As the NZ summer wedding season is upon us, I’ve been looking for inspiration on what dresses are the perfect balance of unique and elegant. From linen to silk, colour blocking, florals and prints, it’s hard to know what vibe to go for and what is appropriate. My advice is to always gauge the dress code via people you know who are also attending. If you’re a close friend of the bride, I find it appropriate to run the potential outfit past her so that you’re not misinterpreting the dressiness or casualness of the affair. I’ve been to weddings where a nice linen summer dress was appropriate, and others where the expectation was sequins, sparkles and met gala worthy wedding guest dresses. Every couple is different and every wedding has a different expectation. I mean just check out these unconventional weddings from New Zealand that really had that wow factor.
So, if you’re looking for an array of wedding guest dresses to inspire you on what to wear to the a special day, look no further than my list of 10 dresses that I’ve got my eye on this wedding season which are available for purchase or rent in New Zealand!
AJE Grace Tiered Maxi Dress
Who said that wedding guest dresses have to be boring? The lime green is such a stand out colour and a perfect tone for summer. The fabric, being a nice breathable linen is wearable and takes you from day to night.
I instantly fell in love with the relaxed and flowing silhouette of the dress which screams elegant but the gathered insides and waist gives it a lot of shape.
I love this dress so much that I had to purchase this for my summer wedding rotation!
Shona Joy Uli Linen Corded Strapless Maxi Dress
I have no words for this dress except wow”. The rust-orange is an extremely striking colour that I couldn’t stop staring at.
The print is fun and screams summer. The straight neckline is a different cut to the usual plunges, and just feels far more relaxed yet sophisticated. It is one of the best wedding guest dresses that I have found for summer or autumn!
The fabric is a linen blend which makes it the perfect, breathable, sweat proof fabric for summer.
I love this dress because it’s something you could wear to a wedding during summer, but would make a remarkably stylish resort-fit.
Almais Soleil Sundress
This sundress by Almais instantly invigorates my childlike excitement.
What draws my eyes to this dress is how beautiful and intricate the detail of it is. As an off-white (don’t worry – it’s BARELY white) dress covered in an array of patterns and mural-esque prints, this dress is so fun.
The fitted bodice, and square neckline makes it a demure yet chic wear that can take whatever dance moves you may pull out. The fitted bodice flows out into a flared skirt, meaning there’s lots of room for dessert.
Made from a 100% linen, this is the perfect fabric for a hot summer day.
Bec and Bridge Amber V Maxi Dress in Granada Geo
This maxi dress is a great wedding guest choice for a plethora of reasons.
First, it’s a V-cut on the bias that has underbust seams and gathering for a cinched waist look, but has a flowing fit designed to skim to the body. This design style is timeless and classic, meaning it’ll be perfect not only for a wedding this year, but any other events you have coming up soon.
The fabric is 100% silk, which makes the dress feel that much more deluxe and exclusive.
The granada geo print is also a more muted colour than some of the other dresses in this list, making this the perfect dress for a sleek and simple guest look.
Rat and Boa Navarra dress in Lime
The Navarra dress by Rat and Boa is breathtaking to say the least. It somehow achieves the perfect balance of elegant and classic, but modern and sexy. After all, who said wedding guest dresses can’t be sexy?
To me this dress screams luxury. Made from silk in a shade of lime green, Navarra has a beautiful cowl neck, a low back framed with cross detailing and a side slit. The fabric is printed with a muted snake print, which adds texture but is softened the perfect amount.
This dress has such elegance that it is easily appropriate for a beach wedding with strappy sandals or dressed up for a wedding at the museum with old jewellery and black or white heels.
Zimmerman Botanica Bralette Gown in Sunshine
This dress makes you look like a literal ray of sunshine. Yellow is such a nice colour for summer weddings.
Again, in a perfect fabric for summer this gorgeous gown is made of a 55% linen to 45% silk blend.It is also threaded with silk linen organza lined all through it, giving it the glamorous silky sheen.
The standout features are the feminine bralette cut neckline, which the waist cutouts really compliment. That with the tailored and pleated bodice, but the open back bow tie makes it perfect for a formal occasion.
The most expensive dress on this list (with an RRP of $1,300 NZD), if you’re looking for a similar dress at a cheaper price point, the Bec and Bridge Carla V Maxi Dress is also a great choice!
Camilla and Marc Brixton Dress In Black
Black for a wedding, particularly in summer, feels bold! But trust me when I say, this dress is worth it. To me, the black is more striking than the other hues of yellow and khaki available for this dress.
The fabric is a Polyester, Rayon and Spandex blend which perfectly compliments the straight, long midi, tight fitting cut.
This dress looks formal and upmarket, which makes it a perfect choice for a more formal wedding. It’s the perfect dress for a sleek hairstyle and a bright red lipstick to match.
Caitlin Crisp Forever and Always Dress In Flowerbomb
The Forever and Always dress is a silk-cotton blend dress in a flowerbomb print that feels like a spring and summer romance personified.
With a gorgeous halter neck and deep v neck, an open back and a flowing skirt with two tiers, it is effortlessly stunning and the perfect option for a long summer day. The re-wear potential of this dress is also great – you can take it from wedding, to vineyard, to resort to a nice summer lunch with the ladies.
In addition, this is a New Zealand designer and is made in New Zealand, which makes it feel that much more special because it’s closer to home.
Amanda Uprichard Thaddea Maxi Dress in colour Brookeside
Not often comes a time where I’m drawn towards a dress which is pink, but this dress has something special.
Perfect for a summer vineyard wedding, this NYC fashion brand has curated a dress which feels trendy and upbeat, but the feminine silhouettes also bring an element of timelessness.
Made from a 100% polyester, this dress has a traditional v-neckline with a fitted waist, but flows into a tiered georgette skirt with a hemmed side slit for some extra oomph.
The colour is such a bright pink that it would pair perfectly with nude or white heels, some statement earrings and a simple makeup look.
L’idee Soiree Pleated Halter Gown in Moroccan Blue
The most formal of the list, this dress has a unique silhouette that is figure hugging and “enhances the female form” in the words of L’idee.
The colour is such a rich cobalt that it’s an eye-catching look for any formal occasion, especially a wedding.
Made from stretch grade polyester, this dress has a high halter neckline and finely ribbed pleats in a figure hugging midi-fit which softens into a more relaxed pleat at the bottom. It stands out from other wedding guest dresses as the length is perfectly between the ankle and the calves in the most flattering way.
The side slit adds an element of glamour, making it a great choice for an evening event paired with a beautiful pair of white strappy heels.