Why TikTok's "Wedding Wardrobe" Trend Has Revolutionized Bridal Fashion
If you aren't currently using TikTok to help plan your wedding, allow us to formally make the case that you should. It's one of the most powerful social media platforms for your big day—and while you probably already have a curated Pinterest board or saved photos on Instagram, TikTok is an entirely new world of wedding help. The app is full of tried-and-true planning hacks, aesthetic inspiration, and tips to maximize your budget. Beyond that, it's also one of the best places to get ideas for your attire.
In fact, one of the biggest wedding concepts to come from TikTok is the idea of the "wedding wardrobe." It's no secret that bridal fashion has evolved quite a bit in recent years. Gone are the days of wearing white because tradition dictates, or feeling confined to gender norms when it comes to selecting your outfit. But even more recently, bridal fashion has shifted once again—this time, in a move that encompasses every outfit beyond the wedding dress.
The concept of having a wedding wardrobe is certainly a popular one: the hashtag #weddingwardrobe has amassed nearly 30 million views on the app. So, what does it really mean to create your wedding wardrobe? And why should you consider this an essential part of the wedding planning process? Read on to learn why the wedding wardrobe concept isn't actually a trend, but rather, a movement that's here to stay.
In this article:
- What is a Wedding Wardrobe?
- Why Wedding Wardrobes Are Trending Now
- How to Create Your Capsule Wedding Wardrobe
- The Best Places to Shop For Your Wedding Wardrobe
What is a Wedding Wardrobe?
The concept of a wedding wardrobe is exactly what it sounds like: a collection of all the outfits you'll wear for wedding events excluding the wedding dress. Now that more couples are embracing the idea of revamping wedding fashion rules, there's an understanding that what you wear to your bridal shower or your day-after brunch can (and should!) be just as fabulous as your wedding dress itself.
TikTok creator Caroline Crawford Patterson—one of the biggest voices behind the #weddingwardobe movement—says this concept is all about embracing your biggest, most idealistic fashion dreams and finding practical ways to bring them to life. "Your wedding wardrobe is what you would wear if you had ten red carpet events in the span of a year," she tells us. "If you had an unlimited budget, what are the ten dream looks you'd put together? Channel that into your event and see what you can do to accomplish that vision."
Thinking of your wedding fashion looks in such a creative way isn't only helpful for planning purposes, it can also seriously save your budget too—but more on that below. At its core, Patterson suggests that planning your wedding wardrobe infuses fun and creativity into the wedding planning process, saying, "For those that love fashion, it makes the experience far more exciting."
Why Wedding Wardrobes Are Trending Now
While it may seem like this buzzy catchphrase is a new phenomenon, Patterson says its origins can actually be traced back to the pandemic. "We're seeing a shift in the way that we execute the entire wedding process, which is largely due to the pandemic," she tells us, noting that it forced couples to reevaluate the importance of all the wedding-related events, not just the big day itself. "Given the volatility of the world, along with the fact that couples didn't know if their weddings would happen, more importance was placed on smaller events because couples wanted to take as many opportunities to celebrate as they could."
Fashion, of course, is one way to make various wedding events feel unique and special. But as Patterson was planning her own 2021 wedding, she noticed that there wasn't much help out there to guide couples through the process of budgeting for—and buying—additional clothes beyond the wedding dress. She took to TikTok to voice her frustrations, and ultimately connected with thousands of others going through the same experience. "Collectively, brides began talking more about the concept of the wedding wardrobe," she explains. "People latched onto that term because it encompasses the idea that you have to shop for outfits beyond your wedding dress. But when you're in the midst of planning a wedding, you don't always realize you have to budget and shop for it."
That realization, Patterson says, can lead to feelings of stress and anxiety, notably because it puts pressure on paying for a number of different outfits that you weren't expecting. That's why she predicts the popularity of having a wedding wardrobe is only going to rise, largely because couples are much more mindful about how they manage finances for the big day. "Incorporating the idea of a wedding wardrobe is a more permanent move for budgeting," she says. It's no secret that creating your budget is one of the most important tasks of your wedding planning checklist, and it's crucial to consider every single thing that you'll spend money on. And, since you'll need outfits to wear to all of your wedding events, budgeting for them from the start will help you avoid overspending when you inevitably discover a dress you just have to have for an upcoming party.
