18 unusual wedding dresses for beautifully bold brides

Posted by
Amy Swales
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If you’re not the kind of bride likely to want the ivory princess dress complete with all the trimmings, you might want to ready your wedding Pinterest board.

Spring 2018 catwalks showcased everything from black wedding dresses to sequin-detail trouser suits to striking accessories guaranteed to blow the socks off a cathedral veil.

Even if you're not sure on going the full Jessica Rabbit with a deep red gown, there’s plenty of inspiration here for those wanting a hint of something different.

Scroll through our gallery below for our pick of New York Bridal Fashion Week’s designs, styles and accessories for the bride less ordinary.

Images: Rex Features

  • Black elegance

    The Reem Acra catwalk was full of black, but what we love about this gown is the fact it’s not just a princess dress in a different colour. Jewellery and embellished sleeves break up the shade, while the high neck, oversized bow and ball skirt bring elegance.

  • More is more

    If sleek minimalism is not your bag, go for more. More colour, more pattern, more beads and more, well, fabric in general. This Naeem Khan number is the opposite of many contemporary designs: it’s buttoned-up (with its long sleeves and high neck), fussy and floor-length – not to mention the matching veil and strings of pearls. But it works.

  • Suit up

    Take a cue from Oscar de la Renta and add a point of interest to your ivory trouser suit – an oversized sequin cummerbund is a sophisticated, chic touch of glamour.

  • Lady in red

    If you’re worried that choosing a non-white wedding dress leaves you at risk of looking like a guest, the answer is simple: make sure you choose a design as incredible as this Ines Di Santo gown.

  • Mini monochrome

    Wearing a minidress instead of a princess gown isn’t a new concept, but take note of Marchesa Notte’s eye-catching monochrome detail and puffed skirt (plus this is where unusual shoes come into their own).

  • Cape it

    Oleg Cassini’s beautiful off-the-shoulder cape is a fantastic example of how to do wedding outerwear with a twist.

  • Contrast skirt

    Trad bride up top, bold elsewhere. This Kelly Faetanini design showcases the striking effect of monochrome (and proves that separates are always an option).

  • High fashion

    A non-traditional vibe for a non-traditional bride. Vera Wang showcases a fashion-forward shape, big contrast detail and mismatched sleeves.

  • Updated headgear

    A more traditional dress can be lifted with statement styling, as demonstrated on the Justin Alexander catwalk via an elegant, wide-brim hat with matching belt and lipstick.

  • Coloured train

    If reluctant to go for a totally different colour of wedding dress, mix things up with the train – this trailing floral silk comes courtesy of Justin Alexander.

  • Jessica Rabbit

    Consider not just a relatively unusual wedding shade, but a relaxed, tie-waist shape, inspired by Jenny Packham’s Jessica Rabbit catwalk moment.

  • Switch it up

    Play around with the norm. While we’ve seen a few semi-sheer bodices in the bridal fashion world of late, Sachin and Babi has chosen to keep the transparency in the skirt for a truly different look.

  • Accessorise darkly

    Another way to keep the dress traditional but make a statement at the same time: Reem Acra’s catwalk saw old-school long gloves, dark veils and thick choker jewellery add a classy retro edge to pretty-pretty gowns.

  • Illusion back

    You’ll probably have your back to your guests for a fair while: give them something to look at. The Rosa Clara show brought intricate illusion detail to the catwalk.

  • Ditch the veil

    If you’re not into veils, you can go bold with neckwear or a fascinator, as seen on Mira Zwillinger models.

  • Punchy coats

    This Lela Rose coat sticks to the usual colour scheme, but is a beautifully retro option with its cape sleeves, swing hem and collar.

  • Ear cuff

    Another Mira Zwillinger​ example of how jewellery can be stepped up a notch when the veil is foregone – try an extravagant ear cuff with an updo.

  • Triple tiered

    Tiers are still underused enough to be an unusual wedding dress choice: this Marchesa Notte style proves that a strong design needs little in the way of bells and whistles.