21 Engagement Party Dresses for the Bride Who Puts Fashion First
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Hyper-individuality is in, and it has infiltrated the wedding industry, too. We’re building our own fantasy worlds by curating aesthetics that are highly personal, with details inspired by our own tastes, memories, and everyday outfits. In the case of bridal wardrobes, brides-to-be are rushing to social media (and combing through non-traditional virtual racks) to share their selected looks. (I, a September 2023 bride, am included in this stylized bunch.) For engagement parties—whether it’s an intimate affair held within the cozy confines of a classic Park Slope restaurant, or a casual gathering in a family member's well-groomed backyard—brides are especially looking to embrace their personal style. An engagement party is often the moment you'll step out as a bride for the first time, and you can be even more experimental than on the big day.
There are no rules when it comes to selecting the best engagement party dresses. While different bridal affairs call for different getups, this point reigns true: It’s your time to indulge and play. Pippa Cooke, designer and founder of Bon Bride, tells BAZAAR that rules are meant to be broken. "Your wedding is your moment to break all the rules traditional bridal has imprinted on us, to express yourself and your personality in a way you never have. Experiment with your style, elevate it, and if you feel amazing, you will look amazing," she says.
It's vital to choose a dress that comprehensively embodies your personal style ethos and the vision you and your partner have for the events leading up to your wedding. To get ahead of the marital pressure, I've rounded up 21 of the best engagement dresses ahead, from lavish runway pieces to organic cotton staples.
Vola Cotton Gown
Dumebi Andrea Iyamah, of her eponymous label Andrea Iyamah, is a Nigerian-Canadian fashion designer born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria. With her flair for complimentary silhouettes, tropical prints, and elevated details, she has solidified her brand as the embodiment of a much-needed getaway—engagement dresses included.
Expressive Ruffle-Detailed Pleated Maxi Dress
White dresses are a must for any bridal occasion, but the sculptural statement ruffles and handcrafted florals on this maxi dress add a rejuvenating twist to any wedding wardrobe.
Ruched Twill Mini Dress
It-girl duo Thora Valdimars and Jeanette Madsen founded Rotate, a Scandi-favorite brand, out of pure joy for impish clothing. Embracing the label's penchant for '80s silhouettes, this mini will ensure your engagement party photos are ones to look back on fondly. Pair it with a strappy nude heel and let your hair down for the night.
Open-Back Sequin-Embellished Midi Dress
There are people who casually enjoy clothing, and then there are Christopher John Rogers fans—a vast fanbase of vibrant “squirrels” who find solace in expressing themselves through carefully-constructed garments. For a pop of color, team this embellished midi with a fuchsia pump or satin-heeled sandal.
Jagger Long Dress
The Garment was founded in Copenhagen by Sophia Roe and Charlotte Eskildsen, so it's no surprise that each piece is consciously constructed and minimalist. For example: the Jagger dress, an organic cotton sleeveless maxi with a ruched bodice and tie details for an engagement party held in a garden.
Hayes One-Shoulder Puff-Sleeve Mini Dress
Solace London seeks out the spotlight, and that's evident in every piece they release. Just take a look at the Hayes dress. The asymmetrical profile is punctuated by a single puffed sleeve that offers surprising volume. This mini dress pairs best with barely-there-heeled sandals.
Maves Satin Dress
If the dress code calls for dancing, this sophisticated silk mini checks all the party-ready boxes. The fluid neckline is surprisingly structured, offering freedom in the form of a bra-free evening. It pairs well with a '60s mod Mary Jane or platform.
Twisted Top Dress
For a beachside soiree or a warm-weather bash, ELOQUII has created a midi dress that epitomizes summer pleasure. Flattering in all the right ways, it features a shape-hugging stretch-knit fabric, an open wrap skirt that ties at the front, and a simmering cutout at the waist.
Lace-Trimmed Mini Dress
Unapologetically sexy and brimming with fantasy, Nensi Dojaka reinterprets lingerie codes with a modern flair, as seen in this silky mini dress. Featuring slip-inspired styling, this lined style has ruched cups, an asymmetrical hemline, and lace trimmings for the bride that dares to dream.
Everly Crochet Maxi Dress
You can never go wrong with a little white dress, and this one offers all the detail without the added complications. The Everly dress from Cult Gaia is made from crocheted cotton, with a cutout bodice, crossover straps, and a scalloped hem—ideal for engagement parties held beside a rooftop pool.
Tulle-Wrapped Midi Dress
Martin Margiela shaped ‘90s fashion with his deconstructed silhouettes and artistic expression, showcased in this luxe midi dress. This Italian-made dress boasts a simple cotton weave punctuated by frothy black tulle encircling the waist. A true fashion bride!
Maia Floral-Appliquéd Cotton-Linen Midi Dress
A column silhouette and eco-friendly fabrics give a nod to Mara Hoffman's conscious ethos. A fresh spin on a classic strapless dress, the Maia dress is made from Tencel and linen, and defined by a large floral appliqué that will surely turn heads at your engagement party.
Juliet Ivory Dress
Cotton can absolutely be worn for bridal occasions, no matter how lavish. Just look to Tove's signature details: draping, lush gathering, and seamless constructions. All of the above are included in the Juliet dress, a piece so transitional that it can be worn during a party, or to the farmers market.
Sizes: FR 34–42.
White Daphne Dress
If you're wondering if this will work for engagement parties and wedding occasions, just read this shopper's review: "I purchased this dress to wear to a wedding and it did not disappoint! It fits nicely and the bow in the back is such a special touch!" With a demure collar and a statement bow, all angles and details are on display to get that perfect engagement photo shot.
Tilly Off-The-Shoulder Taffeta Mini Dress
Modern shapes, feminine details, girlish sensibilities—all of this label's collections emanate high fashion fun. That's exactly what you'd have while dancing the night away in the Tilly dress. Crisp taffeta and an off-the-shoulder neckline allow for dangling jewels, while the short hemline pairs perfectly with sky-high heels.
Bustier-Seam Floral Print Midi Dress
Don't be tricked by the sweetness displayed on the front of this dress—there's a party out back, and it's sultry. It's made with a corseted bodice that provides structure and support while the skirt remains free and flowing.
Hila Pleated Halterneck Dress
What comes to mind when you think of Khaite, besides the luxe furry pants that debuted at their latest runway show? If I could give Khaite three adjectives, they'd be: polished, timeless, and just a bit dainty. Part of the label's Resort '23 collection, the Hila dress is made from crisp white twill, with a halterneck and pleated skirt that says, "married woman."
The Date Sequined Slip Dress
For special occasions and parties alike, I can always count on Markarian to carry me in style through the night. The NYC-based luxury womenswear label prides itself on being both striking and modern, notes you'll see in The Date dress. Adorned with allover sequins in a slip silhouette, it's easily wearable and statement-making.
The Tabea Dress
When I first discovered this dress after a long night spent scrolling through Instagram for bridal inspiration, I was taken aback. How could one piece be so funky and demure at the same time? That's Chelsea Mak's specialty, and the Tabea deserves to be shown off.
Fowler Cut-Out Midi-Dress
What's not to love about a dress that works for multiple occasions? We love a multifaceted piece. Hansen + Gretel's Fowler dress features a molded bodice decorated with cut-out accents. Just add a pair of lace-up sandals or flats.
Crystal-Embellished Mini Dress
This is your sign to finally try a Self-Portrait dress. What better time to indulge in a little glitz than an engagement party? Designed in a form-flattering silhouette that hugs the body closely, this V-neck mini is defined by allover crystal embellishments and a shimmering metallic lining. Complement the silver tones with tonal heels.
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