Over the past few years, brides-to-be have slowly moved away from classic ball gown style wedding dresses, and are instead opting for more low-key, casual, and/or altogether alternative looks. Especially in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and the effect that the restrictions have had on our lifestyles, budgets, and social gatherings, many brides today are planning for smaller, more intimate ceremonies and as a result, more casual and practical wardrobe selections than they might have in decades prior. The shift from extravagant traditional styles to personal and functional dresses that can be worn again after the wedding is an intriguing concept worth consideration for all of today’s brides-to-be.
Top non-traditional wedding dress trends for 2021, 2022, and beyond:
Short / Cocktail dresses
For a smaller, more intimate ceremony and reception, the appeal of a shorter cocktail dress for a bride is obvious: shorter dresses are more casual and will save money for brides who might otherwise purchase 2 dresses – one gown for the ceremony and one dress to dance in at the reception. Shorter hemlines don’t by any means, necessitate skimping on intricate details and personal touches. There are plenty of mini dresses a bride can choose from that have high quality materials, lace, prints, and beading that will allow a bride to express her personal style in a dress she can easily wear to her wedding, cocktail hour, and reception, as well as to other events in the future.
The slip dress
Made popular by fashion icons in the 90s, the slip dress is the epitome of understated elegance and, like many popular 90s styles, is experiencing a welcome revival. A curve-skimming satin slip dress is a decisive yet elegant rebellion against traditional wedding bell frills. A slip dress also works beautifully for a breezy beach wedding, destination wedding, or any ceremony that calls for a casual yet sophisticated style.
Custom design dresses
During this age of learning to expect the unexpected, it’s no longer so taboo for a bride to choose to wear colors other than white to her wedding or to incorporate statement-making details like pearls, lace, ribbon, beading, feathers, and so on that differ from the traditional bridal catalog motif. In the age of online boutiques and Pinterest boards especially, today’s brides no longer need to rely on a small selection of bridal dresses from big department stores or bridal store chains for their inspiration and selection. Today’s brides are more likely to choose to support small businesses and seamstresses who are willing to work with their particular taste and personality. This is a win-win for small businesses and for the bride as her wedding gown visions will be unrestricted.
Two piece dresses, pants suits & jumpsuits
Who says that today’s brides still need to wear a dress to their own wedding? Times are changing – and more people are accepting a ‘dress to express yourself’ attitude rather than a ‘dress to fit in’ approach to fashion. If 2020 has taught us anything about fashion, it’s that most of us can still get our jobs done well without wearing the most formal and ‘normally’ appropriate attire. A major bridal fashion trend arising out of the pandemic era is a return to wearing what’s comfortable, casual, and re-usable (sustainable). For some, this is a two-piece crop top and pant suit combo or, similarly, the pant suit or jumpsuit. Whichever style is chosen, each sends a message that brides do not need to wear a dress in order to convey or compromise their sincerity and authenticity on their wedding day.
While we see an interesting trend away from bridal tradition in the ’20s, it is still ultimately up to the bride to choose how she’d like to express herself through her attire, which is a beautiful thing. There is no wrong way to celebrate such an important and memorable day.