Is this bridal enough?: The great WHITE lie

Updated Oct 12 2015
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?

  1. I went out and tried on white wedding dresses, and it was the most unsatisfying and boring experience. Nothing really felt like it fit my personality or the feel of the wedding we were planning. I ended up browsing dresses on Modcloth on my phone while enjoying a black IPA in a bar around the corner from our house one day. A few clicks and $80 later, I had my purple polkadot wedding dress, and everyone knew who the bride was, because I was the one saying the vows and stuff.

    http://offbeatbride.com/2014/06/north-carolina-mountain-wedding

  2. I'm getting married in August and would like to not wear white. What was everyone else's timeline like? I'm worried if I wait for summer dresses I'm shopping too late, but the normal 6-9 month timeline for a "very bridal" dress seems unnecessary, as I will be buying off the rack. Any thoughts?

    • Try online sites for 'inexpensive wedding gowns/dresses' I would post the two sites I'm using but I don't want to break any rules about posting for businesses. The gowns are lovely and of good quality. It's not the same super-duper-extra-freaking-expensive-pop-your-eyeballs-out-your-head-want-to-pass-out-designer-top-of-the-top-of-the-line-only-a-designer-can-get-price-tag type of material. However, the quality of the material is what you would find for the type of material they are using in any regular fabric store like Joann's or someplace like that. Check return policies, satisfaction guarantees, quality of workmanship – lining, supports, boning, built-in-bra, that kind of stuff – reviews, get measured by a professional seamstress cause they know what they are doing, ASK FOR PHOTOS!! Most of the places can send you actual photos of the dress from the production floor. Delivery of the dress is usually in about 3-4 weeks at the most but for a little extra they can do it in about a week, week and a half. My best friend ended up buying 5 dresses online because they were so inexpensive and she couldn't make up her mind before buying. The other 4 she put up for sale and has already sold one of them. Hope this helps!

  3. I totally LOVE this website!! I found it by accident from a more traditional site, even though they claimed to be "different". I fell in love with a champagne dress originally, with TONS of sparkle stuff…I mean, like, BLANG, until I tried on a very simple, no embellishments what-so-ever, light ivory tulle ball gown. I don't have my parents anymore, and I lost my mother in early 2010, but I could feel her there. Right. There. Like I could actually SEE her in the dressing room with me when I put it on and saw myself in just that simple dress. And see her putting a set of her pearls she gave me. It was actually hard for the dress attendant to find a simple single strand of pearls for me to wear out into the display room so my bridesmaids could see what I saw. All of my bridesmaids, who had all whole heartedly been cheering for the BLANG dress, started crying. I was trying not to as I walked out. I knew it was THE ONE, or at least a much less expensive yet no less gorgeous China made one that I'm ordering online. Anyway, I still wanted the sparkly factor to the whole thing and I found the most awesome rose gold sequin dresses for my bridesmaids and fits all of their body shapes…and they all think I've lost my mind. Or they did at first. I've now got three and a half of the four on board. Just have to get that last one totally on board. She still keeps saying, "It's a gorgeous dress but you don't want us to outside you on your wedding day" ….BITCH!?!?! EXCUSE!? ME?! Trust me, NO ONE will outside me on that particular day. They do all agree that its a beautiful dress, but its getting them to understand that they are my BLANG for the day…Or at least until my groom helps me slip into the surprise reception dress I have planned. But even if I don't do a reception dress I don't think I could be outshone if any of them even tried. However, all in all, I do believe that there is not a person in the world that could outshine a bride on the day she is marrying the man she loves, no matter the color, cut, style, design…whatever her choice of clothing for that day may be! HAPPY HUNTING TRIBIES FOR THE ONE FOR YOU!!!

  4. Be yourself. What do you truly want?

    I wore a casual emerald green dress for my May 2014 wedding. This was my second marriage and we did everything low-key and just "us." I ended up buying five dresses, and just couldn't get the green one off my mind. I kept wondering if I should choose white. First I fell in love with a casual lace peach dress for summer. I thought about the navy lace dress (same as the first, just different color) that was actually a the bridesmaid for a September 2014 wedding. I bought two spring/summer white dresses and just couldn't stop thinking about the green one.

    We got married with only immediate family and a few close friends Friday afternoon at a historic home. I wore the green dress, let as many of my tattoos show, and my husband wore nice jeans, black satin shirt with this unique tie, and his colorful Osiris skate shoes. Then we took everyone to Applebee's and enjoyed the evening.