Curating a wedding wardrobe may also eliminate the dreaded feeling of "wedding dress regret." So much emphasis is placed on finding the perfect gown for your big day, but with so many designers and aesthetics out there, it can feel downright impossible to select just one style for your wedding. Instead, building a collection that channels a few of your favorite looks will put less pressure on you to choose just one for your wedding. "Having a wedding wardrobe is a tool for protecting your peace throughout the wedding planning process," Patterson says. "There's a feeling of anxiety that comes from thinking everything is riding on the one wedding dress you've selected. But when there are other pieces you can shop for and get excited about through your wedding wardrobe, it alleviates that stress."
How to Create Your Capsule Wedding Wardrobe
So, how do you even begin to bring your wedding wardrobe to life without breaking your budget? We've got you covered. Below, read up on the five tips that are instrumental when it comes to creating the wardrobe for your wedding.
Curate Vision Boards Based on Emotions
When you finally sit down to start planning looks and ideas for your wedding wardrobe, you may be tempted to save outfit ideas to recreate literally—but Patterson recommends avoiding this. "It's hard to recreate someone's specific look," she warns. "Instead of finding photos of outfits you want to copy, turn to runway shows and curated edits to serve as the inspiration to re-work that into something you'd wear in real life."
So much of fashion is rooted in emotion, so it can be helpful to find images that embody the energy you want to feel on your wedding day, rather than the exact look. Perhaps you love the glam shot of Ariana Grande wearing a mini veil surrounded by hanging florals, or maybe Hailey Bieber's oversized bow heels worn to her rehearsal dinner speak to your soul. Patterson, for her part, found inspiration from a runway photo of Bella Hadid wearing a lace Vivienne Westwood outfit, which ultimately inspired one of her wedding looks. Curate your wedding wardrobe vision boards based on the emotions you feel from certain photos, and use that to help find pieces that work for your budget and your events.
Identify the Basics You Need First
Having a wedding wardrobe may help you save money in the long run, but only if you're meticulous in your decision-making. Overspending occurs when you haven't spent enough time preparing and planning, which is why it's crucial to identify the basics. Think about all of your upcoming wedding events, along with the clothes they require. Do you need a dress for engagement photos? A hair accessory for your bridal shower? New swimsuits for the bach party? An outfit for the rehearsal dinner? The number of events you have will dictate what clothes you'll need to purchase. While the contents of your wedding wardrobe depend largely on your personal style, along with what's available in your closet, Patterson says the following pieces are basics all to-be-weds should consider:
- A mini dress
- A slip dress
- A non-white outfit
- Something flowy and romantic
- Something sexy
Shoes are another element to keep in mind. While you certainly don't need to buy a new pair for every outfit, think about what style you can repurpose for multiple outfits, and invest in something that can withstand hours of movement. "Shoes are absolutely an essential element of one's wedding wardrobe," says designer Marion Parke. "A wedding and related events typically involve several hours of standing, walking and dancing. The ground surfaces can vary from grass to hard floors or other materials like cobblestones, so it's critical to your enjoyment to take the venue into consideration when planning the shoes."
Invest in Quality When Possible
Weddings are expensive, and we don't blame you for wanting to find the most budget-friendly pieces for your wardrobe. That said, investing in quality when you can is a great way to extend the wear-time of the items you buy long after your wedding day. Though it might seem easiest to buy a cheap dupe of a trending top, for example, you'll be able to repurpose it and make the most out of your budget by getting something high quality that'll last a long time.
