We love looking at pictures of wedding dresses. From scrolling through Instagram and shopping for the biggest wedding dress trends to perusing vintage pictures of wedding dresses of royals, it's so fun to look at all the styles, details, and artistry in the designs. But, one of our favorite things to do? Go through the archive and browse of the pictures of wedding dresses from real weddings here at Brides. (You never would've guessed it, right?)
Between the first looks, the jaw-dropping ceremony photos, and oh-so-special details that make us swoon, nothing takes our breath away quite like a real bride in her wedding dress. And, who better to take inspiration from for your own big day than these real-life women in their gorgeous gowns? So we combed through hundreds of real weddings and found some of our favorite wedding dress photos that we just had to share again.
Some of these real brides searched for months for that elusive dream gown while trying tons of wedding dress styles. Others fell madly in love with the first frock they ever slipped on. There were real brides who went formal in opulent tulle ball gowns, and others kept things simple and chic in modern sheaths. But one thing all these lovely ladies have in common is looking effortlessly beautiful on their wedding day in gorgeous gowns just as unique as their nuptials. And, they have the wedding dress photos to prove it.
These real brides all said their yes to the perfect dress and now it's your turn. Feeling inspired yet? Browse below to see all of our stunning pictures of wedding dresses from these real weddings.
All About the Accessories
Real bride Alix Pijeaux stunned in her gorgeous wedding dress at her St. Lucia nuptials thanks to a certain accessory, a cape from designer Tatyana Merenyuk. Placed over a sleek plunging neckline dress, the veil created a cool modern shape at the front of the gown while the fabric added drama as it floated in the breeze. “I felt my eyes water,” Alix says of trying on her silk Carol Hannah gown. “I thought that only happened in the movies, but it’s real.”
The Mermaid Dress
Winslow Brightwore an Inbal Dror gown that she said reminded her of being a mermaid—perfect for a ceremony overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. She added a Maria Elena headpiece and blue topaz earrings, sourced from Colombia, as her something blue.
A Vision in Inbal Dror
Bride Sadatu has an eye for design (she's an interior stylist), so her fashion was obviously on point. She saw a picture of an Inbal Dror wedding dress—with a removable off-the-shoulder train—and immediately visited Mark Ingram at Mark Ingram Atelier in New York City to find it. "I tried to support as many minority-owned businesses as possible," she says.
A Romantic Ruffle
At Janine Naber's home wedding, she wore a gorgeous strapless Demeter gown by Makarian for her ceremony featuring a bold ruffle neckline. “I couldn’t stop thinking about it,” shares Janine of her wedding dress. “And, I knew my best friends would scream when they saw it—which they did. It looked so great on my dark skin. I was utterly obsessed.”
Talk About the Tulle
Mègane’s tulle-plisse gown by Alon Livne brought a romantic editorial vibe to her wedding at a chateau in France. The dress features ruffled details, oversized sleeves with button cuffs, and lots of flowing fabric. “The dress captured my heart,” Mègane shared. She paired it with ruffled shoes and family jewelry.
A One-Sleeve Wonder
A one-shoulder wedding dress is definitely a fun modern statement. Real bride Ashley Chapman found the long-sleeve gown by Liz Martinez at Spina Bridal in New York City. "I felt all the things I didn’t realize I needed to feel to know it was the one: elegant, regal, glamourous, and comfortable," she shares.
Custom in Wendel Johnston
As a fashion stylist, Brandy has a very distinct vision of what she would wear on her wedding day—but that's not what she ended up with! "I had never imagined wearing a dress like that," she says. "I pinned all these mermaid dresses that I thought I'd wear, but when I went to try them on, I was like 'Woah, this is so heavy and not right!'" She decided she was not a traditional dress girl and called on Wendel Johnston, a tailor she frequently works with, to create a custom, high-necked piece together. "If you know me, you know this dress is exactly my style," she adds.
Romantic Rue de Seine
The bride, Chessa, chose the cotton-embroidered gown by Rue de Seine not because it made her look like a princess but because it reflected who she is now. “I wanted something awesome and something I could boogie in,” she adds.
Beautiful in Berta
Candice Wilson-Olensky found her Berta gown before ever visiting a bridal salon! She originally saw a picture of the wedding dress in an image promoting an upcoming trunk show, and, of course, made an appointment. "I tried it on and fell in love immediately. I knew instantly. I felt beautiful and timeless in it," she says of the dress.
