Elizabeth Arasevi was not going to follow the custom when it came to choosing a wedding dress.
“Every bride wants to feel their best on their wedding day, and cramming myself into a sugary white dress for the sake of tradition was not an option for me,” said Ms Arasevi, a 36-year-old auditor who is still alive. in Bloomington, Minnesota.
Ms. Arasevi, who added that she did not like to present as a “pure, delicate and understated waiting bride”, instead donned a tailored red dress with black lace at her wedding in June 2021 to Michal Arasevi, a 32 1 year old acupuncturist, in Pepijn, Wisconsin.
She was surprised at how well her dress went on and said guests told her it and the wedding in general was very “me and very beautiful”.
Shortly after Queen Victoria of England wore a white satin gown to her 1840 wedding to Prince Albert, the hue became synonymous with wedding dresses, which were more vibrant for the time. But Ms. Arasevi belongs to a cadre of contemporary brides and bridal fashion designers who are once again embracing dresses in more colorful hues 182 years later.
A survey published in November by Brides and Investopedia, which surveyed 1,000 people who plan to get married in the next two years, found that 28 percent of participants want to ditch the white dress and classic suit for an atypical alternative. .
Another study published by Etsy in December, examining site data from September to November 2021 and the same three-month period in 2020, found that searches for colorful wedding items, including dresses, suits, veils and centerpieces, rose 223 year over year. percent increased.
“This generation of brides is very concerned about the online visibility of their weddings,” said Anastasia Stevenson, a fashion designer and destination wedding planner who lives between Los Angeles and Savannah, Georgia. “They need to do something different to stand out from the hundreds of thousands of other posts” from brides on TikTok and Instagram.
In addition, living together today is even more common than marriage, according to the Pew Research Center, the idea of a white wedding dress symbolizing purity is an outdated idea, said Lynzie Kent, a wedding planner and founder of The Pop-Up Chapel Co. in Toronto.
Still, most brides are hesitant to make the jump from white to bold cuts of yellow, red, or the like, according to Heather McReynolds, the vice president and general merchandising manager of bridal and gowns for David’s Bridal, where one in four brides is choosing a dress in champagne or other non-white but neutral shades like pink, blush or cashmere, Ms. McReynolds said.
Pink was the most popular non-traditional dress color at David’s Bridal, she added, but in the past year and a half, the chain has expanded to include black, red and blue wedding dresses. Colorful dresses now make up about 10 percent of the collection, which is about 30 percent more than last year.
“Black, in particular, has really resonated with brides seeking a chic, dramatic wedding look,” said Ms. McReynolds.
Amber Lee, 41, originally bought a white dress for her wedding to Michael Lee, a 45-year-old speaker and relationship coach, at the El San Juan Hotel in Puerto Rico on December 30, 2021. But Mrs. Lee, who was previously married and wore a ivory dress to that ceremony, never liked the way she looked in shades of white.
“When I saw this black dress, I fell in love with it,” said Ms. Lee, the CEO of Select Date Society, a matchmaking company in Richmond, Virginia. While off-white dresses may be a more common choice for brides remarrying, wearing black wasn’t so much about her second marriage as it was about doing what felt right for her, Ms. Lee said.
She picked up the dress, made by Rachael Allan, to the dismay of her mother and mother-in-law, neither of whom thought the color was appropriate. “But when they saw me on my wedding day, they both loved the dress,” said Ms. Lee.
Lazaro Perez, the lead designer of Lazaro Bridal and Tara Keely, said he likes to find the perfect off-white shade by mixing different colors together. Inspired by artwork, including Monet’s ballerina paintings, he has created dresses in shades of blush, sherbet or ivory with silver accents and antique gold.
Sarah Holway, 25, looked to fairy tales and fantasy as inspiration when buying a dress for her September 2021 wedding to Braydon Badger, 27, who works in a coffee shop. But none of the boutiques she visited had styles that completed her vision. While she hadn’t completely ruled out the color white, she said she was looking for something unique.
“I wanted something different for my dress,” said Mrs. Holway, a homemaker.
The blush dress she wore to her wedding in Edmonton, Alberta, was embellished with pink flowers and tailored by her mother to match the couple’s primary wedding color, dark sage green. While some of the couple’s guests were surprised to see a bride in a dress that wasn’t white, Ms. Holway said many told her her dress was “memorable” and “very much me.”
Andrew Kwon, a New York fashion designer who has created yellow and green dresses for his bridal collections, says the advantage of wearing a colored dress is that it can be easily reused after a wedding day.
“I know some of my brides have thought about how they might use the dresses for any gala or event they might be hosting,” Mr. Kwon said.
When choosing a more daring dress, Justina McCaffrey, the founder of bridal brand Justina McCaffrey Inc. in Ottawa, that brides should be careful not to overdo it with other colors at their weddings.
“My recommendation would be to have everything in the same tone, but not the exact same color,” Ms. McCaffrey said. “If the color is lavender, I would choose a light antique lavender dress and a slightly darker lavender color for the bridesmaid.” Continue with the cake color lavender, flowers and other small details, she added.
As with finding any wedding dress (or mate for life), identifying the right color style can take a lot of rejection at first.
Shelby Henry, 25, fell in love with a nude Berta Balilti dress adorned with 3D flowers and pearls floating down the back. Ms. Henry, the COO of The Sixpence, an event venue in Whitestown, Ind., was initially concerned that it was too non-traditional, and tried nearly 50 other dresses before returning to her original favorite.
“In the end I decided to pick that dress because I felt it was exactly what I wanted: something very unique,” Ms. Henry said in an email, and something “that didn’t immediately strike me as a wedding dress.”