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Buck tradition: Alternative wedding dresses that will make you feel great on your big day

Whether you’re freshly engaged or you’ve been planning your special day since pre-Covid times, the last few years have ushered in an era of bridal ingenuity.

Weddings are changing and so is bridal fashion. Couples continue to go to the chapel to get married, but they’re also opting for registry office weddings, eloping in intimate ceremonies, putting their personality in the limelight of their nuptials and pushing the boundaries of wedding traditions. So it’s unsurprising that brides want more from their wedding day attire.

If you’re picking up what we’re laying down, you might be one of the many brides who are interested in exploring alternative wedding dresses. From bridal jumpsuits to mini dresses to bold and colourful items, your options are limitless once you start to look outside the realm of your typical wedding gown.

Here are some of the best ways to make your bridal look as unique as you.

Read more: Bridesmaid dresses they won’t hate

pink suit with longline blazer and wide leg trouser on model

Pink Satin Longline Blazer and Wide Leg Pleated Trousers

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long gown in light mint green colour

Maids to Measure Isabel Dress in Misty Green

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wrap dress in white and blue on a model

Winslow Dress

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tuxedo mini wedding dress with feather cuff

Tuxedo Wrap Mini Dress With Feather Cuff

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cream pinstripe suite with oversized blazer and trouser on model

Pinstripe Satin Suit in Cream

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woman wearing white cropped jumpsuit with floral train

Brush Train Jumpsuit with Lace Long Sleeve, Embroidery Appliques and See-Through Back

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white jumpsuit with wide leg and open back

NBD Prosecco Jumpsuit

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strapless jumpsuit with bell bottom leg

Safiyaa Flysa Strapless Crepe Jumpsuit

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short wedding dress with bardot sleeve on model

Miranda Bardot Bridal Midi Dress in Ivory

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white midi dress with off the sleeve neckline

Butterfly Dress

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white spaghetti strapped sequinned dress on model

Eva Embellished Cami Midi Wedding Dress

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white mini dress on model holding a clutch

Martini Mini Dress

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short sequinned dress with mid-length sleeve on model

Glittery Sequined Dress

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white satin dress with boat neckline and short hem on model

Zenni Dress

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beige sequin dress with spaghetti straps

Sequin-Embellished Slip Dress

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Not so white wedding looks

The ultimate way to say ‘so long’ to wedding traditions is by forgoing white altogether. Colourful wedding looks have grown in popularity — from subtle hues like blush pink to florals to bold jewel tones.

Queen Victoria is generally credited with beginning the Western tradition of white wedding dresses. But today, brides are becoming more experimental in their looks. Going for a colour other than white is a good way to make sure you feel like your best self at your ceremony. After all, if white isn’t your go-to colour to wear, a hue you prefer is often more fun to wear.

Thinking outside of the box when it comes to the colour of your outfit can be a way to save money as well since non-white options often aren’t classified as ‘bridal.’ So choosing colour not only helps you to stand out from the crowd during your ceremony, but it’s also prudent economics, allowing you to invest in items you really might wear again.

Bridal looks we love that aren’t white

With a slight iridescent look, the pink hue of this suit is extra feminine for a wedding ensemble. If your vision is an intimate ceremony in a historic countryside chapel, this would be an up-to-date change of pace. Equally, it would be a comfortable fit for a city wedding.

How to style it: This shade of pink works fabulously with gold or silver jewellery, so wear it with chunky earrings in your preferred metal tone, throw on some bangles and a pair of matching strappy sandals and you’ve got a wedding day look unlike any other.

Technically a bridesmaid dress, the Isabel Dress lets you dabble in alternative wedding dress styles without veering too far from the norm. Its silhouette and flowy material give off that I’m-the-bride look but it’s available in soft hues like Misty Green, Blossom, Cloud and Dove Grey letting you find out if non-white is your style.

How to style it: Sweep your hair into a low twist and choose a dainty necklace with matching stud earrings and a bracelet for an extra demure look.

