Nowadays, more modern brides are opting for unique and creative wedding dress designs that express their individual styles and personalities on their special day. A classic white dress is, of course, still very much in style. However, for brides with a love for history and glamour, there’s an alternative to traditional white dresses—the stunning and romantic style of Renaissance wedding dresses.
From opulent gowns with long flowing skirts to delicate lace bodices and intricate beading, Renaissance wedding dresses are the perfect way for modern brides to add a touch of history and timeless beauty to their special day. Not only do these dresses look stunning, but they also bring an unmatched sense of romance and elegance to the wedding, making it more memorable for everyone involved.
In this article, we’ll explore the many beautiful options available for you to choose from when selecting a Renaissance-inspired dress for your special day.
Fashion During the Renaissance
During the Renaissance period, wedding dress fashion was heavily influenced by the cultural and societal norms of the time. The clothing worn by people during this period was a reflection of their social status and wealth.
For the nobility and upper classes, wedding attire was often luxurious and ornate. Dresses for brides were typically made of rich fabrics such as silk, velvet, and satin, and were adorned with intricate embroidery, lace, and gems. These dresses were often long-sleeved and had high necklines, and the skirts were full and flowed.
In addition to the dress, brides would often wear a headdress or veil, which was often adorned with flowers, pearls, and other decorative elements. Brides would also wear jewelry, such as necklaces, earrings, and bracelets, to complete their look.
For grooms, the attire was also quite formal. They would wear long coats made of fine fabrics, often with intricate embroidery, and matching trousers. The attire was often completed with a hat and a sword, which symbolized their power and wealth.
It’s important to note that the fashion and style of wedding attire during the Renaissance varied depending on the country and region, as well as the cultural and social norms of the time. Nevertheless, the overall theme of wedding fashion during this period was one of opulence and extravagance, as people sought to showcase their wealth and status through their clothing.
Renaissance Wedding Dresses for 2023
Step back in time to the grandeur and elegance of the Renaissance era with these 11 beautiful wedding dresses inspired by the fashion of that period. From rich fabrics to intricate embroidery and lace, these dresses exude sophistication and glamour.
Whether you’re looking for a long-sleeved gown with a high neckline or a flowing skirt adorned with gems, these dresses offer a touch of history and timeless beauty to your special day.
1. A 15th-Century Italian Gown
This dress has been designed in the same style as the late 15th-century Italian fashion with many authentic design touches, making it timeless and elegant. The bodice has been reinforced with cotton and plastic boning to create an hourglass silhouette, while the semi-transparent chemise provides an extra layer of delicate sophistication.
The dress is made from a mix of creamy white fabrics and lined with pure cotton, making it look and feel luxurious. Previous buyers of the dress have praised the quality of the materials and construction, as well as the excellent customer service from the vendor. With this Renaissance-style wedding dress, you’ll surely be the belle of the ball on your wedding day.
2. Ivory Lace Bell Sleeve Dress
This stunning lace dress is classy and elegant in a unique way. It’s made of a beautiful floral lace that’s placed atop a knit lining, which gives the dress a luxurious and high-quality appearance. The V-neckline as well as the back, decorated with contrasting white floral appliques, adds a touch of elegance and femininity to the dress.
The princess-seamed bodice of the dress helps to create a flattering and figure-hugging silhouette, while the set-in waist adds definition and shape to it. Its maxi skirt features a mermaid silhouette that’s both figure-skimming and flattering, highlighting the body’s curves.
3. A Victorian-Style Dress
This medieval Victorian dress is perfect for an authentically renaissance-themed wedding. The dress features a unique floral pattern throughout the empire-waist bodice and full-length skirt.
The dress has a rather formal silhouette, with elegant details such as the lace trim and pearl buttons. The lightweight polyester fabric is comfortable to wear and easy to clean, so you will not have to worry about any spills or stains ruining your special day. The full-length skirt and the long train are perfect for an evening ballroom or garden wedding.
4. Beaded Cape Sleeve Wedding Dress
This stunning Lara Ella number in David’s Bridal is a lovely modern interpretation of renaissance fashion. It’s perfect for a beach or outdoor wedding and will look beautiful in any setting. This v-neck wedding dress features all-over floral beading that adds a touch of elegance and femininity to the dress. The beading is intricate and delicate, making the dress sparkle and shine under the light. The dress also features sheer beaded cape sleeves that add a touch of drama and romance to the overall look.
