28 Illusion Wedding Dresses for Daring Brides

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.
Photo by Valorie Darling

Photo by Valorie Darling

Transparency is a clear trend in fashion right now, but it may not be the first style you had in mind for your wedding dress. While sheer lace panels and tulle layers are customary in the wedding world, bridal designers are offering more risqué options with illusion wedding dresses. Now, we know what you’re thinking: A naked wedding gown could read unsophisticated. But, it’s actually a gorgeous and dramatic option if you embrace the look with thoughtful silhouettes and design details.

Bridal designers such as Berta and Galia Lahav are known for these barely-there bridal looks that are sure to turn heads. For the moderately-brave bride, peek-a-boo gowns are illusory without feeling like you’re baring it all. Styles that are semi-sheer in the bodice, along the neckline, or lower down on the skirt are just showy enough.

What is an Illusion Wedding Dress?

An illusion wedding dress is a gown that runs the gamut from ultra-sexy to subtly sheer. This style of dress is often made from see-through fabrics, skillfully adorned with glistening beadwork, appliqués, and embroidery.

No matter which style or bridal designer you choose, say "yes!" to the dress that best aligns with your personal taste and the vibe you're trying to achieve. From romantic to modest and sexy to sophisticated, there's an illusion gown for everyone.

Think you're daring enough for an illusion wedding gown? Ahead, we’ve assembled 28 styles we think you'll absolutely love.

Most Intricate Detail: Jenny by Jenny Yoo Carson Dress

Jenny by Jenny Yoo Carson Dress

Courtesy of Jenny Yoo

Size range: 00-32 | Length: Floor length | Material: Tulle and embellished lace | Return policy: Dependent on bridal retailer

Available in ivory and ivory/chai, this allover lace fit-and-flare wedding dress with a deep-V illusion neckline is elegant and flirtatious. It features beaded lace over nude lining (but is also available unbeaded), illusion tulle side cutouts, and princess seams for a slimming effect.

Best Plunging Neckline: Milla by Lorenzo Rossi Daisy Dress

Daisy Milla by Lorenzo Rossi

Courtesy of Milla Nova

Size range: Inquire with retailer | Length: Floor length | Material: Tulle and floral embroidery | Return policy: Dependent on bridal retailer

This stunning strapless dress features a plunging neckline with illusion tulle and detailed floral embroidery. The top-to-bottom sheer effect is enhanced by a subtle shimmer.

For the Princess Bride: Justin Alexander Signature Carter Dress

Justin Alexander Signature Carter Dress

Courtesy of Justin Alexander Signature

Size range: Inquire with retailer | Length: Floor length | Material: Mikado and embellished tulle | Return policy: Dependent on bridal retailer

This mikado ballgown features an embellished bodice with an illusion Sabrina neckline adorned with scattered beading. A V-back, pockets, and buttons down the chapel train add modern details to this classic look.

Most Curve Hugging: Maggie Sottero Esther Dress

Maggie Sottero Esther Dress

Courtesy of Maggie Sottero

Size range: Inquire with retailer | Length: Floor length | Material: Beaded lace motifs and chantilly lace | Return policy: Dependent on bridal retailer

The Esther gown is ideal for the bride seeking a gown that will accentuate her figure. The embellished lace motifs, delicate chantilly lace, and jaw-dropping back detail just adds the perfect bridal touch.

Best Off-the-Shoulder Neckline: Grace Loves Lace Peaches Wedding Dress

Grace Loves Lace Peaches Wedding Dress

Courtesy of Grace Loves Lace

Size range: XS-XL | Length: Floor length | Material: Floral stretch lace | Return policy: Final sale

This feminine mermaid gown is a modern take on the off-the-shoulder silhouette. Handmade with exclusive stretch rose lace over nude lining, this dress is designed to accentuate your curves. The train is hemmed with hand-placed rose motifs for a lovely extra detail.

Best Lace Gown: Martin Thornburg Dolores Gown

Martin Thornburg Dolores Gown

Courtesy of Martin Thornburg

Size range: 0-26W | Length: Floor length | Material: Embroidered Schiffli lace | Return policy: Dependent on bridal retailer

Rock this multifaceted tulle and organza gown with a fit-and-flare silhouette. Embroidered Schiffli lace and corded lace appliqués overlay nude lining for a sensual look. A sweetheart neckline gives way to optional illusion lace sleeves, and you can upgrade the look with a detachable semi-cathedral train.

