It's no secret that shopping for a wedding dress can be a stressful process. After all, there are seemingly endless styles and silhouettes to choose from. But if you can't help but picture yourself walking down the aisle in a gown that's soft, ethereal, and feminine, then a romantic wedding dress is the perfect style for you. So, what makes a romantic wedding dress, well, romantic? We asked the experts.
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.
“A romantic dress will always have details that evoke lightness or fluidity such as a lace edge, delicate fabric-covered buttons down the back, and floral embroidered tulle," says Valentine Avoh, the designer behind her eponymous label. According to Yemi Osunkoya, founder and designer of Kosibah, romantic wedding dresses usually have a soft fullness in the skirt often achieved by layers of transparent or opaque fabrics. However, Osunkoya notes that one of the most striking details of a romantic dress is the train. "Romantic dresses usually have a train of some sort from puddle and chapel lengths to dramatic cathedral lengths,” he tells Brides.
While still dreamy and feminine, many of today's romantic wedding gowns have evolved to appeal to all bridal styles from laidback to modern. “Romantic silhouettes have become more unique and playful. In the past, romantic silhouettes were often considered to be bohemian, however, the trend has now gained respect by the industry, with designers finding different ways to express romanticism,” Stephanie White, 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 as the years progress!” she adds.
If you’re dreaming of walking down the aisle in a romantic wedding dress, read on for the best romantic wedding dresses.
Best Back: Mywony Bridal 'Whitney' Dress
The Whitney dress is handmade with a unique color mix. The dress has draped silk and a buttoned lace back detailing. The back and the font both contain a plunging V neck that creates more draping along with the dress's silhouette.
Best Sheer Bodice: Mywony Bridal Ivory Mesh Wedding Dress
The Ivory mesh wedding dress has multiple layers of fabric that provide plenty of movement. The bodice contains handcrafted embroidered florals.
Best Floral Lace: Willowby by Watters 'Kalie' Gown
The 'Kalie' gown by Willowby by Watters is a stunning feminine dress. The floral lace covers the bodice and the tulle skirt. The back is exposed, which creates a subtle neckline.
Best Separates: The Lotus Bloom Co. Ivory Maxi Tulle Skirt
This handcrafted romantic skirt contains a satin waistband and floor-length tulle. The dress is simplistic yet stunning when you walk in it.
Best Lace Details: Valentine Avoh 'Jackie' Dress
This utterly romantic dress is for the bride who appreciates subtle details like lace-cap sleeves, a décolletage-baring neckline, and a gentle train.
Best Corset Bodice: Kosibah 'Ophelia' Dress
Perhaps the epitome of what a romantic wedding dress should look like, this gown by Kosibah gives you a romantic look. It has an organza overlay and a corset with lace appliqué touches.
Most Unique: Valentine Avoh 'Grace' Dress
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.
Best Cathedral-Length Train: Kosibah 'Melpomene' Dress
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.
Most Whimsical: The Lotus Bloom Co. Midi Tulle Skirt
Another tulle option is a more modern version of a floor-length skirt. It’s shorter, yet romantic. It comes in various colors if you’re looking to make a colorful statement on your big day. Pair a corset or sild bodice with the tulle skirt for a complete.
Most Regal: 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.
Best Long Sleeves: Galina Signature Illusion Sleeve Plunging Ball Gown
This romantic dress offers a plunging neckline that transitions into a pink-tinted underskirt. At the waist, there are crystal details that give the dress an added touch.
Most Versatile: Martina Liana Luxe Sheer Voluminous Sleeves Gown
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.
Most Dramatic: 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.
Most Modest: Maggie Sottero Prescott Dress
The Prescott dress is a stunning and modest romantic wedding dress selection. There are delicate lace details and a flattering skirt.
Best Embellishments: Marchesa Notte 'Tish' Gown
With cascading blooms and sweet blush, this Marchesa Notte gown could not get more romantic. Poet sleeves add just the right touch of romance for those with love in their eyes.
Best Ruffle Detail: Gwendolyn Dress by Odylyne The Ceremony
“A romantic dress should embody personal details that the bride loves and finds endearing. It should provide elements of something that makes them feel the exact emotions they have always dreamed about,” White notes.
Best Budget: Azazie Chapel Train Dress
Corseting details on the back and sleeves make this off-the-shoulder gown prime for those who long for a storybook romance. Featuring chapel train and lace detailing every subtle detail of this wallet-friendly gown is on point, including the stellar reviews!
What to Look For in a Romantic Wedding Dress
It's all in the details when it comes to romantic wedding dresses. Special touches like intricate lace, full skirts, ruffled necklines, and poet sleeves instantly transform a simple, classic silhouette into a romantic one. When shopping for your wedding dress, if you are unsure about where to start, keep this in mind: “I suggest looking for something with delicate lace detail, like a see-through lace back, lace cap sleeves, or a lace edge highlighting your décolleté. If you are not a fan of lace, I suggest going for silk mousseline or silk tulle,” adds Avoh.
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Why Trust Brides
Taylor Lane loves all things beauty and began her career in the editorial industry as a fashion assistant at Glamour. From 2018 to 2019, Taylor was a beauty writer at The Zoe Report. During that time, she was also contributing beauty and fashion stories to a variety of publications including W, Women’s Health, Aedit, The Zoe Report, The Sunday Edit, and Self. In June 2021, she became an e-commerce writer at Instyle and Shape.