Fact: Planning a wedding is equally exciting and hectic for brides-to-be. There’s the venue to book, invites to send out, flower arrangements to choose from, and most importantly, the gown you’ll be walking down the aisle in. With so many styles on the market, navigating your dream dress might be a bit overwhelming. But according to the founders of industry-favorite bridal labels, the biggest wedding dress trends of 2021 can be just as fancy or as laid back as you need. Yes, there’s a style for every fashion taste included in the lineup.
Overall, Markarian founder Alexandra O’Neill is noticing an uptick in more untraditional dress styles. “[Shoppers] are kind of shying away from the more traditional big puffy wedding dresses and they’re looking for something a little more modern and streamlined,” she tells TZR. “Everyone has been dressing so casual for the past year and this trickled down into most aspects of our lives.” In particular, the founder says her customers are gravitating towards mini dresses and floral embroidery more than they have before.
In addition, “Couples are being much more considerate about their purchases, whether that’s looking into a brand’s sustainable credentials, or thinking long-term and choosing outfits which they can incorporate into their wardrobe after the big day,” says Kate Halfpenny, founder of Halfpenny London. The expert actually encourages brides not to look at their wedding dress as a single wear item. “Instead, think about it as something to be worn again, or passed down as an heirloom.” This means thinking outside of conventional silhouettes including skirts and trousers. She adds, “I’m thrilled that brides are feeling confident to express themselves and showcase their personality on their wedding day.”
Below, find the nine wedding dress trends founders say are on the rise this summer. Whether you’re in the midst of shopping or just looking for new mood board fodder, these styles are worth checking out.
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“The trend of statement sleeves has filtered from the catwalks into bridalwear, and our brides are enjoying playing with this trend by giving a classic, simple, effortless dress the wow factor by adding a detachable sleeve,” Halfpenny says. Last year, the brand launched its sought-after detachable Mikado sleeves that can be added to any gown. “It allows brides to update any dress and have fun, they can be traditional if they want to be, while also playing with the drama!”
To that point, Stephanie White, founder of Odylyne The Ceremony, is seeing dresses featuring a puff sleeve and a more geometric neckline gain popularity. “It is almost reminiscent of the Renaissance and Regency eras,” she explains. “It also coincides with the Bridgerton obsessed brides that want that romantic-novel-love-story look.”
“People are loving florals and more non-white pieces or prints that have a white base,” O’Neill says. According to the founder, this trend is often shown through embroidery, but some brides are choosing printed gowns, too. Try out the look with all-over floral lace.
During this award show season, many celebrities traded in gowns for cool suits or jumpsuits. Now, brides are falling in step. “Suiting and jumpsuits remain steady in popularity for a fashion-forward bride,” Anna-Christin Haas, co-founder and creative director of Galvan London, tells TZR. “More brides are gravitating toward a suited option for a part of the weekend.”
Haas sees an increase in those straying away from traditional white gowns and instead choosing shades like oyster, which according to House Tipster can best be described as gray with a touch of green and beige, a yellow-toned pale gray, or an iridescent light gray. “Brides are so excited to be having a wedding, they want to break the mold of tradition and feel their best in whatever they wear for the big day,” she tells TZR.
White says that with a return of in-person weekend celebrations, mini dresses are a current favorite for wedding-related events like a reception, rehearsal dinner, or bridal shower. “Whether you're eloping, planning a casual ceremony, or an intimate wedding in a backyard, the mini dress is something I feel is here to stay as brides transition to welcoming their wedding day back in either a small or big way,” she tells TZR.
O’Neill cosigns the mini dress style and says the silhouette has been a big hit for Markarian. “They’re mostly for rehearsal dinners and after-parties,” she says about the look.
Clean Modern Gowns
“I believe brides are going back to basics and going for classic looks that are timeless,” Dana Harel, founder of Dana Harel, tells TZR. For an ageless style, go for a clean white silk gown, or for something a tad more eye-catching, consider a bustier dress.
“Long sleeves are a major trend at the moment — the graceful lines they add to a silhouette make a bride look sophisticated and lavish,” Justin Warshaw, founder of Justin Alexander, tells TZR. His favorite take on this look is the Copeland Dress (pictured above) in the brand’s Signature 2022 collection. “It features gauntlet sleeves with finger loops for a modern take on a traditional detail.”
Over The Top
If traditional, voluminous gowns align with your personal style, you’re in luck: Laurie Underwood, founder of Chicago-based brand Laury Bride, thinks women are ready to dress up again and walk down the aisle in extravagant ball gowns. “It's go big or go home,” she explains. “So the extravagant ball gown is a trend we are seeing in 2021.”
White believes draped dresses are making a huge comeback. “The ancient Greek style is a classic, yet very feminine,” she says. As shown above, the brand’s Nara gown is draped with tulle. Another option that’s perfect for minimalists is Tadashi Shoji’s Lilo Back Drape Gown, which includes beautiful draping in the back.