Modern Dress – don’t be limited to the classic white gown when you tie the knot

Words by Lauren Cochrane

01 July 2020


With wedding season approaching, brides-to-be are likely up to their knees in ivory lace, or at least working hard on a Pinterest board. But how to do bridal without resorting to a meringue?

Modern wedding style solutions are out there - ones that bring more of the minimalism sported by the Duchess of Sussex in 2018, than the yards of silk and lace carried by Princess Diana in 1981.

According to global fashion search platform Lyst the most influential celebrity weddings show a fondness for sleeker styles. Miley Cyrus’ Vivienne Westwood dress, worn to marry Liam Hemsworth in February, was satin and 1930s in style, while Princess Eugenie’s had a boatneck design like that of her cousin-in-law.

When there is lace - as with Priyanka Chopra or mega-influencer Chiara Ferragni - it’s delicate and romantic, not a fluffy cloud. And don’t think you have to pick a side. According to Lyst, nearly a quarter of brides will have two wedding dresses (Ferragni had three, all custom-made by Dior).

In 2019, designers provide enough variety to mean an outfit change can be justified. Galia Lahav and Viktor & Rolf have translated fashion’s love of a statement sleeve into wedding dresses, while a bohemian feel comes with feather details at Marchesa and Reem Acra.

The trouser suit is an option for channeling your inner Bianca Jagger - and can be found at Acra, Savannah Miller and Whistles. Vogue suggests looking beyond bridal designers too - pointing to ready-to-wear from Simone Rocha or Marni that could double as your wedding dress.

Finding something that can be worn after you have tied the knot is certainly very now. Quintessentially’s Director of Private Events and Weddings Jessica Seal reports that brides are increasingly opting for a separate top and skirt or using a fabric that can be dyed to a different colour after the big day. “It’s not a one-off anymore,” she says. “Brides now want to keep their dress alive.”

Colour is another way to do this - with bright or floral prints as the skirt’s lining or bright shoes for a flash of colour beneath longer lengths. Accessories help add personality when wearing white as well. See veils being traded for wedding hats by Instagram-friendly brides Emily Ratajkowski and Millie Mackintosh and Danish model Emma Leth wearing an XXXXL hat by Jacquemus for her wedding last year.

Seal sees all of this as part of a general “loosening up around weddings.” She says other formalities like garters and receiving lines - where the newly married couple are congratulated by guests - are also fading from popularity. This tallies with Lyst’s research into modern bridal wear. Instead of tradition, a more modern quality - comfort - is a deciding factor. Searches for gowns with pockets are up 83% and white personalised sneakers are a favourite to wear from ‘I do’ to the first dance. Ultimately, “there are no rules,” says Seal. “It’s about a day that represents you.”

To discuss ideas on music, food, venues, themes and any other elements essential to a spectacular wedding, please contact our professional wedding planners and get started right away: or call +44 (0)20 7760 2310

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