Jacinda Ardern, Clarke Gayford wedding: Former PM wears local designer Juliette Hogan for Hawke's Bay nuptials

"To Clarke, let's finally get married!"  

This was the closing remark to reporters when former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced her resignation in January 2023, a declaration that signalled her intention to refocus on family life after a gruelling five years as Labour's leader.

On Saturday, the 43-year-old and her long-time partner Clarke Gayford finally tied the knot in an intimate ceremony at the picturesque Craggy Range winery on the outskirts of Havelock North, almost five years after their engagement in 2019.

For her long-awaited nuptials, the former Prime Minister recruited New Zealand designer Juliette Hogan - whose designs she donned a number of times throughout her political career - to create her bespoke wedding dress; a sleeveless, floor-length ivory gown that tied around her neck with a classic fitted silhouette and low back.

Juliette Hogan has long been one of Dame Jacinda's favoured local labels, with the then-Labour leader famously wearing a hot pink suit by the designer during an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in May 2022.

The dress was teamed with a sweeping veil that was clipped into a chic up-do, the work of hairdresser Tane Tomoana - another of Ardern's frequent collaborators.  

Taking to her Instagram on Sunday, Hogan shared an image of Ardern and Gayford alongside the caption: "An absolute privilege to have created this dress."

The designer and her husband were among the guests at Saturday's ceremony, alongside Ardern's successor Chris Hipkins, Kiwi singer Hollie Smith, celebrity chef Peter Gordon, and Labour MP Kelvin Davis.

Jacinda Ardern and Clarke Gayford wedding, January 13, 2024
Photo credit: Supplied

Gayford, meanwhile, wore a custom suit courtesy of the heritage New Zealand brand Zambesi.  

The couple's five-year-old daughter Neve also made a sartorial statement on her parents' special day, accompanying her dad down the aisle in a dress that was crafted from her grandmother Laurell's own wedding gown.

Ardern and Gayford had initially planned to wed in Gisborne in January 2022, but cancelled their arrangements at the last minute as New Zealand moved into 'red light' restrictions due to COVID-19. 

Jacinda Ardern and Clarke Gayford wedding, January 13, 2024
Photo credit: Supplied

Throughout her leadership, Ardern garnered praise for her smart-casual sartorial approach that frequently championed local designers. Often opting for relaxed, classic silhouettes, such as demure blouses, coats, blazers and dresses, Ardern also made statements in fun prints along with the occasional pops of colour.

Aside from Juliette Hogan, Ardern has also favoured the likes of Emilia Wickstead, Kate Sylvester, Maaike and Karen Walker, as well as accessories that nod to Aotearoa's cultural heritage: think the black feathered kākahu, custom-made by designer Kiri Nathan, that she donned for Queen Elizabeth II's state funeral.

At age 37, Ardern became the world's youngest female head of Government, as well as Aotearoa's youngest Prime Minister in more than 150 years, and on June 21, 2018, she became only the second elected leader in the world to give birth while in office.