A Lovely Lehenga
Amanda Balglobin wasn't sure of her wedding dress before she put it on. “At first, I was hesitant because I am not a ‘pink’ girl,” Amanda says of seeing her lehenga at The Bollywood Closet in Atlanta. “As soon as [the saleswoman] draped that color on me, I knew this was the one. The way it enhanced my skin tone and made me glow I was immediately in love.”
Perfect in Pearls
When a fashion stylist gets married, you know the dress is going to be good—and Pernille Teisbaek's pearl-embellished Vera Wang gown is no exception.
Journalist Noor Tagouri wore a breathtaking, long-sleeve gown by Pronovias. “When you put on your dress, you’ll just know!” she says of her crepe A-line gown with beaded floral motifs and an elegant train. She added a beautiful headpiece and a flowing floral-edged veil to accentuate her hijab.
Boho-Chic in Stone Cold Fox
When Nichole Lee went shopping for her wedding dress, she got a little stuck. Nichole’s mother was the one who found this beautiful lace Lian Rokman mermaid-style gown. “When I walked out and saw myself in it, I immediately started tearing up," shares the bride.
Custom in Cushnie et Ochs
Naturally, Carly Cushnie wore a custom-made gown—of lace, tulle and chiffon—from her own label, Cushnie et Ochs, for her big moment. “I wanted the dress to feel romantic and feminine, with Mexican influence,” which came through in the dramatic ruffled neckline.
College Fashionista founder Amy Levin worked with the designers at Marchesa to create a custom gown. "I knew I wanted a V-neck, long sleeves, and an A-line shape," she explains. She brought plenty of inspiration images to the Marchesa studio, where they dreamt up just that, complete with detailed embellishments and embroidery.
When she donned her wedding dress, Matoli Keely absolutely looked like a Grecian goddess. With a gold belt and long cape-like sleeves, she stunned at her beach elopement. "The moment I put on this Alex Perry 'Victoria' gown, I instantly knew it was the one," she recalls. "I got very quiet as I stood there looking at myself in the mirror because that was the moment it really hit me that I was getting married."
Proenza Schouler Cool
For her Brooklyn warehouse wedding, this fashion stylist bride passing on traditional gowns in favor of tiered ruffles, bell sleeves, and edgy cutouts. The fashion stylist bride went straight to the runway to choose what she’d wear down the aisle, passing on traditional gowns in favor of this edgy Proenza Schouler number. Tiered ruffles, bell sleeves, and a cutout on the back made it a fun dress for an all-night dance party. “I shopped alone, trusting the cool salesgirl at Barney’s to give an objective opinion,” says Julie. “I was so excited when I got home that I put it on and showed Mathieu right away!”
At her wedding in South Africa, Sandiswa Sotashe wore a stunning wedding dress representing ties to her tribe. "I wanted a Xhosa wedding dress with a more modern design and silhouette," says Sandiswa. The ultimate winner was an off-white Duchesse satin creation by Asanda Madyibi with Xhosa beading and black stripes.
A V-Neck Jumpsuit
At her glam reception, McKenzie pulled off a quick costume change into a lace jumpsuit. "As the dancing got serious I wanted something white and sparkly with a dramatic train," explained McKenzie.
Short and Sweet
Stylist Macy Orlowski kept it short and sweet for her Santa Barbara elopement. "My theme was ‘Queen of Hearts’ meets pregnant bride," Macy says. The perfect wedding dress to fit her vision was the "Caspian" gown by Odylyne The Ceremony. "It’s playful puffy sleeves always resonated with me especially being a '90s kid that grew up watching 'Alice and Wonderland.'"
Rime Arodaky Romance
At her elevated backyard wedding, Sherita's effortlessly elegant Rime Arodaky wedding dress featured a bateau neckline, cap sleeves, a plunging open back, and a lacy underlay.
It was hard to avoid looking in the mirrors as Molly Goldberg donned her wedding dress for her Hudson Valley event. “I had a gut feeling that I would be an Alexandra Grecco bride,” Molly says of choosing the bell-sleeved, 1960s-inspired gown by the designer at Lovely Bride. “I loved how all of her dresses have an effortlessly cool feel, and I was drawn to her hand-sewn appliques.”