For the Modern Bride: Watters Sirena Gown

Watters Sirena Gown

Courtesy of Watters

Size range: 00-24W | Length: Floor length | Material: Tulle, floral lace, thicket lace, and dotted netting | Return policy: Dependent on bridal retailer

For the bride seeking something extraordinary, this fit-and-flare gown features a plunging illusion neckline and head-to-toe beaded lace topped with gorgeous floral cutouts. A flowing train completes this sexy and romantic look.

Most Whimsical: Rosa Clará Couture Elba Dress

Rosa Clará Couture Elba Dress

Courtesy of Rosa Clará Couture

Size range: Inquire with retailer | Length: Floor length | Material: Floral lace and textured tulle | Return policy: Dependent on bridal retailer

For the boho-chic bride seeking something classy and vintage-inspired with just a bit of drama, this full-length gown is sure to check all your boxes. It's made from tulle and lace inlays and features details like an illusion floral lace bodice, an open back, and dotted long plumetti sleeves. The round neckline, flowing skirt, and chapel train are ultra-romantic touches.

For the Sophisticated Bride: Berta Bridal Napoli Style 20-110

Berta Bridal Napoli Style 20-110

Courtesy of Berta Bridal

Size range: Inquire with retailer | Length: Floor length | Material: Lace | Return policy: Dependent on bridal retailer

This allover lace fit-and-flare gown is a gorgeous blend of modesty and sexiness. The high neck and long sleeves juxtapose a wide-open back and nude lining under intricate floral lace. Figure-defining and oh-so-bridal, this illusion gown is a total stunner.

For a Fall Wedding: Justin Alexander Style 88049

Justin Alexander Style 88049

Courtesy of Justin Alexander

Size range: Inquire with retailer | Length: Floor length | Material: Lace, tulle, and jersey knit | Return policy: Dependent on bridal retailer

Vintage-inspired with a modern flair, this long-sleeve gown with allover lace is elegant as it is bold. The illusion bodice is detailed with lovely lace that extends down the flared skirt featuring tulle godets. A sheer illusion back with buttons from the back neckline to the end of the zipper ensures drama from every angle.

Best Leg Moment: Berta Bridal Style 18-120

Berta Bridal Style 18-120

Courtesy of Berta Bridal

Size range: Inquire with retailer | Length: Floor length | Material: Tulle and lace embroidery | Return policy: Dependent on bridal retailer

A combination of intricate embroidery and sheer fabric creates a stunning look that shows off all your best assets. A high neck and long sleeves contrast with a cutout illusion V-neckline and a partially sheer skirt with lace detailing at the hem.

Most Ethereal: Inbal Dror Look 19-7

Inbal Dror Look 19-7

Courtesy of Inbal Dror

Size range: Inquire with retailer | Length: Floor length | Material: Silver sequins and floral embroidery | Return policy: Dependent on bridal retailer

This barely-there illusion wedding gown is as bold as they come. For the whimsical bride seeking a totally sheer look, this gown features a plunging V-neck and a layered skirt adorned with floral embroidery and silver sequins.

Best Illusion Back: Allure Bridals Style 9771

Allure Bridals Style 9771

Courtesy of Allure Bridals

Size range: 0-30 | Length: Floor length | Material: Tulle and lace | Return policy: Dependent on bridal retailer

This fitted sheath gown features just a touch of illusion detailing at the neckline and unique racerback. Nude lining under ornately beaded fabric adds a touch of modern to a classic bridal gown.

Most Show Stopping: Galia Lahav Florence By Night Cherry Blossom Gown

Galia Lahav Florence By Night Cherry Blossom Gown

Courtesy of Galia Lahav

Size range: Inquire with retailer | Length: Floor length | Material: Embroidered tulle and floral motifs | Return policy: Dependent on bridal retailer

This gown is for the bride with nothing to hide. The column dress features a geometric cutout bodysuit and puffy shoulders atop a pair of sheer, lacy long sleeves. Cherry blossom embroidered tulle with a floral motif provide most of the coverage on this ultra-sheer gown for only the most daring.

If you love this look but want more coverage, invest in a detachable overskirt with a slit, and have your seamstress sew it on. You can customize the amount of sheer underskirt still visible to your liking.

