Fashion & Beauty

12 Options for Brides Who Don’t Want to Wear a Wedding Dress

12 Options for Brides Who Don’t Want to Wear a Wedding Dress
Shop Story

Alternatives to the traditional look that are perfect for the modern bride.


1 of 12 Image Credits: Revolve

Line and Dot Peony Off Shoulder Dress


Some girls have been looking at wedding dresses since they were hanging out with friends at slumber parties, and others — well, they’d prefer an alternative wedding dress. Traditional brides might be shocked to know just how many women aren’t all that into the ultrabridal look for their big day. Instead, these women look for something a bit alternative to outfit them for their walk down the aisle. Feel like you can relate? Scroll on ahead for 12 options that are right up your unconventional alley.

2 of 12 Image Credits: Nordstrom

Fame and Partners Nav Ruffle Gown


If white isn’t a requirement, then embrace cool colors and patterns. The beaded blush dress above would catch that perfect golden hour light at sunset (be sure to have candles around for extra twinkly effect). Brides looking for something airy, but still unconventional and dramatic, can opt for a floral maxi dress with a ruffle-detail skirt. Just one shot of your gown flowing in the beach breeze will make this pretty pick totally worth it.

3 of 12 Image Credits: Moda Operandi

Sandra Mansour Ciel Electrique Sequined Midi Dress


If you find yourself drooling over guest dresses instead of wedding gowns, why not just buy yourself a cool cocktail dress? You’re probably fairly practical and want a dress that you can either wear again or that completely suits your sleek style. Opt for a sparkly dress in a simple silhouette like the chic midi above. Or, if you favor darker, bold colors, we are in love with this navy Truly Zac Posen dress below. It’s flattering on a bride of any age and is a dress you can definitely pull out for special occasions.

4 of 12 Image Credits: David's Bridal

Truly Zac Posen Embellished Waist Off-the-Shoulder Satin Ball Gown


Another option is to find a chic, sophisticated and ‘non-cupcakey’ wedding dress. Bridal designers have come a LONG way (even just in the last decade) when it comes to creating fresh, modern looks. No one will think of a baked confection when you walk down the aisle in a stunner like the dress below.

5 of 12 Image Credits: Nordstrom

Noel and Jean By Katie May Cowl Back Crepe Gown


6 of 12 Image Credits: Shop Bop

Michele Mason Asymmetrical Cocoon Dress


You’ve got a great set of gams and you want to show them off. Or you are really proud of what a little weight lifting has done for your body. Or maybe you just really prefer short dresses. Whatever the reason, you aren’t in a hurry to cover up in yards and yards of organza. Instead of searching for wedding dresses, try looking for a ‘reception’ dress. Usually shorter and a little sassier, these dresses were designed so that the bride could be traditional at her ceremony and then a bit less tame at the reception. We say if ‘less tame’ is how you roll, go with it. The formfitting asymmetrical dress above is great for more informal weddings and shows off your shape in a sophisticated way. Below, this tea-length mermaid midi in guipure lace is the perfect mix of bridal and babe.

7 of 12 Image Credits: David's Bridal

DB Studio One-Shoulder Crepe Wedding Jumpsuit with Bow


Are you a bride who wants to wear pants? Well, congrats — your time has officially arrived. There have never been so many stylish options as there are now. Find a sleek jumpsuit with dramatic draping or go for a vintage-inspired satin suit. Either way, with these looks, shoes are everything. Invest in a pair of killer heels to pair with this fashion-forward statement.

8 of 12 Image Credits: Bloomingdales

Jarlo Off-the-Shoulder Lace Midi Dress


9 of 12 Image Credits: ASOS

ASOS Edition Wedding Satin Off the Shoulder Full Length Jacket and Tapered


For the record, you can absolutely wear a ridiculously formal wedding dress to city hall. You do you. But if you would prefer not to, there are tons of stylish options for your big day. You could channel your inner Carrie Bradshaw in a label-less vintage suit, but we like the below choices even better. Wear a sheath dress with playful feather trim for a completely updated interpretation of a classic look (below). Or go for a pastel illusion midi dress that can double as your ‘something blue’!

10 of 12 Image Credits: Neiman Marcus

Badgley Mischka Collection Sleeveless Sheath Cocktail Dress w/ Popover Feathers


11 of 12 Image Credits: Bloomingdales

Bronx and Banco Butterfly Off-the-Shoulder Dress


12 of 12 Image Credits: BHLDN

BHLDN Plymouth Dress