This logic is especially important to follow when it comes to buying wedding shoes. Purchasing shoes that are both stylish and expertly made is a sure way to avoid unwanted blisters and pain while enjoying your wedding events. "For standing, walking and dancing, the average foot actually needs more stability and support, not more cushioning or flexibility," explains Parke. As a foot-surgeon-turned-shoe-designer, she advocates for the necessity of shoe designs that are crafted to support and fit the foot, without compromising style. "The idea of wanting to feel like your happiest self doesn't involve sore feet. On your wedding day, you'll want to focus on the celebration, not on a poor shoe choice."
Start Collecting Pieces Early
When it comes to your wedding checklist, procrastination will almost always create more stress for you. That's why Patterson suggests curating your wedding wardrobe earlier than you think you need to, as proactive shopping is the best way to save yourself from last-minute online shopping marathons on a tight deadline. "You're going to have so many events to plan outfits for, so don't overwhelm yourself when it comes to shopping," she says. "If you see a dress that speaks to you—even prior to being engaged—I recommend getting that piece. You will find a way to incorporate it."
Let Inspiration Find You
In the same vein, Patterson recommends letting inspiration find you. As important as it is to plan out the pieces you'll need to purchase, it's just as necessary to keep an open mind to new ideas, whether it be through TV shows or movies, a window display, or a video that lands on your TikTok For You page. Being open to finding inpso in the most unlikely places is a great way to stay inspired and excited while shopping. "Keep your eyes open to things you're drawn to during the planning process," she says. "As you feel emotionally drawn to dresses, purchase them to start building your wedding wardrobe."
The Best Places to Shop For Your Wedding Wardrobe
Now that you know exactly how to create your wedding wardrobe, it's time to shop. To help you get started, we've compiled a few retailers to consider for all styles and budgets.
Believe it or not, your Google Shopping page is a wildly underrated tool for finding wardrobe pieces that fit your aesthetic and your budget. "I recommend that people spend time on their Google Shopping page because it works like your TikTok For You page," Patterson explains. "It relies on your time spent shopping, along with frequent keywords, to learn what sites you like and the price point you're looking at. It then uses that backlog to build out recommendations for you. When you search for an expensive product, this will bring up similar, less expensive options."
Lulus is one of our favorite destinations to find wedding guest dresses, and it has plenty of affordable wedding-worthy looks as well. If you're working within a tight budget, we recommend shopping here first. You'll find outfit ideas for just about every event, from your bach party to your honeymoon, at reasonable price points too.
If you're new to the world of fashion (or you have no idea where to start for your wedding wardrobe), REVOLVE can be an ideal place to fine-tune your style. The mega-popular retailer partners with a variety of trendy brands, like Solace London, Lovers and Friends, Bronx and Banco, For Love and Lemons, and Zimmermann, which gives you plenty of options when it's time to find a few great outfits. "I spent time on Revolve familiarizing myself with designers for pieces that I wanted off-the-rack," Patterson explains. "From there, I filtered into this vibe I wanted."
Rent the Runway
Buying a bunch of new clothes for your wedding might not be feasible, especially within a strict budget. Here's the good news: You can still curate an incredible wedding wardrobe. Instead, consider renting your favorite styles from a service like Rent the Runway. You'll have access to thousands of trending outfits and a fraction of their usual cost. Even better? The brand just launched "Something Borrowed," a styling service that connects shoppers with experts for personalized help. Email your questions to email@example.com for tips and product recommendations custom-tailored to your needs.
When it comes to finding wedding shoes you'll actually feel good wearing all day and night, we recommend browsing the bridal line from Marion Parke. The brand seamlessly blends luxury craftsmanship with of-the-moment designs, and every shoe features patented insole technology inspired by womens' foot anatomy and biomechanics. "Our team spends an exceptional amount of time focusing on fit, as we make this our top priority as we develop every style in every collection," Parke says. You'll find plenty of wedding-worthy designs here, from classic pumps for the altar to sparkly blue mules for your postwedding brunch.
Those looking for high-end wedding wardrobe pieces may find what they want at Net-a-Porter. The luxury online retailer partners with over 800 brands to offer the latest and greatest, making it a dream come true for fashion-forward brides-to-be. Plus, as Patterson notes, the site is organized in such a way that makes it easy for you to find exactly what you're looking for.