Here comes the bride all dressed in white, may be the line of a well-known song, but more and more modern brides are opting to forgo the long-standing tradition in favor of a colored gown.
If you’re not a traditionalist, or you simply don’t like white, there’s no reason you should feel obligated to wear the traditional bridal hue on your wedding day. The key is to choose a dress that makes you feel and look your best whether you want gothic glam with a black gown or to look as fresh as a rose in pale pink.
Before you start your search for the perfect wedding dress, it’s important to decide what shade will not only look amazing with your complexion, but will complement your wedding theme and color choices.
Here are the top things to consider when choosing a colored wedding dress.
How to Choose the Perfect Colored Wedding Dress: 3 Tips
If you have your heart set on a colored wedding dress, here are the three most important things to keep in mind.
1. Know your skin tone
One of the biggest mistakes any bride can make is choosing a dress in a color that doesn’t suit her complexion. The first step is to determine if your skin tone is warm, cool or neutral.
Start by looking at the veins in your wrist. If they’re purplish or blue, your skin tone is cool, if they appear green or olive, your skin tone is warm. If you can’t tell whether or not your veins are green or blue, your skin tone is neutral.
If you don’t know what shades work best with your skin tone, our cheat sheet will steer you in the right direction.
Warm skin tone
Dos — Fall colours like reds, yellows, oranges and golds look fantastic against a warm skin tone as do earthy hues like leaf or moss green, warm shades of gray and blue and warm, rosey pinks and purples.
Don’ts — Cool or bright grays, blues, greens and purples. Stark black.
Cool skin tone
Dos — Cool or bright blues, greens, pinks and purples are lovely against a cool skin tone. Silver is also a flattering hue as are cool grays, charcoal and navy. Soft or pastel colors like mint, blush and lilac also look well against a cool skin tone, if your skin is pale.
Don’ts — Earthy tones such as olives and browns, orange, bright yellow and beige or taupe.
Neutral skin tone
Dos — You can wear any color but look best in softened or muted versions rather than brighter ones. Think medium blue, jade green, peach, dusty rose.
Don’ts — Bright, vibrant colors, navy, chocolate brown.
2. Match the season
Matching your bridal look with the season you plan to wed can also be a great idea.
Here’s a look at the best colors based on the month you plan to marry:
- January — Icy shades of blue, gray or lilac work well as do metallics, dark blue, burgundy, plum or emerald.
- February — Reds, pinks, purples and shades of burgundy are perfect for February nuptials as is gold.
- March — Shades of green, blue or yellow are lovely for a March wedding.
- April — Green, blue or yellow work equally well in April as do shades of rose.
- May — Greens, blues, pinks, purples and yellows are lovely for a May wedding. You can choose pastels or brighter hues.
- June — Green, blue, aqua, yellow or shades of pink and purple are lovely for June ceremonies.
- July — Any shade of blue, turquoise, aqua, coral, peach or pink work well.
- August — Almost anything goes from yellows and oranges to blues and greens. Pink also works as does gold.
- September — Navy, blush, gold, teal, plum, burgundy or gray are ideal shades for this month.
- October — Reds, oranges, yellows, coppers and golds work well as do earthy tones of green such as moss or olive and dusty mauve.
- November — Warm shades of red, yellow and gold all work well as do burgundy, navy and slate.
- December — Any shade of red or green as well as gold or silver.
3. Compliment your theme
Not everyone has a wedding theme but, if you do, it’s important that your dress complement both that theme and its color scheme. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular themes and what dress colors would blend seamlessly.
- Beach — Blues, turquoise, aqua, sea green and gold.
- Boho — Warm and earthy tones such as red, orange, pink and yellow.
- Classic — Blue and white is a classic pairing as is green and white.
- Fairytale — You can’t go wrong with pink, gold or silver. You can also use a Disney Princess or real-life royal as inspiration.
- Forest — Shades of green and earthy neutrals can act as your backdrop for one accent color. Blush, deep plum, burgundy, rust, coral or golden yellow are all excellent accent choices.
- Garden — Any color you see on a flower will work for a garden-themed wedding. Pastels are lovely for spring while deeper hues are better for summer and fall.
- Glamorous — Nothing says glam quite like metallics and sparkly fabrics. Other appropriate hues include purples, reds and dark blue.
- Modern — Stark colours like a mix of black and white or gold and silver are very modern. Navy, any shade of gray or bright red are also good choices.
- Romantic — Reds, pinks, burgundys and purples are all wonderful choices especially with gold accents.
- Rustic — Sage or moss green, peach, coral or rust, golden yellow, burgundy and blush.
- Vintage —Pinks, violets, dusty blue, apricot, gold and shades of lemon or gray all offer a lovely vintage vibe.
Famous Brides who Rocked Colored Dresses
If you know you want something less traditional, but are still uncertain what you’re looking for, these famous brides may offer some inspiration.
- Christine Quinn — The Selling Sunset diva designed two gowns in collaboration with couture fashion designer Galia Lahav. The dress for her 2019 ceremony to retired techpreneur Christian Dumontet was a shimmery black ball gown with a sheer bustier top and off-the-shoulder straps, while her reception dress was a black mermaid style with sheer cutouts for a sexy silhouette.
- Shenae Grimes-Beech — 90210 actress Shenae Grimes married British model Josh Beech in 2013 in a Vera Wang gown with a black fitted bodice and layered black and grey tulle skirt.
