There’s no denying that fashion plays a pivotal role in weddings. What you choose to wear down the aisle speaks volumes about who you are as an individual and as a couple. Through your fashion choices, you give guests more insight into your likes, dislikes, style, and relationship. “The fashion tells the wedding story,” bridal fashion stylist Selina Howard says. “People won’t remember much about your décor, but they will remember what you wore on your wedding day.”
Meet the Expert
- Selina Howard is a bridal fashion stylist and the founder and creative director of Vainglorious Brides, a boutique bridal styling company. She’s been working in the bridal fashion space since 2012.
- Tina Wong is the founder and CEO of Grace + Ivory, a try-at-home brand of customizable, made-to-measure wedding dresses. She launched her business in 2017.
Of course, hunting for your wedding wardrobe can be a daunting process. There’s a lot of pressure associated with pulling together a perfect ensemble, but it's important to remember that choosing your outfits is ultimately about what makes you look and feel your best. That’s why more and more couples are personalizing their looks instead of sporting the traditional white dress and black tux. “It’s about feeling bridal overall with elements feeding into the bigger vision,” Tina Wong of Grace + Ivory notes. “Even for our brides who want a white dress, we’re seeing that they’re adding nontraditional elements.”
Through colorful hues, bold prints, heirloom pieces, and custom details, modern couples are infusing their own personal style into their wedding attire. “It should feel like you but elevated,” Wong shares. Maybe that looks like a floral-printed wedding dress and a pink suit that matches your garden venue. Or, maybe you sew a piece of your mother’s wedding dress onto your gown while your partner sports his grandfather’s watch. Whatever you decide, when there’s meaning behind your clothes, you’ll feel more confident and make a bigger statement.
Wondering how to determine your wedding style as a couple? Ask yourself some questions to figure out your priorities and what you want to communicate. “Think about your big-picture vision first,” Wong starts. “Chat with your fiancé about it. As you think about your ceremony and reception, what elements are important to you? Also, what is unique about your relationship that you want to highlight? Start big and then drill down into specifics.”
In addition to your wedding theme and relationship, “Consider your cultural traditions,” Howard adds. “You can tie in some of the major customs or pay a small tribute by mixing in traditional wedding attire with modern selections.”
For more ideas and inspiration, here’s how 12 real couples determined their wedding style.
Focused on Their Relationship
Although Tiffany Bui and Will Pan both donned classic looks on their wedding day, they each made sentimental changes to their attire in order to better represent their union. The bride customized her lace and tulle Reem Acra wedding dress by tucking a sparkly number “eight” in between the layers of fabric, which honored the couple's wedding date. Meanwhile, Will personalized his black Suitsupply tuxedo by having his collar inscribed with the couple’s private nicknames. Instead of flaunting the sweet nod to their relationship, the couple kept their custom additions out of sight, which made them even more special.
Embraced Colors Other Than White
When DeYandré Thaxton and Vishal Reniguntala went on their first date, Vishal showed up wearing bright red pants. “Despite having a color deficiency, Vishal loves color,” DeYandré explains. Color became an important part of the duo’s relationship and eventually their wedding day, especially in terms of the fashion.
When their big day arrived, Vishal rocked a royal blue suit, but the color didn’t stop there. “I wanted accessories in contrasting colors to the rich blue,” he recounts. “I found a pink paisley bow tie, a white pocket square with pink piping, and gray socks with pink polka dots.” DeYandré also sported vivacious hues with an ethereal floral Rara Avis gown and fuchsia block heels. “My everyday style is quirky and colorful,” she shares. “Not only was [the dress] colorful, but it was decorated with texture, clay flowers, and embroidery.”
Created Their Own Custom Looks
Since Tania Kottoor is a wedding stylist and visual consultant, she used her talent and expertise to establish her and Jacob Kottoor’s wedding style. By designing 75 custom looks, the bride curated a lineup that was unique to their nuptials and style. Tania’s wedding dress was an ivory silk structured ball gown finished with hand-embroidered satin detailing. “I designed a simple but bold and voluminous silhouette with elegant sleeves that would make all the guests address me as ‘your highness,’” Tania says. “There were changes with each trial: I added a corset belt and a lace-back and changed the hemline and altered the neckline to better flatter my body. I think this is what I enjoyed the most—evolving with each process and creating my dream look.”
Tania also created a sharp look for Jacob, a white tuxedo made with an Italian silk-wool blend that coordinated perfectly with her own attire.
Accessorized With Sentimental Pieces
On their wedding day, both Zoe Shewer and Sameh Elamawy accessorized with pieces that held personal significance to them. Zoe paired her crepe wool strapless mini dress by Oscar de la Renta with her mother’s jewelry: a pearl and diamond ring, yellow diamond earrings, and wedding band, which she had engraved with both her parents' and her own wedding dates. Sameh rounded off his blue tuxedo with cufflinks, a gift from Zoe’s family. “They gave him cufflinks that were originally given to my father by my mother’s parents and now to Sameh, so they held a lot of meaning,” Zoe reveals.
