those legs. We're also in love with this midi dress from Coast, particularly for its classic, '50s-style shape and its unusual, asymmetrical neckline with short sleeves. This dress isn't petite, but it is available in a shorter size.
1. Go for a higher waistline to make you look taller.
2. Look for 'short' sizes, not just petite.
Left: Petite enchanted rose dress, £79, Precis Petite.
Right: Print midi dress, £169, Coast.
"You don't have to be skinny to wear a decent frock."
The trick to finding a beautiful special occasion dress for a plus size figure is to know what works for you, but there are a few fail-safe features on dresses that suit plus size older women down to a tee. All great things come in threes and it's V-necklines, A-lines or empire lines and three-quarter-length sleeves for us! Yours Clothing are our go-to when it comes to plus size dresses as they offer a gorgeous range of styles that go up to a size 36. This lace overlay dress features a flattering V-neck cut and three-quarter length sleeves with beautiful lace detailing. We also love JD Williams for their exclusive Nightingales collection dresses that burst with colour and go up to a size 32. Pair either dress with a beautiful occasion hat or fascinator.
1. A-lines are your best friend as they give the illusion of an hourglass shape.
2. Deeper V-necklines are flattering for women who are top-heavy. If you have a smaller bust, go for a higher V-neckline.
Left: Lace overlay dress, £49.99, Yours.
Right: Nightingales occasion lace detail dress, £150, JD Williams.
"I am not keen on dresses that sit above the knee."
Midi dresses are chic, feminine and the perfect length for a wedding. If you get the length exact, a midi dress will graze the very top part of your calf just enough to show off your legs without making them look stumpy. This is why we love these designs from Dorothy Perkins and Coast - not only are they the ideal length, but they also feature flattering A-line cuts with higher waistlines to accentuate your curves.
1. Get the length right - the dress should sit just below the knee.
2. Keep things streamlined for a more flattering shape.
Left: Navy printed bow dress, £50, Dorothy Perkins.
Right: Drake full midi dress, £159, Coast.
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"Try John Lewis' tailored dresses. They have some lovely ones and the price range is good too."
Nothing quite beats a dress that fits you just right (think Goldilocks), which is why a tailored dress is the ideal wedding guest outfit. Yes, we love an asymmetrical neckline, and this pink bodycon cap sleeve dress - with added stretch, may we add - is just the ticket for a formal occasion. Stretch fabrics are a boon if you're curvy and our second choice, a navy Ted Baker dress, features stretch fabrication. With a curved V-neckline and an elasticated waist belt, it's flattering and comfy at the same time. Win win, we say.
1. Opt for an elasticated waist or a dress with a bit of give so you feel comfortable throughout the day.
2. Dare to be different with an asymmetrical neckline and bold colours or patterns.
Left: Cap sleeve bodycon dress, £49.50, M&S.
Right: Navy Ted Baker dress, £179, John Lewis.
"I love wrap dresses!"
Struggling to find a dress that flatters your bust and waist? Hello, wrap dresses! What's not to love about them, really. They cinch at the waist enough to give you a defined shape without clinging to those wobbly bits and they work a treat on older women who are larger up top. Both dresses below feature flattering necklines and fabrics that allow a bit of breathing room, which is particularly useful after a hearty wedding breakfast. We love the Phase Eight wrap dress for its vibrant emerald colour and this Joanna Hope number for its floral print and stretch, ruffled waist.
1. Choose a style that doesn't dip too low at the neck so that the dress isn't too revealing.
2. Don't be afraid to show off those curves with dresses that cinch the waist.
Left: Phase Eight emerald wrap dress with frill neckline, £120, Phase Eight.
Right: Joanna Hope print dress, £50, JD Williams.
"My mum has just bought a maxi dress for a wedding - she's 85! - and looks fabulous in it."
Maxi dresses might seem a bit daring, but trust us when we say that they could well be your staple dress choice from now on. A spring or summer wedding is the perfect opportunity to go for a longer style, and an elegant maxi dress will ensure you feel more bridal party than beach. Not only are they a comfortable option, but they suit all shapes and sizes and really do make a statement. Whether you fancy dressing to the nines or simply want a style that is formal enough without being 'too formal', we think these dresses will do just the trick. Both feature empire lines and beautiful, flowing skirts.
1. Avoid maxi dresses that scream beachwear.
2. Be mindful of the length so that you don't trip on the hem. Take up if necessary.
Left: Studio 8 floral maxi dress, £140, JD Williams.
Right: Annalise maxi dress, £159, Hobbs.
Who can resist an outfit with a bit of je ne sais quoi? These dresses feature vibrant colours, unique and interesting patterns, and are comfortable too. This floral-printed dress from Reiss has a flattering V-neckline and a fit-and-flare silhouette, which means it'll sit nicely on the bust and hips and show off a pleasing skirt. Next up is a Phase Eight twist front dress, which has sleeves, bold florals and sits nicely on the waist. Our third pick is this beautiful shift dress from Curvissa, a simple, but statement, number boasting a round neckline and floral motif, with splashes of yellow for added effect. Our absolute favourite, however, is the knee-length lace dress from Monsoon featuring embroidered flowers and sheer three-quarter-length sleeves. Simply stunning.
Left: Magnolia floral-printed dress, £225, Reiss.
Right: Phase Eight twist front dress, £130, Debenhams.
Left: Placement print shift dress, £32.50, Curvissa.
Right: Embroidered lace dress, £139, Monsoon.
Prices correct as of 13/04/18