5. Victorian Style Fairytale Dress
What is a renaissance-inspired wedding without a ball gown that looks right out of a fairytale? This handmade dress features a victorian style dress design, with intricate details making it truly one of a kind. The dress is made of luxurious fabric and is adorned with intricate floral appliques, embroidery, and lace that give it a timeless elegance.
The dress is perfect for a traditional wedding ceremony or even a more modern outdoor celebration in the summer! It will be sure to make you look and feel like a true Renaissance queen on your special day.
6. White Lace Mermaid Dress
Another modern interpretation of renaissance style by Lulus, this dress boasts an intricate lace overlay on top of a light nude lining which creates an off-the-shoulder neckline, complete with hidden no-slip strips for added security. The bodice features a flouncy princess-seamed design and short sleeves with elastic at the shoulders for a comfortable and flattering fit.
The dress cinches at the waist and falls into a mermaid silhouette that flares at the hem, ending with a romantic and elegant lace train. With the figure-hugging lightweight nylon material, it can make you look like a sultry renaissance princess as you walk down the aisle.
7. Renaissance Princess Dress
This ethereal Renaissance-style wedding dress is custom-made to your measurements, and the vendor has glowing reviews for their timely delivery. The dress is fitted with front and back fastenings that adjust precisely to your figure. It’s designed with a high-necked, long-sleeved bodice and full skirt, giving it an elegant Medieval look.
A unique touch that sets this dress apart is the addition of a Tudor silver trim that accents the bodice and hemline. This stunning detail adds a subtle hint of sparkle and glamour.
With its beautiful design, rich fabrics, and Tudor silver trim, this Renaissance-style wedding dress provides the perfect combination of timeless elegance and modern style for a bride with a unique sense of fashion.
8. Beaded Cape Wedding Dress
This modern renaissance Lara Eve dress features intricate floral beading and a cape that gives it a lovely touch of regal femininity. The beading is complex and delicate, making the dress sparkle and shine under the light. The gown also features a tulle godet hem that adds volume and movement and comes with a sheer cape that adds a touch of drama and romance to the overall look. This dress is light and airy, just right for a beach or outdoor wedding.
9. A Timeless Beauty | Etsy
Its classic silhouette flatters the figure while the open-flowing net sleeves add a hint of drama. This dress is crafted from lightweight cotton lace, creating a breathable and sturdy structure. It’s lined with natural flax cotton, providing extra comfort and support. The dress is finished with a detachable train, so you can create a statement look for your ceremony and a more streamlined look for the reception. This custom wedding dress is perfect for a modern bride as it combines classic and modern elements for an original and unique design.
10. Embroidered Illusion Mock Neck Dress
Our final pick is a stunning A-line dress with a classic illusion mesh neck that effortlessly brings the charm and elegance of the renaissance era to the modern day. Ornate lace and floral appliques are layered atop illusion mesh and tulle to create a modern look with a hint of vintage charm. The high mock neckline and cap sleeves are trimmed with delicate eyelash scallops for an added touch of elegance.
The A-line skirt leads to a dramatic chapel train, making this the perfect dress for a bride looking for something timeless and romantic. The dress is tailored to flatter any body type and features beautiful buttons in the back to give it an Antebellum feel. Whether you’re looking for something modest and elegant, or something with a vintage touch, this could be the perfect dress for you.
Popular Fabrics Used for Renaissance Wedding Dresses
During the Renaissance period, which spanned from the 14th to the 17th century, wedding dresses were often made from luxurious fabrics that were considered rare and expensive at the time. Some of the popular fabrics for wedding dresses during the Renaissance period included:
Velvet was a popular fabric for wedding dresses during the Renaissance period. Velvet was made from silk or cotton and was highly prized for its softness and rich texture. It was often used for dresses with long trains and intricate embroidery and was a popular choice for weddings as it was associated with luxury and opulence.
In fact, some Renaissance-era wedding dresses were entirely made of velvet or featured velvet accents, such as sleeves or bodices. Velvet was especially popular in the 16th century when it was used for the wedding dresses of many royal and noble brides.
Silk was considered the most luxurious and prestigious fabric of the time, and was often reserved for the wealthiest and most elite members of society. It was available in a variety of weights, from light and delicate to heavy and opulent, and could be embroidered, embellished, or used in its plain form to create a range of different looks.
Silk was particularly popular for wedding dresses because of its sumptuous texture, its ability to drape and flow gracefully, and its natural luster. Many Renaissance-era wedding dresses were made entirely of silk, while others featured silk accents or were embellished with silk ribbons or trims. Silk was also often used to create voluminous skirts and billowing sleeves that added drama and elegance to a bride’s ensemble.
