The Modern Boho Bride: Choosing Your Perfect Bohemian Wedding Dress

Caroline posing in her custom wedding gown from Angela Kim Couture

As a custom wedding dress designer, I design one-of-a-kind gowns that reflect the unique style and personality of each bride I work with. One bridal style that is a perennial favorite is the boho wedding dress. 

What is Boho Chic?

The term “boho” is derived from “bohemian,” which refers to an artistic and cultural movement that originated in late 19th century Europe.

Boho chic is a bohemian-inspired fashion style that emphasizes free-spirited, relaxed, and eclectic elements. 

Caroline posing in her boho wedding gown
Caroline posing in her custom petite boho wedding dress

Boho wedding dresses are made with natural, flowy fabrics such as chiffon, lace, and tulle, and are designed to be comfortable, effortless, and stylish. These dresses often feature sophisticated embroidery and delicate beading, creating a dreamy and romantic aura.

Boho wedding dresses are also known for their unique and unconventional designs, employing features like an off-the-shoulder neckline, dramatic sleeves, ruffles and intricate back designs.

Boho styles have been popular in recent years due to their versatility, comfort, and timeless elegance.

“If you call it Boho, then it’s Boho!”

The beauty of boho wedding dresses is that they can be styled to suit your personal taste. The boho vibe is less about particular design or construction elements and more about how the bride sees herself and interprets her wedding theme. 

For example, you might not think of a constructed bodice as a typically boho design feature, but it can definitely work for some brides.

Kate posing in her custom bridal gown
Kate posing in her wedding gown

Whether you prefer a more relaxed, beach vibe or a more dramatic, earthy look, there’s a boho dress to match your taste. From ethereal puff sleeves and effortlessly flowy skirts to detailed embroidery and crochet accents, these dresses are designed to channel the beauty and individuality of the modern bride.

Are You a Boho Bride?

A bohemian wedding dress is a perfect fit for the laid-back, free-spirited bride who wants to break away from traditional bridal gowns and express her individuality on her Big Day. If whimsical florals, fringe, bell sleeves and flower crowns are part of your wedding vision, then you are definitely a boho bride.

However, boho vibes aren’t just about ditching the status quo for minimalist, crafty or rustic motifs. Today’s boho styles incorporate many elements of contemporary bridal fashion, and seamlessly combine vintage and modern aesthetics.

Tips for Choosing the Perfect Boho Wedding Dress

When it comes to choosing among boho styles, there is no shortage of design options. So many choices can seem overwhelming, so here are a few tips to help you find a really stunning boho wedding dress.

Esther posing in her custom wedding dress
Kate posing with her flower girls in her boho wedding dress

1. Start with a Dress That Fits You Perfectly

The most important aspect of your wedding dress is that it should fit your body perfectly.  While of course you want to be able to move freely without restriction, you also want the dress to flatter your body and highlight your feminine curves.

I always recommend that my brides go to a bridal boutique and try on some dresses in different styles and silhouettes. You’ll quickly get a good sense of what you like and which silhouettes look best on your frame.

Esther getting putting on her boho wedding dress
Caroline posing in her wedding dress in an ice cave

But remember, comfort is the key. Especially for boho designs. You’ll always be your most beautiful when you’re confident, and you’ll be most confident when you’re comfortable.

2. Choose Light and Airy Fabrics for Effortless Movement

The epitome of elegant style is a wedding dress that enchants the eye with easy, flowing movement while flattering your feminine frame. The boho vibe is organic and extra feminine — without being overdone.

Archetypal bohemian bridal gown fabrics include playful patterns, floral prints, gauzy tulles, chiffon, linen, lace and silk.

Florals are a great choice for outdoor weddings with a dreamy garden party vibe.

Linen can add texture and an earthy touch to boho wedding dresses, making it a popular choice for brides who want to incorporate natural elements into their wedding day look.

Tulle is used to create the full and voluminous tiered skirts that are popular in bohemian-inspired dresses. Sparkling tulle is perfect for lending a touch of magic to your dress and creating a more enchanted and romantic boho look. 

