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Jessie Harbin

Bride Didn’t Wear White: Color Options for Wedding & Special Occasion Dresses

By: Jessie Harbin

I always dreamed of getting married. I can’t help it. I love having a job and a career, but I’ve also always wanted to be a wife. So naturally, when that handsome 6-foot-4 boy got down on one knee last summer, I was thrilled. The wedding planning began and the search for the perfect dress was on.

I wanted traditional. I want everything to be traditional. I wanted a church wedding with bells and lace. As the dress hunt got started, I tried on a stark white gown. Standing before that dressing room mirror, I looked like an angel. Not one of those ethereal images you see in paintings of heaven.

No, I looked like one of the angels the Almighty sends when he needs to blind someone in a flash of light.

My skin blurred into one ghostly form with the dress.

Clearly there are few fair skin wedding designers out there who understand we need a bit of color. Even with other special occasion gowns, there are (albeit harder to find) options instead of ream-of-paper white:

1. Champagne: These dresses are growing in popularity, according to Pinterest and several bridal salon saleswomen. Then again, they probably would have told me neon green dresses were in style if I had expressed an interest.

2. Pale pink: Some wedding dresses have a pale pink overlay on top of the white, adding some color to a traditional dress.

3. Purple: Julianne Moore wore a lilac Prada wedding dress when she married husband Bart Freundlich in August 2003. The non-traditional dress was an understated and stylish choice for their backyard wedding in New York City.

4. Embroidered: I’ve noticed a lot of white dresses that offer embellishments around the neckline, arms and hem. That will give you a bit of color without sacrificing your traditional white.

5. Vintage: I tried on several vintage dresses that were aged–but not yellowed. There is a big difference. If you get a vintage dress, expect some of the color to come out with a professional laundering. This depends on how the garment was stored and how old it was. Keep in mind that sizes have changed a lot, so don’t get discouraged if you wear a bigger size than your normal clothes.

6. Heirloom: I’m going this route. I am wearing my mother’s dress, it’s candlelight white with a Queen Anne neckline and long lace sleeves. The top portion didn’t fit–partially because she became an aerobics instructor before her wedding and lost 40 pounds–but we found a local seamstress who agreed to re-work the top into something more my style and size for about $200.

READ: Makeup Tips for Redhead Brides 

Rock it like a Redhead!