Why You're About to See '70s-Inspired Wedding Dresses Everywhere

You can wear the trend at any time and place.
sarah hanlon entertainment and celebrity editor the knot
by
Sarah Hanlon
sarah hanlon entertainment and celebrity editor the knot
Sarah Hanlon
Entertainment & Celebrity Editor
  • Sarah is the Entertainment & Celebrity Editor for The Knot, with special focuses on pop culture and celebrity wedding news.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Sarah was a contributing writer for Bravo at NBC Universal.
  • Sarah has a degree in journalism and resides in New York City.
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Wedding dress trends tend to resurface over time—and now, one groovy style is back and better than ever. Trends of the 1970s are surging in popularity, especially for weddings, meaning maximal and bold wedding dress designs are making a return—this time with modern bohemian flair. Retro 1970s style is most commonly represented by statement sleeves, bold patterns and billowing bottoms. Above all else, fashion in the '70s celebrated individuality. This year, brands and designers have noted the rise of '70s-style wedding dresses, as well as other details within stationery and décor. However, in 2020, what does a '70s wedding dress look like? We tapped the experts to share the defining factors of a 1970s-style dress and why brides are gravitating toward them. Plus, we rounded up our favorite '70s wedding dresses for you to shop now if you can't get enough of the groovy trend.

What Makes a 1970s Wedding Dress?

Today, '70s-inspired wedding dresses are anything but dated. Key elements like bishop sleeves, mock necklines and floral lace patterns modernize the look while glorifying the most recognizable trends of 1970s fashion. Floral print, ruffles and puffy sleeves were three styles featured in The Knot's 2020 wedding dress trend roundup. Maximalism is also a common theme among all 2020 wedding trends, beyond dresses. Since these are all defining elements of a '70s wedding dress, there's no better time to embrace the trend for your own nuptials.

"We've seen a lot of bishop sleeves this year," says Leslie Voorhees, founder of Anomalie. "It brings '70s vibes with a fitted cuff at your wrist, and the billowing bell sleeves. It's great because these can travel across seasons." As some couples opt for alternative ceremonies like minimonies, sequel weddings or destination elopements, thin billowing sleeves or flutter capelets are ideal for transitioning a dress for any season—and they're two features that embody '70s style.

Etsy also predicted '70s style would make its way into weddings in its annual wedding trends report. Searches for '70s invitations increased by 18 percent, while searches for disco ball items also grew by 18 percent. The brand predicted couples would continue to gravitate toward "groovy lettering, retro color palettes and disco décor" to make their wedding stand out. So, while not all brides may opt for brightly colored wedding dresses or statement bell sleeves, '70s style is still emerging in subtle designs.

Our Favorite '70s-Inspired Wedding Dresses

You know why '70s wedding dresses are back in style. Now, it's time to shop the best designs on the market. We've rounded up our favorite 1970s-inspired wedding dresses for you to shop here. You'll find high necklines, billowing sleeves, floral embroidery and plenty of lace. (You'll even find sequin designs to embrace your dream disco party.) These dresses have the best elements of vintage bohemian style—and with the designer's modern touches, you'll look like a bride who's always one step ahead of the trends.

Nude wedding dress with white embroidery, plunging V-neckline and billow cuff sleeves

Billowing sleeves with wrist cuffs are a staple of '70s style. White embroidery over nude fabric is a modern way to wear this trend, making it a great option for brides who want their look to feel elevated and fresh.

BHLDN Belize dress in Oyster, $275, Anthropologie.com

High neck plus-size nude wedding dress with white lace and capelet

Together, a high neckline and capelet effortlessly evoke vintage flair. This unique bohemian lace and trim is ideal for fashionistas who have a finger on the pulse of what's trending.

Tadashi Shoji Glinda plus size high neck gown in Ivory/Nude, $748, TadashiShoji.com

A-line lace plus-size wedding dress with plunging neckline and lace capelet

Tulle overlay and lace embroidery bring ethereal vibes to this flattering fit-and-flare skirt. The capelet makes this '70s-inspired wedding dress appropriate for any season—it won't be too warm for summer, but more fabric can also winterize a dress.