    With my first marriage, I did everything to the normal – huge white ballgown, matching bridesmaid dresses, just everything a normal wedding is supposed to be, and I hated it. It was a headache. I didn't have fun at all and hated all the photos and memories.

    The September wedding for my two friends is exactly how we would have done it, if we had wanted something big. The bridesmaid were given the color and dress preference (lace) but we were allowed to choose our own gown, length, strapless.. etc. It was so elegant, simple, just just freaking beautiful. They were married in the country at a stone barn and it was just great.

    Anyway, thanks for letting me remember the joy of weddings. I hope you find a dress that just speaks to you, regardless of color. It's your and your future husband's day, don't forget that. Be you, and do what embodies you.

  5. Champagne and navy dress here! I can buy the same thing in ivory for 3x the price but it's not what I want anyway! I'm quite content to get my dream dress cheaper because it's a 'prom' dress purely because of the colour!

  6. As a later-blooming bride (46 when the day comes), I have been wrestling with my own internal expectations of how my wedding day would be, as its has developed and mutated over 23 years, societal expectations, and just not wanting to look like a white blimp! (Not being sizeist but white + full skirt + accessories just…extends your boundaries outside of my normal subdued color palette.)
    I was in the bridal salon, happily and FINALLY trying on ivory and champagne gowns, when my eye landed on this black embroidered Oscar gown, basically. It's black over champagne, it has a bride gown silhouette, and with a thing of any sort on my head (tiara, veil, fascinator), it gives a whole bridey feel. I couldn't help but enjoy the idea of certain invited guests disapproving of it, either. It was my first "gasp!" dress and it may end up being the one. My friend loved it and only said, "I just want you to think about the idea of looking back and not having a white dress," like, big picture. I appreciated the perspective, but I didn't feel pushed.
    AND this dress I could actually wear again, either to Labyrinth of Jareth or to steampunk things, so it may very well be THE ONE.
    I will feel like an overdressed lace-zilla, but I will also feel like I am having the red carpet moment of my life in this dress.

  7. Funny, my Mom is begging me to wear red! I applaud all the offbeat Brides and their colors! I am going with traditional white, pale pink or maybe a Black/White combo. I liked the bride that said the color wasn't important, what is important is that she feels like a bride, and I agree with her on a veil doing the job. Sarah Jessica Parker wore a stunning black gown to her wedding (she also called it her biggest regret about the day) This ain't the Prom (BTW< I wore a black wedding gown with a veil to mine) Maybe a little tradition would be good for you? Don't wear a colored gown because it's trendy, wear it because it's YOU! 🙂

  8. I was wanted to be my sister's bridesmaid (again, and her first marriage was bad, so I refused) and after I said no, she said "don't wear something weird, I don't want it to be remembered for my sister's bonkers outfit"! I NEVER wear weird things; we witches are practical people. I'll be there in a lovely custom-made outfit from Armstreet (probably "Lost Princess") and everyone will be delighted. 🙂 I'll just try and stay fairly quiet so as not to annoy the bride. 😉

  9. Just stumbled upon this article and I am SO glad I'm not alone in this sentiment. I was always bent on not wearing white (or a white derivation). I hate white- it doesn't look good on me, I always spill on it, etc. I also hated that the white dress is ALWAYS more expensive for the same damn thing- why would I pay more for a color I dislike wearing?

    I also dislike wedding dress sizing- who wants to order 3 sizes over their normal size, then pay a ton in alterations to get it right, for an overpriced dress in a color I dislike? Not this girl.

    With all of these arguments looming in my head, I ordered a gold designer gown online. It was on sale, in normal sizing, and most importantly in a style and color I love. No pomp and circumstance, no crowd judging my fashion selections, no overpaying some stuffy shop. It came in a box from UPS, I tried it on alone at home, and promptly and gently hung it in my closet. Bonus- it fits off the rack, and the only special lingerie I need is a backless bra. Done.

    I support anyone who does opt for the traditional "bridal" style- it's just not me. As for sticking to my guns, I gently remind any critics that- I'm the one that has to wear it and be in a ton of photos, and that I'm the one buying it. Sometimes I give the soapbox speech above if they really push, but no one to date has refuted that.

  10. I wore a really deep wine-red dress on my wedding, and everybody knew I was the bride. White doesn't suit everybody and as long as you feel and look like the happiest person on your wedding day, you will be beautiful no matter what your colour. Besides, I would rather be in colour and truly happy, than in white and miserable. Having said that, there are such amasing wedding dresses, in white AND colour, that you just need to do what suits your personality best.

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