Pretty in Pink
At her New York City rooftop reception, Jiao slipped into a lace dress embroidered with pink roses. It even matched her wedding cake!
The bride wore blush at this stunning wedding in South Africa. Upile Chisala worked with her friend Syreeta to create a custom wedding dress for her event. "This dress was very mine not only because it was custom and Syreeta let me participate as much as I could, but because it was the result of love and came together because of so many people and cultures," says Upile.
Custom Naeem Khan
A major plus of marrying the son of bridal designer Naeem Khan? A custom wedding dress! "I was so thankful to be dressed by him, not just because of how stunning my dress was, but because it was made by family," bride Haniya said of her three-dimensional floral wedding dress.
“I knew a Mexico wedding called for something unique,” Sydney Conner says of picking her Willowby by Watters gown with fringe and lace. A pair of bold (and budget-friendly earrings) completed the look. “They were $4 from Forever21 that I had owned for like two years, but never had worn,” she says. “I was always waiting for the right look, and it just so happened that my wedding dress was that look.”
More is More
For her lush Indian wedding in New Orleans, bride Saba worked with a Elan, a Pakistani designer, to create a custom blush-and-ivory gown covered in beading, floral embroidery, and pearls.
Ready For Red
A gorgeous red Vera Wang gown made a total statement from the usual white wedding dress. While Sarah Skeist was looking for a dress other than white, she didn’t actually seek out red gowns. “I definitely didn’t want a ballgown or a strapless neckline,” Sarah admits. Her stylist at Vera Wang showed her this canary red tulle gown with a strapless, deep V-neck and full skirt—and it was "the one."
A Two-Piece Suit
Maureen showed off her gams at her coastal California wedding in a Halston Heritage skirt with a custom-made top by Penny Babel, a tailor in New York City.
A Style of Their Own
Betsy Blanche and Shawna Rae each chose their own dream dress for their Colorado elopement. Each wore wedding dresses that they knew were the ones as soon as they tried them on. As for accessories? “I kept everything extremely simple,” notes Betsy. “The most meaningful accessory I wore on my day was my Mother’s gold signet ring with her initials monogrammed on it.
Katrina Oluremi Bello Debela let her neckline made a statement at her beautiful Mexico City wedding. Katrina's ballgown was by Viero Bridal. "I felt it as soon as I put it on," she says of finding the one. "I tried on a lot of dresses and had just figured that 'you know when you know' feeling was a myth but I felt it with this one. I felt classic and modern and most importantly beautiful! it made me feel regal!"
A show-stopping wedding dress trimmed in lace and pearls helped make real bride Charlotte René's day at her England wedding. “I love everything about my dress and only wish I could wear it again someday,” Charlotte says of her custom Chantilly lace dress with pearls by Emma Beaumont.
A Black Ballgown
When bold bride Janine wed her love Gabe at a Santa Maria winery, she rocked an out-of-the-box black-and-nude ball gown down the aisle. "I knew I wanted a traditional gown, but with a unique twist, so I’d made up my mind, long before Gabe even proposed, that I didn’t want to wear typical white," explained Janine.
A Floral Illusion
With a floral illusion bodice and flowing skirt of English net and tulle, Jacie's Hayley Paige wedding dress was undeniably romantic.
Winter Wedding Dress
When getting married in a snowy landscape, it's best to dress for the weather. Brett Miller found her Caroline Hayden long-sleeve, velvet gown online and happened upon the white stole while shopping in Vail just the week before the celebration.
We always love a bold color choice for a wedding dress. Serena Hampton went with green for her Moab elopement. “Green is my favorite color, so it didn’t take much persuasion for me to order this dress,” she says of deciding on her Milla Nova gown.
"I wanted something tailored and white and knew I didn't want an actual wedding dress," Erin said of the frock she wore to her English countryside wedding. Luckily, she found just that in a Roland Mouret viscose-crepe dress with cap sleeves. "I tried it on and bought it on the spot—one and done!"
Light pastel florals added a sweet touch to Andrea Alvarado's beach minimony. While she originally purchased another gown, a floral-print, ruffled dress from Brock Collection that she bought online felt more fitting for the scaled-back affair.
For her breezy Southern California wedding, this fashion blogger chose a two-piece ivory silk gown from Cortana with softly draped tulle, a romantic off-the-shoulder neckline, and a high-waisted skirt.