For the Traditional Bride: Maggie Sottero Chevelle Lynette Plus Size Wedding Dress

Maggie Sottero Chevelle Lynette Plus Size Wedding Dress

Courtesy of Maggie Sottero

Size range: Inquire with retailer | Length: Floor length | Material: Tulle and sequined-lace motifs | Return policy: Dependent on bridal retailer

This off-the-shoulder sheath wedding gown is enhanced by sequined rose lace motifs and subtle illusion at the neckline and long sleeves. The embellished sheer bodice gives way to an illusion bateau and back for a touch of risque. This gown also comes in all ivory if you would prefer to do without the nude illusion.

For a Beach Wedding: Margaux Tardits Orféo Wedding Dress

Margaux Tardits Orféo Wedding Dress

Courtesy of The Dress Tribe

Size range: Inquire with retailer | Length: Floor length | Material: Silk chiffon and embroidered tulle | Return policy: Dependent on bridal retailer

This long-sleeve dress with a plunging neckline features a sheer tulle illusion bodice with seashell embroidery. The defining waistband is complemented by a scalloped peplum at the hips, giving way to a romantic silk chiffon skirt.

Best Sleeves: Rebecca Schoneveld Quinn Gown

Rebecca Schoneveld Quinn Gown

Courtesy of Rebecca Schoneveld

Size range: 00-30 | Length: Floor length | Material: Crepe and embroidered tulle | Return policy: Dependent on bridal retailer

Voluminous bishop sleeves are trending—and we're not mad about it! The Quinn gown is made of beautiful stretch-crepe paired with an embroidered bodice and irresistibly romantic long sleeves.

For the Dreamer: Wtoo by Watters Camden Plus Size Wedding Dress

Wtoo by Watters Camden Plus Size Wedding Dress

Courtesy of Wtoo by Watters

Size range: 00-32W | Length: Floor length | Material: Valka lace, soft netting, and satin ribbon | Return policy: Dependent on bridal retailer

This voluminous ballgown is as bridal as can be. The illusion bodice and long sleeves are accented with romantic lace detailing, while the sheer illusion back features button enclosures. A satin belt separates the top from the dramatic full net skirt fit for a princess.

Most Effortless: Jenny by Jenny Yoo Conrad Gown

Jenny by Jenny Yoo Conrad Gown

Courtesy of Jenny by Jenny Yoo

Size range: 0-26 | Length: Floor length | Material: Chiffon and floral embroidered tulle | Return policy: Dependent on bridal retailer

This A-line gown features an illusion neckline and back accented with covered buttons. The deep V adds drama while the airy skirt gives way to a beautiful flowing train. Add a bejeweled belt to really define your waist and glam up this otherwise simple bridal gown.

For the Elegant Bride: Morilee by Madeline Gardner Sasha Wedding Dress

Morilee by Madeline Gardner Sasha Wedding Dress

Courtesy of Morilee by Madeline Gardner

Size range: 16-32 | Length: Floor length | Material: Tulle and embroidered appliqués | Return policy: Dependent on bridal retailer

This gown's sheer off-the-shoulder neckline with a deep V features frosted, embroidered appliqués that extend down the net skirt. Long sleeves add a lovely detail to this figure-defining mermaid dress.

Most Dramatic: Maggie Sottero Hamilton Dress

Maggie Sottero Hamilton Dress

Courtesy of Maggie Sottero

Size range: Inquire with retailer | Length: Floor length | Material: Beaded lace motifs, textured tulle, organza, and fabric-covered buttons | Return policy: Dependent on bridal retailer

Featuring the most exquisite back, this Maggie Sottero is for the bride who isn't afraid of a little (or a lot) of drama. From the cathedral-length train, illusion back, and beaded lace motifs over textured tulle, the Hamilton gown is a show stopper.

For the Romantic: Pnina Tornai Style 4809T

Pnina Tornai Style 4809T

Courtesy of Kleinfeld Bridal

Size range: Inquire with retailer | Length: Floor length | Material: Tulle and white sequins | Return policy: Dependent on bridal retailer

Calling all romantics! This white sequin-embellished A-line gown is what bridal dreams are made of. The stunning detail of this classic long-sleeve gown appears as if it's merely floating upon your skin.

Most Daring: Rivini FW/22 Isla Dress

Rivini FW/22 Isla Dress

Courtesy of Rita Vinieris

Size range: Inquire with retailer | Length: Floor length | Material: Silk magnolia | Return policy: Dependent on bridal retailer

Classic, sleek and chic from the front, but incredibly striking when all eyes meet the back! The Isla gown features an illusion daringly low back. We're obsessed with this gorgeous fabric, off-the-shoulder neckline, and of course, the fabric-covered buttons.

