Non-Traditional Wedding Dress? No problem! 8 Alternatives That You’ll Adore

If a traditional white wedding dress just doesn’t feel right, you don’t have to wear one. There are options for every style, every personality and every culture.

(4 minutes to read)

Any wedding magazine, all the wedding websites and every piece of wedding advertising has a bride in a long white gown. But people and personalities are different. Not everyone wants a white dress, or a long dress, or even a dress at all. If you don’t fit the typical expectations of a bride, then congratulations on being yourself. Now, it’s time to find the wedding attire of your dreams.

1. Coloured dresses

White wedding dresses were thought to have started from Queen Victoria’s wedding gown in 1840. It was a symbol of wealth—not many people could afford a white dress as they were impractical and hard to keep clean. From these rather arbitrary beginnings, the entire Western wedding industry spawned a million white dresses.

If you don’t suit white, or you don’t want to wear white, there is literally a whole rainbow of dress options.

Do you like Metallica and find yourself choosing between 16 blacktops every day? That’s OK, there are so many incredible black gowns you can wear.

A Kiwi bride in her stunning black dress with matching black Chucks. Photo from Perspectives Photography

There’s also any other colour you want- In China and India, red is a traditional bridal colour that is said to bring good luck, or maybe you want a sweetly soft pink or blue. Choose a colour you adore and that makes you feel amazing.

2. Do you suit a…suit?

Some people don’t like dresses and skirts, and if you feel uncomfortable in a gown, don’t panic. There are jumpsuits and suits that look incredibly smart. Think of Ellen Degeneres’ relaxed wedding suit—she looked happy and gorgeous. Why not you too?

There are sharply tailored suits, with clean lines and a tailored cut. Flowing palazzo pants give a dreamy sweetness to the day, while a jumpsuit is a modern take on the classic elopement suit.

3. Vintage style wedding dresses

If you gravitate to a 1940’s- 19060’s look, then a tea-length gown with tulle underneath and cute pumps will look incredible. A cinched-in waist, a slight hip flare, and add a pillbox hat and you can channel Jackie Onassis. Add gloves, a wisp of netting, and seamed stockings to complete that look. Pin-up and Rockabilly styles lend themselves well to fun, happy weddings.

A 1920’s Downton Abbey dress is all about mid-calf length dresses with dropped waists, slinky layers of fabric and that attitude of elegant insouciance.

4. Geek chic

With the options of long sleeves, lace-up corsets, plunging necklines and intricate detailing, the medieval look gives a unique look to any day—and it gives your future spouse the opportunity to literally come riding in on a white horse.

There’s no end to the options of ‘geek’ outfits; Trekkies, Star Wars and Game of Thrones have all inspired wedding dresses that are out of this world. If you’re passionate about something, make it part of your day.

5. Boho-flower child wedding dresses

Bare feet, flowers in your hair, ethereal gowns and delicate lace are all bohemian chic. Think about delicate crochet instead of lace, colourful butterflies and flowers adorning everything, and floaty fabrics.

Chiffon Bridesmaid Dresses NZ

6. Maternity wedding dresses

If you have a baby on board, then tiny wasp-waisted dresses are out, but there are still loads of styles that you’ll look incredible in. From an A-line gown that accommodates a growing bulge with no tailoring needed, through to re-purposed maxi dresses, there are options for you. Because you don’t know how big your bump will be, pick a dress with an expandable gusset or made from stretchy material.

7. Veils be gone

Veils are all about being covered, being pure, and hiding the bride’s face from her groom. While they can look incredible, you don’t have to wear them if you don’t like the connotations or look. A flower wreath, a gorgeous hat with netting, an elaborate broach or fascinator or a beautiful up-do are all options that finish off your perfectly without the need for a veil.

8. Eco-friendly wedding gowns

In a world of waste, fast fashion is said to be one of the main contributors to pollution, not to mention the ethical issues with prison-like factories. Luckily there are ways to make your wedding gown eco-friendly. Repurpose another item or two of clothing, using second hand stores to source vintage lace, miles of elaborate fabric and some funky 1980’s bows.

If you want brand-new, then hemp fabric is the best option for the environment. There are many vendors who supply ethical wedding dresses, or find a creative local dressmaker to create your mash-up gown.

Wear what makes you feel good

This is your day, so make sure you do it your way. People look at their best when they feel great, so choose something that makes your heart skip a little and puts a smile on your face. And then, on your wedding day, your joy will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.

2 thoughts on “Non-Traditional Wedding Dress? No problem! 8 Alternatives That You’ll Adore

  1. Ariana reiri says:

    Hi there! I was just wondering if you make dresses? I am not looking for one just yet as our wedding won’t be for a couple of years but I’m looking around and realizing its hard to find what I’m looking for lol (big black puffy Victorian gothic dress with a corset) lol

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