Non Traditional Wedding Dresses
May 10th, 2023 Wedding Ideas, Tips and Inspiration
Non-Traditional Wedding Dresses for a Unique Bridal Look
Your wedding day is all about true love, of course, but it's also an exciting chance to show off your personal sense of style. If you're obsessed with fashion, you'll be eager to go all-out with a trendy look that makes you feel fierce.
Bridal fashion is far more diverse than you might suspect, so you should make the most of this opportunity to strut down your own personal runway as you prepare for the most on-trend "I do" imaginable.
The best way to accomplish this is with a non-traditional wedding dress. Yes, classic designs are beautiful, but they don't always feel particularly unique. These days, however, it's not only acceptable to ditch the mainstays of wedding wear, but actively encouraged. Keep reading to discover why non-traditional wedding gowns are so appealing and how you can rock a daring look on your big day.
What Is Considered a Non-Traditional Wedding Dress?
Before you can understand what, exactly, it means to wear a non-traditional bridal gown, it's important to get a sense of what it means to look traditional. Technically speaking, the very features we think of as classic were new trends at one point. For example: bridal dresses weren't always white and, saved for royalty, they didn't typically have long trains.
Even as now-familiar styles took over in the 20th century, a variety of unique trends have come and gone through the decades. Over time, however, many dresses began to follow a similar aesthetic (that’s still gorgeous): long, with plenty of volume in the skirt and a train for extra effect.
A-line dresses have frequently been the preferred silhouette, although a dress can still qualify as traditional if it features the fuller skirt of a princess or ball gown. Strapless and sleeveless looks have long been dominant, as have sweetheart necklines. Above all else, traditional often means a white wedding dress, or a similar color like ivory.
Non-traditional dresses can diverge from these expectations in many ways. They might be short or could feature daring details such as leg slits and poofy sleeves. Colors and patterns are possible, as are cutouts and even two-piece designs. In general, these styles favor novel, eye-catching designs.
10 Unique Wedding Dress Ideas
Non-traditional dresses are extraordinarily versatile. Since the main goal is often to defy expectations, these gowns can take almost any form imaginable.
To illustrate the scope of this concept, we've highlighted several examples below:
1. Detachable Ruffle Overskirt
Detachable elements once felt revolutionary, but modern brides now see just how valuable it is to have adaptations available at a moment's notice.
The Lola reveals the power of detachable features to capture both traditional and daring aesthetics. In many ways, this bridal gown feels classic: it has a sweetheart neckline and gorgeous layers of tulle.
What sets this style apart is its ability to go from sensual to fairytale princess in the blink of an eye. Simply add or remove the ruffle overskirt (sold separately), which can turn a fitted look into a fuller ballgown style. This versatile design also comes with detachable puff sleeves that add a dose of romantic whimsy.
2. Two-Piece Wedding Gown
While brides have long favored sleek, one-piece gowns, the two-piece concept is quickly growing more popular. Simply Val Stefani's Amalia reveals just how glamorous this style can be, with help from gorgeous Alencon lace. While it actually offers quite a bit of coverage, this style feels downright daring by showing just a hint of skin between the skirt and the bodice.
3. Basque Waist & Bow Sleeves
Basque waists were popular during the Victorian era, so they're far from new. Still, they diverge considerably from today's typical bridal tailoring. This is what makes them feel so fashion-forward. Today's basque-style dresses breathe new life into a decidedly antique design, adding sultry details whenever possible.
With Val Stefani's flirty Style Antonia, the illusion bodice gets striking details from embroidered lace appliques, which are decked out in sequins for extra effect. These lovely appliques continue down the skirt and make their way toward the cathedral train. The modern mermaid shape is accentuated with a major flair that will make every bride feel downright glamorous. Meanwhile, whimsy enters the scene with detachable bow sleeves, which drape perfectly for photos but can be removed in time for an exciting dance floor entrance.
4. Floral Print Organza With Puffed Sleeves
As we've discussed, few bridal fashion concepts have been as dominant over time as the preference for a white gown. Today's brides are often willing to show skin, but most still stick with the white or ivory status quo. That's beginning to shift, however, as new colors and even patterns make today's weddings feel brighter and full of personality.
