Is this bridal enough?: The great WHITE lie

Guest post by Ocelot

These gowns are both made by Allure. One is the Allure Wedding Dress 8802, and the other is from Allure's prom line Night Moves. Aside from perhaps a difference in belt width, this is the same damn dress — COLOR is the only difference. In white, this dress is about twice as costly because the white one is largely considered a lovely “once in a lifetime” gown and the grey is well… just a dress.

Doesn't that just twist your knickers?

I started off not wanting a lot of the normal wedding trappings, like flowers and so on. But, little by little, I've given into the ideas of some of these things in order to make others happy, or, because alternatives were too difficult or expensive. Somehow, I have latched onto “the dress” as the single thing I would have complete control over. Short of drugging me, one could not force me to wear something I didn't want!

However, I AM feeling the same pressures to “give in” to a gown in the white family, like ivory or eggshell. Maybe not pressure, but a general lack of support which all started with this one nasty sentence: “You don't want to look like a bridesmaid at your OWN wedding, do you?”

I wish I could remember who said it, so I could slap the shit out of her, but it wouldn't matter. I've heard so many variations on that particular cutting remark that I'd probably have a sore slapping hand by now.

A few people are immediately dismissive of a non-white dress, but over time they begin saying things like, “How will we know who the bride is?” and, “You will look like you're going to prom!” and everything in between. It's started to seep into the more doubtful and anxious parts of me and I start to wonder — “Is this BRIDAL enough?”

I don't even know what “bridal” means. Does it mean white and expensive? Because that's all I can find. If it's white, it's automatically bridal, no matter what it is. If it's any other saturated jewel-tone color, I feel I have to add things to ensure that BRIDAL feel — a veil, a train, a pile of flowers. I also feel like I'll have to find a “better” reason than personal preference to divert from white just so that people will understand.

If YOU'RE feeling pressure to “give in” to a white dress, check out these colored dress tags for some inspiration:
Red dresses
Blue dresses
Gold dresses
Pink dresses
Purple dresses
Black dresses

Sometimes I wonder who could be so stupid as to show up at my wedding at my request, and then not remember I'm the fucking bride without a visual cue. Maybe I'll huck the bouquet directly at 'em — that'll jog their memory!

I wish I could be more confident in the choice to go with a non-white dress. I see so many lovely women here with alternative apparel and I am so dazzled. I wish I could borrow their courage and their determination!

I would like to know how people came to their choices and stuck by them. Anyone want to share?

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Comments on Is this bridal enough?: The great WHITE lie

  1. It still comes down to the fact that it’s YOUR wedding. Whatever you feel is “bridal” enough for you is in fact “bridal.” If you want to wear a hot pink dress then so be it. It’s your day not your guests day. They are there to celebrate with you, not to berate you over your gown choice.

    • I’ve seen, on un-named wedding dress shows, pink dresses featured before – no one laughed at or questioned that bride.
      And besides – Wearing white is a relatively modern tradition – Queen Victoria, I think it was, wore white first – but before then, women just wore a pretty dress, in any colour!

      • I’ve seen that episode, and her family was a little unsupportive of her pink and leopard print wedding idea. But that girl picked out a beautiful dress that totally was still within her style! Oh, and you’re totally right about Queen Victoria starting the white trend, before brides would just wear their best!

        • really thought for a second you were talking about Queen Vic’s leopard print and pink idea.

      • The whole Queen Victoria wearing white trend didn’t even catch on until the post-WWII economic boom. After her, but before that, only extremely wealthy women wore expensive, elaborate white gowns to their wedding that would get dirty easily and that they would never wear again. Both of my grandmothers wore suits to their wedding. My paternal grandmother wore hers until it was threadbare and she had to get rid of it. I still have the outfit my maternal grandmother wore to her wedding. My maternal grandmother wore a grey pinstriped suit with a salmon pink hat and purse. I believe my paternal grandmother’s suit was a light blue, but their wedding photo is black and white, so it’s hard to tell. Also, as far as I know, Queen Victoria popularized the whole marriage-for-love idea. “Traditional” weddings really aren’t – they’re 20th century fashion trends.

        • So true. Neither of my grandmothers, nor my mother, or aunts
          (maternal and paternal) , or my sister wore white to their weddings. I can assure you that everyone present knew who the bride and groom were.Most of them wore shades of blue , powder, aqua, royal, navy, and cadet. I think two of them wore shades of brown, tan and camel.

      • Even after Victoria, wealthy women wore white but regular working and middle class women continued to just wear their best dress or a new dress in a style and color they could wear again.

        • Even the very wealthy used their gowns again, white and otherwise. It was not at all uncommon to re-modeled them to wear as evening gowns or cut them down to make christening gowns for first born babies.

          • all the family christening gowns we have are made from the mother’s or grandmother’s wedding dress, and we’re far from wealthy family background. If I ever get married+have a baby I’d love to include it but possibly a teal green christening gown would be a bit much… might have to borrow my mother’s…!

      • Queen Victoria did wear white but her bridal gown was geared towards austerity as the nation was going through tough times & she wanted to empathize with her future subject. Besides that ALL unmarried women (read virgins) wore white & pastels before marriage. I’ve even read somewhere that many young girls went off balance the day after the wedding & wore hideous colors & styles that were risque as they didn’t have enough knowledge to judge fashions.

        And as another commentator said, wealthy women wore white, true, but theirs were ELABORATE. In terms of pearls, gemstones etc sewn on the gown.

        So why in the world are we even dictating to ourselves the color we should wear to our own weddings?

    • You should always wear exactly what you want and what makes you feel special and happy for your most important day. Be yourself. I had a pink sash on my dress three decades ago when only white white white was the only dress you wore. No ivory or champagne or blush or Irish cream. I had to be a little rebel even back then. Who knows what I would even imagine wearing now. Whatever makes you happy, happy, happy.

    • A wedding dress/outfit is defined roughly as what the bride wears when she gets married. So, if you wear it when you get married, it is a wedding dress/outfit and it is bridal because as the person getting married you are the bride so anything you wear becomes bridal by definition. Period.

  2. I am wearing a cobalt blue Victorian style bustle dress. I decided this when I saw a bride wearing the same color on a post here on OBB. I have stood my ground and everyone is super excited to see me in it. My original plan was for my bridesmaids to wear turquoise….but then I decided on white. They are all choosing their own dresses in varying shades of white and pairing them with whatever brown boots they like. <3

  3. Here’s a rule of thumb (and this is a rule of thumb that anyone can buck if that’s their thing, but this is a rule for people with this sort of nagging feeling that they’re not “bridal” enough…:) Be the dressiest person there. Don’t want to look like a bridesmaid? Make sure your bridesmaids don’t wear flashier dresses than you. And if you’ve gotten the word out about the tone and mood (and dress code, if that’s something you want to dictate) of your wedding, then assume guests will be less flashy than you. Stand confident knowing that now, you look bridal.
    Now. Don’t want to dress flashier than anybody? Cool. You know how your guests will know who the bride is? She’ll be the one standing at the altar (or stage, or gazebo, or center of the circle or whatever.) Because smartass questions deserve smartass answers.

    For curiosity’s sake, I’d love to see a wedding where the couple instructs everyone around them to dress up–like, black tie style–and then shows up in jeans and t-shirts. GUESS WHO THE BRIDE IS NOW.

    • This is what we did. Our dress code was ‘semi-formal’ with some general hints on what that might mean like nice summer dresses or a nice shirt but skip the tie and jacket. Then I wore a dark blue prom/evening gown and my husband wore a really nice suit (not quite black tie, especially since the actual tie was red, but close).

      I think it made sure we stood out regardless of the colours. Although I’m also firmly in the camp of “if you can’t recognise the bride and groom regardless of their clothes what the fuck are you doing at their wedding?”

      • “if you can’t recognise the bride and groom regardless of their clothes what the fuck are you doing at their wedding?”
        AMEN! Even if they’ve never met you they should be able to figure out that the 2 people the ceremony is focused on are the bride and groom! It’s your wedding day and you need to feel comfortable and beautiful. If that’s not in white then so be it. And a big hint that I learned from this site… If people don’t NEED to know what’s going on, don’t tell them! It saves you a lot of heart ache leading up to it and very few people will have the gaul to say nasty things to you on your wedding day.

    • Yes! Being the snazziest dressed there definitely puts direction as to who is getting married. Then for partying I changed into something more casual.

      I went for white, because that was how I always imagined the dress to be (in those few times I dreamed of getting married). I spiced it up with accessories and a cloak that more represented what I was into and about.

