With thousands of postponed weddings finally allowed to go ahead this year, we’re declaring 2021 the summer of love.

And as excited as we are to throw confetti around like we just don’t care, and join everyone on the dancefloor, if you’ve found yourself with an invitation and a bump you need to accommodate, it can be hard to know what brands to turn to.

As we discovered when first looking at maternity brands, many err on the side of frumpy, so instead we’ve tracked down the best non-maternity wedding guest dresses to wear both during and after your pregnancy.

Not only is this better for your purse, but it’s kinder on the environment, too. And while some are more of an investment, we’ve also found styles from as little as £24.

Tried and tested on a 20-week bump (that’s about halfway, to the uninitiated), we were on the lookout for stretchy or unfixed waist seams, styles that looked great with flats (even if you intend to start out in heels), and clever volume that flattered rather than leaving us looking like a floral bin bag.

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As well as being able to personally vouch for the below frocks, we’d also recommend looking at rental sites Hurr and ByRotation. Both offer bump-friendly edits, packed with designer dresses that you can rent by the day.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent. 

The best maternity wedding guest dresses for 2021 are:

  • Best overall – Sleeper Atlanta dress in lavender: £245, Studiobfashion.com
  • Best silk dress – Rixo pepper mono sea life dress: £295, Rixo.co.uk
  • Best printed maxi dress – Whistles floral print trapeze dress: £149, Whistles.com
  • Best mini dress – Ganni checked organic cotton and recycled polyester-blend mini dress: £175.00, Selfridges.com
  • Best for hiding a bump – April Meets October summer May dress: £150, Studiobfashion.com
  • Best for inclusive sizing – Olivia Rubin aurora ombre cotton gauze dress: £190.00, Oliviarubinlondon.com
  • Best budget mini dress – Asos Design maternity pleated trapeze dobby mini dress with neck tie in red ditsy floral print: £38, Asos.com
  • Best designer dress on a budget – Stories x Rejina Pyo textured mulberry silk mini strap dress:£165, Stories.com
  • Best colourblock dress –Kitri x Jessie juicy yellow cotton dress:£150, Kitristudio.com
  • Best budget maxi – H&M mama long jersey dress: £24.99, Hm.com

Sleeper Atlanta dress in lavender

Best: Overall

Sleeper dresses are so flattering that they become quite addictive, and we confess to having bought a few of the same linen styles in different shades. Speaking of shades – how on point is this lavender-hued beauty? Thankfully our investment paid off as the shirred bust is super stretchy (great for growing boobs), they’re loose in the body and the big puffy sleeves balance everything out. This one also come with a matching hair tie for easy styling, and you just need to take your normal size, too, which is a bonus.

Rixo pepper mono sea life dress

Best: Silk dress

Rixo has always been our first port of call when a wedding invitation lands on the doormat – and it turns out we can rely on them during pregnancy too. Featuring an all-over coral print, this silk style is beautifully bold and perfect for weddings. The keyhole design is super flattering, and the underbust seams add shape without constricting the tummy. We love that Rixo shows its customers wearing its designs, many of who are proudly showing off their baby bumps.

Whistles floral print trapeze dress

Best: Printed maxi dress

Crafted from 100 per cent breathable cotton, this trapeze-style maxi dress looks just as wedding-ready whether it’s worn with heels or flat sandals. The matching thin tie belt can be added to create a defined waist if you’d prefer, or just wear it loose for a more relaxed silhouette. The three-quarter-length sleeves help to balance out your bump, the monochrome print is a classic, and the best bit is, it’s machine washable.

Ganni checked organic cotton and recycled polyester-blend mini dress

Best: Mini dress

Part of Selfridges “Project Earth” edit, Ganni’s easy swing mini dress is made from organic cotton and recycled polyester. The pastel check is the perfect shade for summer weddings, and it looks just as good dressed down with white trainers as it does worn with heels, so you’ll get loads of wear out of it, both before and after the baby arrives.

April Meets October summer May dress

Best: For hiding a bump

Not quite ready to share your news? LA’s April Meets October dress comes in a one-size-fits-all oversized silhouette, so no one needs to know you’re hiding a bump underneath if you don’t want them to. This shorter sleeve is designed with summer in mind (come on sunshine!) and the raw hem and dropped waist keep it on the right side of cottagecore. This pink gingham colourway is exclusive to Studio B too (a fab independent online boutique run by the newly married Bethany, who knows a good wedding guest outfit when she sees one).

Olivia Rubin aurora ombre cotton gauze dress

Best: For inclusive sizing

We adore Olivia Rubin’s rainbow-hued delights, and this strappy number is available in sizes 6-24. The simple loose, flowy shape can easily be layered up with a cardigan if the weather isn’t on your side, and the adjustable spaghetti straps can be tailored to you.

Asos Design maternity pleated trapeze dobby mini dress with neck tie in red ditsy floral print

Best: Budget buy

Lightweight, soft and floaty, this pleated mini trapeze dress is made for dancing. The red ditsy print looks just as great with thick opaque tights as it does with bare legs, making it a good choice all year round, and there’s also a handy button through, tie-neck front, which will come in handy if you end up breastfeeding. It’s fairly oversized, but we’d suggest getting your regular size and using a belt if you want to create a waist.

Stories x Rejina Pyo textured mulberry silk mini strap dress

Best: Designer dress on a budget

A Rejina Pyo frock would normally be well out of our price range, but this collaboration with high street favourites & Other Stories has made it way more accessible. Crafted from textured mulberry silk, the tie back detail is both pretty and practical, allowing for a growing bust. We think black is very chic for weddings guests, but try styling with cream accessories for a summer-friendly monochrome look.

Kitri x Jessie juicy yellow cotton dress

Best: Colourblock dress

This canary yellow cotton dress was designed in collaboration with street style Instagrammer Jessie Bush (AKA, @WeThePeopleStyle). It reminds us of that time Amal Clooney rocked up and stole the show at Harry and Meg’s nuptials in yellow, and the easy, breezy shape will work a treat with most bumps, although you should size up to accommodate bigger ones.

H&M mama long jersey dress

Best: Budget maxi

If you’d rather not spend a lot, we think this pretty pastel number is great value. Available in light pink or pistachio, the soft jersey fabric is elevated with a flouncy strap, and the double-layer hides a stretchy elasticated seam under the bust. It’s available in sizes XS-XXL and can be dressed down with trainers when you’re not celebrating your mate’s nuptials.

The verdict: Maternity wedding guest dresses

We love the Sleeper Atlanta dress, thanks to its lightweight, breathable linen fabric and, although it’s not cheap, you’ll feel a million dollars in it, both pre- and post-natal. For something more budget-friendly, Ganni’s fun mini dress is oh-so-versatile and looks just as great with trainers as it does with heels. Who doesn’t rate a frock that can multitask?

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