Lady In Red: Is a Colorful Wedding Gown for You?


This gown comes from Oscar de la Renta’s Spring 2013 collection. As you may have noticed, it isn’t white.

de la Renta showed several colored wedding gowns in his latest collection. Some were vibrant red like this, the others were a more ethereal blue. Vera Wang showed gowns in shades of red from an almost black burgundy to a vivid vermillion. Red, blue, purple, pink… color is one of the top stories of bridal couture for the coming year. But what does that mean for you?

Frankly, it means what you want it to mean. While color is being shown in more and more collections, it’s still just a fraction of what’s available. White isn’t going anywhere, anymore than ivory, blush, or ecru are. If your dream is a white gown, then I say go for it.

But white just isn’t for everyone.

There are brides who cannot find a shade of white they feel they look good in. There are some who prefer to buck tradition whenever possible. There are some brides even in this day and age of four time divorcees wearing white to the altar again who feel that white would be false advertising if they aren’t virgins.

For my part, I consider the state of the bride’s hymen to fall firmly into the ‘none of my business, so please don’t share with me’ category. I do happen to believe that there is a shade in the white spectrum that will make the most of nearly any complexion, if you look for it. As for the tradition of white… it’s not nearly as set in stone as most people think. Until very late in the nineteenth century the vast majority of women simply wore their best dress, whatever color it happened to be, or had a dress made that would then be their best dress until it got too shabby to wear and was cut up to dress the children or make a quilt. While more and more women had white available to them after the invention of the sewing machine and the home washing machine, it still took until well into the last century for most women to assume they would marry in a white gown they would wear only the one time.

All the same, colorful wedding gowns aren’t for everyone, either.

Take a moment to really consider how you feel about the color of gown you will wear to get married. Consider the feelings of those close to you. Will your mother be horrified or supportive? Will a scarlet wedding gown give your beloved grandmother a heart attack? How often will people demand you explain yourself? There are some social circles where nobody will even blink, but there are some where you could find yourself being whispered about for years afterward. How much this matters to you is, of course, up to you. All the same, it’s worth recognizing.

Think about the space you’re getting married in and where you’re having your reception. What sorts of colors are already in place? If you’re dreaming of a pale green wedding gown and you’re getting married in a garden, that’s a dream of a combination. But it might not look as lovely in a church with a lot of red stained glass windows muddying up the color of your gown.

Also keep in mind that while big name designers are doing colored gowns right now, that doesn’t mean that your local bridal salon will have much selection for you in the color of your choice. That means you’ll need to be flexible about how you find your gown. Don’t be afraid to look into having a custom gown made by a seamstress, or to check out the evening wear selections at department stores instead of going to a bridal salon.

Me? I love a colorful wedding gown. One of the prettiest brides I ever saw wore bright rose pink for her nuptials. And yet when I walked down the aisle it was in a cream colored gown with silver grey lace… and a tartan arisaide… and bright scarlet dancing ghillies.

So remember, even if you do decide on a white gown, it doesn’t mean you can’t be colorful. Details can say a lot, too.

The most important question of all is this: what makes you feel like a joyful bride?

The correct answer? Wear whatever that happens to be.

5 Responses to “Lady In Red: Is a Colorful Wedding Gown for You?”

  1. srah July 3, 2012 at 2:23 pm #

    And there are all the brides from cultures where the typical bridal color is not white (in some cultures, white is a color of mourning)!

  2. Unique Weddings July 4, 2012 at 2:46 am #

    That was a lovely red wedding gown, great pic. Thanks for sharing this to us and looking forward always for more updates.

  3. Whitney July 5, 2012 at 7:22 pm #

    The first time was in an ivory silk suit at the county courthouse, surrounded by Navy dress blues. The second time I was in floor length black velvet after getting walked down the aisle by an Elvis impersonator in a Vegas wedding chapel.

    I had more fun in the black velvet.

  4. Jezebella July 6, 2012 at 2:31 pm #

    My aunt opted for a lovely custom-made cheongsam for her third wedding. She’s actually a tiny Italian lady, not Chinese, but it looked fantastic and fancy and totally appropriate for the middle-aged lady getting married.

  5. Anonymous July 10, 2012 at 7:25 pm #

    What does it mean to me? That bridal salons are still pushing the big strapless ballgown. Even in red, it will make too many brides look like the fluffy bridal linebackers. Surely Oscar has more imagination than this.