      Also, I knew I didn’t want a dress that busted the bank for one day of wear. Got one on craigslist, sewed on some sleeves (strapless is not my thing), and now I plan on putting it back to craiglist at the same price so someone can also get some use.

    • Yes, yes, YES!

      I think that “GUESS WHO THE BRIDE IS NOW?” is a great sarcastic mantra to keep repeating to yourself. I find speaking in all-caps in my head extremely comforting, so its my new wedding meditation visual!

      I was worried I wouldn’t look formal enough, so from the beginning I asked my bridesmaids to wear above the knee dresses… that way even if I had found the cotton or silk flowy dress I thought I was looking for, I would still look fancy as long as it hit the ground and theirs didn’t. Plus, not only do they save money by buying shorter dresses, but they’re are more likely to wear it again without needing to hack off the bottom. Win-win. (Not that length is the ultimate determiner, it’s just the strategy I used – I think there’s lots of other ways to define fancy-pants-ness.)

      I bought a way more white/traditional looking gown than I thought I would, but I bought it because it met my number one requirement: that I look hot. That’s it. I think it was also liberating, because I’m pretty non-traditional so some part of me sort of worried that people would say, “oh that’s too bridal for YOU”. Actually, people did give me a lot of “you need sometime simple” advice, which actually steered me away from going simple because it felt confining…

      I was really really stressed until I just bought it, and the non-refundable deposit really made the calm economic part of my brain take over. No matter what someone says to me about anything to with the wedding, once there’s money down, no one gets to comment unless they’re offering to pay for something new.

      Even with my slight worry that someone might actually think my dress is TOO bridal for me, I’ve come up with the following defense: don’t tell anyone. My bridesmaids are also my bodyguards on the day of the wedding. My friends have seen the dress, but I’m telling family who I think might make dumb comments no matter what I wear that it’s a secret!

    • A friend of mine did this, He didn’t give a dress code, so we assumes suit and tie for the men. He showed up in (very nice) linen cream pants and a cheesecloth shirt. Everyone else was very formal.

  4. Oh, man. What a terrible thing to say to a prospective bride!


    What’s funny to me about the whole WHITE DRESS insanity is that it is a relatively recent phenomenon–Queen Victoria started it at her wedding to Albert in 1840. Before that, most women just wore their best dresses (Western culture).

    (Also? The White = Purity thing? Total crap. Blue, specifically the blue associated with icons of the Virgin Mary, was actually symbolic of that)

    Wear what makes you feel most beautiful, Lady Ocelot–black, red, white, sparkly–it truly doesn’t matter. πŸ™‚

    • I learned recently that Victoria wore a white lace gown, and her choice was economic! White was expensive and lace-making was a struggling English industry. She hoped (or knew) that by her wearing a dress like that, other (rich) brides would want to as well, and this would help spur the English economy. Oh, the power of fashion…

      • That is the most romantic reason I’ve ever heard for a super fancy dress. I love it.

  5. You should wear whatever makes you happy, of course. Only go for something else if YOU don’t feel like its bridal enough.

    I had somewhat the same feelings about my dress: I wanted color, but I also wanted it to look ‘bridal’ and not ‘evening dress’. Eventually I found one that had a typical weddingdress shape and a luxurious fabric. Although it was green, nobody could mistake me for anyone else but the bride.


    • That is the most beautiful green gown I’ve seen. (the green is not a qualifier, I’ve looked around for a lot of green dresses)

    • Mine was green, too! I started out knowing I wanted to wear green — and the second I saw this one online, I had to have it. Definitely no mistaking me for anyone but bride, either! (I did fashion some of my grandmother’s white, floral clip-on earrings for hair accessories, which I’m sure signified my bridalhood.)

      • And, to the OP:

        I am kind of an odd duck, anyway, so when people (more so acquaintances than anyone close) tried to put in their two cents, I would usually just smirk and say, “Yep! I’m wearing green and I am excited about it!” My closer relations and friends mostly just reacted with a “hmm. Green? I can get behind that.” and knew I’m stubborn enough that they didn’t want to ask any questions. heh.

        And, as you can see in the link I posted to Millenyum, I definitely looked the part. My sister’s maid-of-honor dress was champagne/silver, and no one mistook her for the bride, not even the elderly or deranged.

  6. I felt like I had gotten my dress for a steal because it wasn’t a “wedding gown.” It was just a regular ball gown I found at Cache. Since it was a champagney color that looked very bridal, the seamstress I brought it to couldn’t believe I had paid $250 for it because she had another bride come in with something similar that had paid well into the $1000 range. I didn’t really care where it came from, I just knew I had a general idea of what I wanted: something lacey, classy but sassy with a vintagey feel. I wasn’t even dress shopping when I stumbled on my dress on a sales rack and I soon as I saw it, I knew that was it. I think that’s the key–finding something you love enough that you don’t care what other people think. YOU love it and feel comfortable in it and that’s all that matters.

    • I stumbled upon my wedding dress at Cache, too! It’s white, but has brightly painted flowers on it. I actually bought it a decade earlier, but it was the dress of my dreams (literally, I have been dreaming about a dress with bright flowers on it since I was old enough to know what a wedding was) and still is.

  7. I went through a million choices before I settled on my blue gown made by Viktor Luna (pre Project Runway). I was so in love with Chrissy Wai-Ching dresses, but the cost was high and she was far away.
    Honestly, NO ONE will not know you are the bride on your wedding day. No one. And whatever you wear will automatically seem like a wedding dress, because YOU wear it and because YOU are the bride.
    Be confident. My blue dress was gorgeous and I have worn it twice since. Everyone loved it because they knew it was “me” so my advice is go with what is YOU. Be yourself. Even if yourself is eggshell, be who you are and who you want to be. Wear something that says, “I am Ocelot and I am marry the person of my dreams!!!”
    Good luck. And don’t compromise. You are right, the dress is all your decision.

  8. You should wear whatever makes you happy, of course. Only go for something else if YOU don’t feel like its bridal enough.

    I had somewhat the same feelings about my dress: I wanted color, but I also wanted it to look ‘bridal’ and not ‘evening dress’. Eventually I found one that had a typical weddingdress shape and a luxurious fabric. Although it was green, nobody could mistake me for anyone else but the bride.

  9. I am wearing red and i am getting a lot of the same comments. even my friends who are supportive are like ‘are you sure you aren’t going to regret it?’ i have never, in my life, coveted the white dress.

    i feel the same as you do. i’ll be the one saying vows, carrying a bouquet, making a speech and paying for your meal and drinks. yes, i’m the bride.

    i have twinges of second-thinking, then i look at the scads of other women who got married in NON-white/ivory/champagne/blush/ecru/platinum/whatever dress and dared to wear something else, and they look perfectly lovely and being as they are they ones getting married, yes, they look like brides!

    • I just bought a fairly traditional dress (very simple and elegant, I absolutely love it, and it was exactly what I’d budgeted) but I’m having some second thoughts because my partner wants me to wear a red dress (he spent many years travelling in Asia). Red looks really good on me, and I never wear white, but for this one day I want to be semi-traditional, for a change as much as anything else (also to show that I respect the traditions of the country I’m marrying into). But with so many choices out there, I think it’s totally natural to second-guess yourself a bit. Well done for going with what you really want and not letting anyone else’s opinion over-ride your choice of dress!

    • Red is a very common bridal color in Asian countries, and I’ve seen red bridal gowns in bridal magazines. It’s becoming practically mainstream.

      • In East Asia what typically happens is that there’s a white Western-style weddingy dress that is worn for awhile (the ceremony and reception are very separate events anyway) and for some pictures, and a red dress is changed into midway through the reception. Then there’s a going-away dress in a color of the bride’s choice (or more often than you’d think. the bride’s mother’s choice). All three are typically rented, not bought.

        • Heh, this has nothing to do with anything, but that reminds me of a funny story in my family:

          My aunt is of the half-German, half-British, American Euro-mutt variety, but her husband is Japanese, and they were married in Japan.

          So she did a traditional photo session with the fancy (rented) white and red kimonos, the traditionally-styled black wig, and the heavy white makeup; and when the photos came in, the studio asked if they could use her pictures in their ads. Of course, she was very flattered and accepted the offer.

          Some time later, she sees one of the ads, and the copy is to the effect of, “If we can make this white woman look this good, imagine what we can do for you!”

  10. “Sometimes I wonder who could be so stupid as to show up at my wedding at my request, and then not remember I’m the fucking bride without a visual cue. Maybe I’ll huck the bouquet directly at ’em β€” that’ll jog their memory!”
    I laughed so hard at this! Perfection. I am getting married in 8 months any every time I included someones opinion they got really pushy. I learned to just listen to your gut. Go try on those dresses you are eying up either alone or with ONE person that you know will be supportive. It’s your wedding girl, celebrate your marriage the way you and your partner pleases!