Wedding dress with royal train in the woods
Caroline posing in her wedding gown on a dock

While head-to-toe lace creates sexy, vintage boho vibes, combing lacy details and silk can achieve a more chic and modern look.

3. Choose a Color that Makes You Look Pretty

While many boho brides opt for shades of ivory or blush, you’ll have a wide range of shades to choose from — even if you decide on a traditionally white dress. And for lining, the array of options is equally vast, whether white, blush or nude. The main consideration is to find the right shade of fabric for your skin. It’s a subtle detail that really affects the look of your dress.

Match colors next to your face to determine the appropriate shade to make it look prettier and brighter. An inappropriate shade can make you look frumpy and tired.

4. Consider Your Wedding Theme and Ceremony Style

Bohemian wedding gowns are versatile and appropriate for many venues and wedding themes. Whether you’re having a beach wedding, a rustic barn affair, or a garden wedding ceremony, a boho gown can be tailored to fit the occasion.

Boho gowns can be dressed up or down, depending on the context and your personal preferences. Bohemian bridal gowns pair really well with garden settings and ceremonies with a vintage theme.

Caroline and Kyle holding hands
Nate and Esther's wedding ceremony

For a more casual outdoor wedding, a breezy floral dress with a flowy skirt and a simple bodice is an excellent choice. For a more formal indoor celebration, a more elaborate boho gown with intricate details and layers of fabric is a perfect way to a touch of drama and glamour to the occasion.

5. Consider Your Budget

Obviously every bride’s budget and priorities are going to be different. However, many wedding experts agree that your wedding dress should account for about 10% of your total wedding budget

I always tell my brides to get the best dress that they can afford, keeping in mind that the best dress isn’t necessarily going to be the most expensive one — it’s the one that suits your wedding style and fits your body perfectly.

Tips for Styling a Boho Bride

Boho wedding gowns often have a minimalist and understated look, which makes them perfect for accessorizing. 

Whether you’re going for a more relaxed and effortless feel or a more eclectic and statement-making look, the right accessories can help you create a unique and stunning boho wedding style that’s true to your personality and the overall theme of your wedding.

Caroline posing with her maid of honor
Kate posing with her bridesmaids

Vintage elements are a staple in the bohemian world, and adding vintage-inspired accessories to your bridal look can help you achieve a truly bohemian style. 

Remember that your accessories should complement your dress, not overpower it, so choose wisely and enjoy the process of finding the perfect pieces to complete your boho bridal look.

1. Embrace Natural Beauty for Makeup and Hair

One of the key aspects of the bohemian style is embracing natural beauty. For brides, this means using minimal makeup and allowing your natural beauty to shine through. Choose a dewy makeup look that highlights your natural features, such as your eyes and cheekbones. Consider using earthy, warm tones such as gold, bronze, and brown to complement your skin tone.

Kelsey's bohemian hairstyling
Kate's bohemian hairstyle

Additionally, you can wear your hair down in loose, natural waves or opt for a braided hairstyle. Both of these styles are effortless and have a bohemian feel. If you prefer to wear your hair up, consider wearing a relaxed updo, such as a messy bun or braided crown.

2. Accessorize with a Unique Headpiece

Boho brides often choose to adorn their hair with natural, earthy headpieces. Flowers, feathers, and intricate headbands are popular choices that add a touch of bohemian elegance.

If you’re going to wear a flower crown, choose fresh blooms in soft, muted hues such as peaches, pinks, and purples. For a more relaxed look, try a simple band of flowers woven into your hair. Alternatively, a headband with feathers and beading can add a touch of glamour to your boho wedding look.

Kyra wearing a boho flower crown
Kelsey posing with a braided bohemian hairstyle

If you’re looking to lend some sparkle to your look, consider wearing a pair of glittering hairpins or a hair accessory with delicate beading.

If you’re looking for a classic bridal accessory, a veil can add a touch of traditional elegance to your boho look. Look for a veil that’s made of delicate, sheer material and has a relaxed, bohemian feel. A long, flowing veil that falls down your back can be the perfect finishing touch to your boho bridal look.

