3 Wedding Guest Outfits That Don't Require Heels

Updated December 14, 2018
Woman in red gliding gown dress

Your toes cry in protest while the bride walks down the aisle, the straps dig into your feet during cocktail hour, and you darn-near lose your balance dancing the Macarena. Ugh, wearing heels at weddings is the worst!

But who says wearing stilettos or pumps are a requirement?

Though we may wish the newlyweds a happy marriage 'til death do 'em part, we have no problems bidding adieu to heels at weddings. There are other ways you can turn heads at the reception without wobbling around on stilts.

1. The Gliding Gown

We've all had the misfortune of seeing that one fed-up wedding guest dancing barefoot because of her killer heels. Trust us, you don't want to be that woman. A gliding gown will help you avoid showing everyone your oh-so-lovely calloused feet. But what, exactly, is a gliding gown, you ask? They're long dresses that seem as though the hem is sweeping the floor, but not quite. They give the illusion that you're floating on thin air - as if you're an angel that has descended from the heavens to have a go at the Cha Cha Slide.

And the best part is, no one will be able to see your feet! You can wear lime green Crocs for all you care. But - er - don't actually wear lime green Crocs. No one should wear those. Ever.

Gliding Gown Options

There are tons of different choices when it comes to gliding gowns. An empire waist with a flowing skirt is a gorgeous look that will skim over the body and hide any flaws, while a strapless version creates instant elegance ideal for a wedding setting. A looser gliding dress with a deep v-neck is alluring and sophisticated, while still hiding problem areas. A mermaid-style gliding gown is a good option for ladies with hour-glass figures to show off their curves.

gliding gown in red

Flat Shoes Style for Wedding Guests to Wear With Long Dresses

red pointed toe flat shoes

A long, flowy dress style like a gliding gown gives you plenty of options in cute flat footwear. Keep in mind that even though your shoes aren't the focus and it's unlikely they'll be seen completely, other guests might still get a glimpse of your shoes. Options that could work with this type of outfit include:

  • Embellished Flat Sandals: A flat sandal with a bit of embellishment will work well with this elegant type of dress. Some dressy options include styles with crystals or rhinestones, floral details, bows, or jeweled straps. A sandal with a back strap will also be more dressy and suitable for this look.
  • Open-Toe Flats: An open-toe flat in a dressy material like satin that complements your dress color is another great option for this look. Metallic looks are also a chich alternative that can coordinate with this type of dress.
  • Pointed-Toe Flats: If you're more comfortable with your feet covered, dressy shoes with a pointed toe can also work with an elegant dress like this. You can opt for a distinct pointed toe or slightly softer point, but avoid ballet flats that will make this look too dressed down. You can go with simple shoe or a pointed-toe flat with a central embellishment in front peeking out from beneath the dress.


  • Make sure the hem is slightly off the ground so that you don't trip.
  • Although no one can see your feet, you should still wear wedding-appropriate shoes, such as embellished flats.
  • Do not wear a white gown. You'll get death stares from the bride all night.

2. The Jazzy Jumpsuit

While everyone else is wearing ho-hum floral frocks, you'll be dazzling the room with a jumpsuit. And not just any ol' jumpsuit, but a jazzy jumpsuit, meaning one with an eye-catching detail that makes your jumpsuit stand out as a formal one-piece.

Taking pointers from fashionable stars such as Emily Blunt and Nicole Scherzinger who wore pointed-toe shoes with their jumpsuits, you can wear the same shoe style, but nix the heels. Pointed-toe flats are your friend! They add an element of sleek sophistication sans the awful sore feet. Plus, the pointed toe helps to create the illusion of a longer leg, just like their heeled counterparts. And just like the gliding gown, you can also opt for a floor-sweeping jumpsuit.

jazzy jumpsuit

Dressy Jumpsuit Styles

Make an unforgettable entrance with a jumpsuit that suits your personal style. Wide-leg versions look flowy and elegant, but you can also rock a tapered-leg version that oozes sophistication. Wrap-front jumpsuits will help slim and define the waist. While an all-over single color can easily work for wedding guests, patterns can help camouflage problem areas. Accents like beading can also dress up the jumpsuit to make it more suitable for a wedding.