- Sarah Jessica Parker — Best known for her role as Carrie Bradshaw in “Sex and the City,” the actress and style icon wore a dramatic black ball gown designed by Morgane Le Fay when she married Matthew Broderick in 1997.
- Gwen Stefani — The svelte singer wore a pink gown by John Galliano for Christian Dior, at her wedding to Gavin Rossdale in 2002.
- Jessica Biel — The Sinner actress wed singer Justin Timberlake in a strapless pink Giambattista Valli haute couture gown in 2012.
- Kaley Cuoco — The Big Bang Theory star wore a pink Vera Wang gown at her wedding to professional tennis player Ryan Sweeting in 2013. After divorcing Sweeting in 2016, she wed professional equestrian Karl Cook in 2018 and wore a sleek and daring lace jumpsuit to her reception.
Jessica Simpson — The singer chose a custom embellished golden Carolina Herrera gown for her 2014 nuptials with retired NFL player Eric Johnson.
- Kandi Burruss — The opulent white and gold wedding dress worn by the singer featured an ostrich feather train and an illusion top with Swavarski crystals. Designed by Reco Chapple, she wore the daring mermaid gown when she wed Todd Tucker in 2014.
- Piper Perabo — The Covert Affairs actress wore a silver sequin Michael Kors gown paired with a cathedral-length yellow veil for her 2014 nuptials with director Stephen Kay.
- Cynthia Bailey — The Real Housewives of Atlanta star chose a voluminous silver gown custom-designed by Rubin Singer for her 2010 vows to designer Peter Thomas.
- Amber Tamblyn — The actress married Arrested Development star David Cross in a bright yellow gown by an unknown designer.
- Alison Pill — The Star Trek actress married fellow actor Joshua Leonard in a vintage pale yellow gown.
- Tina Turner — The iconic singer wore a dramatic green and black taffeta dress embellished with Swarovski crystals by Giorgio Armani to wed music producer Erwin Bach in 2013.
- Kelis — The R&B singer wed rapper Nas wearing a gorgeous green gown in 2005, although the dress was made more famous by the cover of Nas’ Life is Good album in 2012.
- Cynthia Nixon — The statuesque Sex and the City star wore a celery green Carolina Herrera gown to tie the knot in 2016 with education activist Christine Marinoni.
- Chrissy Teigen — When the model and TV host wed singer John Legend in 2013, she donned an elaborate red Vera Wang mermaid gown for the wedding reception.
- Kat Von D — The tattooist and beauty business owner wore a red gown with a matching cape and lace-trimmed veil custom designed by Adolfo Sanchez when she wed author and musician Rafael Reyes in 2018.
- Camilla Parker-Bowles — When the now Duchess of Cornwall wed Prince Charles in 2005, she changed into a blue and gold damask coat by designer Anna Valentine with a matching pale blue chiffon dress for the service of blessing.
- Jerry Hall — The model and actress wore a light blue Vivienne Westwood dress to say “I do” with billionaire Rupert Murdoch in 2016.
- Katharine McPhee — The singer-turned-actress changed into a silky, light blue dress for her wedding reception with music executive David Foster.
- Julianne Moore — The well-known actress donned a simple lilac-colored sheath, designed by Prada for her 2003 backyard wedding to film director Bart Freundlich.
- Dita von Teese — The burlesque dancer chose a corseted purple gown designed by Vivienne Westwood to tie the knot with shock rocker Marilyn Manson.
- Sofia Coppola — The acclaimed filmmaker wore a short lavender Alaia dress to her 2011 nuptials with musician Thomas Mars.
- Poppy Delevigne — The model and socialite chose a floral gown designed by Peter Dundas for Pucci for her 2014 Morrocan ceremony with James Cook.
- Stephanie March — The Law & Order actress opted for a slim-fitting, hydrangea-print Dolce & Gabbana dress to wed tech investor Dan Benton in 2017.
Where to Buy a Colored Wedding Dress
While colored wedding dresses are increasing in popularity, white and ivory are still the norm.
You can opt to buy a prom dress or evening gown but, if you really want a traditional bridal gown, here are some good options for finding a dress in the color you want.
- David’s Bridal — Brides on a budget can find wedding gowns in non-traditional hues for less than $1,000 at this shop. From a red ball gown to a periwinkle mermaid silhouette, there are a wide array of styles.
- Milanoo — If you’re looking for a colorful dress at a reasonable price, you may just find it here. With gowns in blue, green, purple, burgundy, red and black, there’s something for everyone.
- Victoria’s Queen — This online shop, which ships bridal gowns worldwide, offers dresses in light blue, blush, peach, indigo, royal blue, red, gold and black.
- Azazie — This popular online bridal shop boasts wedding gowns in pink, light blue and black. While it does offer some beautiful colored gowns, it doesn’t have a wide range of colors available.
- Moonlight — This bridal collection includes red gowns, black lace dresses, two-tone black and white dresses and blush designs that come in a variety of silhouettes.
- Maggie Sottero — While the range of colors isn’t extensive, this talented designer does offer dresses in blush, rose gold and black as well as white with black accents.
- Wedding Dress Fantasy — With everything from Disney princess-inspired gowns to glamorous gothic dresses, this shop has a lot of unique styles to offer. Not a store for a thrifty bride, the shop does offer dresses in every color under the sun.