Breaking Tradition: Non-Traditional Wedding Dresses for Bold Brides

non-traditional wedding dress

Wedding dresses have traditionally been long, white gowns, but modern brides are choosing to forgo tradition in favor of dresses that reflect their unique style. There are many reasons why a bride might want to consider a non-traditional wedding dress.

Non-traditional wedding dresses allow a bride to express her unique style and make a memorable statement on her wedding day. Whether the motivation is comfort, practicality for a destination wedding, or a desire to stand out, there are many options for bold brides who want to forgo tradition.

Types of Traditional Wedding Dresses

Traditional wedding dresses are known for their timeless elegance and sophistication. Brides who want to embrace tradition on their wedding day often choose gowns made of luxurious fabrics like lace and satin, decorated with beading or embroidery.

Indian sarees and Lehengas

Indian brides have worn sarees and lehengas for centuries. These traditional garments are made from lightweight silk or cotton. They are decorated with intricate embroidery and embellishments. The vibrant colors and luxurious fabrics signify the importance of the occasion.


The Japanese kimono is made from lightweight silk or cotton fabric and decorated with embroidery and delicate designs. The colors used are soft and delicate, such as white, pink, and cream. The kimono signifies purity, innocence, and new beginnings.


The Chinese qipao is a one-piece dress with a high collar, sometimes full-length sleeves, and a floor-length skirt. It is made from lightweight silk or satin and decorated with embroidery, beads, and stones. The qipao emphasizes the bride’s figure and symbolizes beauty, elegance, and traditional femininity.


The Korean hanbok consists of a long jacket and skirt. It is made from lightweight silk or cotton and decorated with embroidery and embellishments. The colors used in these designs are bright and vibrant. The hanbok represents Korean cultural heritage and the bride’s virtues.

Kente cloth

African kente cloth originates from Ghana. It is usually made from cotton or silk and decorated with intricate patterns that symbolize blessings and good fortune for the newlyweds. The vibrant colors and geometric shapes represent cultural identity, royal power, and spiritual protection.


The Mexican huipil is usually made from lightweight cotton or linen fabric and decorated with intricate embroidery, beads, and stones. The huipil signifies the bride’s creativity, skill, and devotion to cultural traditions. The bright colors and whimsical patterns represent joy, vibrancy, and new life.

European Lace

This delicate lace is lightweight cotton or silk and features intricate floral or geometric patterns. European lace gowns have a romantic, whimsical feel and are perfect for vintage-inspired weddings.

Popular Non-Traditional Wedding Dresses

For the bold, expressive bride, non-traditional wedding dresses allow her unique personality and style to shine through on her wedding day. By choosing a distinctive silhouette, unique fabric, or short length, or by adding prints, patterns, or embellishments, a bride can craft a memorable look that reflects her one-of-a-kind spirit.

Prints and Patterns

Some brides want to express their unique personalities through bold and colorful prints on their wedding dresses. Floral prints are always popular, with blooms of all sizes adorning the gown. Geometric patterns, polka dots, and paisley prints are other options for the fashion-forward bride. These patterned fabrics are perfect for bohemian or rustic weddings, adding visual interest and whimsy.

Jumpsuits and Pantsuits

A wedding jumpsuit or pantsuit is a stylish choice for the bride who wants ultimate comfort and ease of movement. These outfits have the drama of a gown without the fuss of a skirt. Wedding pantsuits range from sleek and tailored to billowy and relaxed. Jumpsuits are one-piece outfits that can be fitted or loose and flowing. These non-traditional options are perfect for an outdoor or casual wedding.


Some brides prefer simple, minimalist wedding dresses that let their natural beauty shine through. These pared-down gowns have little embellishment, instead relying on beautiful cuts and silhouettes to make a statement. Delicate spaghetti straps, low openbacks, and clean empire waists are common features.

Short Hemlines

For a fun, flirty look, a short wedding dress is ideal. Hemlines above the knee show off a bride’s legs and are perfect for an outdoor summer wedding. A mini dress works well for an informal wedding, while a tea-length or cocktail dress offers more coverage for a semi-formal event.

How to Style a Non-Traditional Wedding Dress

A perfectly tailored non-traditional dress is key for brides who want to stand out. Have the dress custom-made or work closely with an experienced tailor to ensure the best fit. No matter how stunning, an ill-fitting dress will not make the desired bold statement.

Add Color

White wedding dresses are a time-honored tradition, but for the non-traditional bride, color is a must. Whether it’s a vibrant red, a soft blush pink, or a deep emerald green, adding color to a wedding dress helps create a bold look. Consider colored lace details, colored sashes or belts, colored embroidery, or full-colored underskirts peeking out from slits or a slit in the gown.

Rock the Details

It’s all in the details for a bold, non-traditional dress. Feathers, beads, sequins, fringe, or lace appliques in unique placements turn heads. An asymmetrical neckline, oversized bows, puffed sleeves, or a bubble hem also make statements. Brides can also consider wearing a stylish jacket, cape, or coat over a simple gown to create drama.

Complete the Look

No bold look is complete without the right accessories. For footwear, skip typical bridal shoes for colorful statement heels, lace-up booties, or bejeweled flats. Add a pop of color with bright hosiery or patterned stockings. A stylish clutch, fabric wrap, or lace stole finishes the ensemble. Don’t forget statement earrings, a gemstone necklace, or eye-catching cocktail rings.

Issues That Might Arise From Wearing A Non-Traditional Dress And How A Couple Might Address Them

Choosing a non-traditional wedding dress is a bold move, and it’s normal for brides to worry about potential issues that could come up from bucking tradition. Family and friends may express surprise or confusion upon seeing the bride in an unconventional gown for the first time.

To address this, the couple should give fair warning to close family and the wedding party ahead of time about the bride’s outfit choice. Explain the reasons for choosing a unique dress to help others understand the motivation behind it.

Author Bio:

Jonah Levine is the Creative Director of, established in 2008, is the #1 online source for Evening and Prom dresses worldwide. As Creative Director, Jonah works to create the ultimate online and in store luxury shopping experience with a focus on service and personalization.

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