  11. I’m having the same problem! I really want a purple dress… but I still want it to be the same style as a wedding gown. This seems confusing for the sales people at all the bridal shops and for my own mother.

    WHY??? Why do I have to wear white? I don’t like white. I don’t even own any normal white clothes! I would feel much prettier in a color I like but it seems impossible to find.

    I’m also hesitant to order a dress online without being able to try it on first but I can’t find any nice colored gowns in person either πŸ™ Waaah!

    • Try Quinceneara dresses! These guys are found in any color under the sun (mostly jewel tones). Once the bridal consultant gets over the fact you’re not 15 they might have a better idea of what you want. I’m seriously considering getting one myself.

    • I was told that “purple dresses for brides do NOT exist!!” and wasn’t allowed to look in the bridesmaid/prom section whilst trying on wedding dresses. Like it was illegal or something.

      In the end I got my lovely purple pinstripe dress from the prom section. For Β£80. I had a budget of over Β£1,000. Their loss, not mine.

      Just don’t tell them you want a wedding dress.

      • Purple wedding dresses DO exist, you should have told them to check out Vera Wang, she has a whole collection!

        I decided to go with a simple white top with a full length lace purple skirt… to cover both bases (also made it super cheap). But I won’t tell anyone before the wedding (I won’t be having bridesmaids so no problems), any if anyone decides to tell a bride ON HER WEDDING DAY they don’t like the dress… well they can just rot in a white puffy hell!

  12. Amen to this.

    I’m considering royal purple for my big day. My ultra pale complexion means I will look rubbish in anything pale or pastel coloured but striking in something like that.

    But I am also lucky that I have no one, as yet, telling me what they think I should be doing and I haven’t been telling.

  13. I am having the same problem, and I want a WHITE dress. But since I don’t want a long fancy dress with a train, I am somehow being “un-bridal”. But I like my tea-length dress, and am excited that it is something I can wear again and again. πŸ™‚

    So far I have gotten very little support from the family/friends section, but FH loves it and loves my reasons behind it so that is enough for me.

  14. I wore sapphire blue on my wedding day and it rocked! No one was really surprised as I’ve always been the sort to go my own way, but I was still a tad bit nervous about the potential reaction of my more traditional in-laws. Everything was fine. More than fine, actually!

    If the dress makes YOU feel beautiful, sexy, elegant, <insert favorite adjective here) and BRIDAL (no matter the color)… then it's the dress for you!

    And you're right… if they are at YOUR wedding, hopefully they will know who the Bride is in any color!

  15. I too have never dreamt of a white dress. Heck, I worked at David’s Bridal for a month when I was in high school, and even then I just couldn’t imagine myself wearing any of the dresses there. My mom and I are making my dress, and I decided I wanted a blue dress. So far I’ve had a lot of positive reactions, mostly to do with my hair (it’s red) and how it will be a neat combo.

    Just tell people that for you, feeling “bridal”, is ensuring that you feel special on your big day..and wearing the color you chose is just the ticket!

    I’ve been letting any negative stuff roll off my back. I took some advice I saw elsewhere on OBB – check out the honeybadger video, and you’ll see what I mean πŸ™‚ Good luck!

    • Yes! The honeybadger video is a really really good idea if you’re feeling stressed.

  16. “Sometimes I wonder who could be so stupid as to show up at my wedding at my request, and then not remember I’m the fucking bride without a visual cue”

    LMFAO – so truthy in all truthosity.

    Strut your stuff in whatever color you choose!!

  17. i’m getting married in a short, peacock-blue rhinestone-strapped dress that very well could look like a beautiful dinner dress. but, for me, it’s perfect! and i don’t give a rat’s butt what other people say because it’s my day. also – i’m getting married to another woman, on the beach, in a super-short ceremony with a huge-ass party to follow and i WILL be comfortable. besides, if my guests can’t figure out who the bride(s) is, they shouldn’t have been invited in the first place because i obviously don’t know them.

  18. I am NOT doing a white dress, and had to calmly explain to many relatives that if the dress I choose to wear on MY special day didnt suit their pre-concieved notions of what a bride should look like, then maybe they readjust. My dress is emerald green. My engagement ring is an emerald not a diamond- so they were confused about that too. my FH was trying in vain to have me secretly pick a ring in the window but I kept going back to my ring telling him I liked it much better.
    At the end of the day its about what you want, are your friends and family really only going to remember the fact that your dress wasnt white or will it merely become a detail when thinking back on the beautiful day you and the Mr invited them to share with you?

  19. When I was contemplating non-white dresses, people told me the same thing. So I responded with one of my favorite lines from ‘Steel Magnolias’ “I’ll be the one in the veil down front.” They shut up about it.

  20. Just remember, it’s just like someone telling you they hate your new hat: Let them, it’s your hat and they aren’t wearing it; at a wedding, no one will be going “she wore this awful non-bride dress,” it will be “she looks so beautiful/happy/awesome!” All of those weird traditional things missing get hugely eclipsed by the joy people will feel while you’re getting married. Don’t worry, happiness is like an infectious disease- if you are happy in your shit on your day, everyone worth their salt will be, too.

  21. It’s really about what makes you feel like a bride. I hate shopping for white, my dress was yellow. But what made me feel like a bride was my veil, so i had to have one. You just have to decide what’s important to you.

  22. If it’s important to you for your dress to feel bridal but unique, and if you’re worried about upsetting your family with a dress that isn’t white.. consider Justin Alexander 8465. It’s got ivory lace, but a beautiful coffee blushy colored skirt. it’s not quite pink, not quite nude, or brown. it’s my dress and i’m super excited about it. it feels “bridal”, “special” but not cookie cutter..and i don’t think i’ll be “hurting anyones feelings” with it. πŸ™‚

  23. In all honesty, not only do I know exactly know how you feel but I sometimes wish I had that courage as well. I’m beginning to crack through my parents in terms of my dress, but there is so much more that I’d wish they would just let me take over on. I feel like maybe it has to do with them being used to planning things for me instead of just letting me do it. I hope that I find even more courage and eventually my parents will just let me voice my plans without any wincing from them.

  24. *huggles* I love OBB. Even if I was regreting my blue dress choice (which i’m totally not) you guys would have changed my mind with your support. Keep it coming OBBs!

  25. “Sometimes I wonder who could be so stupid as to show up at my wedding at my request, and then not remember I’m the fucking bride without a visual cue.” A-FREAKIN-MEN. That’s all I heard when I told certain family members that I wanted to wear pink, and that was my same response: If a guest can’t remember I’m the bride, maybe that person isn’t close enough to me to be invited?!? The whole thing seriously makes me feel ill. People should feel free to wear whatever they want on the day they get married.

    As for me? I was shopping for pink dresses (or blush or whatever) until I stumbled upon my stunning ivory gown at the Goodwill. So I’m wearing white after all, but my seamstress is adding some pink tulle underneath for me.

  26. I’m right there with you. I’ve always known I wanted to get married in a red dress. Except that now that me and the boyfriend are about to get engaged (ordered the rings last Saturday!), it turns out that he wants me in a white dress. I know I’ll wear a red dress, but it’s going to be a loooong journey for us to agree on the wedding, I’m offbeat and he’s surprisingly traditional. πŸ˜›

    • Hahaha, we’re the opposite – I want (and just bought) a cream-coloured dress, he wants me in a red dress. Oh well. We agree on most of the other things, and it’s been a good opportunity to work on our disagreement-resolution skillz. Besides, it would be really difficult to find a red dress that doesn’t clash horribly with his kilt! If your guy is wearing a suit, you won’t have that problem! He’ll think you’re gorgeous no matter what you wear – it’ll be the big smile on your face that he’ll be looking at!

  27. I am completely in favor of a dress in any color that you want. This is your wedding, your special day and it should reflect the individual touches that you want to have. I have seen many gorgeous brides in all shades of dresses. One of my favorite elements about weddings is how things are brought together to make a unique ceremony tailored to that couple. There is nothing wrong with listening to the advice of a trusted friend or wedding pro but these should only be taken as small tidbits of info and the bride should go with her heart on such important choices.

