Your Guide To Engagement Party Guest Dressing

If you've been invited to an engagement party, you might already be running through the options you have available in your closet. Whether you're the mother of the bride or a close friend, you'll want to look your best as a guest. That being said, you may be asking yourself, "Is there a list of what not to wear to an engagement party?" The last thing you want is to show up in an ensemble that is over the top. The situation can get even worse if you wear an outfit that could be perceived as too casual.


To prep yourself for the engagement party at hand, it's beneficial to understand the etiquette surrounding engagement parties. As Brides explains, these parties tend to be more casual than the events leading up to the actual wedding. That being said, you might still have questions surrounding everything from the color of your attire to just how casual you can get.

As stylist Lisa Sanchez explains to Brides, the actual dress code will likely be based on the venue, as well as the time of day. For example, parties in the afternoon tend to be more casual, while cocktail hour affairs are usually semi-formal. An engagement party being held as a backyard celebration is often laid back, while an event at an indoor venue might require a more polished ensemble. Here is a guide to engagement party attire, complete with outfit options for every situation.


Maxi dress

If you happen to be attending a laid-back engagement party, you might want to consider a maxi dress as a more relaxed option, per Zola. Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of a maxi dress is that it can be dressed up as well, according to Boho Beach Hut, if you want to go a little glam. Add a few pieces of jewelry to the mix or a pair of heels, and you're ready to party.


Maxi dresses are typically made to be easily slipped on, and depending on the material, yours might only require a washing machine (rather than a dry cleaner) after the event. They also come in a wide array of colors and patterns, meaning you can likely find one for your engagement party, regardless of the weather or season. Finally, as StyleMom points out, there are also subtle benefits to consider, such as the long length and loose fit of a maxi dress. This type of dress will allow you to feel both comfortable and confident.

Color block outfit

In the case of a casual engagement party or one that is being hosted outdoors, Wedding Forward suggests a color block outfit for the occasion. Whether you go with a skirt and top or a full dress, a color-block ensemble is a perfect way to be bold without going overboard.


As Fashion Gone Rogue explains, color blocking continues to be a mainstay in fashion, as it makes it easy to accessorize and looks flattering on all body types. Generally, there are three color block techniques, according to Corporate Fashionista: monochromatic (one color in different shades), separates (using up to four different colors), and stand-alone (a single color-blocked item). If you choose to go with separates, don't hesitate to pull out a color wheel. This can help you get an idea of which hues work well together, whether you want to take a bold or subtle approach.

Mini dress

If you're invited to a more casual engagement party, don't rule out the mini dress. As wardrobe stylist Allie McKenna explains to Brides, you may even be able to pair flat sandals with a mini dress (if the weather is cooperative, of course), maximizing your comfort level. Consider opting for a floral pattern, if the season is appropriate, to give your outfit a bit more flair.


One of the benefits of wearing this type of dress is not having to deal with an ample amount of fabric, per Brides. You can appropriately wear material, such as satin or polyester, so long as you're mindful of how you accessorize the final look. Elegant jewelry, for example, can keep your ensemble tasteful and fun — think pearls or diamonds. You can also add to the outfit by wearing your mini dress with tights. Consider opting for a pair in a chic color or pattern for a more eye-catching look.


It may sound unusual, but a jumpsuit might be just what you're looking for if you aren't feeling a dress, per Zola. If the engagement party is going to lean casual, think linen or cotton in terms of material — something you can dress it up with accessories and jewelry. In the event that the party is likely to be more formal, seek out a sleek fabric, cut, and style.


As Connected Apparel explains, there is an obvious benefit to a jumpsuit — no mixing and matching tops and bottoms to achieve the perfect look. Jumpsuits can also provide more coverage if that happens to be one of your main concerns around wearing a dress. Because they come in different fabrics, hues, and styles, there is likely a jumpsuit out there that will meet the dress code of your engagement party. Best of all, it's the type of outfit you can wear again after the event, whether you want something new for the office or date night.

Wrap dress

If the engagement party you're attending happens to be semi-formal, wardrobe stylist Allie McKenna recommends a wrap dress. While speaking to Brides, she highlighted the chicness of this type of dress, which you might already have in your closet.


Wrap dresses have become a wardrobe staple for many reasons. As Hybrid Fashion explains, they can be flattering on any figure. You can also add to its formality with your choice of jewelry, shoes, and accessories. If the engagement party leans more formal than casual, look for a wrap dress in a fabric, such as silk, for a more elegant appearance.

Dress pants and top

If you cringe at the thought of having to squeeze into a dress for another party, stylist Lisa Sanchez tells Brides that it's perfectly acceptable to opt for dress pants and an elegant top. "In order to be comfortable, you need to be confident," Sanchez told the publication. For many women, this means steering clear of a dress, which is entirely acceptable.


When it comes to enhancing your look, the right accessories and jewelry can do all of the work for you. However, Merrick's Art notes that it's important not to go overboard. For example, you can go with one statement piece — a necklace, earrings, or ring — and keep everything else subdued. As a rule of thumb, less is always more.