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Black Wedding Dresses – A Guide To A Daring Style

Bride wearing black dress

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A lot has changed since the day Princess Diana wore her iconic wedding dress in 1981, which had brides swooning over ivory silk, antique lace, cathedral-length veils, and the traditional sizeable ballgown silhouette fit for a princess.  These days, brides are making bold choices that defy tradition and surpass common trends.

After all, your wedding day is a time to express your individuality and to leave a lasting impression on your family and loved ones. It can mean wearing one-of-a-kind heirloom jewelry, choosing an unexpected venue, or walking down the aisle in a statement wedding dress.

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Among the many trends in wedding dresses, the dark, gothic style is as daring as it gets. If you are considering this for your wedding day, read on!

Saying Yes to a Black Wedding Dress: Pros and Cons

A black dress is extremely dramatic and very non-conventional, breaking all traditions associated with the bride on her wedding day. Here are the pros and cons of this trend:

Black Wedding Dress Pros

  1. Black is flattering: Black is a color that is generally flattering on any complexion, figure or age. You probably already have a corner in your closet for that little black dress to wear on a special date, or some trusty casual black outfits that are easy to grab and go. If you already know that this color suits you, you will find it easy to fall in love with a black wedding dress too.
  2. Making a memorable statement: You’ll probably be the only woman in your circle of friends to make such a daring choice and you will definitely stand out.
  3. Self-expression: Take advantage of the day you have everyone’s attention. Let your unique taste and personality shine!

Black Wedding Dress Cons

  1. Temptation to Conform: The fact is that many aspects of weddings are heavily enveloped in tradition, and wearing white is one of them. At some point growing up, you probably imagined yourself wearing white on your wedding day just because you were so used to seeing it in movies and among family events. It takes guts to challenge the norm.
  2. Judgement and Peer Pressure: Black is sometimes seen as an eerie or odd choice for a wedding and can raise a few eyebrows among your friends and relatives who may try to sway your decision. You’ll find yourself constantly explaining your decision to concerned peers. In the Western world, black is often associated with funerals and death but interestingly in many Asian countries, white has the same associations!
  3. Added Effort in Looking for “The Dress”: When you do decide to look at bridal stores, you will commonly find only white or light-coloured dress options. You’ll need a little creativity and determination in finding one accessible to you.

Black Wedding Dress Style Inspiration

If you think you’re ready to walk over to the dark side, here are some black wedding looks (and some gutsy brides who wore them) to inspire you!

1- Contemporary Chic

A tulle skirt is the secret to adding volume and texture to your dress, especially with a cinched-in bodice. A contrasting underlay of nude or white will amp up the texture while keeping the overall look chic. TV reality show 90210 actress Shenae Grimes wore a black Vera Wang creation that perfectly captured this grungy, contemporary look in her 2013 London wedding to model and musician Josh Beech. Her choice to wear black on her wedding day seemed like a no-brainer as it

perfectly matched her black diamond ring, too. Très chic!

shenae grimes black wedding dress

Shenae Grimes in her ombre wedding dress

Via Pinterest

Bride wearing black wedding dress

Get the look with this similar stunning black wedding dress.

See it here

2- Dreamy in Lace

Lace is a staple detail in most weddings, as it exudes a delicate elegance that every girl deserves on her special day. In black, the effect is much more pronounced, especially against pale complexion. If you’ve always wanted a dreamy gothic look, consider lace cut-outs on the back of the dress, or on the sleeves. The patterns will not only highlight your features, but will make you look like an elegant piece of art.

Singer Avril Lavigne is definitely not shy about her love of black, as seen in her music videos and red carpet looks. She took this love a step further when she wore a custom black wedding dress by Monique Lhuillier with a laced bodice and matching lace veil. She went for smokey eye makeup and left the rest of her face almost bare.

Bride black-lace wedding dress

Stylish black wedding dress with lace.

See it here

3- The Minimalist

In contrast to long flowy trains and bold patterns, a clean silhouette in a solid black color may just hit the sweet spot for some minimalist brides. Imagine a figure-hugging black dress with a low-cut back, long sleeves, and a classic train length. A design like this allows brides to play up the look with bold hair and makeup or keep it clean and sophisticated with a simple updo and red lip. Regardless, all eyes will definitely be on YOU! This minimal look has seen many a red carpet, but is surely befitting a modern day bride.

Bride wearing black minimalist wedding dress

Stylish minimalist black wedding dress.

See it here

4- Modern Princess

A classic ballgown silhouette in taffeta is reminiscent of Princess Diana’s traditional wedding gown and exudes a romantic appeal. Wear it in black, and it transforms the traditional style into something straight off a modern-day princess storybook.

Sex and the City actress Sarah Jessica Parker famously wore a white Vivienne Westwood dress in a similar style in the movie’s wedding scene to her on-screen love, Mr. Big. In real-life, however, she wore a black Morgane Le Fay dress when she wed actor Matthew Broderick in 1997. They planned the wedding as a surprise to their unassuming friends, thinking they were only attending a party in New York. At that time, Sarah Jessica Parker chose to wear black so that she wouldn’t attract attention. If word got out about her purchasing a white dress, it could ultimately ruin the surprise. They successfully wed in this iconic fashion choice which perfectly marries the black trend with tradition. 

Princess ballgown style black wedding dress

Princess style black wedding dress.

See it here

5- Classic Cool 

A classic black skirt suit is not just a power-dressing staple in the office, it could be the perfect choice for a subtle civil ceremony. With the right accessories and attitude to boot, you can wear an otherwise common work outfit down the aisle!

Take a cue from a lady known for being anything but subtle, and was dubbed the sexiest woman in the world, Marilyn Monroe! When she wed baseball legend Joe DiMaggio in 1954, she wore a dark brown skirt suit with a white fur collar. The ceremony held in the City Hall of San Francisco was supposed to be low key, but quickly made headlines! Marilyn wore this simple ensemble with charm and confidence. It was the perfect understated look for the coolest couple in town. 

Vintage style suit for wedding

1940s black suit similar to the one worn by Marylin Monroe’s at her wedding.

Get the look here

Other Ways to Embrace the Black Trend

1- Turn Heads with a Dramatic Head piece

Black lace crown

Get the look here

If wearing a black dress to your wedding isn’t enough of a statement, you can take it a step further with an eye-catching head piece or a dark, textured veil to elevate your style. Wear a red lippie for a pop of color or a dramatic smokey eye to complete the bold look.

2- Bridesmaids in Black

Black dresses for bridesmaids are an elegant choice and perfectly complements a bride in white. It saves you the worry of trying to pick a color that pleases everyone and gives you a wide range of options for the styles that will work well together.

A slinky silk slip dress would be perfect for a garden wedding, or a long flouncy tulle dress for a long walk down a cathedral. If a night-time roof top affair is more your style, try adding a glamorous twist by having your girls don beaded or sequined dresses. Whatever look you decide, your girls will be able to enjoy wearing their versatile dress again on other occasions.

Black Bridesmaids’ Dresses

Black bridesmaids’ dresses add contrast to a white dressed bride.

Get the look here

3- Black Wedding Cake

Wearable trends are great, but this one is particularly sweet! How would you like to walk into your reception to a customized cake design incorporating the black theme? Add a unique topper for a statement that’s hard to miss. It’s the little things that make the difference after all.

Black themed cake for wedding

If these ideas inspired you, feel free to share your finished looks and personalized touches on your celebration. The black wedding trend is here to stay, as long as there are daring and confident girls like you!