  28. For the small, religious ceremony, I actually stuck by my choice to wear a red dress. It was hard though – Red has so many contemporary negative connotations in Western society, that I knew I was in for a long fight. But I didn’t give in to the white dress lie for this ceremony because red was important to me, and I felt so far removed from the religious aspects of the ceremony, that I needed the red dress to represent me. I needed to wear it in order to create some meaning for myself. The Result? Everyone complimented me on my dress. Those that didn’t give direct compliments merely expressed pleasant surprise. Those who might have felt offended kept it to themselves. So at the end of the day, I realized it wasn’t worth worrying about the opinions of people who didn’t have the courage to tell me how they really felt anyway.

    • Red is traditionally a “lucky” colour in many Asian cultures. It was also popular in Ancient Greece- but I think that’s because they pelted the bride with fruit and nuts after the wedding as a symbol of fertility and red wouldn’t stain.

  29. I’d always kind of known I didn’t like white dresses but the thing that finally decided it for me was actually looking through bridal magazines. I’d flick though pages and pages of white dresses thinking “Yeah that’s ok”, “I kind of like the pattern on that one”…then I’d hit a blue or purple dress and instantly think “Wow!”. Deciding between an “ok” dress and a “Wow!” dress is a no-brainer to me.

    I did get some of the stupid comments about looking like a bridesmaid, but we solved that one – they wore red. 6 girls in red, one in blue. Which one could possibly be the bride?

  30. I’m getting married in a dress styled to look like the corpse bride dress but with a over dress added to it (I have thistheory that her dress was the slipfrom her wedding gown) I’m designing it myself and I’m adding lavender and blush pink hues to it. I’ve already heard flack from family and friends but I’m going to be beautiful in MY dress at MY wedding and that’s all that truely matters isn’t it? My guests are not getting married I am so my wedding should represent my FH and me right?

  31. Reading stories like this makes me feel so lucky that everyone I have had contact with has been really supportive of my decision not to wear white. I have heard so many women who had very traditional weddings say “I wish I’d had the courage to wear that beautiful red/blue/purple dress I tried on for a laugh!”.

    It makes me so sad (read – f’ing livid) that some people feel that you should have to dilute your personality just because it’s your wedding. It astounds me that people think that it is appropriate to question your choices! At the end of the day, you’ll look more beautiful if you’re comfortable in what you’re wearing.

  32. I’m wearing a dark blue dress for my wedding gown. I went into the bridal shop not even thinking I would pick a colored dress, but tried it on as a joke and fell in love. Really the guests know you are the bride, and the white dress thing has only been around for a small blip on the screen of human history. If it makes you feel like a bride to wear white, do it. Although other peoples’ comments might be difficult, you should be happy with what you are wearing on your day.

  33. I love the silver/grey dress in the post! I’m pretty sure I want something silver/grey, or maybe multi-colored for my wedding. I don’t wear white normally and I love bright colors so I definitely don’t want a white dress. I love silver dresses because they still feel fancy and “bridal” (whatever that means) without looking too much like you’re going to a prom.

  34. To me, it doesn’t matter what a bride wears. You can always tell which one’s the bride by the look on her face. That kind of beauty just takes over somehow.
    I will be rocking an antique-y gold gown ballgown with mauve accents. I tried finding a “traditional” ivory elopement dress, but I wear Hime Lolita all the time. I wouldn’t feel special in a short frilly dress similar to what I already wear. If people scowl at our wedding photos, oh well. :\ I’ll still feel beautiful.

  35. You can do it!

    I wore a deep purple for my wedding dress – had SO many comments exactly the same as you “how will people know who the bride is?”
    a) The girl up the front getting MARRIED!
    b) if you don’t know who I am, you’re not invited!!

    Ridiculous! People were even trying to convince me to wear a pastel purple colour “because it’s closer to white” – screw that. I wore my favourite colour and I looked and felt awesome – and that would not have happened if I wore white.

    Stick to your guns! Say it’s important to you – that’s all that should count!

  36. Oh honey πŸ™ I feel ya.
    Lucky for me, the one thing I was adamant about since I was 16 was that IF I were to ever get married (and I wasn’t fussed about that part) I would be wearing red… so lots of people had plenty of forewarning.

    Saying that, when I got engaged, my dress colour was only told to those on a need-to-know basis, or my “yes-men” (which I think Ariel or someone has referred to in previous posts).

    Anyone else found out on the day, because…well. No-one is going to say shit about your choices on YOUR day, and if they do, they deserve to be kicked the fuck out of your reception/ceremony/tribal hippy dancing party.

    Do what you want and be proud for being you.

    If your guests are anything like mine, they may be a little shocked at your choice of non-white dress, but they’ll all go on about how amazing it was that you were proud enough to be you, despite tradition. Luck!

  37. Friends should support you and your choices. After all it’s YOUR wedding day and I agree with all the comments of if someone doesn’t know it’s your wedding then they shouldn’t be there.
    You should be able to wear whatever you want and feel comfortable in. It should be “you”, not what other people think you should do.
    I’m going to wear a purple dress and I have actually had people say “I can’t imagine you wearing a white dress”, too bad if I actually wanted to wear one.. It seems we can’t win!

  38. Apoligies if this has been posted already, a funny video about “wedding flowers” vs “ordinary Flowers”

    I didn’t wear white to my own wedding but I did remember sitting next to my husbands aunt at his sisters wedding 3 months before our own wedding day.

    This aunt used to work for a big hotel that catered for lots of weddings and she said that she couldn’t tell one white dress from another. I remember cheekily telling her that “I think you’ll remember my dress”

  39. I wore a quinceanera dress for my wedding. I wanted a white dress but couldn’t stomach the price of wedding dresses – enter my dress for $250!

    That being said- wear what makes you comfortable. Plus, since you are the one kissing the groom at the end of ceremony, there shouldn’t be too much confusion on who the bride is. πŸ™‚

  40. Aah. I loved reading this and the comments.

    I just bought dress #2. Back up, dress #1 was a beautiful white with lace one purchased off of craigslist. I just didn’t feel comfortable. Dress #2 is a pretty earth, blush pink chiffon dress. I loved how I felt in it.

    My mother, who I now realize is my WIC, is the first person who said “you need to wear white, brides wear white”. The wedding industry must love my mom because she markets and advertises to me for them every day.

    I’m sticking with Dress #2.

  41. If I recall, correctly, the average bride of yester years wore their “best” dress on their wedding day. Basically they chose something out of their closet they already own. You can thank Queen Victory for starting the trend of buying, creating and wearing a white dress on your wedding day. She wanted to wear a white dress because the color meant something to her. So if your going to follow in Queen Victory’s footsteps. Pick a color, style for your own dress that is special to you. Its your day go sky clad [naked] if you want. πŸ˜‰

  42. I knew I never wanted to wear white. In the first place, I just don’t go in for that ‘purity’ symbolism & secondly, I don’t see myself looking good in it. My partner is of Welsh heritage, so he’ll be wearing a kilt. I wanted something to reflect my Scottish heritage, so I searched around & found a grey tweed dress designed by an independent craftswoman in Edinburgh. I teach in England in the summer, so last year I made a trip to Edinburgh, had a fitting, & brought the dress back! The dress is beautiful & while strangers raise an eyebrow, everyone who knows me is just happy to see me happy!

    • I’m from Wales and I’ve never heard of a Welsh kilt before! Will it be in a similar style to a Scottish kilt? I’m sure your dress will be stunning.

  43. This one sentence is my MANTRA and will be up until the day of!
    “Sometimes I wonder who could be so stupid as to show up at my wedding at my request, and then not remember I’m the fucking bride without a visual cue. ”
    I have always vowed that IF I ever were to get married I’d die before I wore white. And now it’s a constant battle reminding myself that white doesn’t make the bride…the other partner does!

    And really, it’d all be so much easier if we could do the damned thing naked πŸ˜‰
    All in a day of battling WIC I suppose.

    THANKS for this post!!!

  44. Is the dress bridal enough?

    Well, let’s see. You’re the bride, and you’re wearing it, sooooo…yes.

  45. “Sometimes I wonder who could be so stupid as to show up at my wedding at my request, and then not remember I’m the fucking bride without a visual cue. Maybe I’ll huck the bouquet directly at ’em β€” that’ll jog their memory!” BAHAHAHAHAHA that’s priceless

  46. Just wanted to say, I am wearing a white dress…because I look damn good in white. πŸ˜‰

    • This is a fantastic reason to wear a white dress!

      I have to admit I sometimes envy women who can pull it off because it can look stunning. Unfortunately it just makes me look washed out and kind of ill.

  47. It’s kind of amazing how much brides will spend on wedding apparel and accessories. I don’t blame ’em for wanting a pretty white dress… but $400 for a cubic zirconium necklace or $300 for a rhinestone headband made in china? Sometime when I see some of the price tags on bridal merch I think “no one in their right mind would spend that for THAT!” And then I am shocked. Because they d.

