Black Wedding Dresses

Amy Hoover

The black wedding dress is back! Contrary to late 19th and 20th century traditions, most brides in centuries past did not favor the white or off-white gown until 1840. That is the year Queen Victoria wed Prince Albert in a fashionable white dress. Prior to this, women favored bold colored dresses or wore their best dress - often one that was black or other dark color.

History, even wedding dress history, tends to repeat itself, as the old saying goes. Black is becoming a trendy wedding color in the 21st century, from guest attire to bridesmaids to accents and now, even bridal gowns.

Bold Brides Wear Black

Not every woman dreams of the fluffy white fairy-tale wedding. The choice to wear a wedding dress in black is a very personal one. You must be comfortable and confident enough to wear the gown despite any protests from friends and family.

Although you may feel beautiful in a black dress, you should also keep in mind what your future husband will think of the color. While ultimately the dress is your decision, you may want to find out if he is okay with attire that is somewhat outside the box.

A black gown can also be a good choice for couples who have a themed wedding, but do not want to dress in costume. A Halloween wedding is one theme where a black dress would work perfectly. A black dress can also look great at a red and black Las Vegas/casino themed wedding or a Gothic wedding.

Black Wedding Dress Designers and Gowns

Wedding shops and salons may not carry any black dresses. You may need to visit a specialty bridal boutique to find the right dress. European designers and couture collections may offer something beyond the popular dresses offered by many United States shops.

International Influences

The Parisian based gown company Cymbeline offers a fabulous black dress in the 2008 collection, called Buton D'Or. Featuring a fitted bodice with asymmetrical waistline, gathers in the skirt and a large flower on the chest, this dress can please almost any bride-to-be who wants a traditionally styled dress in black fabric.

Creations Bochet has a black ball gown called Dynasty 2008 with double straps, deep v-neck and layered skirt.

To find out if these international designer dresses are available for shipping to the U.S. or are carried by any boutiques in the U.S., email or call them via the information listed on their contact page.

United States Dresses in Black

Although the European fashion scene frequently sets the trends, it is possible to find black wedding dresses in the United States. Designer Monique Lhuillier shows a stunning simple black gown in the 2007 bridal ad campaign collection. Keep in mind that a designer wedding dress will often cost more than ones that can be commonly found in wedding shops.Check your local wedding boutique to find out if they offer any dresses that can be ordered in black. While they may not stock any samples in black for fittings, you might find that several companies offer gowns in black that you can order through the store.

Alternatives to Wedding Dresses

If you cannot find the right black dress at a wedding shop or online, you can try several alternatives to the wedding dress that might end up being just what you wanted. Try looking for black dresses:

  • In the prom and formal wear sections of department stores
  • At costume and dress rental shops
  • Buried behind traditional dresses in used dress shops
  • In bridesmaid dress collections

Finding a wedding dress pattern you like, buying fabric in black and making it yourself can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. On the opposite end of the budget, designing your own wedding dress with a seamstress may cost extra, but offer you a one-of-a-kind creation no one else has ever worn.

Tips for Wearing Dark Dresses

Accessorize with black gloves.

Dark wedding dresses can create a dramatic look for your wedding day. Follow these tips to help you make the most of your dream dress:

  • Black and white weddings can be stunning, but so is a pop of color against a black dress. Bright red, vibrant fuchsia, and sunset orange flowers, accessories and accents will stand out in a black themed wedding.
  • Mix up tradition when you wear a black dress by having the groom wear an all-white tuxedo.
  • Bring your entire look together with tiaras, combs and jewelry with black stones.
  • To avoid looking like a vampire bride, avoid a red lip and black cat-eye makeup combination. Make sure your foundation matches your skin tone and use bronzer for a healthy glow.
  • Choose bridesmaid dresses with a black sash or wrap.
  • Sequins and rhinestones can add interest to a plain black dress. Sew them onto the neckline or around a ribbon that will be tied on your waist.
  • Dye your wedding veil black to match your dress, or skip the veil entirely.

Wearing black on your wedding day does not mean your entire dress has to be black. Instead, opt for a white, ivory or cream dress with black accents, like those found in Alfred Angelo's Dream in Color collection. Add black accessories like hair pieces, gloves, shoes and jewelry to bring the look together.

Your wedding day is one that you will remember forever. Choose a dress that reflects your personality and taste. Do not feel obligated to wear a Cinderella wedding dress because you think that is what you are supposed to do as a bride. Instead, you can wear the dress of your dreams in a flattering style in black!

Black Wedding Dresses