20 Best Summer Cocktail Dresses For Wedding Guests & Special Events

Style expert, journalist and fashion blogger Candie Anderson of candieanderson.com has the scoop on 20 of the best summer cocktail dresses for wedding guests, special events and occasions and more.

 

 

With summer unofficially upon us and summer wedding guest season commencing soon, now is a great time to shop for the perfect dress! Like many of you, I prefer splurging on clothing, especially on dresses that I know I won’t wear once but will wear time and time again. I for one love cocktail dresses! They’re perfect for an evening out, a friend’s wedding, a special event, and that is just the beginning. This season there are quite a few gorgeous summer cocktail dresses to choose from in various styles!

When it comes to summer cocktail dresses, I’m head over heels in love with trendy halter dresses, slip dresses, and one shoulder dresses! They are ideal for outdoor celebrations this summer, and will also be a must come fall, winter, or the holidays with a chic blazer or faux fur coat! A gorgeous cocktail dress will look amazing with strappy heel sandals, block heels, pumps, and low heel mules and that’s just the beginning! You can dress them up or down easily with jewelry and accessories.

If you’re searching for a gorgeous elegant dress for a summer wedding or special event, you’re in luck! Today, I’m excited to share 20 of the best summer cocktail dresses you’ll love in various styles, colors, and price ranges! I categorized them by color in case you’re searching for a dress in a particular shade!

 

Black Summer Cocktail Dresses

This beautiful ASTR the Label Cowl Slip Midi Dress is ideal for an evening out or for wedding guests. It’s available in five different colors including classic black. I can’t get enough of this sophisticated midi length dress that is only $89 with free shipping! This gorgeous dress will look amazing paired with your favorite embellished handbag or solid color clutch and heeled sandals!

ASTR the Label Cowl Slip Midi Dress Black best summer cocktail dresses women
ASTR the Label Cowl Slip Midi Dress Color: Black

 

 

 

If there’s one style I’m excited about for summer, it’s definitely the cowl neckline! This was my favorite trend from the early 2000s and it’s back and better than ever! I’m a huge fan of cowl neck slip dresses! I stumbled on a particular slip dress that is giving me “Friends” vibes! Do you remember the episode where they all went to London for Ross and Emily’s wedding and Monica Geller wore a red cowl neck slip dress? Yes, that one! The only difference is this Susana Monaco Cowl Slip Maxi Dress is available in black and so fabulous you’ll wear it time and time again with heels or with mules.

Susana Monaco Cowl Slip Maxi Dress Black best summer cocktail dresses
Susana Monaco Cowl Slip Maxi Dress Color: Black

 

 

Classic Black Strapless Cocktail Dresses

Strapless dresses are more popular than ever for wedding guests! This elegant Elliatt Reception Cascade Ruffle Strapless Cocktail Dress is perfection! It is available in the colors black, mustard yellow, blue, and white (for the bride-to-be). There is so much to love about this stunning lined dress, especially the beautiful and unique faux-wrap bodice, the peplum ruffled front and the stunning buttons (with a hidden zipper) down the back. This beauty will look fantastic under a shawl on a cool evening and with a faux fur coat come late fall or winter!

Elliatt Reception Cascade Ruffle Strapless Cocktail Dress Black best summer cocktail dresses
Elliatt Reception Cascade Ruffle Strapless Cocktail Dress Color: Black

 

 

 

Every woman needs a classic strapless black midi dress. This gorgeous Norma Kamali Strapless Sheath Dress is the perfect “basic” for every special occasion. You can wear it with a cape at an evening wedding or with a faux fur coat or blazer come winter!

Norma Kamali Strapless Sheath Dress Black best black summer cocktail dresses
Norma Kamali Strapless Sheath Dress Color: Black

 

 

Gorgeous Black One Shoulder Cocktail Dresses

Elliatt is a brand that’s new to me, and I’m officially obsessed! They have so many gorgeous summer cocktail dresses to choose from in various styles and colors. Classic black dresses always remind me of Jennifer Aniston who has often worn them to premieres and award ceremonies. This gorgeous Elliatt Cassini One-Shoulder Dress is one that I could see Jen wearing! It is classic, sophisticated, timeless, and comes in a variety of colors. This beauty will look great with strappy heeled sandals or pumps. It is ideal for a gala or a wedding guest and that’s just the beginning!