  48. I got a good chuckle out of this one because I’m going through the exact process right now. I’m going to be wearing a green dress and I have heard all the same questions and remarks. I am determined not to stray though. I will have my green dress dammit! I have come a long way recently in trying to stand up for myself and I find that the more comments I get about this choice the more I really want to do it. Don’t get me wrong- I still have plenty of days that I get thoroughly bummed out because it seems like so many people can’t seem to be happy/excited for your wedding if it doesn’t follow the traditional format. Like, oh, you’re not having a color theme? Nevermind- good luck with your ‘wedding’ *laughs hysterically behind your back*
    When it comes down the wire, think about how you’d feel after your wedding. Would you regret the choices you settled on? Or is it something that doesn’t matter all that much to you. If you fear that you’ll regret your decision to go traditional I say find just a couple of close friends that have your back and run with it! If people can’t be supportive of what makes you happy, they should not be at your wedding. It’s supposed to be a celebration of a milestone in your life and you ought to call the shots. Good luck. I hope you find some support here that you definitely need- don’t feel ashamed of wanting to be happy in your own way! We all love you here no matter what your wedding choices are.

  49. There’s one other difference between those pictures. The model in the “bridal” dress is either a lot thinner, or has been photoshopped. Likely the latter – never have I seen worse photoshopping than in wedding dress catalog shots.

    Anyway. I wore a jewel tone dress. It did not look like a bridesmaid dress (I was featured on OBB about a year ago so you can even go find pictures if you want). I did not have a veil or flowers, and while there was a train, it wasn’t what you’d expect.

    I still looked like a bride, because I was a bride and who looks more like a bride than an ACTUAL BRIDE? I think I looked more like a bride – because I WAS one – than some wedding magazine model in a white dress. Nobody wondered who the bride was.

    Yes, I got pushback from family over my choice of color, but when they saw the actual dress they thought it was great. It literally took until I could send them pictures of the finished product for them to come around, but come around they did.

    In the meantime, don’t give in. It’s worth it to allow a bunch of stuff you didn’t really want or care about (for me it was corsages and boutonnieres and a first dance, for you it could be flowers or whatever) to make others happy sometimes, but hold strong on your choice of dress. Either they’ll come around, or they lack the grace and tact (which doesn’t mean they’re bad people) to just shut up and love you for who you are. And their lack of grace and tact is not your problem, even when they are immediate family.

    • Models in bridal magazines also tend to look either angry or in pain recently. I’ve seen a lot that are kind of hunched forward with this miserable expression…they look like they’re having bad menstrual cramps. I’m not sure if this is exclusive to wedding magazines or a fasion trend generally but I’m a bit lost on how it’s supposed to help sell anything.

      Also I love your comment about no one looking more bridal than an actual bride. It reminds me of a conversation I had about Kate Middleton. My friend kept going on about how she needed to look like a princess and they’d better go all out to dress her like a princess…

      My argument was that she could be in jeans and a t-shirt and, after the ceremony at least, she would look like a princess. Whatever she happened to look like that is what a princess looks like. (And funnily enough there’s tons of other people who look nothing like her and yet also look like princesses.)

  50. i would recommend a few things…
    1. keep the party informal and close- not too many people and only the ones you love-that might take a bit of pressure off
    2. make an inspiration board for your wedding, see where your dress fits into that. it is also something physical you can show people so that they begin to understand your vision (including the dress). maybe you can make your dress’es color one of the “wedding colors” and your bridesmaid’s the other color- that way it will look very put together and you will have a bit of conceptual support behind your dress’s color. oh! also-maybe have the groom wear a matching tie.

    for the record-i am having much more fun picking out colored dresses- i got bored of the white ones.

  51. Oh the insidious trap of “bridal”. I showed my fiance pictures of dresses I liked. His response: “That doesn’t look like a wedding dress.” My response: “If I’m wearing it on my wedding day, then it’s an effing wedding dress.” That crafty WIC, working on our significant others.

    I did do the whole bridal salon thing, and I looked great in lots of long white dresses. Did any of them feel like me? Hell no. So I decided to go with a custom blue & ivory corset and skirt combo. It’s probably the most offbeat thing I’m doing in my wedding. And my mom and grandmother? They both said, “Oh that’s cool! I’m so sick of brides wearing white.”

    And my fiance? He’s totally accepted my choice, because it makes me happy.

  52. I am wearing a silver dress for my wedding. It is a lighter tone, so when it is in the sun it reflects any colour near it. It reflects the bridesmaids dresses so well.

    I can’t wait to wear it. It’s really up to the bride!

  53. Ignoring the real point of this post, which I get, I feel obligated as somebody who spends a lot of her time in fabric stores to point out that the fabric may actually account for a great amount of the cost difference between these two dresses. Shiny beautiful white fabric that is still shiny, white and beautiful by the time that it was made into a dress and photographed (because cheap fabric does not photograph well) probably cost quite a bit.

  54. I had to get a custom made dress cause I just couldn’t find anything that felt right. Half… Well more than half. Like I dunno 3/4ths?(im terrible at math and measurements) is some offwhite color. The bottom is a pastelly rainbow tulley clowd of lovely ness. πŸ˜€ :D. I choose white because.well. It goes really good with rainbow haha, I didn’t want black(although that would be fucking awsome) and I guess I coulda picked another color. But I also have a vision in my head of a cathedral length pink veil and I didn’t want it to get too overwhelming. πŸ™‚ whites just a blank colorless thing. Which is why it worked with me cause everything else(bouquet hair shit. Part time shoes) will be rainbow. Eff em. Tell them to shove it. Look like YOU on your wedding day. Not a ‘bride’.

  55. I wore a blue “bridesmaids” dress and rainbow stripy shoes and I still felt “bridal because everyone was looking at US the people getting married!! If people judge you that’s their issue, don’t waste your precious energy worry about them, do what makes you feel happy!!!

  56. I hate to be “that” person, because I loved this article and all the comments – but the bridal one also has a substantial train.

  57. Ha! I told my mother in law about the dress after we told her that we were engaged, and my FIANCE told them “Well, I’ve only been to prom once, so I guess it’ll be fine.” He got it so bad later that night, but once I showed the dress to them, they were a little more supportive. But I told everyone who argued that I needed a white dress flat out that I looked like the michelene man in white, and goddammit I was going to wear my red dress. It was less than $200 bucks, and they could suck it because guess what? It’s not THEIR wedding day. It’s mine. Most of them have already had their chance.

  58. You won’t look like a bridesmaid, because you’re going to be the bride! This is crazy! Maybe it’s easier for us in France because we don’t have wedding parties and prom, so the bride’s dress can’t really be compared to someone else’s, but seriously… You’ll be the prettiest, happiest person around that day (except for the person you’re marrying), because you’re the one getting married, and people won’t be able to mistake you for another one, even if they didn’t know you. And as some commenters said at the beginning, if you want to be sure to stand out no matter what dress you have, give the guests some clothing guidelines. A friend of mine got married last year in a dark blue dress. She didn’t get it from the bride dresses section but the evening dresses one. She was stunning, because it was totally her! And she asked the guests not to wear blue, so that she would stand out, which I thought was perfectly right. She’s the one that made me think about how you could get married in any dress and be a beautiful bride. I thought I was going to get married in a big white dress, so I went to try some. But nothing clicked, nothing felt right, I didn’t feel like myself. I realized during those sessions that I was the only one would could really decide and whose opinion really mattered (with FH’s opinion) because my friends are not me, they didn’t feel what I felt and were enthousiastic for things I didn’t like so much. It’s such a personnal thing! I don’t buy my clothes because others like them, but because I find them nice and feel great in them. Your wedding dress shouldn’t be any different. You should get married in a dress that makes YOU feel nice and pretty and feels like you. And it will be “bridal enough” just because it will be your wedding dress.

  59. I’m wearing black. Black black black! I say wear what you want because, hell you’re getting married not them. And I so agree with the bride thing, you’re inviting them! They should know who you are!

    Oh and if you look at cheap sites like:
    there is the option of picking ANY dress in ANY color! It’s pretty awesome, same style, different color! Good luck!!!

  60. I personally am probably going to wear something in the white-ish family, but I think it’s absurd that it has now become a requirement. My own grandmother was married in 1950 in a very nice little suit-dress style outfit. It looks dark gray in the photos, but I think someone might have told me it was red in person. I should ask her. Anyway, nobody thought that was at all strange at the time. She rocked it with a cute little pillbox hat.

