Image Credit: Allie Claire Creative

Dare to Be Different

The truth of the matter is that all wedding dresses are beautiful. Whether it’s a sleek, elegant mermaid gown or a poofy princess dress, there is a dress out there for everyone. Many people dream of their perfect wedding gown and already know exactly what it looks like, however, a break in the norm of traditional wedding attire is on the rise. From coloured gowns to pant suits to embroidery, the world really is your oyster when it comes to non-traditional wedding attire. Here, Melbourne Wedding & Bride’s Emily Axford sits down with Lily Tran, bridal designer and owner of GWM Wedding, to discuss exactly what non-traditional wedding attire is and what options there are for those who dare to be different.

Image Courtesy of GWM Wedding

GWM Wedding opened in 2017 and has always believed that a bride’s gown should not only reflect the bride’s style and personality but also make a lasting statement on her special day. Having collaborated with many international designers over her many years in the wedding industry, Tran is well versed in everything bridal fashion. “A wedding dress speaks to the dreams of all brides since they were little,” Tran explains. “It is a time when they can express themselves in their own way and become their own dream.” GWM Wedding offers both ready-to-wear bridal fashion and a custom-made service for those who want a personal, bespoke creation that may or may not push the boundaries of conventional. 

I Want To Break Free

Brides, forget your traditional dresses for a moment. Forget the ballgowns and A-line silhouettes and whether to go for white or ivory. What if your wedding dress could be so much more?

There is a plethora of options when it comes to picking a non-traditional wedding outfit. Tran notes that “more and more brides are wearing something different than before: pants, crops, two pieces, jumpsuits or short mini dresses.” In 2023, GWM Wedding saw a trend in “bridal suits, bridal pants with corsets and short mini dresses.” But it’s not only a unique silhouette that can make wedding attire unconventional. Colours and patterns are growing in popularity, and alternative fabrics such as velvet or linen can create a unique textural image. Another way to make your wedding attire non-traditional is by including unique embellishments. Whether it’s feathers, coloured lace or embroidery that your heart desires, there are many possibilities of what you could do. Whatever you decide on, both brides and Tran can agree that “the quality of the dress still has to be at the highest standard whether it is traditional or non-traditional.”

The beauty of an unconventional dress is that you can diversify it as much or as little as you wish – you could walk down the aisle in a bold red velvet mini dress that’s embellished with sequins, or wear a white, traditional gown, with little blue flowers sewn into the fabric. It is your special day; you get to decide what traditional norms to adhere to or not. As Tran so expertly says, “On this day, clothing is not limited”.

This is Me

One of the main drawcards for wearing non-traditional wedding attire is that it embraces creativity and uniqueness and reflects your personality without losing the ‘wow’ factor. Tran explains that unconventional wedding outfits are “for someone who isn’t afraid to express their personality.” Additionally, Tran also encourages readers to “think about the themes, the venue, and especially how you want to enjoy your wedding day, like dancing and other activities.” One of GWM Wedding’s clients, Sharon, was “bubbly, friendly, and unafraid to wear what she wanted,” which was reflected in her custom-made, non-traditional dress that was inspired by the 60s. As Tran describes, her dress was “short, puffy, and a lot of fun so she can dance all night with her kids and grandkids.”

Tran notes that it is “the younger generation who have grown up exploring the world in different ways through travel and the internet” who will try something different. It has never been easier to view images and create ideas with the use of social media and the internet, and an increasing number of celebrities are choosing non-traditional wedding attire, sharing it for the world to see. So, it is unsurprising that unconventional wedding attire is increasing in popularity, especially with the younger generation.

True Colours Shining Through

The tradition of wearing a white dress began in 1499 and in many societies is considered a representation of the bride’s purity and virtue. Now in the modern age, the colour of a wedding dress can represent whatever the bride wishes, from something
meaningful to something as simple as incorporating her favourite colour on her wedding day. In 2023, the most popular coloured wedding gown that GWM Wedding made was “blush pink with glittery Chantilly lace and a butterfly wing.” Tran suggests that “silver sparkle might be something different this year.”

As aforementioned, brides can choose to have as little or as much colour as they want. Having a traditional dress with traces of blush pink or soft blue in a dress only touches on unconventionality, or you can have a bold red ballgown that breaks so far away
from tradition that it is only a speck in the distance. Some may be hesitant to choose something that is so blatantly non-traditional, however, if you are concerned about not being ‘bridal’ enough, then “having a long train and wearing a veil will make you stand out more.”

So, what are you waiting for? Go forth, dear readers, and let your unique, individual selves shine through by travelling the unconventional route when searching for your perfect wedding outfit.