Cobalt and white have been on-trend of late so why not take it into your wedding day? It could be your ‘something blue,’ too. This wrap style is always in style and we love that the leg split lets you show a little skin. Available in eight colours and patterns, it’s an effortless look for a destination wedding.

How to style it: Strappy sandals are a must. Meanwhile, keep your makeup natural with the exception of a bold lip.

Wedding suits aren’t just for the groom

There’s something empowering and chic about bridal suits. On the market, you can find great options that take inspiration from a mainstay in men’s fashion. So go all the way with an on-trend suit with an oversized jacket and wide-legged trousers or consider a suit-style dress.

Wedding suits for the bride

A fierce combination of masculine lines mixed with feminine features, the Tuxedo Wrap Mini Dress is one of our favourite alternatives to your typical wedding gown. Available in ivory or silver, it gives off that bridal feel we all crave while also serving a seriously modern look. Feather detailing and a deep V-neckline make it a trendy option that perfectly suits a registry wedding.

How to style it: Soften the look of this high-fashion mini dress with a tiered veil like this one from Coast. Wear it with white, pointed-toe stilettos and opt for a clutch over a bouquet.

Cream pinstripe satin material elevates this oversized suit to an iconic level. It lends itself well to the bridal aesthetic and we love the metal detailing at the lapel. It’s a fun choice for those having a legal ceremony before the wedding party.

How to style it: Wear it with a satin spaghetti tank and platforms. Keep your makeup focused on your eyes for an extra alluring look.

Dive in with bridal jumpsuits

We don’t need to tell you that jumpsuits have taken over the fashion industry in recent years — and the bridal industry isn’t far behind. Wedding-ready jumpsuits are a fun way to create a unique, high-fashion look that can also be more comfortable.

When it comes to finding the right jumpsuit for your wedding, it’s important to consider a few things:

  • Leg style: From super skinny cuts to wide-leg, ‘70s-esque looks, a jumpsuit is often made by the cut of its legs. When shopping for a bridal jumpsuit, keep an open mind and try on different styles — you might be amazed by what look you love most.
  • Tailoring: Even if you don’t spend much on your outfit, having a jumpsuit tailored is the easiest way to make it feel custom-made. It also means you’ll feel more comfortable and confident as you head to the altar.
  • Material: While the material is crucial to any outfit, jumpsuits wear differently compared to dresses. So keep in mind how warm a fabric might feel, if it’s prone to wrinkling and how sheer it might be so you can invest in the right undergarments.

Bridal jumpsuit inspiration

Featuring strong lines and a fun, cropped leg, this jumpsuit pays homage to tradition with its delicate train. It’s a happy middle ground for those that don’t want to sacrifice a bit of bridal drama while staying true to their wedding day vision.

How to style it: We love how this item has been styled on the model. Nude pumps accentuate the nude-look sleeves without creating an over-complicated style.

Clean lines keep this jumpsuit feeling light and fresh. A strappy back and barely-there sides give just enough sex appeal without feeling too daring and it’ll be an outfit you can wear after the big day, too.

How to style it: Keep it simple with big, beachy curls and a natural face of makeup.

The silhouette of the leg line, need we say more? This strapless jumpsuit is minimalistic in nature yet delivers on the ‘wow’ factor. Besides how stylish it is, this jumpsuit makes our list because the shape of the leg can give the impression of a dress. It’s a win-win for couture-minded brides with an eye for something different.

How to style it: Thanks to its classic feel, this jumpsuit has the power to be versatile. Go for a bright lip and colourful bouquet for a daytime ceremony or create an edgy look with high-drama makeup and a slicked-back hairstyle.

Sophisticated short wedding dresses

While still an alternative to long, ballgown-style dresses, short wedding dresses have long been a way to change up your bridal look. From the drop-waist Vera Wang ensemble Zoe Kravitz wore in 2019, to Audrey Hepburn’s Givenchy dress from the ’50s classic, Funny Face, this style has been a go-to for decades.