Melissa Sweet lace plus size wedding dress with tripped capelet in Ivory/Champagne, $1,199, DavidsBridal.com

Sequin ivory jumpsuit with plunging neckline and bell sleeves and pant legs

Yes, you can look like a disco ball on your wedding day if you want to. This jumpsuit is covered in allover sequins, which will make you reflect light from all angles. With a plunging neckline and bell sleeves and pant legs, this '70s-style jumpsuit will stand out for all the right reasons. Wear it to your ceremony for an unforgettable look, or use it as your reception outfit to celebrate in style.

ASOS EDITION beaded kimono sleeve wide leg wedding jumpsuit in Ivory, $285, ASOS.com

Ivory silk mini dress with cuff sleeves and plunging neckline

Button cuffs are a simple way to add vintage vibes to your look. Since this is a short dress, wear it for a minimony, a city hall elopement, or a second wedding ceremony. Having two looks is a great way to embrace an of-the-moment trend without sacrificing a timeless wedding dress.

Fame and Partners The Eccles dress in Champagne, $199, Shopbop.com

Fitted lace dress with plunging neckline and matching lace cape

When paired together, this dress-and-cape combo is the epitome of '70s style. Oversized lace embroidery modernizes the modified A-line dress.

Tadashi Shoji Colborn vine embroidered gown in Ivory/Petal, $648, TadashiShoji.com; Tadashi Shoji Merida floor length cape in Ivory, $448, TadasjiShoji.com

A-line plus-size wedding dress with Swiss dot flutter sleeves and tiered lace skirt

This '70s-inspired wedding dress is all about the details. The tiered lace skirt is balanced out with Swiss dot sleeves, making this a fresh adaptation of the recycled trend.

Torrid lace A-line boho wedding dress in Bright White, $328, Torrid.com

Graphic lace wedding dress with cascading lace capelet

With intricate graphic lace, cascading statement sleeves and a detailed train, this gown is perfect for brides that want a dramatic look. The flutter sleeves transition into a cape down the back, which serves as a modern iteration of structured capes that were beloved in the '70s.

BHLDN Odalis gown in Ivory, $1,495, Anthropologie.com

Chiffon A-line wedding dress with lace high neck bodice and long sleeves

Mock necklines were another defining style of the '70s. This dress features a high collar with a lace bodice, which is balanced out with a cascading chiffon skirt.

Lulus In Dreams long sleeve lace maxi dress in White, $82, Lulus.com

Fit and flare lace wedding dress with flutter sleeves and godet skirt

For those who don't want long sleeves, flutter lace sleeves are a trendy alternative. A sheer godet skirt adds even more vintage flair to this slim-fitting silhouette.

Tadashi Shoji Kieran gown in Ivory, $800, Anthropologie.com

Fitted wedding dress with high sheer and lace neckline, three-quarter length sleeves and ruffle skirt

This mesh lace bodice has a surprise keyhole cutout in the back to give it a hint of modernity. With a shirred ruffled hem, this dress marries the top trends of the '70s and today.

HAH Take a Bow dress in Walking on Eggshells, $298, Revolve.com

Short wedding dress with eyelet lace and ruffled neckline and hemline

The 1970s were all about individuality. If long dresses aren't your style, go for a short frock like this. With a ruffled high neckline and hemline, this funky eyelet lace dress embodies the groovy years. Pair it with colorful heels or accessories to complete the bold look.

ML Monique Lhuillier Lambeth dress in White, $445, Anthropologie.com

Plus size lace wedding dress with corset bodice and removable puff sleeves

This sultry corset-style bodice gets a '70s-inspired upgrade with removable flutter lace sleeves and a full lace A-line skirt.

Melissa Sweet plus size wedding dress with removable sleeves in Ivory/Stone, $599, DavidsBridal.com

Lace A-line wedding dress with plunging neckline and sheer lace flutter sleeves

The flutter lace sleeves on this dress are removable, meaning you can wear two bohemian looks at your wedding. Or, keep the sleeves on all night for a truly vintage ensemble.

Jenny by Jenny Yoo Lourdes gown in Ivory, $1,695, Anthropologie.com

Midi wedding dress with puff sleeves and tiered skirt

Channel the trends of the past with this tiered lace midi dress. Puff sleeves counteract the keyhole back, making it a great option for brides who want to wear the '70s trend without completely covering up.

Moon River Choose Bliss puff sleeve tiered midi dress in White, $136, Lulus.com

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