I’m not your traditional bride, I have never dreamed of walking down an aisle in a big white gown. I didn’t really dream of a wedding in general, but I knew if I did get married, I wouldn’t be wearing any hue of white. So when my boyfriend proposed, I didn’t know what I would be wearing on our wedding day, but I knew what I wouldn’t be.
I started looking at dresses immediately, and while I saw many beautiful wedding gowns, it quickly became clear to me that finding the right dress would be tricky.
As an adventurous bride, I wanted a colorful wedding dress that wasn’t white but somehow still felt “bridal.” When I managed to find colorful wedding dresses I liked, too many of them looked like a bridesmaids dress or a prom dress to me. I knew I didn't just want a hint of color
But I was determined to find the right dress, so after looking at probably thousands of colorful wedding dresses, I began to narrow down what actually makes a dress look “bridal” to me. And I realized, if one asks themselves a few simple questions, they'll be on the path to finding the perfect colorful wedding dress.
What do you hate?
Do you hate fluff? Do you hate trains? Do you hate light colors? Do you hate one-shoulder dresses? Do you hate short dresses? Do you hate anything pink, even if they call the color blush? Do you hate dresses completely? Determining what you hate is first. Regardless of what your friends, family or bridal magazines suggest, you shouldn’t go with anything that won’t feel like you (even if it’s in style or flattering for your shape, etc.). So know before you start looking where you will draw a hard line at.
What do you love?
Conversely, if there is anything you love, you should definitely look for dresses with that feature. If tulle is your thing, there are many ways to rock a tulle skirt. If you like sparkles, search for glitter dresses or dresses with rhinestones. It's easy to reason that a dress with features you love will increase the chance it's a dress you love. This is a great opportunity to day dream about how your personal style might translate into a formal outfit.
What hue of colorful wedding dress should you choose?
This might be a fairly easy one. You may have dreamed of getting married in green since you were a child. Even still, do you know what shade of green? Should it be 100% green? And if you are the bride that doesn’t know what color you want, how do you decide?
First, think about what colors you look best in. Are you into pastels or rich colors? Jewel tones or gentle shades of mint or blush?
Then, whether you have a color in mind or not, I would suggest searching wedding color schemes. White goes with everything, but green does not. If you know you want a specific color dress, looking at wedding color palettes can help you nail down dress details and can help you better solidify the scheme you want for decor because you don’t want the wedding to clash with your dress or vice versa. If you don’t know your color yet, choosing a scheme will help you narrow your options down to a couple colors that match your scheme of choice. (Plus, a wedding color palette makes it easier to figure out things like the color of your bouquet!)
Sure there are also trends that dictate the most popular wedding dress color each year… but on this website, you'll always be encouraged to buck the trends and just know that it's always okay not to have a white wedding dress. The perfect choice for you is going to be about YOUR tastes — not trends.
What does bridal mean to you?
To most people, bridal means white, but you’ve already decided to do away with white. So what makes a colorful wedding dress feel bridal to you? Does that mean a veil? Does it mean a train? Does it mean fluffy? A bodice that laces up the back? Organza?
Determining the answer to this question will automatically drastically cut down the number of dresses you are searching for because you can guide your search with this specific element in mind.
What is your wedding theme and level of formality?
Whether your wedding has a more generic theme like “love” or “music” or it has a more specific theme like “The Wizard of Oz” or “The Baseball,” you should consider whether or not that theme should be reflected on your dress. There is no right or wrong answer here, but it is something you will want to think about.
And remember, you can also reflect theme through accessories. You will also want to think of what level of formality you're planning for your event. Is it casual? Day formal? Cocktail? Black tie? Generally speaking, the bride can dress at the level of the wedding or more formal.
Of course as the bride, you can do whatever you want, but it would be strange for you to be casual when everyone else is black tie. Still, if the event is casual and you are the only one who won’t be, do you like that? Plenty of brides are fine with this, but you may decide you’d like to match the level of formality, so it is also something to think about.
Is there anything else that will add sentiment or make the dress more or less special for you?
Do you want to incorporate part of your mother’s wedding dress? Do you want to match your spouse (or not)? What is your budget (and is it flexible)? If you want to sew in a piece of your mother’s wedding dress, a super lacey skirt might not work. If you want to match your spouse, fuschia might be a bit too bright (or maybe not, if you’re a bright couple, do your thing). If you go way over budget, will it cause you to come to hate the dress? Knowing the answer to this question will also help guide your search as you can narrow by these features as well.
Answering these six questions will help you narrow down millions of dresses to hopefully only several hundred, making your search much easier. Many dress websites let you narrow your options by many different filters.
But before you make any final decisions, here are some additional tips.
- Before you think too much about what you want, go try on some dresses in person. Go to a prom shop instead of a bridal shop to try on colors that appeal to you and to avoid the confusion that bridal shop attendants will meet you with when you try to explain what you want. Trying on some dresses in person will help you nail down color, silhouette and neckline.
- Searching online for “colorful wedding dress” may be frustrating because the internet really doesn’t understand it. Just search sites with formal dress wear and narrow by the criteria from the questions you’ve answered. You can browse the trending colorful wedding dresses that our readers are buying in our curated shop over here.
- If nothing fits your vision, consider a custom-made dress from an Offbeat-approved vendor. Or you can dye a dress (just do your research, some fabrics dye better than others).
From the green dress bride to the purple dress bride to the gold dress bride and everyone in between, I hope these six questions will help make your search for the perfect dress less arduous. Whatever color and style you choose, you will have a beautiful wedding because it will represent you.