17 Alternative Wedding Dresses For The More Adventurous Bride To Be

Despite our proclivity for perusing the World Wide Web all hours of the day and night, many of us have only been treated to alternative wedding fashions in passing and even fewer have attended a wedding where a bride wore anything other than a white gown. Wedding fashions remain staunchly traditional, even in their wildly extravagant runway form.

The first time I came face-to-face with a non-traditional wedding gown I was about 16. As a teenager, one of my favorite Internet pit stops was Craftster — a community of do-it-yourselfers before DIY was hip. The clothing section was a happening place to discover alternative fashions and wedding dresses were no exception. That frequent exposure to custom quirky and alternative wedding gowns completely normalized non-traditional wedding fashion for me. As a teenager who performed craft surgery on her wardrobe daily, I was undeniably drawn to the funky, colorful and personalized dresses. Everything you could image was being hand-crafted (often by the bride herself), from rainbow crinolines, rockabilly and gothic dresses, to themed costume inspired by comic books or steampunk.

That’s not to say I don’t love a good old fashioned white wedding; I've swooned over many a friend’s dress as she glided down the aisle. My vices in life are few, but I do harbor a secret affection for shallow television — cue soap operas and Say Yes to the Dress . Like my affinity for junk food, I can’t resist flipping the station to TLC whenever I come within 10 feet of cable TV. I’ve watched more marathons of Randy Fenoli pulling out glamorous Pnina Tornai dresses than I care to enumerate for the sake of my own image, but on only one occasion did I ever see a bride try on a black gown. I bet you can already surmise that she didn’t buy it. Randy himself insisted she pick something more “bridal” because to Randy Fenoli bridal means white, just as it does to most everyone else. Say Yes to the Dress is a great example of the pervasiveness of long-held tradition in the wedding industry, but in case you didn't realize, there’s so much more available than white.

What’s surprising to me is that nearly 12 years after my first encounter with alternative wedding dresses, they still aren't more broadly normalized in our society. Traditional gowns remain the go-to choice and it’s still assumed brides will wear a white dress. Even if you aren't experimental or fashion-brave, my hope is you will still appreciate how amazeballs these quirky and alternative wedding gowns really are.

Tattooed Dress

This off-beat custom rockabilly dress features embroidered tattoos for an extra-special personal touch.

Custom Made, Custom Price, the-couture-company.co.uk

Purple And Black Can Be Bridal Too

The maker of this dress describes it as a couture gothic construction with organza, bridal satin and intricate beaded embroidery. I wonder if the funky cane comes complimentary.

Spectacular Purple Wedding Dress, $1,256, etsy.com

Leather Wedding Dress

This Bohemian leather and silk gauze gown by Monique Sandoval of Cleo & Clementine is a rocking contrast of fabric and color.

Bohemian Leather and Silk Gauze Floor Length Gown, $1,656, etsy.com

Wearable Art Wedding Dress

You too can wear a colorful silk collage on your wedding day; it’s basically contemporary textile art. This dress is green, eco-friendly and made with all natural fibers in Seattle.

Zolotova Dress, $1,989, wai-ching.com

Sunshine And Lollipops

Nothing says I’m happy on my wedding day quite like a bright yellow dress. It’s asymmetrically layered for an interesting architectural effect.

Wedding Dress Yellow, $953, etsy.com

Tea Length Rockabilly Dress

A rockabilly vintage extravaganza — note the pastel hues, the tea-length cut and the polka dot bodice.

Custom Made, Custom Price, the-couture-company.co.uk

Noir Gown

If we could all look as dramatically exotic and vampire-esque as this bride then perhaps black wedding dresses would be more mainstream.

Custom Made, Custom Price, the-couture-company.co.uk

This Wedding Dress Is On Fire

This dress is actually available in over 60 colors and I love the vivid matching tux, because guys can step outside the box, too.

Burnt Orange Wedding Dress, $1,552, etsy.com

A Beachy Boho Wedding Vibe

Boho inspired wedding dresses look so comfortable. Why wear a dress that requires a team of bridesmaids to help you pee, when you can wear this ashy colored chiffon item?

Unique Wedding Dress With Chiffon Skirt, $1,628, etsy.com

Steampunk Bride

Steampunk is a sub genre of science fiction/fantasy that has been the driving force behind a fashion movement that incorporates technology and design elements inspired by 1800s industrial steam-powered machinery — think airships, corsets, military-style jackets, intricate metal work and lots of gears everywhere. This bride’s wedding was the epitome of steampunk and her dress is the perfect complement.

Custom Made, Custom Price, heidinphoto.com

Mermaid Draped Gown

There’s something undeniably exotic and elegant about this flowing high-low silk chiffon gown in deep green. It’s begging for a seaside wedding.

Emerald Green Silk Dress, $1,785, etsy.com

Victorian Romance Bridal

Wouldn’t it be so much fun to accessorize this dress with ornate costume jewelry for a historically themed wedding?

Plus Size Victorian Wedding Dress, $1,325, etsy.com

Felted Lilac Wedding Gown

This felted tea length wedding dress has a free-spirited organic feel to it, for the down-to-earth among us.

Alternative Wedding Dress, $503, etsy.com

Ombré Two Piece Wedding Dress

The popularity of Ombré keeps enduring, and dip-dyed bridal gowns are a great alternative to plain white. This dress is also a two-piece, not something you commonly find in bridal wear, but much more functional and it has a nice aesthetic.

Ines Dress, $1,826, andforlove.com

Cotton Candy Colored Wedding

Everything about this dress is amazing: the cut-out exposed crinoline, the glitzy bow, the platform heels; the entire get-up screams cotton candy wedding fun, despite the fact she’s scooping some ice cream.

Custom Made, Custom Price, the-couture-company.co.uk

Hemp Wedding Gown

You didn’t think we forgot red, did you?

Cassandra Red Wedding Gown, $2,587, etsy.com

Rockabilly Circus Wedding Wear

This rockabilly circus wedding wear has an edgy after-dark feel to it that is the perfect end to this alternative bridal wear slideshow.

Custom Made, Custom Price, the-couture-company.co.uk