It’s been a few weeks since the epic news story that was the Kim and Kanye wedding, and I think we’ve all had a chance to recover from the madness. As someone without a vested interest in the outcome, I mostly watched the festivities with bemused curiosity, until I came across posts about people expressing shock and outrage that Kim, twice divorced and a mother, dared to wear white on her (third) wedding day. My own discomfort at those reactions was what inspired this post and has put me in a position I never thought I’d be in – defending Kim Kardashian. It truly saddens me to see modern people attempt to shame a woman for her choice of wedding attire and I wanted to take the opportunity to examine the origins of the white wedding dress and offer some bridal alternatives for modern day brides who choose to express their individuality and personal style rather than worry about outmoded customs.
First and foremost, let’s go ahead and do away with concern about a bride being ‘pure’ enough to wear white. It’s the 21st Century, we’re enlightened humans (most of the time), let’s move on. I believe it is every bride’s right to wear white if she chooses, but it is far from the only option. White wedding dresses came into vogue after Queen Victoria wore one to wed Price Albert in 1840 – while wealthy brides have been known to wear white throughout history, they often chose costly furs, velvet, or gold and silver embroidery to display their wealth. Before that, brides would commonly wear their finest dress for the ceremony, regardless of color. Brides work black in Scandinavian tradition, while many Eastern cultures still wear red since it’s considered an auspicious shade. Choose a shade that will make you look and feel radiant, and don’t worry about what anyone else may think!
If you’re still looking for a traditional bridal look but don’t want to wear white, softer pale shades are the best way to go. Ivory, champagne, and blush have taken modern brides by storm since many of us realized that we don’t look good in stark white! It’s science. Pale complexions will look best in soft, vintage ivory while rosy brides will stun in a creamier shade like warm taupe. Brides with olive skin will dazzle in champagne! Softer hues are perfect for a romantic wedding, especially with a classical silhouette.
Warm Ivory Reem Acra Wedding Dress | Landon Jacob Photography via Grey Likes Weddings
Taupe Lace Wedding Dress | Taylor Lord Photography via her Blog
Blush Vera Wang Wedding Dress | Caroline Tran Photography via Grey Likes Weddings
Blush Beaded Wedding Dress | Laura Murray Photography via Wedding Sparrow
Glitzy Sequin Wedding Dress | IYQ Photography via Style Me Pretty
Metallics and Sparkle
The easiest way to punch up any bridal look is to sparkle! Gold and silver have come back into popularity – they were commonly worn by royalty before the Big V made white the go-to shade. Complement your skin tone’s natural warmth with antique or dazzling gold, or play up cooler skin tones with frosty silver. Keep things sleek to avoid full on princess mode, while allowing the gown’s embellishment to take center stage.
Metallic Gold Monique Lhuillier Wedding Dress | Elisa Bricker Photography via her Blog
Champagne Sequin Zhavit Tshuba Wedding Dress | Gert Huygaerts via Bridal Musings
Glittering Champagne Jenny Packham Wedding Dress | Hjartesmil Photography via Ruffled
Champagne Art Deco Wedding Dress | Em The Gem Photography via her Style Me Pretty
Sparkling Pronovias Wedding Dress | Elizabeth Messina Photography via Grey Likes Weddings
Soft blues and grays are a romantic choice while adding a modern touch – California blondes will look amazing in dusky blue hues for a fun but dreamy look. Brunettes like myself are perfectly suited to soft cloud gray or pewter for a more ethereal wedding day style.
Modern Pale Blue Wedding Dress | Jasmine Star Photography via Green Wedding Shoes
Powder Blue Tara La Tour Wedding Dress | Blush Wedding Photography via Style Me Pretty
Silver Lace Sleeve Wedding Dress | Becci Ames Photography via Style Me Pretty
Gray Wedding Dress & Burgundy Cardigan | Pat Furey Photography via Green Wedding Shoes
Here’s where it gets fun! I wrote about styling a bridal look around your everyday fashion last week, and brightly hued gowns are the perfect example! There’s no need to forgo your personal style on your wedding day, and how better to express your fabulous fashion sense than by wearing your favorite color? I get raves every time I wear red, so it’s tempting to want to look that radiant on a day when all eyes (and cameras) will be on me. Pick a color that makes you feel confident and you’re guaranteed to love the way you look in your photos!
Vibrant Green Tory Burch Gown | Noa Griffel Photography via the Tory Burch Blog
Vintage Emerald Green Wedding Dress | I Love Wednesdays Phogotography via Polka Dot Bride
Glamorous Gold Wedding Dress | Love Katie + Sarah Photography via Ruffled
Dramatic Red Alex Perry Wedding Dress | Samm Blake Photography via The Lane
Fuchsia Katie Ermilio Ball Gown | Jamie Beck Photography via Haute Design
Ombre Burgundy Wedding Dress | Ciara Richardson Photography via Bridal Musings
One of my favorite trends for modern weddings has to be patterned dresses! Brides in prints always seem like the kind of fun, exuberant ladies that I’d want to hang out with – and they look pretty fabulous too.
Wendy Makin Floral Print Wedding Dress | Angela Higgins Photography via Polka Dot Bride
Blue and White Francesca Miranda Gown | Sleepy Fox Photography via Weddings Unveiled
Coral Floral Wedding Dress | Larissa Cleveland Photography via Ruffled
Cherry Red Floral Wedding Dress | Anastasiya Belik Photography via Magnola Rouge
Rock your own style!
Go ahead and throw all of these rules out the window and wear something that makes you happy on your wedding day. I love this edgy bridal look with a suit jacket over a structured gown, but the wonderful thing about this day and age is that brides really get the chance to wear anything they want. If you’re not a dress kind of gal, why not wear a crisp, tailored suit to ensure you look incredible but feel comfortable?
Classic Wedding Dress with a Suit Jacket | Chantel Marie Photography via Burnett’s Boards