Whether a traditional, voluminous white dress isn’t for you, or you’re simply looking for a more modern, fashion-forward take on wedding whites, you’re in luck because the options these days are seemingly endless. More than ever, brides and designers are bucking tradition in favor of putting their own twist on bridal. Forgo classic white for bright, on-trend colors, skip the dress altogether and rock edgy separates, or raise hemlines—forget what etiquette says you have to wear and instead, find pieces that make you feel like the absolute best version of yourself for your wedding festivities.
If you're on the hunt for more trendy wedding attire, look to bridal labels like Danielle Frankel for a fresh, stylish take on modern ensembles. Or, take your search beyond bridal, as many of the chicest options for the fashion-minded bride aren’t designated specifically as ‘wedding’ looks. Think: Khaite, Chloe, Brandon Maxwell, Markarian, Johanna Ortiz (to name a few!). These labels are teeming with great options for all your wedding-related events, from your bridal shower to the day of and the after-party.
To help start your search, we’ve shared some of our favorite dresses for the fashion-forward bride, from pink rehearsal dinner dresses to cut-out gowns and after-party minis.
For the Cut-Out Loving Bride
Significant Other Clementine Dress
Size Range: 2-10 | Length: Maxi | Shipping: Free | Return policy: Full refund
From big, bold openings to more demure, peekaboo slices showing off just a hint of skin, cutouts of every variety are aplenty in fashion right now. This breezy maxi dress is perfect for a beachside rehearsal dinner and—if your honeymoon is somewhere warm—throw it in your suitcase for your post-wedding travels, too.
Best Textured Dress
Mara Hoffman Sloan Dress
Size Range: XXS-3X | Length: Midi | Shipping: Free shipping | Return policy: Free domestic returns within 14 days
The beauty of this midi, sleeveless and square neck dress is in the details—most notably, the amazing popcorn texture. The best part? There’s smocking throughout, which means it’s incredibly comfortable and flattering for all.
For the Boho Bride
Chloe Cutout Repurpose-Fringe Silk Maxi Dress
Size Range: 34-42 | Length: Maxi | Shipping: Free | Return policy: Full refund
Chloe always has plenty to offer for chic brides-to-be, and this season is no different. This silk maxi dress with a fringed hem is embellished with handcrafted laces, ribbons, and repurposed metal pieces.
Best Halter Dress
Johanna Ortiz Conga For the Soul Satin Midi Dress
Size Range: 00-16 | Length: Midi | Shipping: Free | Return policy: Full refund
This satin jacquard halterneck dress is ultra-flattering thanks to the twisted bodice and draped skirt. Pair it with neutral accessories and style your hair in soft beach waves and you’re set.
Best Floral Applique
Carolina Herrera Floral Applique Cutout Halter Midi Dress
Size Range: 2-14 | Length: Midi| Shipping: Free | Return policy: Returnable within 30 days for full refund
This halter dress, featuring stunning floral applique and ruffle details, begs to be worn by a spring/summer bride. The cutouts at the waist give it a unique cool factor that will set you apart from the rest.
Best Square Neck
Reformation Isaac Dress
Size Range: 0-12| Length: Midi| Shipping: Free | Return policy: Returnable within 30 days for full refund
This elegant midi dress (made of 98% organic cotton and 2% spandex) features a square neckline, flattering smocking on the bodice, and a side slit. Pair it with minimal hoops or modern pearl accessories, and pointed-toe mules.
Best Slip Dress
Sachin & Babi 'Cali' Satin Midi Dress
Size Range: 0-16 | Length: Midi | Shipping: Free | Return policy: Returnable within 30 days for full refund
Keep it minimal in this slinky, midi slip dress with a cowl neckline and a side slit. Wear it with a matching white blazer, a simple and sexy strappy heel, and put your hair up in a low knot for an ultra-chic bridal look.