    When we talk about brides in white dresses, it’s a Victorian status symbol thing resurrected by marketers under the guise of tradition. Nothing more, nothing less. People can talk about symbols of purity or love all they want, but it’s a way to separate people from their money. If you are, like me, willing to be separated from some of that money in the name of having a white-ish dress, that’s fine. But there’s no reason it should be mandatory for all.

    • Actually the long dress, pouffy sleeves were how Victorians dressed in everyday life. They didn’t wear sleeveless, backless or even strapless dresses. Such gowns would been viewed as ‘fast’ and the bride in question would’ve been branded a whore. And yes, great marketing ploy!

  61. People who still think wedding dresses must be white are several years behind the curve. Blush dresses have been common for a couple years and I’ve seen various pastels in collections too. Heck, Vera Wang had straight up smoke and black dresses in her last collection, boy did that cause a stir in the fashion world! So really, having a colored dress these days could just as easily be passed off as being fashion forward. However, there is a line to walk because some dresses can come off as prom-ish in styling. Look for higher end detailing, better fabrics, and heavier construction to avoid that.
    Personally, my dress is white just because I wanted a white dress. I’m sure other colors would look lovely, if not moreso since I’m a proud snowflake guaranteed to be washed out by my dress. I’m creating my own dress so it’s not like every detail hasn’t been in my complete control. I just want a pretty long sleeve, lacy, sparkly, keyhole-backed, floofy white dress. At least lots of my crystals will be blue!

    • I totally agree! I think cheap looking detailing or fabric look more “prom” to me, than any color. That being said, if you want to look prom, go for it! I think your advice is spot on for those wanting color, but not a prom feel.

  62. I have been married twice. The first time was hurried and I stuck to very traditional things. I have never thought I looked good in any shade of white, but I wore an ivory dress. It washed me out and made me look awful in the pictures.

    I recently remarried and refused to wear white or ivory or anything pale. I have a 5 year old son, so the whole virgin gig is definitely up. Instead, I wore the closest I could find to my husbands favorite colour, a deep indigo gown, which looked great on me, and I put a pale pink shrug over it. Instead of a veil or tiara I had a ribbon headband and wore felt flower in my hair and on my wrist. He wore gray pants a vest, and we both wore converse. I don’t know whether or not I looked “bridal” but I did look like myself. No one at the wedding seemed surprised or put off by what I was wearing. As long as you are true to you and own the outfit, you’ll be beautiful.

    We did have a couple of people at our hotel that night ask if we were coming from the local prom… they did seem surprised when we told them we had just gotten married, but at the point we were both to happy to care!

  63. Dear Ocelot,
    you ask how others came to their choices and stuck by them. I compromised and I SO regret it.
    do what makes you happy and you will have that amazing aura of joy that brides do so no one will mistake you for anything else.
    then again, if they don’t know you’re the bride, why are they at your wedding?

  64. I absolutely agree that anyone you’re inviting to the wedding should recognize you as the bride without a giant white dress. If not, why are they there?

    Anyways, as for my choice, I don’t look good in white. I don’t own anything white. And I figured if I’m going to spend a silly amount of money on a dress, why not spend it on something I will look fabulous in and be able to wear again? So I had a local corsetiere friend make me a fantastic black cherry red dress with saffron highlights that was in two pieces (corset and skirt). I felt amazing in it, way better than I would have in something “bridal”. I also didn’t feel the need to add any accessories that screamed “OMG I’m the bride!”. I carried a feather bouquet and wore a matching fascinator (with an octopus pin in it!). No veil, no flowers, no train.

    But I’m pretty sure everyone was easily able to figure out who the bride was! πŸ˜‰

    (Well, except for the random passer-by who thought that my sister was the bride! She was standing outside the venue during the dancing and was wearing a white wiggle dress with black flowers embroidered on it, and a lady walked by and congratulated her and said she looked lovely!)

  65. Here’s my dress story, and I hope it gives you some hope and incites you to stick my your choice!

    I’m doing an Art Nouveau/ mashup 20’s wedding, and I knew no matter what ideas, themes or colour schemes I chose for my wedding that I would never be that girl in white. I wear white on occasion, but I am a jewel-toned kind of girl and I’ve always wanted to have a blue dress. My grandmother got married in a stunning 1950’s royal blue suit dress, and she was always wickedly stylish. I went dress shopping recently with my bridesmaids, my brother and my mom. I live in Montreal, and there’s a huge traditional, Mediterranean community that pretty much runs the garment industry here. That said, I was extremely nervous to go into these bridal shops and tell them I wanted a colourful dress–I was originally thinking peacock or lavender or turquoise but I was open to any colour, really. I received mostly scalding looks and sarcastic comments from the consultants about how I wasn’t being “serious” about my wedding, and I replied to most of these consultants that they weren’t being serious about their jobs, seeing as their job is to help me find something I love, so we got the heck outta there. Eventually we got to the last bridal shop on our appointment list, and after convincing the consultant that I would NOT look like a girl in a prom dress because DUH I’m the one in front of everyone saying the vows, she enthusiastically starting picking out ballgowns from the party section of the store. My friends and family also went to town suggesting colours, styles and it ended up being a great day. Eventually, I chose a lavender-grey dress that I felt comfortable, happy and totally glamorous in, which is the point. When you get up and get dressed in the morning, do you opt for clothing that makes you feel awkward or that doesn’t suit your personality? Why should you pick a dress that doesn’t bring out the best in you? As for courage, it helped me to have supportive people with me on the day of my search; they stuck by my decisions, and never questioned my choice to be a little different, even if they themselves had all been married in white dresses. After I tried the dress on, a sixteen year old girl at the shop also tried it on, for her prom, and that made me laugh.
    Your wedding may or may not be the ‘most important day of your life’ (maybe the most important party of your life? possibly the most you’ll spend on a dress in your life?) so I say, you’re the one wearing the damn thing, so you get to choose. Good luck, Ocelot! I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

  66. My fiance and I met in a thunder storm. So my gown will be (it’s being made) storm cloud gray…and silver and blue. A comment had been made about a white dress and virginity. Seeing as how my fiance and I will have been living together/sharing a bed for 5 years by our wedding day…well…you get it.

  67. I wore a blue dress as my bridal gown and loved it. I did receive those pre-wedding comments of how are they going to be able to tell who the bride – which were just silly. My bridesmaids are awesome, but were determined and united in looking different from me (I gave them dress style freedom) and all chose short dresses versus my long. This wasn’t necessary, but it made them all feel better.

    For myself personally, blingy up my dress with crystals, getting fancy hair, make up and accessories and having a unique bouquet gave no one any doubt who the bride was and I felt like a bride too.

    Afterwards, those not at the wedding saw my pics and said your blue dress is fantastic and some were a bit envious too. I only had one person give me attitude about not being in a white dress and that goes to show you can only please yourself.

    Also if you need some convincing I did wedding dress color research and color research. White is really for baptisms, not marriages. Queen Elizabeth was innovator for wearing white lace which she wore for sentimental reasons. The industry just went with it and it has been really good marketing ever since.

    I love blue and it is the color of loyalty and strength. It is traditional for russian and irish women to wear in earlier times for future prosperity in their next life. Other colors have great meaning too, just find which one you feel most in home in.

    Best of luck to you.

  68. I did have one of my future sister-in-law’s say to me before the wedding “what should I wear since it’s more informal? I mean, what will you be wearing?” I responded “I’ll be the one in the wedding dress and known as the bride!”

    Yes, we had a fairly informal wedding but there was still no mistaking me as the bride in my turquoise 1950’s cocktail dress and ruby red handknitted shrug. The groom in his full kilt regalia gave it away as the other half of the birdal couple.

    I agree that if you need a white dress to mark out the bride then you’re pretty dim. My family and friends knew me well enough not to expect white and were probably just relieved that I didn’t turn up in some of my more bizarre outfits throughout my fashion past πŸ™‚

  69. I wore a pale gold dress for my wedding. I didn’t have any negative comments about it before or during the wedding, so I didn’t experience any of the pressure you’re describing. But people knew who the bride was because a) we only invited people we were close to, and b) I was the one up at the front taking vows with the groom, remember me? I was also fairly dressed up, the dress was strapless with a full-length big skirt, and I was wearing big earrings. But again, people already knew who I was.
    My money-saver was to try on a prom-type dress and then order it in a pale-gold color. Vastly cheaper than a “bridal” dress, even though some of them were available in the color I wanted. I also didn’t want a train, so that was perfect. No matter what color you want to wear, if that’s the kind of dress you’re into, I’d totally recommend trying on prom dresses. A lot of them are available in tons of colors, even white, so it’s a good option for people who want to wear white too. You won’t look like you’re going to prom because you’ll be at a wedding.

