A third of 2018 has already passed us by in what feels like a flash, which means that summer is officially on its way and wedding season is approaching yet again. With our favourite time of the year right around the corner, the quest for the perfect wedding guest outfit has begun for many of us, I’m sure. If not, it’s never too soon to start browsing!

When it comes to planning a ‘look’, we all have to tread cautiously on that fine line between wanting to look vibrant and striking, while also appropriate for the occasion, not to mention trying to ensure that you have a unique outfit to the 300 plus guests also in attendance. It’s one of the more challenging trips to the high-street (or laptop) you’ll have this year, but also one of the most exhilarating, once you hit the jackpot.

Summer weddings allow you to be a little more adventurous with your fashion choices, welcoming a whole new range of prints, colours and textures that aren’t usually available to us throughout the winter months. Last year, the tropical lemon print was the occasion dress that took the fashion world by storm. This season, sophisticated and classic prints like polka dots and delicate florals will be flocking the racks – no huge surprises there.

I’ve always sneered at the fact that men have it easy; just pop on a suit and any old shirt and tie combo, and voilà, you’re set for the next 4 weddings this year. But in actuality, aside from dealing with the heat, the lack of options must surely be as much of a struggle as the overwhelming abundance of choice presented to us ladies. Thankfully, retails giants like ASOS, M&S, Next and so on have all sorts of exciting options for us.

Since tailoring is such a huge trend this spring, I have no doubt that a sharp pastel suit will become a much more prominent choice for us women too. I adore them because they nail the smart-yet-glam aesthetic, while also edging into the funky realm due to the myriad styling possibilities and colour palettes on offer. They can be paired with a snazzy pair of brogues or feminine court heels, and teamed up with a silk cami, or high neck ruffle blouse. The possible combinations are infinite, which is what makes them so exciting and such a wardrobe staple.

If a suit is a little too out of your comfort zone, you can always fall back on safer options such as gorgeous lace and floaty chiffon dresses. Experiment with brighter hues if you want to try something a little different. Wrap dresses always look smart and sophisticated, as do figure-flattering Bardot styles, particularly when they’re midi or maxi in length. For those of you attending religious wedding ceremonies which may call for a more modest dress code, worry not, because the high-street is teeming with gorgeous pieces that will be sure to tick all the boxes; think dainty puffy sleeves, sheer overlays with delicate embellishments, and light silk scarves and capes to accessorise.

And to dispel a myth for a second: it’s true that black was once considered a wedding fashion faux pas, for the negative connotations associated with the colour, but these days, it’s become totally acceptable (white is still a no-no though).

On the accessorising front, minimal and classy is always best. Clunky totes and bulky shoulder bags don’t exactly scream ‘special occasion’, so leave your larger accessories at home for the day, and go for something simple and practical; perhaps a metallic piece, or an interesting texture to contrast your outfit.

Another key accessory: shoes are often just as important as the rest of your look. There’s nothing worse than climbing into a gorgeous new pair of heels only to find yourself hobbling across the dancefloor only a short few hours later. To combat this more-than-likely possibility, I find mules to be a fantastic option as they’re not only sensible and comfortable, but they also have an effortlessly classy and chic air about them and are pretty easy to style too. Lads, the same goes for you; break in your new brogues or loafers before hitting the dancefloor to avoid the nasty blisters.

It can be easy to feel overwhelmed and lose our heads a little when an important event comes a-knocking, but no matter your gender, age, style, body shape or budget, shopping for a wedding guest outfit shouldn’t have to be stressful. Other than looking smart and feeling comfortable (and keeping the bride happy), there really are no rules. This year, more than ever, we should expect to see an expansive variety of styles and silhouettes at our disposal. All it takes is a little research and preparation, and you’ll see how fun it can be!