Not only does a shorter hemline open up an entire range of dress options, but it’s also perfect for those seeking a vintage look, or for brides who want to show off their wedding shoes above all else. We’ve classified ‘short’ as midi-length dresses — but don’t worry if you’re after seriously short wedding attire, we’ll come to those next.

Short dresses that catch the eye

Bringing the Bardot sleeve into the 21st century, the Miranda dress creates a stunning neckline that’s balanced by its midi length. Easy to style, this dress is a beautiful choice for almost any wedding location but we particularly love the idea of it worn at a garden wedding.

How to style it: Its full, A-line skirt creates an elegant look that could also be filled out with the addition of a crinoline skirt. Top off the look with a pair of short gloves like this pair from Cornelia James for a stylised look.

The Butterfly Dress from Reformation blends laid-back feel with tailored style making it a beautiful look for the destination brides. Whether it’s a villa in Italy or a beach in Greece, this dress is a fun alternative wedding dress that’s also available in other colours and patterns if you’re feeling extra adventurous.

How to style it: Nail your bridal look with strappy sandals and a classic bundle of white calla lilies.

Add a dash of sparkle and glam with the Eva Dress available at ASOS. If the sequins and neckline weren’t enough, its strappy back makes it a perfect 10. It’s a natural fit for a New Year’s Eve wedding but it also gives us major city wedding vibes if your plan is a simple ceremony followed by an extravagant dinner.

How to style it: Amp up the old-school Hollywood glitz with a faux fur stole for a seriously stylish winter look.

Micro dresses for micro weddings

The shorter the hem the longer the marriage — that’s the motto we’re adopting here at Best Buys. Thanks to the likes of Kourtney Kardashian, micro wedding dresses are gaining momentum once again and we love this nontraditional wedding look.

As couples emphasise their personalities with their nuptials, a mini dress is a great way to let your personal style come through. While they might not be a winning choice for a cathedral wedding, these short show-stoppers make for a sexy look for registry office weddings, destination weddings, picture-perfect elopements and almost everything in between.

If you go down this route and you don’t often wear short skirts, we recommend picking up a dress that’s similar in length that you can wear around the house or when going out. This will help you get more comfortable with the hemline and you’ll know your range of motion — no one wants a wedding photo that’s caught a glimpse of your knickers!

Alternative wedding dress with sky-high hems

Go for it. This corset-style mini dress is a bold and daring option for brides who want to feel oh-so-sexy on their big day.

How to style it: Balancing out a more risque item with a cathedral-length veil is the perfect way to feel bridal without conforming to tradition. If your venue doesn’t allow for a long veil, pair this dress with a shoulder- or waist-length veil.

We can see your wedding photos now — you and your new spouse are ever-so-cooly posed by a trendy storefront in Shoreditch. We could never hope to be so en vogue, but you will be in this sequin number.

How to style it: Pull on a pair of pointed-toe, stiletto ankle boots and minimalist-approved jewellery to finish off your look.

A sleek revival of ‘60s style, the Zenni Dress shows just enough leg for tasteful sex appeal. Wearing this, you’ll feel more ready than ever to run off to the chapel to say ‘I do.’ It’s available in five colours, too.

How to style it: Channel Jackie O. with long satin gloves and a pillbox hat. For a winter wedding, throw on a black knee-length peacoat for an ever timeless look.

Beige for brides might be our favourite look and the sequins on this dress add texture and pizazz to your bridal aesthetic. The drama of the sequins is evened out by a shift dress cut and we love that it’s available in three colours including white if you prefer!

How to style: Layer it up with an oversized blazer in ivory. Wear it open with some stilettos and your friends will gush over your wedding photos for years to come.


The information presented above is accurate as of 29/07/2022. We are not responsible for any changes to the prices. The ‘Best Buys featured’ badge indicates sponsored content, and we may earn a commission when you make a purchase.

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