Elliatt Cassini One-Shoulder Dress Black best summer cocktail dresses
Elliatt Cassini One-Shoulder Dress Color: Black

 

 

Fab Black Body Con Cocktail Dress

If you’re searching for a stunning body con dress for your next event or a wedding you’re invited to, you’re in luck. This beautiful Dress the Population Nicole Sweetheart Neck Cocktail Dress is ideal! It is available in black, white (for the bride-to-be’s rehearsal dinner), rouge, and more. This gorgeous dress will look fabulous paired with black or metallic heels. You can accessorize it with a statement necklace or earrings and a classic clutch.

Dress the Population Nicole Sweetheart Neck Cocktail Dress Black best summer cocktail dresses
Dress the Population Nicole Sweetheart Neck Cocktail Dress Black

 

 

Must Have Black Halter Cocktail Dresses For Every Summer Event

My love is strong for this elegant pleated A.L.C. Renzo Plissé Halter Midi Dress in black! This phenomenal halter dress is not only perfect for a special occasion, but it is so timeless that it can be passed down to the next generation! It is perfect for every body type, and will make a statement every time you wear it!

A.L.C. Renzo Plissé Halter Midi Dress Black best summer cocktail dresses
A.L.C. Renzo Plissé Halter Midi Dress Color: Black

 

 

 

If you’re searching for a style that will make a statement on its own, you can’t go wrong with a gorgeous embellished cocktail dress! This stunning Mac Duggal Halter Column Midi Dress has “metallic beads and an embellished collar.” With rhinestones, sequins, and crystal embellishments as popular as ever, this is one dress that you can wear throughout the summer and will carry you into fall, the winter wedding season, and holiday parties as well. It will look stunning with a gorgeous pair of heels and a classic black clutch!

Mac Duggal Halter Column Midi Dress Black embellished halter cocktail dresses summer
Mac Duggal Halter Column Midi Dress Color: Black

 

 

 

Neutral Cocktail Dresses For Summer

This fabulous Elliatt One-Shoulder Dress hits at the knee and is perfect for summer! It comes in black or in the shade nude, and is an absolute must! I love everything about it, especially the ruching and length. This dress is ideal for summer or fall wedding guests!

Elliatt One-Shoulder Ruched Sheath Dress Nude best summer cocktail dresses
Elliatt One-Shoulder Ruched Sheath Dress Color: Nude

 

 

Blue Summer Cocktail Dresses

The brand Eliza J has long been a favorite! The dresses, especially the summer cocktail dresses are gorgeous, classy, and at a great price point. They’re perfect for every occasion, especially weddings! This gorgeous Eliza J Lace Asymmetric Cocktail Dress is an absolute must. It comes in the colors navy blue and in light blue. This stunning dress can be dressed up or down easily and effortlessly with heels, jewelry, and accessories.

Eliza J Lace Asymmetric Cocktail Dress Navy Blue best summer cocktail dresses
Eliza J Lace Asymmetric Cocktail Dress Color: Navy Blue

 

 

 

This exquisite THEIA Candace Wrap Cocktail Dress is calling my name (and it’s spelled the right way too!). I love everything about the asymmetric Candace Dress, especially this magnificent shade of blue, the gathered front, and the side drape sash. This gorgeous dress will look amazing with embellished heels, strappy heel sandals, or designer pumps!

THEIA Candace Wrap Cocktail Dress Azure blue summer cocktail dresses
THEIA Candace Wrap Cocktail Dress Color: Azure

 

 

 

Pink Summer Cocktail Dresses

While cocktail dresses are traditionally midi length, I for one love mini dresses, which are more flattering on my petite stature. This stunning Elliatt Camo Asymmetric Satin Cocktail Dress with its halter neckline and asymmetrical hemline/off-center hemline is a mini/midi length combination! It is available in quite a few different colors including this beautiful vibrant shade of Fuchsia! It will look great with silver, clear, or nude strappy heel sandals.

Elliatt Camo Asymmetric Satin Cocktail Dress Fuchsia best summer cocktail dresses
Elliatt Camo Asymmetric Satin Cocktail Dress Color: Fuchsia

 

 

 

I love that bright and beautiful shades of pink are increasing in popularity! This elegant pink Vince Camuto Capelet Sleeve Cocktail Sheath Dress is an absolute showstopper! It will look great with a gorgeous pair of nude heeled sandals or pointy-toe pumps.

