28 Nontraditional Wedding Dresses if Classic Isn't Your Vibe

The alternative wedding dress inspiration you never knew you needed.
Collage of three nontraditional wedding dresses.
Photos From Left to Right: Rue De Seine, Natalie Wynn, Watters
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Lauren Whalley
lauren whalley headshot
Lauren Whalley
Fashion Editor, Beauty & Inclusivity
  • Lauren writes and edits articles for The Knot Worldwide, with a specialty in fashion, beauty and size inclusivity.
  • Prior to The Knot Worldwide, Lauren worked in wedding editorial for Brides, Style Me Pretty and Enaura Bridal.
  • Lauren studied public relations and advertising at the University of Central Florida.
Updated May 29, 2023
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It only took us three days at New York Bridal Fashion Week to pin down the bridal aesthetic of the year: non-traditional wedding dresses. In fact, the hashtag #nontraditionalweddingdress has over 456 million views (and counting) on TikTok alone. This unique desire for something different seems to come from a blend of two already popular bridal trends: modern wedding dresses and alternative wedding dresses. And thanks to runways like Savin London, Ines Di Santo and Anne Barge (just to name a few), this trend is set to become the go-to for those wedding dress shopping who want to break the mold of what a "wedding dress" can be. Even celebrities can't get enough of the nontraditional wedding dress trend either. I mean, who can forget Christine Quinn's "gothic Barbie" inspired dress from Galia Lahav or Mandy Moore's iconic pink wedding dress and matching veil?

Luckily, more designers and retailers are starting to embrace the idea of nontraditional wedding dresses that can easily be incorporated into your ideal wedding aesthetic. If you're looking for a nontraditional wedding dress for your big day but aren't quite sure where to begin, let's break down how to put your own spin on the occasion—hint: There are no rules.

In this article:

Traditional vs. Alternative Wedding Dresses

White has become synonymous with wedding dresses here in the United States, but that doesn't mean you have to do so. There is a certain something about to-be-weds who choose to wear alternative wedding dresses with bold colors and vibrant patterns, or even fun jumpsuits and three-piece suits. This specific aesthetic makes sense with the rise of maximalist fashion and extravagant celebrations that we have seen in the post-lockdown era. Brides are becoming unapologetically themselves, no longer fitting into the category of what we perceive as "bridal." What's most important on your wedding day is that you feel beautiful inside and out the moment you walk down the aisle.

Where to Find Nontraditional Wedding Dresses

Your Local Bridal Salon

So maybe you're thinking, "Can I really find a nontraditional wedding dress at my bridal boutique down the street?" And the answer is absolutely yes. While traditional wedding dresses may be the majority because that's what's most popular, your store may still stock alternative wedding dress options in unique colors or styles. Call up your local bridal salon and ask about the nontraditional dresses they have in stock. You never know unless you ask!

Research Bridal Designers

I'll shout it from the rooftops, you can never do too much research when searching for a wedding dress designer, especially when you want a nontraditional wedding dress. If you're not familiar with different designers and their aesthetics, checking out Bridal Fashion Week trends is a great way to find modern takes on classic styles, like pastel wedding dresses or fun convertible styles.

Doing research isn't just about finding styles you love; it's also about finding designers that vibe with your values. Maybe you want to find a designer that caters to plus sizes or a sustainable wedding dress designer that prioritizes ethical production and eco-friendly fabrics. From international designers based in other countries like Israel and Australia to indie designers, the world of bridal fashion is vast and wide. It's definitely worth setting aside the time to research what matters to you.

Search Beyond Bridal Fashion

At the end of the day, there are no rules or guidelines on what a wedding dress looks like. So feel free to explore outside the world of bridal to find your dream dress. Anthropologie Weddings, ELOQUII and Reformation are great places to start. Remember, any gown is a wedding gown if you want it to be.

Fashion Editor Favorites: Nontraditional Wedding Dresses for 2023-2024

Here are some of our favorite nontraditional wedding gowns and a few designers you should keep on your radar if you want to pull inspiration from one of these unique and totally personalized styles.

1. Chantel Lauren Mae Hand Painted Wedding Dress

    A wedding dress or a work of art? The answer is both. This nontraditional wedding dress by Chantel Lauren is completely hand-cut, hand-sewn and hand-painted, meaning each bride truly gets a one-of-a-kind wedding dress. The Mae gown is available in sizes 0 to 30 and comes in three unique ombre color hues: steel blue, rose gold and platinum.

    2. Allure Bridals Iris Dress

    When I tell you, I audibly gasped when Allure Bridals revealed this gown, which makes it safe to say that everyone else will too when you show up in this nontraditional wedding dress on your big day. Like a garden you can wear, the jewel-toned blossom embroidery covers the bodice and accents the A-line skirt. It was made for an outdoor spring wedding.

    3. Morphine Fashion Strapless Tiered Tulle Asymmetric Gown

    Three words: main character energy (I mean, it is your wedding day after all.) This Morphine Fashio gown features voluminous layered tulle tiers that cascade dramatically from the waist, topped with a structured tulle bodice and a sweet lace-up design in the back. Wear it in the gorgeous charmeuse color pictured above, or opt for black or pink if that's more your vibe.

    4. Rue De Seine Rhapsody Amber Gown

    It's giving Daisy Jones and The Six. No, but really, my jaw dropped when I saw this Rue De Seine gown. This dress is where Western chic meets 70s style, with its billowing full ruffle skirt with double slits creating waves of volume and drama. It's a floral kaleidoscope that no one will want to take their eyes off of.