  70. “Sometimes I wonder who could be so stupid as to show up at my wedding at my request, and then not remember I’m the fucking bride without a visual cue. Maybe I’ll huck the bouquet directly at ’em β€” that’ll jog their memory!” Made me literally laugh out loud at work-Oops! I couldn’t agree more though!

  71. I hate the whole “how will people know you’re the bride?” argument. How about the fact that most people don’t invite random strangers to their weddings? If people don’t know you’re the bride, why are they at your wedding? I say wear what you want. Looking back at your wedding in 20, 30, or 50 years are you going to remember all the dress nay-sayers? Or will you remember that you felt absolutely beautiful while you married the love of your life? Forget what people say is “normal”. Normal is usually boring, and nobody wants that.

  72. Oh my gosh I feel your pain! I have also found myself slowly caving into other people’s ideas of what a wedding should look like.

    I was completely against flowers, mainly because I do not have anything even remotely resembling a green thumb, flowers will be dead in a day, and because it seemed that “wedding flowers” were way over priced. Now I am considering incorporating flowers at select locations in our venue and while it is a compromise and I love compromises it does feel a little off… like I gave in.

    As far as the dress, be strong! Go with what feels right, even if it ends up being white!
    I was going back and forth between a white dress and a colorful fun dress. One of my many plans for looking like a bride and not a bridesmaid if I went with a colorful dress was to put the maids in white. Then I would be the beautiful sparkling jewel amongst the fade into the background white dressed ladies.

    What I ended up with is a tea length white wedding dress (in the front) which angles to the floor in the back and creates a train. I plan to bustle it after the ceremony so I’ll end up with a tea length dress! I found the dress for under $600 at David’s Bridal. I now plan to find some kickass bright colored shoes and a fun shrug to spice things up!

    Good luck and be true to you!

  73. Everybody knows how expensive weddings can be, and it feels insane to tack on hundreds of dollars for a dress you will NEVER WEAR AGAIN – you’d think people would laud you for being a thrifty genius and buying that half-price gray dress! That said, I’m in the very same position of caving to the white steamroller, because apparently my Mom can’t even conceive of a wedding in which the bride wears a *gasp* color that’s not *gaspgasp!* white. Suddenly I can’t remember why we decided against eloping…

  74. another story: both of the moms were terrified about me not wearing white. but since the groom hates suits and especially ties i didnΒ΄t want to “make him” wear and we searched for a more comfortable option… we had both our outfits sewn for us, i had a blue/red medieval dress made for me by a seamstress i found on the german version of etsy. it cost me 270 euro, which is a steal. when we told people itΒ΄s gonna be non-formel, “more medieval-ish” some people really couldnΒ΄t imagine how thatΒ΄ll go. i love my dress, and everybody loved it and we had a perfect wedding! heck, my maid of honour wore white and nobody cared…

    it is your day and you have to feel good in what you wear. the others will come around! if not, their loss, not yours!!!

  75. Clearly, this is a little too late for you specifically, but for other brides in this situation, just don’t tell anyone. Do what you want, then let people be surprised when they get there. I find that most people like to criticize during the planning stages of weddings, but very few people are rude enough to say anything negative to you at the wedding. Not to mention, as many OBBs have said on here, people might not get it when they’re told about it ahead of time, but once they see the whole thing together, it makes sense.

  76. I wore a beautiful orange dress that was actually a discontinued bridesmaid/formal dress. I paid $20, ripped the beads off, and added an antique brooch and antique lace capelet. I put the word out early that I would be in orange and noone ever said anything disparaging to my face. I’m sure people though I was crazy and I saw a few raised eyebrows when it was discussed but the comments by those who were there and those who’ve seen photos since have all been gushes of love and awe. Make it your own. People will respect it and many of them will be envious.

  77. I was asked by my then future Uncle in law why I wasn’t wearing white to the wedding at a reception for someone else’s wedding.

    I silenced him by saying:

    “Because Nigel I am *not* a virgin”

    I recommend it (despite white for virginity being historically innacurate) it does shut people up.

    I was worried about not feeling bride-y enough on the day. I shouldn’t have done. It was amazing and that was helped by the fact that I wore a dress I loved (although looking back I could have worn a bin bag and have had just as much of an awesome time).

  78. Two offhand thoughts. Funnily enough, they’re related. While I can’t believe the extreme price difference that appears once somethjng becomes white, a Small price differencec is justifiable. Pristine white fabric is a real bitch to keep clean. One gust if dusty air hits it and it’s all over. Your dress is damaged. Same goes for working on it. Anybody working with expensive white fabric has to be surgery clean before they touch it, or it’s soiled before it hits the rack. Now onto the second thought, and, like I said funnily enoughm they’re related. One of my crucial criteria for the dress is that I be able to wear it (or parts of it) after the wedding. White cloth, particularly white cloth that can’t handle a trip through the “heavy” cycle and a cup and a half of bleach just doesn’t have staying power.

  79. I love the idea of getting married in, say, green and having the bridesmaids in white/ivory πŸ™‚ I may be staying a virgin til I marry, but that doesn’t stop white from totally washing me out!

  80. It’s YOUR wedding day! Wear whatever you like. I wore a black pencil skirt with black tights and knee high boots and a green and blue printed shirt to my wedding. My husband put on his khaki slacks and a blue button up, shoes with no socks cuz he hates them, and we went down to the courthouse with my parents and got hitched. πŸ™‚ Couldn’t have been happier and if I had it to do over again I would do the same thing!

  81. Even as someone who is going down in ivory, you got it right on the money in your last paragraph; who is going to your wedding and is unaware that you’re the bride? Was the bouquet not hint enough? Your placement in the processional? Your spot during the ceremony? Or how about how likely all of them know you?
    If someone still doesn’t know you’re the bride, they may need an ambulance.

  82. I think as long as the bride is wearing it then yeah, that’s ‘Bridal’. It’s completely your choice what colour you wear, although most people I know who had coloured wedding dresses (who weren’t going very gothy) sort of nodded towards the white tradition. White lace overlays, white bodices with coloured skirts (or vice versa) or (my fave) coloured underskirts that peek from an otherwise white dress. I don’t really see the point of an all white dress, its overdone and any embellishments short of glitter won’t even show up well.

  83. I am wearing a black dress and have gotten nothing but compliments. It’s a very lacy vintage, swing dress. i am a plus size bride and look stunning in black, so i figured that i should just wear a beautiful black dress, everyone is soo supportive and thinks it’s a great fit. I have never said i wanted a white dress, even when i was a little girl. lol

  84. I find it interesting that no one worries about being able to tell who the groom is, despite traditionally wearing exactly the same thing as the groomsmen. His outfit might be slightly different, like a different corsage, but nothing else.

    I’m undecided about a white dress or not. Tradition and what people say don’t concern me since I might be eloping and will have few guests anyways. But I do like some of the white dresses that I see, and want to wear something special. I don’t want to worry too much about being able to wear it again because I likely won’t have an occaison to wear something that nice, even if it only costs a few hundred bucks.

  85. I wore silver for our wedding a couple of weeks ago and everyone loved it. I’d not told many people what colour my dress was but suffice to say that I have incredibly pale skin and white did not flatter me in anyway. I always knew it wasn’t going to be white for this reason but also because I wouldn’t feel “me” in it- go with what you’re happy with and what you want- don’t worry about everything else. Some decisions affect other people, some decisions affect people other than you less and I think this is one of them- it is a day for the two of you and you should look how you want. You’ll probably be surprised about how people feel about it on the day- I was surprised by everyone’s positive reactions.

  86. Full-length bridesmaids dresses that come in a huge variety of colors often come in white, champagne, and ivory. I see no reason why they wouldn’t make stunning bridal gowns.

  87. Don’t give into the white dress craze, be yourself, wear whatever color makes you happy.
    I am also not wanting to wear white. Check out Vera Wang’s Fall 2011 Bridal collection, I am saving up for ‘Gracie’ an awesome Grey Tulle column bridal gown. There are also very cool options in the Spring 2012 collection and even Nude and Black ones in her witchcraft Fall 2012 collection. The only thing that sucks about these amazing non-white bridal gowns is the price. Probably $3K-$10K. Gracie is $3,990.00

  88. Thank you so much for this post. I think it really reflects well on those that deviate from the “norm.” I also did not wear white and I wrote about it on this site

    People think when you “shun” tradition that you’re just trying to be edgy or crazy or cause controversy. They accuse you of not thinking things through. They, however, could not be more wrong. I think when people do things differently they think about it so much more than people who just take a wedding guide and pencil in the same-old, same-old.

