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Wedding dress embellishments run the gamut from intricate beading to shimmering crystals and lace appliqués. But for a look that's a little less glitzy, a tad more classic, and utterly elegant just the same, look no further than wedding dresses with pearls. Like a timeless pearl strand or pair of stud earrings, a wedding dress with pretty pearl detailing equates to total sophistication, whether you choose a voluminous ball gown, minimal sheath, or spirited mini.
All-over pearl detailing makes a stunning statement, and a trending design feature we love for any venue or celebration. Lately, designers are all about subtle pearl touches for a unique feel, in combination with tea-length and mini dress silhouettes. These styles work well–and are a playful option for virtual nuptials–as a unique look for a second wedding celebration after an intimate affair, a secondary reception, or a late-night look.
Meet the Expert
- Andrea Louie Brown is a divisional merchandise manager at BHLDN and is based in San Francisco, CA. She oversees buying for all categories at the brand, working with internal and external teams to curate BHLDN’s full product assortment–from wedding gowns to accessories and lingerie.
- Pia Panaligan is the director of styling and visual design at David’s Bridal and is based in Philadelphia, PA. With a thorough knowledge of bridal fashion, current trends, and an acute eye for fit and detail, she articulates the brand's voice each season by styling their digital and print fashion editorials and brand visuals.
“Pearls are a great, modern update to traditional beading,” says Andrea Louie Brown, BHLDN’s divisional merchandise manager. “They look great sprinkled throughout a gown or delicately trimmed.” Pia Panaligan, the director of styling and visual design at David’s Bridal, tells Brides, “Whether all over or lightly splattered, [pearls are] such an elegant and classic accent.” Noting their versatility, she adds, “They go with every dress, lace or silk.”
If a wedding dress with pearls isn’t quite your taste, there’s another option: accenting a bridal look with pearls, whether it be a veil or a dramatic cape. Louie Brown notes, “Pearls look great on a layering piece, to add extra dimension to your look!”
Wherever you are on the pearl spectrum, ahead, scroll through our edit of 33 styles for every taste and budget.
Best A-Line: Oleg Cassini Large Floral Applique Beaded Strap Wedding Dress
This quintessential bridal gown epitomizes romance, featuring a full A-line skirt and waist-accentuating bodice. For a modern touch, delicate pearls line the criss-cross straps as a beautiful counterbalance to the voluminous silhouette.
Best Long-Sleeve: Lela Rose The Adelaide Wedding Gown
Though this minimalist long-sleeve gown is already modern, inset pearl detailing gives it an extra-special touch that we love for classic brides. Enhance the effect with a pair of pearl earrings on the big day, be it a classic stud or modern design.
Best Halter: Markarian A Fight for Love and Glory White Pearl-Embellished Broderie Anglaise Cotton Midi Dress with Sash
If you’re not a gown gal, or if you're looking for a second-wedding dress with an elegant but relaxed feel, this Markarian gown is sublime. Cut from broderie Anglaise cotton, it’s perfect for warm weather “I do’s,” with a flattering halter neckline and dramatic sash.
For the Fanciful Bride: Maggie Sottero Rosette Pearl Long Sleeve Ball Gown Wedding Dress
This pearl long sleeve ball gown is the dream dress for a fanciful bride and pearl lovers–providing full-on glamour via exquisite beading and an illusion neckline. We can picture it at a dreamy countryside venue abroad for a modern, fairytale feel.
Best Color: Needle & Thread Pearl Rose Embellished Embroidered Tulle Gown
If you’re all about color on your wedding day, this ombré gown is utterly scene-stealing. The dainty embroidered flowers, inspired by Victorian lace, feature intricate pearl detailing throughout for a fanciful and vintage-inspired feel.
Best Cocktail Dress: Miu Miu Pearl and Crystal Embellished Crepe Mini Dress
This dazzling pearl mini is party-perfect, whether for the festive bride sidestepping tradition for her “I do’s” or as a late-night after-party dress. Give this look the moment it deserves and opt for simple accessories like a minimal sandal and stud earrings.
Should I buy a pearl wedding dress?
Pearl wedding dresses are perfect for any bride craving adornment with a timeless feel. They range from minimal to ornate, so there’s a style to suit every bridal aesthetic.
Where and when can you wear a pearl wedding dress?
Formal designs with a lot of detail, or those cut from fanciful fabrics, are best for black-tie or city weddings, while pearl wedding dresses with long sleeves or those made from heavier weight fabrics work best for the fall and winter. Cotton fabrics with shoulder or arm-baring silhouettes would be the most comfortable in warm weather.
How do you style a pearl wedding dress?