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There's a reason almost every wedding dress can be called a romantic wedding dress. Think back to when you were little, and planning your wedding, detail by detail. The dress that comes to mind is most likely full, long sleeves, and had a long train. If this style flashed across your mind, that’s a romantic dress. Romantic wedding dresses are ones that look full of magic when a bride wears them. These dresses typically have full skirts, lace detailing, and long trains or veils.
Meet the Expert
- Stephanie White, founder and creative director of Odylyne the Ceremony.
- Yemi Osunkoya, founder and designer of Kosibah.
- Valentine Avoh, designer of Valentine Avoh.
The dresses also have special features that classify them. “A romantic dress will always have some details that evoke lightness or fluidity. It has delicate and refined details such as a lace edge, some delicate fabric-covered buttons down the back, or a floral embroidered tulle,” Valentine Avoh, the designer of Valentine Avoh tells Brides. “It can also have some transparency effects, for example, in the sleeves long as it stays classy. I would imagine it with soft fabric such as silk crepe, satin, or tulle,” she adds.
And now, romantic gowns have evolved and received modern touches to them. “Romantic silhouettes have become more unique and playful. Back then, it was often considered bohemian. However, the trend has now gained respect by the industry, while designers find different ways to express it,” Stephanie White, the founder and creative director of Odylyne The Ceremony tells Brides. “I have always considered my designs to embody romanticism but have been typecast as either not modern or fashion-forward enough, and that is changing years progress!” she adds.
Osunkoya says that romantic dresses that have soft fullness in the skirt is achieved with layers of transparent or opaque fabrics. Then, there is the train to the dress that is unique to this dress. “Romantic dresses usually have a train length of some sort from a puddle, through the chapel to dramatic cathedral lengths,” Osunkoya explains.
To get a better sense of a romantic wedding dress, we asked the experts about what makes a wedding dress, well...romantic. “A romantic dress is one that invokes a soft, fairy-tale, ethereal feeling in the bride that wears it. It’s usually the type of dress most little girls dream about how their wedding dress would look like when they grow up,” says Yemi Osunkoya, founder and designer of Kosibah.
When going to select your dress, if you are unsure about what to ask for, keep this in mind: “I suggest something with delicate lace detail, like a see-through lace back, lace cap sleeves, or a lace edge highlighting her décolleté, waist or train. If you are not a fan of lace, I will go for silk mousseline or silk tulle,” Avoh notes.
If you’re dreaming of walking down the aisle in a romantic wedding dress, keep reading ahead to see 21 of our favorite romantic dress selections.
Grace by Valentine Avoh
Avoh says don’t get too stuck on the exact fit of a romantic dress. Although the fit is typically focused on the gown’s fullness, it does not always have to stay within those classifications. The fit “doesn’t really matter as long as it moves with the body. A tight bias cut dress can be as romantic as a flowy silk tulle skirt,” Avoh says.
Melpomene dress by Kosibah
Osunkoya’s design process? “I create a design that aligns with all the elements above that have all or most of the features that I think to encapsulate the ideal romantic gown,” he says. This dress is a manifestation of the design vision. It has cap sleeves and a tulle, full skirt that gives the dress a full romantic look. The dress also has a cathedral train for added drama.
Martina Liana Luxe High-Neck Ball Gown
This gown has a high neck and is full of lace detailing. On the back, you will find keyhole details for a modern romantic take. The long sleeves are carefully crafted, and the bodice remains sheer but with coverage over your chest. The train is the real statement piece and also has lace motifs throughout the entire length.
Martina Liana Luxe Sheer Voluminous 3d Bridal Gown With detachable Sleeve
This dress wraps all of the romantic wedding dress elements into one. The bodice is a strapless, sweetheart necklace that melts into a dramatic off the shoulder look. The sleeves are voluminous with French tulle, and the entire gown consists of lace and light beading details.
White by Vera Wang Pleated Gazar Wedding Dress
The wrap-front A-line skirt adds stunning detail to the gown. The dress contains a romantic bow at the waistline and a side slit to make the dress modern. This dress is perfect for a sprint or summer garden wedding. It has romantic touches without the large skirt that could get in the way of walking down the aisle.
Emilia Wickstead Diamond Duchesse Satin Gown
This dress is very Bridgerton- reminiscent and contains duchess-satin through the entire gown. The bodice had a sweetheart neckline that adds a feminine silhouette. The skirt has pleats which keep the skirt full and voluminous even when it falls to the floor once you put it on.
Are you a shopping for a wedding dress? We've answered three common questions brides have when shopping for a romantic wedding dress.
- Are romantic lace wedding dresses more expensive? It depends on the amount of time that goes into creating the lace. There are many affordable lace dress options out there and you can definitely find something that suits every budget.
- Is a romantic wedding dress modern? Call it the modern renaissance but romantic styles are definitely having a moment, which makes it a very modern choice.
- What should I wear to a vineyard wedding? We love a bohemian lace dress, or even a modern jumpsuit. It's really up to your taste and style, anything goes and you shouldn't worry about matching the dress to the venue.