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The cardinal rules of wedding guest dresses are: a) never wear white and b) never upstage a bride. Since you clicked on this article in the search for the ultimate wedding guest dress that strikes a balance between flattering and flamboyant, we suspect you’re already well-versed with these rules.
But with many modern weddings eschewing tradition in favour of unconventional displays of their love, these unspoken style agreements have become slightly blurred, leading to a “no holds barred” approach to the sartorial choosing of attendees.
Need we direct your attention to Kendall Jenner or Kim Kardashian’s black cut-out respective Mônot or Alaïa wedding guest dresses for proof?
Aside from your actual wedding dress, the wedding guest dress may be one of the most difficult garments to shop for, given the criteria it needs to meet.
Weddings are a spectacle within themselves, irrespective of how understated the ceremony is, meaning that your wedding guest dress must ultimately be a form of occasionwear.
Given the nature of the event you’re attending, your wedding guest dress must also be underpinned by romantic sensibilities. Above all else, your wedding guest dress must adhere to a specific dress code.
Indeed, this search may feel like a losing game—why else would you be here?—but we’ll have you know there are a plethora of brands creating beautiful garments that adhere to all, if not more, criteria.
Below, GRAZIA’s guide to the best wedding guest dress brands to bookmark before your next nuptials, including the pieces our editors are coveting and the occasions they’re best suited for.
The Best Wedding Guest Dress Brands
1. Christopher Esber
Australian golden boy, Christopher Esber, has become the go-to for ‘It’ girls. His designs are some of the most coveted within the fashion set thanks to his sensual approach to laid-back luxury. For weddings that call from dresses to take you from a day-time ceremony to a night-time reception, look no further than Esber’s arsenal. Specifically, his stretched jersey cutout dresses, fluid silk maxis and ruched gowns, especially the pieces accented by crystal lattice and sculptural quartz.
Jacquemus‘ pieces exude French girl elegance with each garment sartorially referencing the South of France. Though the designer has become a staple for brides looking for an ultra-modern wedding dress, his wheelhouse of high-octane and sun-kissed backless dresses has garnered a reputation as the wedding guest dress you’ll want to re-wear. For destination weddings or day-time ceremonies (bonus points if they’re by the sea), Jacquemus’ form-fitting and slinky-strapped dresses are the superlative option. Just look to Dua Lipa’s Jacquemus wedding guest dress for inspiration.
3. Aya Muse
For the non-conforming wedding guest, Los Angeles label Aya Muse offers contemporary staples and separates that ooze confidence. Inspired by the 90s, Aya Muse delivers skin-clad and cutout cocktail dresses and sophisticated suiting that subverts the idea of a wedding guest “dress”. For the sustainably minded, the brand is ethically made, focused on recycled fabrics and single-use plastic-free.
4. Bec + Bridge
Sydney-based label Bec + Bridge has dressed generations of Australian women in their elevated separates and striking eveningwear. But, it’s their masterful collection of bias-cut slip dresses—cut in different fabrics and patterns each season—that has contributed to their reputation as the ultimate destination for wedding guest dresses. Whether you’re after a sumptuous silk offering or something light-weight and long-sleeved, Bec + Bridge has you covered. Pieces are conveniently listed under their ‘wedding guest’ dress portal on their website, too.
Since their inception in 2014, SIR has risen through the ranks to establish itself as one of Australia’s most coveted labels. Founded by friends, Sophie Coote and Nikki Campbell, SIR’s clothing is embedded with a relaxed elegance making their statement-yet-minimal dresses a preferred choice for legions of wedding guest attendees. From their signature Aries silk and lace slip dress to the new favourite draped Giacomo dress (which was unveiled at Coote’s 2023 wedding), their pieces are sophistication made simple.
In Zimmermann’s 32-year history, the resortwear label has become the quintessential embodiment of the glamorous jet-set lifestyle. Their design methodology is rooted in transporting the wearer to exclusive far-flung corners of the globe with their opulent patterns and intricate dresses. The wedding guests journeying to a destination wedding to the Côte d’Azur or Amalfi coast will find a kindred spirit in Zimmermann’s tiered dresses and kaleidoscopic patterns.
