If you’re a bride looking for a non-traditional or alternative-coloured wedding dress, hats off to you! We’re all about letting your originality shine on your big day. White doesn’t suit everyone and if your theme calls for a dress that some would describe as out of the box, we can’t wait to see it!
From the ceremony to the reception, having this most important day exactly the way you’ve dreamed it would be is the fun part. Maybe you want to get married on a mountain or at your ranch. An after party in a barn is always fun! How about a wedding reception in Edinburgh after a romantic wedding ceremony in a garden setting?
The possibilities of where to get married are endless – and so are the styles and colours of dresses to choose from!
A Guide to Choosing Non-Traditional & Alternative-Coloured Wedding Dresses
The classic white wedding gown doesn't suit every woman's aesthetic, and these days, more brides are settling for non-traditional or alternative-coloured gowns. It goes to show that no two weddings are alike, and every couple wants to personalise their big day as much as possible. The same applies to brides who choose to slip into unconventional wedding ensembles for their big days.
Drawing inspiration from the Sareh Nouri and Enchanted Atelier editorial, the bride who still wants to maintain semblances of tradition can merge the best of both worlds. Alternative-coloured gowns, short-length ensembles, and intricately detailed numbers represent the modern bride's look.
If you feel like you are better off settling for an entirely non-traditional choice, by all means, go for it! Your wedding is the last place that you or your partner should feel restricted or held back from showcasing your style and preferences.
The History Behind The Wedding Dress
The wedding dress is one of the aspects of the big day that doesn't have a long history, so to speak. An ancient Chinese myth about a dragon-dog called Panhu, who married the emperor's daughter after successfully slaying the ruler's enemy, is the first instance that references such an ensemble.
In the Chinese tale, the princess was dressed in a gorgeous phoenix dress complete with a phoenix crown for her nuptials. The sleek red phoenix gown is still a popular design in China, and you'll often also see the same colour on the dresses worn by Eastern brides. The red pigment symbolises celebration, luck, and life.
In as much as people argue that brides wear white gowns because "it's tradition”, history tells us a different story. Brides in Western societies donned different colours for the occasion and often, they chose practical outfits that they could wear again. Wealthy Victorian-era brides are thought to be amongst the first lot to don white gowns fashioned out of Honiton lace.
It wasn't long before white became the preferred wedding dress colour and it was largely because most cultures consider it a hue that signifies virtue and purity. It's fair to conclude that alternative-coloured wedding gowns are not a foreign concept, and it simply comes down to a matter of personal preference.
Non-traditional Wedding Dress Styles
Every bride pours through lists of bridal magazines and wedding inspiration boards to curate elements that work for their big day. That in itself makes these occasions unique because it's highly unlikely to find two distinct weddings playing out as an exact match. When shopping for the outfit for the big day, brides equally follow suit. Most borrow inspiration from wedding publications, former nuptials they've attended, and also rely on their personal preferences.
The goal is usually to adopt a certain look to your taste and budget. From jumpsuits to two-piece ensembles; wedding dresses have truly come a long way and they now focus on reflecting individuality.
Jumpsuits reflect a very chic, powerful, and strong aesthetic. They can be feminine and soft with white lace trimmings and floral appliques.
Tailored wedding suits and tuxedos
Suits and tuxedos are also popular alternative wedding outfits, and they suit the woman who wants to make a powerful statement. Generally, they are popular choices for same-gender couples.
Short wedding dresses
Shorter lengths are befitting for brides who want playful and flirty alternatives. Whether midi or above-the-knee, the shorter lengths allow brides to put their best foot forward and showcase their shoes as well.
Two-piece wedding dresses
Two-piece looks are suitable for destination nuptials. In particular, the style works for beach ceremonies as well as boho-chic weddings. It could be a look made up of a separate shirt and skirt or pants and shirt/jacket.
The changes don't have to be exactly dramatic but it could simply mean embracing daring necklines and hemlines. Dresses with embellishments like ruffles, fringes, sequins, and feather trimmings also fit the bill.
Alternative Wedding Dress Colours
Going for a coloured wedding dress is another impactful way to step away from the idea of a traditional wedding look. Some of the popular alternative wedding colours seen on gowns include silver, grey, lavender, blush, red, champagne, and black. There are more ways to play around with the colours chosen for your wedding ensemble.
There are also varied shades of white that suit the woman who wants something classic with a twist. An alternative is to select a white gown with coloured floral applique. Another alternative is choosing a white gown with colourful handpainted details or going for a patterned or floral-print wedding dress
Two-toned wedding dresses
Two-toned wedding dresses have become increasingly popular and they work for brides who are nervous about choosing alternative coloured gowns. The bodice and skirt can be different colours, or you could simply wear a coloured underskirt to spruce up the look.
Patterned wedding dresses
Patterned wedding dresses create an eclectic and unique look. Floral motifs are usually popular for this look and the aesthetic leans on the casual side which equally makes it suitable for tropical weddings and other laidback occasions.
Embroidered wedding dress
Adding embroidered details is yet another beautiful way to introduce some coloured details to your wedding dress. It creates a somewhat quirky and whimsical finish, particularly if you choose a floral or geometric design.
Red wedding dress
Going back to the roots of the phoenix red wedding, it's a fiery and show-stopping pigment for a bride who wants to be the belle of the ball. It comes down to choosing the right shade of red, and in general, the muted tones create a romantically gorgeous aesthetic. Keep it simple by going for a tulle gown with some tonal depth brought about by ruffles or rushing details.
Black lace dresses
While black falls on the scale of edgy and dramatic as a wedding dress colour, it can equally be incredibly chic and feminine. A fitted silhouette with long sleeves and a nude-coloured peekaboo lining presents an elegant black lace wedding gown.
Behind the Scenes with Sareh Nouri and Enchanted Atelier
Sareh Nouri, world-renowned for creating some of the most beautiful wedding dresses around, unveiled her new 2014 this past weekend at bridal market in NYC. Shown in collaboration with Enchanted Atelier by Liv Hart in the glamorous penthouse suite at The London, these dresses and bridal accessories are fit for a queen!
Sadly I couldn’t make the trip (sniff), but the lovely Kat Harris stood in for me and photographed this once-in-a-lifetime event. Her behind-the-scenes shots add a sense of magic that I’m sure was prevalent throughout the weekend, and I’m beyond honoured to bring you this first look at these two gorgeous collections!
Didn’t that just look like the loveliest event? I can’t wait to attend bridal market next year and experience it all for myself. I’d like to give a big Mahalo to Kat for standing in for me and with Amber at Sareh Nouri for her gracious responses to my crazy string of emails!
Credits: Photography: Kat Harris // Wedding Dresses: Sareh Nouri // Headpieces & Accessories: Enchanted Atelier // Shoes & Handbags: Aruna Seth // Venue: The London // Signature Cocktails: Creme Yvette // Confections: Lael // Flowers: Regency Design.