Not to be Captain Obvious here, but getting married is a big deal. And while there are lots of exciting and stressful big (and small) details to take care of in the course of planning your big day, the dress you'll wear is by far one of the most fun decisions a bride makes. Maybe you try on hundreds before making your choice, or maybe you find "the one" your first time out. Maybe you score big on a deal from David's Bridal (no judgment here!) or decide to upcycle mom's old dress. Whatever you decide, the choice is made because the dress screams you. It fits well, you feel like a princess and the dress details, no matter how small or large, represent some larger part of your personality and spunk.
Pictured above: This vintage-style polka-dot dress is perfect for the cutesy girl-on-the-wedding-go! Cut with a sweetheart neckline, the gown is pictured in a short style but is available for a bit more moola at either tea or full length. Made from organic cotton (lining), silk taffeta, and ivory colored polka-dot mesh.
Pure Magnolia, $600
Not really into the traditional white but still want to feel like a princess? Consider this romantic floor-length gown with mauve ombre. The shop specializes in "tulle dresses made with comfort and individuality in mind. Hand dyed fabrics, custom details and exact measurements, all to tailor a dress just for you!" Win!
One of our favorite bridal shops on Etsy features tons of options for unique and earthy wedding gowns like the one pictured to the left. If you dig off-white mixed colors, tea-stained lace and a classy hippie vibe, be sure to check out the duds and ask plenty of questions!
Armour sans Anguish, $750
We're all pretty much dying over this 100-percent silk chiffon showstopper of a wedding dress. The chiffon is layered over silk charmeuse and further lined underneath in a light china silk. "The bust is composed of layers of silk chiffon, underneath the layer of alencon lace that encompasses the front bodice and cups. It comes complete with delicate detailing (including a diagonal row of satin-covered buttons and three rows of vintage pearl and rhinestone chains) in cream and champagne."
Claire La Faye, $3,000
Available in both ivory and blush, this dress is made from "silk shantung with a skirt embellished all over with hundreds of scalloped tulle ruffles." Sold yet? Details: "The sweetheart bodice is fully lined and boned for structure. The skirt lining has attached crinoline for fullness and the dress is available with or without straps. Side zip." Full-on elegant whimsy included!
The English Dept., $2,400
Larkspur (the name of this exquisite dress) is "so sweet it will make your teeth hurt. [It] has a gently scooped sweetheart neckline with side rouching and a low V back. The natural waistline is accented with a self-ribbon and mini side ruffle, leading into a modern large folded half bow in back. The A-line skirt has hidden pockets and asymmetrical ruffled hem with peek-a-boo baby ruffles popping out of the seams." The best part? The gown is listed separately "without a detachable (tie-on) underskirt to take it from fancy-ceremony gown to fun-party frock in a cinch." And we all know how much you love to dance...right? You get swatches on request: eco-silk/hemp fabric in shiny or matte facing out, organic cotton voile lining in super light, sheer, and comfy.
Janay A Handmade, $2,100
Sorry to only show you the back here (check out the store link below for more pictures), but clearly we've got to share with you the best part of the dress! This two-piece wedding gown is truly for the fun and outgoing bride who craves making a statement. Details: "The V-neck lace top with cap sleeves is made of sky-blue silk with french white lace, handsewn in place. The back of the top is closed with a lacing detail. The A-line skirt is made of white silk (any fabric of choice can be used) with a 2" waistband. The back of the dress has a peek-a-boo waist with cinched-in pleats at the hips for a curvy silhouette. For a final touch, the skirt is finished off with a giant rose as the bustle."
Joan Shum, $5,500
Not that anyone's asking, but this dress (currently sold out) is a personal favorite among the thousands of Etsy originals. The dress—appropriately named Gossamer—boasts a "romantic silk mesh with embroidered lace in a beautiful rosy shade of taupe." The silk is sewn over a stretchy poly lining for maximum comfort, although you'll want to kick off the heels and slip very carefully into this dress since there's no zipper. Many of Kimmi's pieces are made from reclaimed materials. Check the store for more awesome designs and cross your fingers this piece makes a comeback!
I'll admit, when my best friend sent me this dress as a possible candidate for her July outdoor wedding, I had a good laugh. But for those of you earth-friendly ladies getting married in a slightly colder month, this might just be the simple little number for you! Handknit, it's very soft and cozy and is super textural thanks to the several different patterns. It's "100-percent wool yarn with a cotton lining, hand-knit according to custom personal measurements and is available in different colors!"
The designer says it best here: "Perfect for brides wanting that elegant but rough-around-the-edges look. This full-length, fully-lined strapless chiffon dress is available in pale ivory or champagne. It has a modified sweetheart bodice trimmed with a satin ribbon and a ruched waistline. There is full boning in the bodice for maximum support and a zipper closure at the back. The tiered semi-sheer chiffon ruffles on the skirt are unfinished and have raw edges," which really makes this dress unique and adds a delicate look.
The Peppermint Pretty, $1,250
Image credits (from top): etsy.com/shop/ouma, etsy.com/shop/armoursansanguish, etsy.com/shop/clairelafaye, etsy.com/shop/englishdept, etsy.com/shop/hippiebride, etsy.com/shop/abstractpretty, etsy.com/shop/joanshum, etsy.com/shop/kimmi, etsy.com/shop/muza and etsy.com/shop/erincoleman