For the Sexy Bride: Berta Style 20-P110

Berta Style 20-P110

Courtesy of VOWS Bridal

Size range: Inquire with retailer | Length: Floor length | Material: Lace-embroidered tulle and pearls | Return policy: Dependent on bridal retailer

Intricate lace embroidery is scattered throughout a completely sheer fitted design for a subtly sexy bridal look. This jaw-dropping Berta gown is polished off with strands of pearls that drape perfectly to frame the daringly low back.

For a Summer Wedding: Martina Liana Style 1059-Bead

Martina Liana Style 1059-Bead

Courtesy of Essence Designs

Size range: Inquire with retailer | Length: Floor length | Material: White tonal beaded-embellished lace, tulle, and crepe | Return policy: Dependent on bridal retailer

We picture this beauty with a garden, seaside, or estate backdrop for a perfect summer wedding. The crepe fabric keeps it fresh and sleek while white tonal beading complements the floating floral appliqués for an irresistibly sparkly look.

Most Elongating: Galia Lahav Carla Dress

Galia Lahav Carla Dress

Courtesy of Galia Lahav

Size range: Inquire with retailer | Length: Floor length | Material: Tulle and embroidered lace appliqués | Return policy: Dependent on bridal retailer

The V-neckline, dainty straps, and sheer panels cascading down along either side of this lace trumpet gown is a match made in heaven for the bride who wants to look long and lean. We're head over heels for the pretty lace appliqués and that train!

Best Back Detail: Wtoo by Watters Philomene Gown

Wtoo by Watters Philomene Gown

Courtesy of BHLDN

Size range: 00-15 | Length: Floor length | Material: Corded lace | Return policy: Dependent on bridal retailer

This corded lace gown features a fitted silhouette and the most charming scalloped trim. The illusion neckline and back allows for a dramatic skin-baring look. Did we mention those floating buttons?!

For a Garden Wedding: Oscar de la Renta SS/22 Look 6

Oscar de la Renta SS/22 Look 6

Courtesy of Oscar de la Renta

Size range: Inquire with retailer | Length: Floor length | Material: Satin and floral appliqués | Return policy: Dependent on bridal retailer

We may have just saved the best for last with this dreamy Oscar de la Renta ballgown. This ultra-bridal look features a flurry of three-dimensional floral appliqués on an impeccably constructed satin gown.

What to Look for in an Illusion Wedding Dress

Before you race to the store for an illusion gown, there are a few key details you should look out for. To start, consider the durability of the fabric. While most wedding dresses are made from high-quality fabrics, those designed with soft tulle or English net are still delicate. And for those who plan to hit the dance floor, consider how your movements may impact your gown, as delicate illusion sleeves may not be the best choice.

Additionally, be sure that your gown offers a variety of illusion shades in order to accommodate your skin tone. "Most designers offer their illusion colors in an ivory or porcelain tone, which is slightly darker than ivory. However, there is a clear need for designers to offer more color options that will suit a variety of skin tones," shares Olivia DeAngelo, owner of VOWS Bridal. "One of our favorite designers, Essence Designs—who make Stella York, Essence of Australia, and Martina Liana gowns—offers a vast range of illusion colors that allow every bride to achieve an illusion look."

FAQ
  • What is an illusion neckline?

    "An illusion neckline is made of sheer fabric that is intended to blend with the bride's skin, thus creating the 'illusion' that nothing is there," states DeAngelo.

  • Should I line the illusion bodice of my wedding dress?

    DeAngelo explains that this is a completely personal decision. "If you want a sheer, subtly sexy look, we say keep the illusion bodice! However, if you feel it might be a bit too much, lining part of the bodice, or even all of it, is always a nice alternative for a more modest look. Some designers will actually offer both a lined option and an unlined option."

  • What undergarments should I wear under my illusion wedding dress?

    "It all depends on where the illusion is on your wedding gown. If it's located down the sides or on the back of the bodice, you won't be able to wear a bra, but instead, you can have cups sewn in," DeAngelo shares.

Why Trust Us / About the Author

Laura Lajiness Kaupke is a writer and editor with expertise in bridal fashion, accessories, and fine jewelry for both men and women. She formerly served as the senior fashion editor at The Zoe Report and POPSUGAR. Her work has been featured in ELLE, InStyle, Glamour, Refinery29, Well+Good, and Barneys New York.

Related Stories