How to Know if the White Wedding Dress Isn’t for You

An Indian couple with the bride wearing a pink outfit and standing in front of a classic car after getting married.

You’ve probably been thinking about your wedding, at least on some level, since you first discovered what weddings were as a little kid. It’s natural to think about what the future holds—particularly when the future involves fancy dresses and cake—which is why so many brides have a vague idea of what they’d like to wear down the aisle before they even get engaged.

But just because many ladies know how they’d like to look as a bride, doesn’t mean that every look is the same. The classic white wedding gown isn’t for everyone; in fact, not every bride wants to even wear a gown! Should you wear a traditional wedding dress, or go for a look that’s out of the ordinary? Here are a few signs that an alternative wedding day style is right for you.

White Isn’t Your Color

A young bride and groom both wearing black outfits and walking on a grassy hill.

Brides have been wearing white for so long that some people think it’s the only “real” option. But it’s important to remember the reason why white became a popular choice for bridal attire (hint: it has nothing to do with the bride’s “purity”).

Queen Victoria popularized the look when she wore a white dress to her wedding—and she only picked the color because it made the lace detail on her gown stand out. Basically, Victoria wore a white dress because she thought it would look good! There’s nothing wrong with choosing a different colored gown if you think it will look better on you (and you can tell any judgmental family members that I told you so).

You’d Rather “Wear the Pants”

While searching for your wedding day outfit, you may discover that wearing white isn’t an issue, but wearing a dress is. Again, there’s nothing wrong with this (no matter what your grandmother may think); some girls are just more comfortable in pants than in a dress! Thankfully, there are plenty of classy options you can choose from if you want to rock pants on your special day.

If you want to stick with an all-white look, a white jumpsuit can be “bridal” while still being comfortable and easy to walk in (does anyone remember Solange Knowles’ cream jumpsuit for her wedding reception? STUNNING). Or, if you really want to switch things up, why not match your hubby with a tuxedo look of your own? These styles are effortlessly chic, and they’ll make cutting loose on the dance floor much easier!

You Can’t Find One Piece You Like

It’s the bridal Rime of the Ancient Mariner: dresses, dresses everywhere, and not a thing to wear. Visiting multiple shops is common when you’re looking for the perfect dress, but what do you do when nothing—literally nothing—is catching your eye? If none of the wedding gowns you see in stores or magazines spark your interest, it might be time to step outside the box and look for a wedding dress alternative.

For example, wedding dress separates can be a great alternative to the traditional gown. Choosing a top and skirt with different colors, patterns, or textures creates a more unique look which might appeal to you. And, who knows—you might come up with something even better than the designers did!

Traditional Gowns Don’t Suit Your Theme

A bride and groom standing in a wooded area and wearing rain boots.

Last year, I got married at a barbeque in my grandma’s backyard, and my dress could probably have been considered a “wedding dress alternative.” While it was a white dress, it wasn’t something I found in any bridal shop; it was a mid-length cocktail dress with printed roses and leaves across the bodice.

Some people may have thought it was a weird choice for a wedding dress, but here’s the thing: it was the perfect dress for our kind of party. If you ask me, a traditional wedding down would have looked out of place in the yard (and I wouldn’t have been able to join my young cousins in a water gun fight)! If you’re having a non-traditional wedding, you should wear a bridal outfit to match—even if that means looking for a wedding dress alternative.

You Just Don’t Want To

I’ll be honest, guys: something hasn’t been sitting right with me since I started writing this article. Here I am, trying to help you justify wearing a non-traditional gown for your wedding day. But the reality is there’s no justification necessary. On your wedding day, you have the right to wear whatever you want, traditional or otherwise!

Your wedding outfit should make you feel beautiful—and that means something different for nearly every bride. If you want to wear a classic white gown, go for it! But if you’d rather wear something different, that’s OK. Find something you love and wear it with confidence; at the end of the day, your opinion of your look is the only one that matters!

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