Black Wedding Dresses

Crystal Schwanke
black gown

The black wedding dress is back! 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, just as it was prior to 1840.

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.

Consider the Groom

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.

Themed Wedding Gown Option

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.

  • MILANO BRIDE's illusion neck ball gown is a rich black evening number that highlights a narrow waist. Balance the fuller skirt with the illusion neckline and cap sleeves to create a stunning look. Purchase it on Amazon for about $135 in sizes 2 through 26 Plus. The floral appliques make it a lovely choice for the bride-to-be.
  • Select the Badgley Mischka Beaded Off The Shoulder Gown for a design look at less than $900. It's perfect for an elegant evening wedding with cocktails and would work for a bride who wants to highlight or create a waist with the ruching on the side. The off shoulder style shows off a lovely collarbone. It's available in sizes 2 through 14 at Bluefly.
  • The Sareh Nouri Winter 2016 Vintage Lace Mona Lisa Ball Gown (under $150) has a full, tiered skirt, open back, and boat neck and features lace detail and long sleeves. Sizes available range from 2 to 26W, and custom sizes are also an option. This style would look good on most body types, though the open back styling may deter some ladies with large busts because of the limited bra options. It's available from
  • If you'd prefer a mermaid silhouette, there's another Sareh Nouri option with long sleeves you may love from It's an off-the-shoulder style with long lace sleeves, open back, and, of course, that trumpet-style skirt. It's available in size 2 through 24W (custom sizing is also available) for under $200. Hourglass shapes who love flaunting their curves will like this style.
  • The Formal Sweetheart Lace Applique Mermaid Black Wedding Dress from will only set you back about $200. This is a strapless style with an empire waist and ruching. The black top layer of the skirt is shorter on one side (in the front) to reveal a white lace skirt that reaches the floor. Any shape could pull this style off. It's available in sizes 2 through 26W.
  • The Faille Ball Gown with Corset Bodice is a Truly Zac Posen style from David's Bridal that's simple and sweet. It's also right around $200, so it won't break the bank. This dress offers a strapless, A-line silhouette with boning to cinch it in at the waist, and a sweetheart neckline. Sizes range from 0 to 14. Any body type could pull this one off, thanks to its no-fuss style and clean lines.
  • The Long Strapless Satin Fit and Flare Dress is another style from the Truly Zac Posen line, and it's also about $200. It's great for ladies who want to create the illusion of curves, thanks to the body contouring pleats and fit and flare skirt shape, which is similar to the mermaid silhouette. Get it in sizes 0 to 14.
  • The Stretch Crepe One-Shoulder Gown with Cutout Detail is available in sizes 2 through 16 from David's Bridal, and it's a wonderful option for the laid-back bride who just wants a casual, no-frills dress with a little something extra for visual interest. Hourglass, rectangle, and some apple body types will look stunning in this style. Expect to pay around $200.

Alternatives to Wedding Dresses

alternative dress

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

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:

Dramatically elegant
  • 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. Add black accessories like hair pieces, gloves, shoes and jewelry to bring the look together.

Reflect Your Personality and Taste

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-style 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!

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Black Wedding Dresses