Themed Wedding Dresses

A bride petting a horse in a field

A wedding dress for a themed wedding makes a coordinated statement with the overall wedding decorations. Brides should be careful not to overdo the themed dress design or risk it looking more like a costume than a bridal gown.

Why Themes?

Many couples choose themes for their wedding celebration so they can easily coordinate wedding invitation designs, wedding favors, reception decorations, colors, and other details into an elegant motif. Yet the most carefully designed theme can seem out of place if the bride's dress is just another white wedding gown that doesn't fit the overall design of the event. A coordinated gown, though, can be an elegant fashion statement that completes the lovely theme image for the festivities.

Themed Wedding Dress Ideas

A wedding dress should coordinate with the overall celebration theme, but it should do so with subtlety and sophistication. The easiest way to theme a wedding dress is with color: brides often spend hours choosing just the right colors for their flowers, bridal party dresses, and other decorations, and adding a touch of color to the wedding dress will ensure that it coordinates well. Options include:

A bride in a white gown trimmed in red
  • A colored sash
  • Delicately colored embroidery
  • Colored edging along the neckline, hem, or sleeves of the dress
  • An inset panel in the front or back of the dress with the appropriate color or colored embroidery
  • Colored crystals, beads, or sequins to adorn the gown
  • A full colored wedding dress for a daring statement

Specific Theme Ideas

While color is an easy way to coordinate a wedding dress with the event's theme, some brides prefer more intricate details. Ideas for themed wedding dress accents for popular wedding themes include:

  • Butterfly: A butterfly wedding theme is lighthearted and romantic, and the wedding dress could include embroidered butterflies or flowers as well as a delicate butterfly pin or tails resembling wing shapes.
  • Floral: If a wedding uses primarily one type of flower in bouquets, centerpieces, and other decorations, that flower can help distinguish the wedding dress. Coordinated embroidery, satin flowers attached to the hip, back, or neckline, or a splash of color matching the flowers are excellent options.
  • Princess: A romantic wedding theme involves princesses, castles, crowns, and happily ever after. A full skirted wedding dress coordinates well with a princess theme, or the dress could be designed to match a particular princess fashion.
  • Beach: Beach weddings are outrageously popular, and a beach bride could opt for a flowy beach wedding dress to mimic the motion of the wind and waves, or adding shell embroidery, a touch of teal or aqua color, or tropical flower can turn a lovely gown into a perfect beach themed wedding dress.
  • Medieval or Renaissance: The rich fabrics, luxurious textures, and elegant patterns of medieval wedding dresses and Renaissance wedding dresses are perfect period attire for a romantic wedding with a historical theme.
  • Military: Military brides can pin a service branch emblem to their dress at the hip or shoulder, or they could add touches of color that match dress uniform hues. A camouflage wedding dress is another option for an adventurous military bride.
A bride wearing a lei for a Hawaiian theme wedding
  • Vintage: A vintage wedding dress can be a lovely tribute to family history, particularly if a bride chooses an heirloom wedding dress. A wedding theme can be dedicated to specific decades as well, if desired.
  • Seasons: Brides can take advantage of seasonal beauty by option for natural themes, such as spring flowers, autumn leaves, or winter snowflakes. Embroidery and decorative accents on the wedding dress can easily match these simple themes.
  • Western: A western theme wedding is a fun affair, and the bride's dress could include lace collars, long sleeves, and flowing ruffles to accentuate her cowgirl side. Suede or leather accents and horseshoe details are also fun details for a western dress.
  • Cultural: Many brides opt for simply themed wedding attire that matches their cultural heritage and beliefs. A modest wedding dress, for example, is perfect for a solemn, religious ceremony, while an Indian wedding dress is essential for a bride with Indian ancestry. Other popular cultural options include Celtic embroidery, Scottish tartan patterns, or other themes suitable for destination wedding dresses for couples who plan to get married abroad.

Finding Themed Bridal Gowns

A themed wedding dress can be difficult to find, especially if the theme is very unusual. Custom dress designers may be able to incorporate specialized theme accents, or costume retailers may have suitable options for vintage or heavily themed attire. Brides can also search online bridal shops and designers for unusual designs that compliment their chosen theme.

Other Theme Details

If a themed dress cannot be found, it is still easy to add themed details to the bride's attire. A butterfly hair pin or barrette, for example, can connect the bride to a butterfly theme. Bridal flip flops are a fun accessory for beach weddings, while tropical leis are perfect for either beach or Hawaiian weddings. A delicate tiara can accentuate a princess theme, or the bride's wedding bouquet can mimic the overall theme of the celebration.The key to these themed details, however, is moderation. Over-theming the event will make even the most romantic, lovely decorations seem too bold or cliché, and too much theme either in the entire event or just connected to the wedding dress will overshadow the loveliness of the event that theme is celebrating.

A themed wedding dress, tastefully done, is a wonderful way to coordinate bridal attire with a carefully chosen wedding theme, creating a lovely motif to celebrate the couple's union.

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Themed Wedding Dresses