Vince Camuto Capelet Sleeve Cocktail Sheath Dress Pink best summer cocktail dresses
Vince Camuto Capelet Sleeve Cocktail Sheath Dress Color: Pink

 

 

 

Rose pink which is often called “blush pink” is one of the most popular and gorgeous colors on the planet! This beautiful Shona Joy Cutout Twist Front Cocktail Dress in rose pink is perfect for the trendsetter! Cutout dresses are incredibly popular for summer 2022, and this bestselling dress is perfection. It comes in a few different colors and will make a statement every time you wear it! This beauty will look fabulous paired with classic heeled sandals (in the color of your choice) and minimalistic jewelry.

Shona Joy Cutout Twist Front Cocktail Dress Rose Pink best summer cocktail dresses
Shona Joy Cutout Twist Front Cocktail Dress Rose Pink

 

 

 

The elegant one shoulder Norma Kamali Diana Gown has long been a favorite. It is elegant, and chic and comes in an array of colors every season. This summer it’s available in the most gorgeous shade called “papaya”, which is ideal for wedding guests, an outdoor gala, an anniversary party and that’s just the beginning!

Norma Kamali Diana Gown Papaya best summer cocktail dresses
Norma Kamali Diana Gown Color: Papaya

 

 

 

I can’t get enough of this beautiful and affordable BCBGeneration Midi Dress in the color “deep peach”! Not only is it stunning, but the draped front detailing is flattering on every body type. It will look great accessorized with your favorite necklace, earrings, an embellished clutch, and heeled sandals! The best part is it is only $88 with free shipping!

BCBGeneration Midi Dress Deep Peach best summer wedding guest cocktail dresses
BCBGeneration Midi Dress Color: Deep Peach

 

 

 

Give me all the bright and beautiful summer cocktail dresses with ruffled detailing, and I’m happy! This fab Kay Unger Nellie Sleeveless Cocktail Dress in the color “Peony Pink” is exquisite! It will look amazing paired with nude strappy heels or your favorite pair of pumps and a clutch for an evening out.

Kay Unger Nellie Sleeveless Cocktail Dress Peony Pink best summer cocktail dresses
Kay Unger Nellie Sleeveless Cocktail Dress Color: Peony Pink

 

 

 

Lovely Lavender Summer Cocktail Dresses

Lavender is one of my favorite shades! It’s beautiful, unique, and always makes a statement. This lovely Likely Illy Dress in “lavender luster” is perfect for the bridesmaid or the wedding guest! Don’t you love the halter-inspired braided adjustable straps? I do, too, especially since the straps are adjustable.

Likely Illy Dress Lavender Luster best summer cocktail dresses
Likely Illy Dress Color: Lavender Luster

 

 

 

Like many of you, I love wearing beautiful floral prints throughout the year. This magnificent Veronica Beard Leia Dress is perfection. I simply adore the hint of lavender, the asymmetrical hem, sleeveless turtleneck, gathered waist, and sheer elegance! It will look amazing with your favorite pair of heels or heeled sandals.

Veronica Beard Leia Dress Cream Multi best halter summer cocktail dresses
Veronica Beard Leia Dress Color: Cream Multi

 

 

 

Best Red Summer Cocktail Dresses

For years I avoided wearing the color red, and I’m not quite sure why. Lately, I find wearing it more often, whether it’s a basic red top and jeans, a red floral print dress, and more. I guess wearing red Hunter boots really brightened my horizons and made me more comfortable wearing this beautiful and flattering shade! I fell in love with this Eliza J Floral Lace Asymmetric Cocktail Dress in red recently and have been obsessed with it ever since. I adore the lace detailing and uneven hem. It is perfection! This beautiful dress will look great with nude heels and is sure to garner compliments every time you wear it.

Eliza J Floral Lace Asymmetric Cocktail Dress Red best summer cocktail dresses
Eliza J Floral Lace Asymmetric Cocktail Dress Red

 

 

 

Discover even more gorgeous summer dresses for wedding guests and special events and occasions in the Candie Anderson Style Section: https://candieanderson.com/style

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