Flat Shoe Options to Wear With Dressy Jumpsuits

gladiator style sandals

Dressy jumpsuits are also versatile enough to pair with a variety of flat shoes, including open and closed-toe styles.

  • Dressy Thong Sandals: The vibe of a flowy jumpsuit like this is a little more relaxed than a formal dress, so it can work beautifully with a flat, dressy thong sandal. You still want to opt for a dressy, version, however, so look for bejeweled varieties or those that have an extra splash of sparkle.
  • Nude Flats: Since the look of this outfit is elegant and fashion-forward, you can choose to keep the focus on it by donning a pair of nude flats. A patent-leather version in a neutral color with a pointed toe will work well with this look.
  • Flat Cut-Out or Gladiator Shoes: Add a bit of edge to your footwear by pairing a dressy wide-leg jumpsuit with flat cut-out shoes or gladiators. You can go simple with a solid color, or opt for a bit of embellishment like metallic studs.
  • Flat Ankle Boots: If you're looking for a bit more coverage, you can also pair this with a pair of stylish flat ankle boots. A suede version is a sophisticated one to consider. For a summer look, try an open-toe version.


  • Don't forget your clutch! It will be a stylish addition and will help make your jumpsuit a little more formal.
  • Make sure the jumpsuit has a "jazzy" detail, such as lace, beading, or a plunging neckline.
  • Don't over-accessorize. Less is more with jumpsuits.

3. The Knee-Length Knockout

Maybe gowns and jumpsuits aren't your thing, especially if you want to catch the eye of any unattached wedding guests with your gorgeous legs. If that's the case, knee-length dresses (or shorter) might be your cup of tea. With this look, however, there's no hiding behind ground-gracing hemlines.

If you want to stop traffic while not wearing heels, wear flats or sandals that add a little va-va-voom to your look. Adorn your feet with metallic, bejeweled, lace-up, or shimmery shoe styles.

Knee-Length Dresses for Wedding Guest

A knee-length dress in a fitted design with a pencil-style skirt is an option that can work for most daytime and evening weddings. Sheath styles offer a simple and sophisticated look. A-line versions are excellent for skimming the body without being too form-fitting for ladies who want a dress in this length that's less fitted. A knee-length fit-and flare style is another choice for wedding guests that's perfect for creating the appearance of a smaller waist.

woman in knee length dress

Flats That Work With Knee-Length Dresses

elegant strappy sandals

While the a gliding gown and dressy jumpsuit won't make your shoes center stage, wearing a knee-length dress can. You can still pull off a fabulous look without heels, though!

  • Strappy Flats or Sandals: Strappy shoes, like flats or sandals with ankle straps, work beautifully with this length of dress. You can go with a simple metallic or patent color with a thin strap over the toes and an ankle strap, or get as detailed as multiple criss-crossing foot straps and layers of ankle straps.
  • Lace-Up Flats: Another option for wedding guests wearing a knee-length dress are dressy lace-up flats. You can pull these off in either closed or open-toe versions. Choose a color that complements your dress or a color that's in the pattern for a coordinated but modern look.
  • Classic Flats With Zing: For knee-length dresses with classic silhouettes like sheaths and fit-and-flares, you can't go wrong by pairing them with a classic flat shoe style, such as pointed-toe flats with a closed back. However, look for a pair of extra details, like a contrasting color pattern or ribbon embellishment for an added element of style. You could also dress up a classic shoe with a fancier fabric, like velvet or a metallic finish.


  • If you're wearing sandals, paint your toenails with a color that flatters your dress.
  • Choose strappy flats to elongate your legs, as suggested by Edgardo Osorio, founder of shoe label Aquazurra.
  • Get shoes that work with your dress; remember that black, gray and nude go with almost everything.

Look Fabulous Without Heels

While there are definitely things you should never wear to a wedding, these three heel-less outfits are definite musts! Whether you're wearing a gliding gown, a jazzy jumpsuit, or a knee-length knockout, find comfort in knowing you can finally dance the Electric Slide without torturing your poor feet!

3 Wedding Guest Outfits That Don't Require Heels