3. Compliment Your Dress with Unique Jewelry

Choose pieces that are unique and have a natural, organic feel. Long necklaces made of natural stones and beaded bracelets are great choices. You can also consider layering necklaces or wearing a statement pendant that’s in line with your boho style.

Caroline and Kyle in a romantic pose
Esther putting on earrings

For added impact, pair your jewelry with statement earrings that complement your overall look.

If you’re looking to add a touch of glamour to your boho bridal look, consider wearing some body jewelry. A dainty chain or a beautiful beaded body chain can be a subtle yet stunning way to add some sparkle to your look. You could also consider wearing a beaded or feather body chain for a more boho-chic effect.

4. Add a Belt to Define Your Waist

Because boho wedding dresses often have a relaxed fit, adding a belt can help to create a more polished look. Look for a belt made of natural materials such as leather or suede, and choose a style that has embroidered beading or embellishments. This will not only help to cinch in your waist, but also add an extra touch of bohemian charm to your look.

Detail shot of romantic boho dress bodice
Kate's custom wedding dress details

5. Add a Wrap, Shawl or Sash

If you’re getting married outdoors, it can get chilly, especially in the evenings. A wrap or shawl is a great way to keep warm and add a touch of bohemian elegance to your wedding look. Look for a wrap made of soft, flowing materials like chiffon or lace, and choose a style that has intricate details such as beading or fringe.

A plush shawl in a soft, neutral color like cream or blush can also be a beautiful and versatile option that will complement any boho wedding dress.

Caroline posing in her boho wedding gown
Caroline in her boho bridal gown

A sash can be a simple yet elegant way to add a pop of color to your boho wedding dress. Choose a sash that’s made of natural materials like silk or satin, and opt for a bold, bright color that will contrast with the soft, neutral tones of your dress. You could also consider a sash that’s embellished with beading or tassels for a more dramatic effect.

6. Choose Comfortable Shoes

Your shoes should complement your bohemian bridal look and be comfortable enough to wear all day. Consider wearing a pair of boho-inspired sandals or boots, with unique detailing such as fringe, beading, or embroidery.

Caroline posing in her boho wedding dress
Boho bridal boots

If you prefer heels, choose a pair of elegant strappy or lace-up heels in a soft color. If it’s appropriate to the venue and your wedding theme, you could even walk the aisle barefoot.

7. Don’t Forget the Details

Details are key in creating a bohemian bridal look, and there are plenty of ways to add bohemian details to your ensemble. Consider wearing a delicate anklet or toe ring, or opting for a bohemian-inspired bouquet, such as a loose, wildflower arrangement. You could also carry a beaded or embroidered clutch or add bohemian-style garlands to your décor.

My Expert Advice: Stay True to Your Bridal Style and Vision

Your Big Day is all about you and the memories you want to make. So have the style of ceremony you want and wear a gown that you absolutely love. All eyes will be on you, so getting the dress you really want is absolutely essential.

Wedding dress shopping can be one of the most exciting and overwhelming experiences for a bride-to-be. The search for the perfect dress can be daunting, especially with so many styles and designs to choose from. 

Caroline running up a mountain in her wedding dress
Caroline posing in her wedding dress with a lantern

But if you can’t get a dress of that rack that totally dazzles you, then go custom.

Have Your Boho Wedding Dress Custom Made

Altering a dress off the rack can be quite expensive, and in the end, having a dress custom designed just for you is often more affordable.  And you’ll have exactly the look you want with the confidence that it will fit you perfectly.

If you decide to go this route, start early. Designing a custom wedding dress takes hundreds of hours and from 9 to 12 months to complete. Find a designer whose work you love, and listen to their suggestions about what type of silhouettes and fabrics will work best for your body type and wedding vision.

But most importantly, be comfortable. You’ll be the center of attention, and to look and feel your best, you need to be completely comfortable. That comes from having a dress that fits your body perfectly, which you can usually only achieve with a custom design.

Custom wedding dress designer Angela Kim

Why trust Angela?

Angela Kim has worked in fashion internationally for over 20 years. She created Angela Kim Couture in 2017 and now specializes exclusively in custom wedding dress design.