How to Choose a Colorful Wedding Dress

Ellen posing in her custom wedding dress with her bridesmaids

While traditional bridal fashion has focused almost exclusively on white wedding dresses, more and more modern brides are choosing colored wedding dresses for their bridal inspirations. Wearing a colored dress or adding a pop color from your bridal color palette to a white wedding dress can be a show-stopping game-changer!

My expert advice:  If you don’t want to wear white on your big day, feel free to express your personal style with a colored wedding dress.  But think carefully about your wedding inspiration and how your dress will fit into the big picture.

Choosing the Right Color for Your Bridal Style

As a wedding dress designer, my brides can choose to have couture custom dresses made in any style and color. So in our initial consultation I always ask them about the details of their wedding day vision. 

Ellen in her colorful custom wedding dress
Ellen and Trevor exchanging vows on the beach

Important considerations are the decor of the venue itself, the type of lighting that will be used, the floral arrangements, the attire of the bridal party and the color palette of invitations and place settings. The idea is to coordinate a style and color that will fit the entire context of your event.

Beautiful flower arrangement from Ellen's beach wedding
Ellen's colorful beach wedding

Ellen’s wedding inspiration was to elevate her beach wedding dress with hand-sewn flower petals from the color spectrum of her bouquet and floral arrangements. This was a beatiful way to use the pink as a pop color against the sea green of her bridesmaid dresses, and to tie the dress in with the larger floral theme.

If you’re having a more formal ceremony, then a brightly colored dress may not be the most appropriate choice. But if you’re planning a fun and festive celebration, then go for it! There are really no rules when it comes to choosing a colored wedding dress.

Custom wedding gown from Angela Kim Couture
Whitney wearing her red wedding dress from Angela Kim Couture

For example, Whitney chose a fiery red dress with a ruffled skirt inspired by her love for flamenco dancing.

Evelina posing in her wedding gown from Angela Kim Couture
Evelina posing in her custom wedding gown

And Evelina looks absolutely stunning in this unforgettable off-the-shoulder wedding dress with long sleeves. The exquisite beading and sequins achieve a glam couture finish for this champagne colored dress.

Designing Colorful Wedding Dresses

My brides often come with a favorite color in mind.  Finding the right hue is important — color is personal.  You want a hue that will look good on you, especially one that makes your face look brighter.

Finding the right hue, however, is not necessarily as straightforward as finding fabric in the target color. As a designer, I think about color dimensionally, and achieve the look of the target color with both overlays of sheer fabrics and lining in different hues, or with embellishments like colored stones or embroidery.

Black custom wedding dress from Angela Kim Couture
Payton wearing her custom black wedding dress

For example, in the black wedding dress featured above the predominant color is actually the nude color of the lining. The black lace takes up much less of a percentage of the overall dress, but you still see it as a black dress. Using black lining would make the dress look much darker and gloomy.

My main concern about designing colorful wedding dresses is maintaining a bridal aesthetic and avoiding a costumed look. For my designs this means extra attention to details like the draping and the execution of the train.

Marve in her custom wedding dress from Angela Kim Couture
Marve in her custom wedding dress from Angela Kim Couture

In the example above, Marve’s wedding inspiration has a more avant garde aesthetic, but still maintains a bridal quality because of the floral details and layers of fabric in the skirt and train.

Albina wearing her custom bridal gown from Angela Kim
Albina wearing her custom bridal gown from Angela Kim

Albina’s ethereal look was achieved with exquisite Venetian lace over a skirt made with dreamy layers of blush colored tulle. The halter neck and armholes are finished with hand sewn pearl trim.

How to Choose Accessories for Your Colored Wedding Dress

The main thing a bride-to-be needs to remember about accessories is that should not take away attention from the dress. The accessories should be chosen to make the dress stand out.

If you are wearing a white dress, then you can make a statement by using a point color for shoes to create some visual interest.

Wedding shoes and accessories

The color of jewelry, like gold and silver, should be matched to your skin tone rather than the dress color.

I recommend for the veil and shoes to be matched to the dress. Or you can match nude colored shoes to your skin. I usually recommend tonal or nude versus a contrasting color because it creates a more polished wedding day look.

Colorful Wedding Dress Trends

While peach, blush and champagne wedding dresses have been popular in recent years, bridal trends now are becoming even more adventurous than ever!

Natalia wearing her custom wedding dress from Angela Kim Couture
Natalia posing in her custom gold wedding dress

Colorful pastel and watercolor hues are increasingly popular choices, as well as boldly colored wedding gowns with floral patterns. Some brides are even opting for blue wedding dresses! 

The light blue gown below features a ball skirt and a corset embroidered with sequins and crystal stones for a fairytale princess look.

Blue princess wedding gown
The light blue gown below features a ball skirt and a corset embroidered with sequins and crystal stones for a fairytale princess look.

Madison chose a minimalist slip dress in lilac for her Spring nuptials, and the purple tulle of the flower girls’ dresses are a perfect complement.

Madison wearing he silk lilac wedding gown
Madison with her flower girls in lavender

We’re also seeing prints becoming popular, and for custom dresses I’m often creating a custom print as well as a design to express my brides’ personal style.

So while the traditional white gown will likely never go out of style, bridal fashion has certainly moved on from the days when brides were expected to wear white on their wedding day.

Why Do Brides Traditionally Wear White Gowns?

The trend of white wedding dresses took hold in the mid 1800’s after Queen Victoria wore white in her marriage ceremony.  As a symbol of luxury and sophistication, the white gown was largely a marketing phenomenon that still holds sway today.

For centuries Spanish brides were famous for wearing black wedding gowns in lace, while traditional Chinese brides have worn red wedding gowns for thousands of years.

But historically, colored wedding dresses have been the norm around the world. For most weddings, bridal attire was simply the best dress or suit that a couple already owned or that could be procured.

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.