    It does take courage. It also takes the support of people who love you and who will stand up for you. When I was hesitant about my blue dress because of what people might think, my awesome sister said “If the most shocking thing people ever see in their lives is a bride in a blue dress then they need to get a life.” Seriously we have so many bigger problems in the world.

    I tried to like white dresses. I really did. I tried ones with splashes of color, ones that had feathers and ones that were mini style. I really wanted to find that white dress and make it “me” but in the end the dress that would ultimately be “me” would never be a white one.

    I agree with all the posters that say you would be happiest on that day being you. I am over the moon that I can look at my pictures and show them to people and know i stood my ground. Those feelings will last so much longer than a few glimpses of fear or anxiety. Your wedding is forever, not people’s reactions to it!

    STAY STRONG SISTER!!!! People like you make me know life is worth living on our own standards!

    And for the record, I never heard one disparaging remark. I heard what every other bride hears, “You look amazing.”

    • Alexandra, I read your article when it was posted on the blog front page and I loved it. Especially the Dawkins quote, which I felt summed up my feelings on a lot of things exactly. I’ve shown your post to people saying “If you love me, you’ll read and understand this.” A bit dramatic but sometimes a gal needs to be!
      It’s difficult to be ‘different’ in a sea of white taffeta and people putting pressure on me. If it weren’t for Offbeat Bride, and people like you, I’d have gone straight nutter-butters by now. Thank you. Thank everyone. Thanks for the encouragement!

  89. I think that a bride should feel free to wear whatever color she wants, for whatever reason; if you like another color better, or find a dream dress in another color. On the flip side a bride should feel free to wear white even though the wedding industry has made it into a ridiculously expensive purchase and most practical wonen such as yourself Just dont want any part of feeling like they’ve Bedn had.
    Don’t let the cost difference be your deciding factor. There’s a lot of ways to purchase a beautiful gown in your price range ( white ivory or otherwise) without feeling like you’ve made an impractical choice.if you’re starting to lean toward more traditional (as I found myself doing when it came to the dress) because you just like the vision of yourself wearing white on your wedding day then go for it. Or for another color for that matter But truly make the decision based on your gut not because you are trying to defy your family conventions and yucky comments, not because you’re defying the Wedding Industrial Complex, because there are plenty, plenty of ways to do that. First step: be true to yourself. Second step: get out there and start trying on dresses! Bridal salons, department stores, consignment shops, sample sales, online stores with a friendly return policy, just start trying on white and other colors and see where your preference is. How do you feel in the dress? Let that be your guide (along with your budget- be true to your budget! No need to sell out).

  90. Don’t feel like you have to ‘give in’ and get married in a white dress. It is you day and you must wear what you like! I am getting married in 2 months and my sparkly purple wedding dress with fairy wings is getting made as we speak πŸ™‚

  91. I went with a pink dress. I didn’t intend to go the non-traditional color route, but when I tried it on, it was just perfect. Then I just built the colors of everything else around the dress, so it wouldn’t clash (we were originally going to use orange as an accent color, but switched to lavender.) I think when you find the right dress, you won’t care what anyone thinks about the color. If you feel good in it, go with it.

  92. I wore a blue calf-length bridesmaid’s dress for my wedding – solved the problem of looking like a bridesmaid by having just a flowergirl and no maids.

    I wondered, for about 0.1 of a second, if I might regret not going for the big white dress but then I remembered a) I can’t move well at all in full-length formal wear, I look like an idiot and b) I wanted to look like *me* getting married, not like ‘a bride’ and ‘me’ doesn’t do white (unflattering on my pale skin, easily stained by my messy eating) or big.

  93. i had ideas at first about dresses, showed them to my intended, who was underwhelmed (i think she was imagining something slightly less casual). then, i showed my next round of dress ideas to my best friend, who said, “we’re gonna get you something much more special than that to wear to your wedding!” the dresses were all bridesmaid dresses, but essentially the same cuts as bridal gowns, but in colors i would actually wear.

    now, i’m starting to look at ivory dresses, and the price tag keeps creeping up. i felt bad for being influenced by other people, but a) i still might get that casual, purple dress, and b) my dress ideal is to feel beautiful, and that will ultimately be something i decide. period. i know that in the moment, my partner will love how i look, especially if i feel gorgeous, because that’s when i look radiant.

    i made the decision to do my first round of serious dress shopping in the company of two college friends who share my aesthetic and are very kindred spirits. having them there will keep me focused on who i am, and keep me true to that.

    now, to stop hearing that friend’s comment in my head as i evaluate dresses…

  94. I know this blog is a bit old but I have just found it when googling “anything but white” and loved it as I am in exactly the same position. The usual response I get when I say I don’t want to wear white though is “Oh so what do you think you will go for? Ivory or champagne?”. I have tried saying no I want a colour but they just don’t get it! I am certainly not backing down though and I love all the ‘quirky’ touches me and my OH are adding to our day.

    • Go for the color! I am wearing red to my wedding. If white is not for you, then do what makes you happy!

  95. I am wearing a red wedding dress to my wedding. Personally, I want to stand and not look like every other girl who has worn white to her wedding. I an in the entertainment industry and have seen a LOT of wedding dresses, and after a while they all start to look the same. So, to me personally, white is overdone and boring, not how I want to be on my wedding day. But red totally fits my personality, and I have gotten a lot of positive feedback when I tell people I am wearing red. If people don’t like it, that is their problem. It is not their wedding. Do whatever you feel comfortable in, what you feel beautiful in,and what you feel like yourself in.

  96. I never thought much about a wedding dress (how I hate all that ‘every woman has dreamed about her wedding day since she was a little girl’ crap) but once, in my teens, I saw a picture in a magazine of someone getting married in a coloured dress and a cool headpiece and that stayed with me as my choice when the day came.

    In the end I got a mid-calf length sapphire blue bridesmaid dress – we were having a country wedding in a barn and a full-length dress wouldn’t be appropriate, plus they don’t suit me anyway as I’m only just 1.6m tall, plus I don’t know how to move in them and would have looked and felt uncomfortable.

    Some people, like my sister, look naturally stunning and elegant in a long white gown, but I am not one of them!

    I had a custom-made hat and shoes, but my outfit still cost less than half the price of a regular wedding dress alone.

    I did occasionally worry it might not look bridal enough, but then I remembered I didn’t want to look like a bride- I wanted to looked like ‘me getting married’.

  97. Ocelot,
    First of all, I’m sorry you had so much trouble with that, it’s just awful! It’s your wedding, and people need to respect that.
    I recently have experienced a similar thing, not in color, bus length of the dress. The more and more I tried to search for the right dress, I found myself loving the slightly vintage inspired just above the knee type frocks. More and more, I was looking longingly at cute little white wears that would leave me room to dance and wear converse.
    Moral of the story (and due to the date on this, you’ve probably already figured it out, but here’s my piece) is that it is your day. A day for you and your partner to celebrate your love. You should seek what makes you feel happy and beautiful and joyful. If you’re happy with your choice, it’ll show πŸ™‚
    Stay strong tribe sister! πŸ˜€

  98. In response to “How will we know who the bride is?” – if they dont know who you are than why are they at the wedding in the first place. A Wedding is the celebration of a relationship and if you want to celebrate that by rocking in a red and black stripped dress – all power to you. The only thing that should make you reconsider your wedding choices are the opinions of your future husband.

    Its probably too late since you wrote this a while ago but Good Luck finding a wedding dress that YOU love!!

  99. Perfect post for me to read today! I was browsing white dresses again, anxious that my navy blue dress wouldn’t look “bridal enough”. Whatever that means.

    For me it isn’t about me vs. other people. Almost nobody else knows my plans. It’s about what I want vs. what is just pressure I’m feeling to conform to some supposed social norm.

    Reading this post made me see that much of my “not-feeling-bridal-enough” is fear of being judged, not just by others, but also by some future me.

    Screw that. I’m wearing my kickass navy blue dress and not stressing another minute about it. I’ll get something spiffy for my hair because that will be fun. Done and done.

  100. THIS! I’m wearing a rainbow dress so I’m feeling the pressure to get a white one. Or I have to have some amazing reason for wanting a rainbow dress outside of “Because I like it.” Or I have to have a bunch of white accessories. Why does everyone think white=bride? I don’t get it. I don’t feel like a bride a white. Thank you Offbeat Bride! If it wasn’t for this site I probably would have given into the pressure.

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