Best One Shoulder
Vera Wang Brigitte A-Line Wedding Dress
Size Range: 32-60| Length: Gown | Shipping: Contact brand | Return policy: Contact brand
It’s the oversized floral detail at the waist that sets this soft tulle, A-line asymmetrical neckline gown apart. You will feel like a goddess in this dress, which features a corset bodice, a front skirt split, and a train effect in the back.
Best Feather Dress
Taller Marmo Ubud One-Shoulder Feather-Trimmed Crepe Maxi Dress
Size Range: IT 36-48 | Length: Mini | Shipping: Free | Return policy: Full refund
Bring the glamour in this feather-trim, one-sleeve mini dress. Pair it with statement pumps and a colorful clutch and you’re party-ready.
Danielle Frankel Noa Gown
Size Range: US 0-12 | Length: Gown | Shipping: Shipping pricing varies depending on shipping location | Return policy: Refund within 5 days of receiving an order. $200 non-refundable restocking fee
When in doubt, fashion-forward brides should look no further than Danielle Frankel. Leave it to Danielle Hirsch, the designer behind the line, to make tulle look modern and edgy here with this soft, crinkled tulle gown — featuring double-draped off-the-shoulder straps, and a soft internal bustier with side boning.
For Seaside Nuptials
Christopher Esber Ruched Cutout Satin Maxi Dress
Size Range: AU 6-12 | Length: Midi | Shipping: Standard shipping $15 | Return policy: Returnable within 28 days for full refund
This roundup wouldn’t be complete without including several cutout dress options. This slinky satin t-shirt dress from Christopher Esber gives you just the right amount of cut-outs for a tasteful, but also a sexy flash of skin.
Loveshack Fancy Devyn Gown
Size Range: US 00-12 | Length: Gown | Shipping: Free shipping | Return policy: Returnable within 30 days for full refund
Romantic and ethereal are the two words that best describe this LoveShack fancy ivory lace gown. It features a plunging V-neckline, a tiered hemline with a statement bow at the back, and a dramatic full skirt.
For the Beach Bride
Bronx and Banco Daisy Cutout Lace Midi Dress
Size Range: XS-XL | Length: Tea-length | Shipping: Free | Return policy: Returnable within 30 days for full refund
This silk-linen blend midi dress, with delicate straps and colorful embroidered floral appliqués, features a flattering fit-and-flare silhouette. It would look right at home for a rehearsal dinner on the beach, or even a wedding, depending on the vibe you’re going for.
What to Look For in a Fashion-Forward Wedding Outfit
Once you’ve decided on a slightly more alternative route for your wedding look, start thinking about how the outfit will look during your planned wedding season. Perhaps you’ve selected a crochet fringed dress. Will that be right for your winter wedding at the top of Aspen Mountain? No. Most importantly, how do you feel in the outfit? Does it bring a big smile to your face? Are you comfortable and have you tried sitting in your dress? If the answer to any of those questions is ‘no,’ then consider other options as the last thing you want to deal with is feeling uncomfortable and not enjoying the festivities.
Where can I find trendy and fashion-forward wedding dresses?
Retail sites like Net-a-Porter, Shopbop, Moda Operandi, Free People/Anthropologie all carry plenty of fashion-forward options for every kind of bride. The key is to search beyond their ‘bridal’ sections.
What type of wedding is a fashion-forward dress best suited for?
Every type of wedding! The key is to consider the setting, the venue, and the overall vibe you want to achieve. If you are having a very traditional wedding in a Catholic church, a barely-there mini dress is not going to be the most appropriate option. However, if you are having a dinner reception at a chic NYC restaurant, it might be just right!
Do brides no longer wear white?
Brides these days favor more flattering shades of white over stark, bright white. Alternatively, plenty of brides are giving up white entirely for bold colors and floral prints.
About the Author
Kristin Tice Studeman is a former editor and runway critic at leading fashion publications including Style.com, Carine Roitfeld’s CR Fashion Book, WWD, and ELLE.com. Her writing on fashion has also appeared in The New York Times Styles section, Vogue, and W Magazine.