Took Cues From Their Venue
For their beach wedding, beauty brand founder Allison McNamara and Cassondra Kaeding went with effortless looks that complemented their laidback venue. Allison threw on a silk shift dress by Cortana. “The movement on my dress basically begs for a light breezy beach moment, and you can wear it in so many ways,” she says. Cassondra selected a beige suit with slits designed by Fear of God for her outfit of choice. "The color was perfect for a beach wedding, and I was obsessed with the structured shoulders,” Cassondra shares.
Infused Their Own Personal Style
Jasmine Owens and Glenwood Barbee kept their individual styles in mind when choosing their nuptial attire. Since Jasmine loves dressing up, she sported a full ball gown with a structural bodice and a plunging neckline by Anne Barge. “Formalwear is my thing,” she states. “I feel most myself in a ball gown. I really wanted something timeless that had a highlight fashionable modern twist, and [the dress] had everything that I wanted.” Glenwood prefers simple and classic styles, so he donned a black peak lapel tuxedo from The Black Tux.
Reimagined Their Travels
At the end of their eight-week trip through Southeast Asia, Pete Mscichowski proposed to Michelle Kahl in Hong Kong at Victoria Peak Garden during sunset, so it made sense for the duo to represent their travels through the clothing pieces on the big day. Michelle dressed herself in a Japanese silk-rayon gown with ruffles from Nevenka and lace-up sandals by Reike Nen, her favorite Seoul-based shoe designer. Underneath Pete’s green Neil Barrett suit was an embroidered shirt by Kamakura Shirts, a Japanese brand.
Represented Their Personality
With a fashion Instagram and blog, Kendall Chase knew she wanted a wedding dress that embraced her individuality when swapping vows with Katie Shea. “You’ve really got to listen to yourself and remember who you are when picking the right dress,” she advises. “That is what will make your dress timeless.” A tulle and lace gown with a plunging neckline by Claire Pettibone was the result. “All the ideas about what I thought my dress would be growing up and what I actually needed and wanted it to be in 2021 sort of culminated in this dress,” Kendall discloses. Channeling an “elegant badass” look, Katie highlighted her own personality in a custom set with a bustier top, cropped trousers, a tailored jacket, and gold boots. “Never been a dress girl, so we wanted to find a way to create a pant look that was still very feminine, bridal, and elegant,” she notes.
Matched Their Wedding Theme
To complement their modern and luxurious wedding at Tribeca Rooftop in New York City, Jeanine Juliano and Chris Ogbonnaya embraced old Hollywood glamour. Jeanine chose a strapless mermaid Ryan and Walter wedding dress with a sheer corset bodice coated in dazzling diamonds for her look. And the glam didn’t stop there. Diamond earrings and a diamond necklace topped off her garments. Chris also took inspiration from the theme by settling on a white dinner jacket, black tuxedo pants, a black bow tie, and Christian Louboutin velvet loafers.
Sought Inspiration From Celebrities
Maria Chon and Sam Endicott turned to Mick and Bianca Jagger when finalizing their wedding looks. Sam wanted to recreate the rockstar’s wedding attire, so he donned a three-piece white linen suit from Balani. Ray-Ban aviators, a pearl dangle earring, and a pearl necklace completed his outfit. “Sam is a rocker, so we wanted to make sure to maintain his edge and style while walking down the aisle,” Bianca said. After the ceremony, the bride slipped out of her sparkly tulle Netta BenShabu gown into a one-shoulder column gown with a daring slit from Marcell Von Berlin and cowboy boots, emblematic of a true rocker wedding. “I absolutely loved the dress,” she gushes. “It was so chic but sexy, and most importantly, easy to dance in.”
Honored Their Culture
Since Erica Chang and Rhusheet Patel were planning an Indian wedding ceremony, they knew they wanted to wear traditional attire. In Indian culture, the color red represents new beginnings, passions, and prosperity, so donning the vibrant hue was a no-brainer. The bride put on a two-piece maroon lehenga with sparkly gold floral embroidery while her groom opted for a white kurta embellished with red accents along with a red turban, red trousers, and white shoes decked in gold.
Added a Special Touch
Valerie Faleiro and Michael Strenk’s “M+V” monogram was a consistent design they incorporated into their wedding décor, so it was fitting that they had those two special letters sketched on their wedding attire, too. Valerie’s mother embroidered the couple’s joint initials onto the bride’s wedding veil, which she wore with her strapless tulle KYHA gown. Michael paired his navy tuxedo with custom cufflinks, which were also engraved with that same monogram in addition to their wedding date.