5 Alternatives to a White Wedding Gown

By Maria Yeonhee Ji

For well over a hundred years, the classic wedding garment for a bride of the Western world has been a lovely white gown. But times have changed so that a white gown isn’t a hard and fast rule; women today have many freedoms of which they’d never dreamed in previous generations, and one such freedom is expression. Many women today can wear what they like to express whatever they wish, even if their attire doesn’t fit in with the conventions of the day. So for non-traditional brides who want a more contemporary wedding outfit that is truer to their personal styles, here are five fashionable alternatives to the white dress to consider. 

1/ Black

black, dress, wedding, bold, fashion

Images by (left to right): Sarah Brookhart Photography, Rachel Red Photography, and Hannahpickle

Incorporating black into your wedding attire is always a bit of a statement. The complete opposite of white, black conveys initiative and sensuality. However, don’t assume that a black wedding dress means you have to necessarily opt for a goth aesthetic. Many of the world’s finest haute couture ateliers are producing timeless and elegant black gowns for brides willing to defy tradition. If a black dress entire seems too dark for you, there are numerous ways of working some black into your outfit - crop tops or bodysuits made of black lace can be worn under a white skirt for the best of both worlds.

2/ RED

red, gown, wedding, dress

Image by Wild and Grace Photography 

In many Eastern countries, red has long been considered an auspicious colour associated with luck and, therefore, has been commonly worn by brides in marital celebrations. Its popularity as a wedding dress colour has been increasing in Western countries in recent years, and with good reason. Red is a bold, eye-catching shade; its wearers may be perceived as being less restrained when it comes to their relationship. The fact you love your partner unreservedly is a pretty beautiful thing for a dress to be able to communicate.


pastel dress, off-white, unique, fashion, bridal

Images by (left to right): Anna Kidman, and Julian N. Photography

Pastels have the visual levity for the gown to maintain the whimsical and pretty characteristics for which the classic white dress is so loved. This year, runways all over the world were bursting with the pastel-toned musings of leading bridal designers. Pinks, lavendar, periwinkle, mint, and other dreamy hues are having their moment as a bridal trend that looks like it isn’t going anywhere soon.


green, wedding, dress, thai, culture, traditional, modern, fusion, bride

Image by Joanna Brown Photography

Silk gowns with embroidery and other ornate detailing can make for a wedding dress that is more than sufficiently exquisite to serve as the dress in which you tie the knot. They’re atemporal and elegant in an almost other-worldly way, so you’ll never look back at photos and think the dress looks dated. The traditional Thai silk gown (with a modern twist of a ‘sabai’ that drags along the floor as a nod to the Western bridal train) in the image above, for example, is so visually distinct, as well as being incredibly meaningful for the bride who is half-Thai and half-British.


jumpsuit, romper, bride, modern, fashion, summer, urban

Images from left to right: We Heart Pictures, Mandee Johnson Photography, and Studio 29 Photography 

It was in the twentieth century that women began to wear pants as leisurewear, and eventually pants became symbolic of female emancipation and empowerment. Bridal pants and jumpsuits are therefore the perfect way to infuse the traditions of a wedding with more contemporary values surrounding gender equality - all while exuding an incomparable level of sophistication. You can opt for pants that have a layer of organza or lace overlaying them to pay homage to the styles of more conventional wedding dresses. Jumpsuits are all about the beauty of the silhouette. No matter which design you choose, bridal pants and jumpsuits always come with the added benefit of being comfortable so that you can fully enjoy every aspect of your big day.

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