Alternative Wedding Outfit Ideas For When You Don't Want To Go With The Typical White Gown

By Kara McGrath

On February 10, 1840, Queen Victoria changed the wedding dress industry for centuries to come when she wore a white gown (instead of a red one, which was tradition at the time) to her own nuptials. For a while after then, it seemed that white was the default option, even for less traditional brides. In the early 2010s, bridal designers did start to branch out a bit in terms of color (Vera Wang’s Spring 2012 show didn’t feature a single white dress) but even now, the silhouettes remain largely the same. The biggest trends from Spring 2018 Bridal Fashion Week are stunning, but feature the same cinched waists, lace fabric, and dramatic skirts we’ve been seeing on runways and wedding aisles for decades. While wanting a traditional style is quite understandable (after all, these trends have persisted because they look good) to truly stand out in your wedding photos, it seems shopping outside the bridal section can be a good idea, too.

If you're in the market for an alternative outfit to wear to your wedding, ahead, you’ll find some inspiration that breaks a lot of the unspoken rules about wedding dresses. Some are bridal specific, some are not, but they’ll all look incredible in your photos.

Pick A Color Other Than White

Dress: Oscar De La Renta

Might as well start with the biggest breaking-the-trend trend of all: wearing a color other than white. If you still like a lighter feel, go for a dress in a super pale shade or one with ombre details. If keeping that "bridal" vibe is important to you, then try sticking with a traditional silhouette — like this dramatic skirt moment — no matter what color you rock.

Wear Two Pieces

All Clothing: Brandon Maxwell | Shoes: Manolo Blahnik

It's rare to see a two-piece number that isn't a suit walk down the aisle — but clearly, it can work. A fuzzy sweater and dramatic skirt can make a serious bridal statement, especially for a winter wedding, without even treading too far from a traditional silhouette. Bonus points: Pair the ensemble with shoes in a bold color like blue.

Buy From Your Favorite Store

Dress: Wolford Courtesy Of | Jacket: Danielle Frankel | Shoes: Tom Ford

While getting married is a great excuse to drop more on an outfit than you usually would, spending thousands of dollars isn’t the only way to get a look you love. Retailers like Modcloth, Anthropologie, and ASOS have their own collections of trendy-yet-affordable bridal outfits — and, to be honest, you can snag a white dress from any of your favorite stores and call it a day.

Take Inspiration From Other Types Of Clothing

Dress: Danielle Frankel | Shoes: Manolo Blahnik

The strapless silhouette so often associated with wedding dresses is becoming less prevalent, with designers creating off-the-shoulder looks instead. To amp up the trend one step further, look for gowns that feel less delicate than the traditional style. This ensemble has a trenchcoat feel that would be perfect for a wedding in the colder months.

Wear Sheer Fabric From Head To Toe

All Clothing & Accessories: Simone Rochas

Who says a wedding dress has to be uber conservative? Sheer details have been making their way onto bridal outfits for a while now (especially at the bodice), but now the Naked Wedding Dress has officially become a trend. Going sheer from head to toe with touches of lace makes for an ultra pretty look.

Rock Black

Dress: Alessandra Rich | Shoes: Stuart Weitzman

Perhaps the most dramatic choice for your wedding day look, black dresses pretty much scream cool. Look for one with lace details or layers of tulle to keep it feeling romantic, or opt for a more standard, striking LBD. No rules, no problem.

Ditch The Dress Entirely

All Clothing: Tom Ford | Shoes: Stuart Weitzman

Although it can sometimes still seem this way, a gown actually isn’t a requirement for your wedding day. In 2016, the New York Times reported that more and more designers were creating pant suits for brides after demand for them got so high. In 2018, non-dress options were pretty much expected on the Bridal Fashion Week runways — Naeem Khan even debuted a bridal tracksuit. All that is to say: Anything goes.

Pick A Short Dress

Dress: Hellessy | Shoes: Manolo Blahnik

Even if you’re wearing pants, wedding ensembles are typically floor length. But that’s not always so practical, especially if your celebration is taking place somewhere with high temps, or your shindig involves lots of dancing. Luckily, everyone from H&M to Marchesa are making short options now. Bonus: They usually cost less, too.

Opt For Trendy, Instead Of Fine, Jewelry

All Clothing & Accessories: Simone Rocha

While your traditional diamond stud earrings and delicate necklaces will probably always be in style, statement accessories more in line with the over-the-top vibe of Victorian royalty are becoming wildly popular, too. In addition to some sweet earrings, try bold hair clips.

Photographer: Lauren Perlstein | Stylist: Gabby Prescod | Makeup: Carl Longo Using CHANEL Palette Essentielle at Ray Brown Pro | Hair: Mia Santiago at See Management | Manicure: Elizabeth Garcia using CHANEL Le Vernis | Art Director: Becky Brown | Bookings Manager: Guillermo Perez | Photo Editor: Clare Thigpen | Director of Features and Brand Initiatives: Margaret Wheeler Johnson