7. Stella McCartney
Stella McCartney makes for the perfect wedding guest dress option for those after something radiating natural confidence and unrivalled on the sustainability front. With gorgeous cotton poplin day dresses suitable for any outdoor ceremony, asymmetrically draped satin styles accented with perfectly puffed sleeves and even crêpe maxi dresses similar to Rihanna’s dress from the 2014 Met Gala, Stella McCartney’s dresses offer an understated refinement without compromising on innovation.
8. Victoria Beckham
As a wedding guest herself, Victoria Beckham’s dress choices have combined understated modesty with romantic fluidity. As a result, the popstar-turned-fashion-designer always stands out within an already star-powered congregation. The same can be said with her own wedding guest dresses. Her latest coveted occasionwear (a tulip sleeve, gathered waist midi dress) has already received the tick of approval from the likes of Kendall Jenner, but her polished lace-trimmed ruffle dress is our ideal wedding guest dress look.
Copenhagen-based fashion brand Ganni has become synonymous with a new wave of Scandinavian style. Mainly due to its breezy and anything-but-basic aesthetic. Ganni’s designs are effortlessly chic, which can be attributed to their free-flowing silhouettes, a colourful amalgam of soft pastel stripes, crystal-embellished sheer dresses and duchess-satin florals. In lieu of the classic wedding heels, pair with crimson buckled ballet flats or chartreuse pointed-toe sling-backs for the ultimate cool girl look.
10. Emilia Wickstead
A favourite of Kate, Princess of Wales, Emilia Wickstead has perfected the modern, elevated and, most importantly, feminine silhouette. Wickstead’s pieces are vibrant, structured and bold, but never trite. For a more modest ceremony, look to Wickstead’s double-crepe and darted dresses, pairing the look with a Mary Jane pump. If the dress code allows for more playful pieces, look to the designer’s statement-making capes or silk organza midi skirts.
11. Bianca Spender
There is a form of poetic kinetic energy underpinned in Bianca Spender’s elegant dresses. This makes her collections of gowns, maxis and minis the wedding guest dress you buy once and keep forever. Spender’s fabrics offer a supple comfort, with silk, georgette and satin being her textile language. But it’s in the designer’s discrete details where the dresses really shine. Subtle twists or draped folds offer expertly constructed takes on classic silhouettes, making the brand one you’ll return to again and again.
12. Love Shack Fancy
For the vintage lovers amongst us, LoveShackFancy is the perfect choice for you. Embodying bohemian romanticism with archival silhouettes, their textural elements make their dresses feel like a future heirloom. Whether it’s the brand’s ethereal ruffled maxi dresses made from embroidered voile, tulle and crochet or sensuous tiered charmeuse minis injected with lace appliqué, Love Shack Fancy is youthful, flirty and playful enough to make you the most captivating person on the dance floor.
For those amongst us whose ideal wedding involves copious amounts of champagne opt for the Copenhagen-based label Rotate. Known for its party dresses, the brand is serving up shimmering and slinky evening dresses in spades. Their disco ball-rivalling array of embroidered sequinned maxis and crystal embellished sets take cues from the 80s but are undoubtedly vibrant and modern.
What Should A Guest Wear To A Wedding?
For the uninitiated, a wedding guest should opt for a dress that is elevated and apt for the occasion you’re going to. The dress of your choosing will ultimately come down to the dress code prescribed by the bride and groom. In saying this, you should always match the effort put in by the newlyweds. A fluid maxi dress or form-fitting slip is always a reliable option for your wedding guest dress.
Bianca Spender Roma Gown, $1,195. Shop Now.
Christopher Esber Strapless Ruched Dress, $845. Shop Now.
What Is The Best Dress Code For A Wedding Function?
The dress code of a wedding depends on the setting of the ceremony. But, if you are stipulating a dress code, ensure it is well known, like a ‘black tie’ or ‘cocktail’ rather than making up your own. If the dress code reads ‘tropical daywear’ or ‘Saint Tropez chic’, more often or not you’ll find guests dressing for very different occasions.