For a garden or rustic wedding, nothing feels as simultaneously bold and dainty as a floral print. We're amazed by how perfectly this is incorporated into Moonlight Collection Style J6893 — a carefree organza A-line with puff sleeves that amp up the romance. This flirty floral print would be a lovely addition to any sundress, but it takes on a downright glam appearance when it accompanies a ruched bodice, a voluminous skirt, and a chapel train.
5. Tie Knot Waist Cut Out & Long Bishop Sleeves
If you love the concept of a two-piece dress but aren't quite ready to diverge from the expected one-piece design, you can enjoy the best of both worlds with a strategic cutout at the waist.
This approach forms the basis of Val Stefani's remarkable Style Rosalia — a fashion-forward design with a leg slit and an impossible-to-miss twist style at the neckline. Alencon lace and a sweep train add just enough traditional appeal, but there's no denying that this unique bridal dress is built to defy expectations.
6. High Front Slit & Square Neckline
Square necklines are a hallmark of the regencycore aesthetic. They're becoming more popular but are still far from the standard look in a world of sweetheart dresses. Paired with a high leg slit, these necklines blend royal vibes with sultry style.
Any bride can embrace their feminine power when displaying these elements in Val Stefani's Style Emerald. Playful, yet dramatic, this lace wedding dress veers only slightly from the traditional, but every unconventional detail is truly impactful. The unlined bodice and high slit adds plenty of allure, while glitter net and a chapel train create the impression of floating down the aisle.
7. Black Minimalist Mikado A-Line
While an increasing share of brides are willing to move beyond traditional white, lighter hues (such as dusty pink) still dominate the colored wedding dress trend. Often, the effect is distinctive, but also, decidedly princess-like.
For non-traditional brides, a bolder, more contemporary take is to go all-out in a dark-colored stunner. Structured fabrics such as Mikado are perfect for this approach. With Moonlight Collection Style J6852, for example, a bold black hue takes modern minimalism up a notch while still incorporating time-honored elements such as the trusted A-line silhouette and pointed sweetheart neckline.
8. Long Detachable Puff Sleeves
Non-traditional wedding gown styles don't necessarily have to evoke contemporary vibes. Sometimes, they feel downright romantic. Such is the case with Val Stefani Style Leonor, which somehow manages to feel both modern and historic.
This gown's detachable puff sleeves give it a hint of the aforementioned regencycore style, drawing on a trend that, in turn, takes inspiration from Bridgerton. This is contrasted against a fitted mermaid silhouette that hugs every curve. The result? A showstopper of a dress that proves that the right combination of sleeves and silhouette can feel truly original.
9. Detachable Lace Long
Sheer styles are often among the most daring in the modern bridal lineup. Added strategically, this simple adjustment can instantly make any dress feel more sensual.
We've already highlighted multiple examples that convey the understated power of the unlined bodice, but few dresses call attention to this feature quite like Val Stefani's sophisticated Style Blanca. This fashionable number makes the most of Divina crepe, an open back design, and scalloped lace. Better yet, it's possible to show off multiple styles by simply adding lace sleeves to the mix.
10. Straight Neckline With Deep Plunge
Sparkly details are far from new in bridal style, but the latest looks take this up a notch. Such is the case with the glittering Style Cindy, which should make any bride feel like a bombshell.
It's impossible to miss this gown's silver bugle beads, which add a lot of glitz to the already shimmering sequin fabric. Structured lines add a distinctly contemporary aesthetic, as does the sharp plunge of the bold neckline.
Wedding Dress Alternatives
What if you don't want to wear a dress in the first place? Not a problem — there are plenty of stylish alternatives that capture all the romance of bridal fashion.
Many contemporary brides have taken to showing off trendy jumpsuits and pantsuits. Others highlight their legs in shorter dresses, which are perfect for elopements or destination weddings. Don't be afraid to experiment with unconventional styles — but don't forget that fashion-forward designs can always be incorporated in long, flowy wedding dresses as well.
Make Your Special Day Unique
Every bride is special, so the same should be true of every bridal gown. We're pleased to offer dresses that span the full spectrum, from classic to avant-garde and everything in between.