    5. Enaura Bridal Beau Gown

    If Wednesday Addams were getting married, I'd like to think she'd be wearing this black wedding dress by Enaura. From the all-over black crystal beadwork to the universally flattering A-line silhouette, this alternative wedding dress is sure to stun.

    6. Cult Gaia Calypso Gown

    Add some edge to your bridal style with this avant-garde gown from Cult Gaia. It's covered in endlessly layered plissé fabric to give you luxurious volume, so whether you're saying your "I dos" on the beach or on a city rooftop, this trendy gown is sure to be a head-turner.

    7. Mac Duggal Tiered Strapless Tulle A-Line High-Low Gown

    If you're looking for an alternative wedding dress that also shows off a unique pair of shoes, look no further. This ruffled Mac Duggal gown was made for the bride looking to break away from tradition and have a little fun. Like, who wouldn't want to dance around with the love of their life in this dress?

    8. Kate Anvin Golden Wedding Dress

    All that glitters is gold, and you can't convince me otherwise. Especially after laying eyes on this Kate Anvin sparkly gold wedding dress that just gives goddess energy. Style this alternative wedding dress with a gilded halo headpiece, and you will certainly command the room.

    9. Rue De Seine Rider Cactus Rose Gown

    Boho brides, this one from Rue De Seine is for you. This gown has so much detail, I don't even know where to begin. Large floral embroidery, flared sleeves and side cutouts—this free-spirited wedding dress has it all. Instead of traditional heels, try white knee-high boots to really lean into the aesthetic.

    10. Ines Di Santo Crescendo Gown

    This wouldn't be a complete list of nontraditional wedding dresses without an Ines Di Santo dress. The floral alternative wedding dress screams "spring" with its draped halter neckline and basque waist that flows out into a figure-flattering trumpet silhouette. What makes this dress particularly unique is the multi-layered peplum skirt, which will give you plenty of movement when walking down the aisle.

    11. BY WATTERS Meringue in Polished Dupioni

    This Barbie wears pink on their wedding day. This mini dress from By Watters is the perfect alternative to the traditional elopement wedding dress for your courthouse nuptials. Just add a mini hot pink veil and pink pumps for a monochromatic look that will turn every head in city hall.

    12. DiDominico Designs Nioby Gown

    Best believe you'll be bejeweled when you walk into the reception in this nontraditional wedding dress. The DiDominico Design gown features allover crystal and iridescent glass beading that is a work of art in itself. Not to mention the matching veil that can also be worn as a cape, depending on your preference.

    13. Millia London Azzura Gown

    For the glamorous bride who needs a show-stopping wedding dress, Millia London fits the bill perfectly. Azzura is a 100% hand-dyed soft tulle ruffle gown in the most gorgeous ombre lilac color. The London-based brand is known for its voluminous couture designs, so you are sure to find an alternative wedding dress in your ideal hue when you look here.

    14. Galia Lahav Joy Tulle Corset Wedding Gown with Balloon Sleeves

    One of bridal fashion's most beloved designers, Galia Lahav, has some of the most unique wedding dresses for your big day. The Joy gown breaks the mold of traditional design with an unexpected cutout bra corset top that shows off-the-shoulder balloon sleeves. I'm high-key obsessed with sparkly French guipure lace accents over the top and waist.

    15. Kate Anvin Two-Piece Wedding Set

    If a two-piece set is more your style, you're in luck. The fringe accents on the kimono jacket are totally on trend right now, but they are still subtle enough that they don't take over the look. The perfect alternative wedding outfit for a Gatsby or 1920s-themed wedding reception. "Obsessed" is an understatement.

    16. Natalie Wynn Starstruck Gown

    You may have seen this star-studded, nontraditional wedding dress on Pinterest or Instagram a time or two. Because, well, it's a celestial masterpiece. This whimsical, sparkling wedding gown is covered in a sky full of sparkling blue, silver and gold sequin stars, while the bishop sleeves add boho flair. Bonus points if you pair this gown with a moon and star earring set.

    17. Willowby By Watters Hutton Gown

    Of course, this wouldn't be a nontraditional wedding dress round-up without a rainbow dress, and this one by Willowby is heavenly. This pastel wedding dress is draped with the colors of the rainbow in all-over illusion tulle. It also has the prettiest velvet ribbon at the waist that ties the whole look together.

    Non-Traditional Wedding Dress Inspiration from Real Brides

    Looking for more alternative wedding dresses? Check out these non-traditional wedding dresses worn by real brides to get you inspired for your own big day.

    18. Colorful Floral Wedding Dress

    19. Romona Keveza Yellow Pastel Dress

    Bride wears a strapless yellow wedding dress.
    Photo: Sylvie Gil

    20. Blush Vera Wang Wedding Dress with Bold Fuchsia Crinoline Underlay

    21. Alternative Black Wedding Dress with Colorful Floral Embroidery

    22. Matching Shirts with Skirt and Suit Pants

    Brides wear matching patterned shirts at their wedding.
    Photo: Elizabeth Ervin

    23. Rue De Seine Blue and White Fringe Boho Gown

    Bride wears a bohemian blue and white wedding dress.
    Photo: L. Hewitt Photography

    24. Etsy Off-the-Shoulder Red Wedding Dress

    25. Custom-Made Yellow Zac Posen Wedding Dress

    26. Mac Duggal Emerald Wedding Dress

    27. Red Wedding Dress Layered with Tulle

    Bride wears a red tulle dress.
    Photo: Chelsea Dellinger Photography

    28. Blue Watercolor Wedding Dress with Leather Jacket

    Bride wears a blue tulle wedding dress.
    Photo: Jessica Oh Photography
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