Brocade was a decorative fabric that featured raised patterns or designs, often created with gold or silver threads. It was highly prized for its luxurious appearance and its association with wealth and status and was often reserved for the wedding dresses of the wealthiest and most elite brides.
Brocade was especially popular during the 16th century when elaborate and ornate clothing was in fashion. There were many Renaissance-era wedding dresses that featured brocade bodices, skirts, or sleeves, which were often accented with pearls, gems, or other embellishments. Brocade was also sometimes used for the entire wedding dress, creating a rich and opulent look that was both dramatic and elegant.
Satin is a smooth and shiny fabric made from silk or a blend of silk and other materials. It was highly valued for its luxurious look and feel and was often used for wedding dresses as it was associated with wealth, status, and elegance.
During the Renaissance period, satin was often used for wedding dresses with voluminous skirts, which were in fashion at the time. The fabric was ideal for creating full, flowing skirts that added drama and grace to the bride’s ensemble. Satin was also sometimes used for the entire wedding dress, creating a sleek and sophisticated look that was both timeless and modern.
Damask is a luxurious fabric that features raised designs or patterns, often created with a combination of satin and matte finishes. It was highly prized for its opulent look and feel and was often used for wedding dresses as it was associated with wealth, status, and elegance.
During the Renaissance period, damask was often used for wedding dresses with full, flowing skirts and fitted bodices. The raised designs on the fabric created a beautiful and ornate effect that was fitting for such special occasions. Damask was also sometimes used for the entire wedding dress, creating a rich and luxurious look that was both dramatic and elegant.
Taffeta is a crisp and lightweight fabric that has a slight sheen and rustles as the wearer moves. It was highly valued for its elegant appearance and was often used for wedding dresses as it was associated with luxury, sophistication, and grandeur.
During the Renaissance period, taffeta was often used for wedding dresses with full, flowing skirts and fitted bodices. The fabric’s crispness and stiffness made it ideal for creating voluminous skirts that billowed and swirled as the bride moved. Taffeta was also sometimes used for the entire wedding dress, creating a sleek and sophisticated look that was both modern and timeless.
How to Accessorize a Renaissance Wedding Dress
There are several ways to accessorize a Renaissance wedding dress to complete the look and create an authentic and elegant ensemble. Here are some ideas:
Headpieces are another important part of any Renaissance wedding look. Renaissance brides often wore elaborate headpieces, such as circlets, tiaras, or veils. A simple veil made of delicate lace or silk tulle can add a romantic and ethereal touch to your wedding dress, while a more ornate headpiece can create a regal and grand appearance.
Traditional Renaissance headpieces often feature beads, pearls, and feathers. Soft fabric flowers, such as roses or daisies, can also be used to give the headpiece a modern feel. To complete the look, consider adding a coordinating veil or a small crown. If a veil is chosen, opt for a simple style that lets the headpiece take center stage.
Veils are a classic accessory for any wedding dress. For a Renaissance wedding dress, choose a veil that’s light and airy to complement the dress’s delicate details. A single-layer veil is a great option, as it can be worn over the face or pushed off to the side. Or, for a more dramatic look, opt for a detachable cathedral-length veil. This type of veil is also a great way to add a modern touch, as it can be removed during the reception and replaced with a headpiece or crown.
Renaissance jewelry was often bold and opulent, featuring pearls, gems, and intricate metalwork. A statement necklace, earrings, or bracelet can add an extra layer of luxury to your wedding dress and help to showcase your personal style and flair.
Renaissance brides often wore delicate slippers made of silk or leather, which were decorated with ribbons, bows, or jewels. Choose a pair of elegant and comfortable shoes that complement your wedding dress and add a touch of sophistication and grace.
5. Shawls or Wraps
A shawl or wrap can be a useful accessory for a Renaissance wedding, especially if the weather is chilly. A silk or velvet shawl can add an extra layer of warmth and elegance to your wedding dress, and can also be a beautiful accent piece.
A fan can be a charming and practical accessory for a Renaissance wedding. Not only can it help to keep you cool in warm weather, but it can also add a touch of sophistication and refinement to your ensemble. Choose a fan made of silk or lace, and embellished with delicate details, such as tassels or beads.
Renaissance wedding dresses were opulent, grand, and luxurious, reflecting the wealth, status, and refinement of the period. They were not only meant to be beautiful but also to showcase the bride’s social status, cultural identity, and personal taste.
Today, Renaissance-inspired wedding dresses continue to inspire designers and brides alike, offering a timeless and romantic style that is both modern and classic.