You already know I’m not a fan of following tradition simply for the sake of tradition. I’m a fan of every couple curating the day of their dreams that feels authentic to them. What’s big part of that that’s often overlooked? Wedding attire. Did you know you don’t have to wear a traditional wedding dress or suit for your wedding or elopement? Yep. That’s why I’m here to introduce you to some unique, alternative options for your wedding or elopement dress.
This post is obviously dedicated to those of you who would traditionally wear a dress, but want to opt for something else. I’ll have another blog post coming in the future dedicated to those of you who would rather wear something other than the classic black or blue tux, too, don’t worry 😉
Below I’ve included 5 alternative wedding + elopement outfit options. My favorite elopement dress/outfit + shops to buy from, and the best ways to use accessories to make your outfit feel like you. Plus tons of real-life inspiration from my wonderful couples weaved throughout, of course!
5 Alternative Wedding + Elopement Outfit Options
1. Two-piece dresses
If you like the idea of keeping your outfit dress-related but just a lil’ out of the norm, you can opt for a two-piece dress instead. Two-piece dresses are an incredible option no matter what your body type, since you’re purchasing two separate pieces and can find the exact right size of each one, rather than trying to find a dress that fits all parts of your body just right. We all know how hard that can be with a wedding industry that’s based around skinny, tall brides, and often doesn’t have dresses on-hand for women with normal bodies to try on.
Two-piece dresses also offer a ton of variety and really allow you to customize your look. Maybe you want a mix of elegant and comfortable. Choose a top that features glistening pearls and puffy sleeves, and pair it with comfy, loose trousers. Or if you’d rather gather up all those princess-ballgown, fairytale-esque vibes. Pair a simple top without too much flair, with a massive, lightweight tulle skirt that you can twirl the night away in.
You can choose to go all-white with your two-piece outfit, choose one color for both pieces, or opt for a multi-colored look, whether that’s two totally different colors or two different shades of the same one. There are truly so many ways to craft your dream look when you’re working with two separate pieces instead of just one!
2. Jumpsuits + pantsuits
For those of you who would rather keep your look a little more business-casual, or simply would rather wear comfy pants on your wedding day instead of a dress, jumpsuits + pantsuits are the way to go.
Whether you like the slightly more masculine feel of a pantsuit or maybe you want to show off those gorgeous long legs of yours in a jumpsuit that highlights them, this is a really popular choice for wedding dress alternatives nowadays. Many brides are finding themselves wanting to be comfortable the entire day, and not in a dress that doesn’t fit them just right, or just know they would feel more like themselves in a jumpsuit than a traditional wedding dress!
Again, the beauty of a jumpsuit or pantsuit (especially if you rock a suit jacket on top) is that you can stick with the classic wedding white, or you can go for a fun, vibrant color that shows off your personality. Or keep it more low-key with a beautiful pastel shade.
3. Short dresses
If you’d like to wear a dress but want to keep your look more casual + comfortable, why not just wear a shorter dress?
Traditional wedding dresses are long, many with dramatic trains that plenty of brides love. But if that’s not really your thing and you feel your best with a shorter dress that shows off your legs + allows you more freedom to move, then shorter dresses are an easy option! They give off a more casual vibe, too. Perfect for a courthouse elopement or a summertime garden party theme on a warm day, when you don’t want to be dragging around a ton of hot, thick material.
4. Colored + patterned dresses
Another option that many brides didn’t seem to know about for a while: colored dresses! White is the traditional wedding dress go-to thanks to old-fashioned ideals of purity, but in today’s society we can thankfully say F that and wear whatever the hell we want to. Whether you shine in vibrant colors and are having a super colorful wedding, you want to keep it pastel to match your spring wedding vibes, or you’d like to wear a dress that features a gorgeous pattern (such as florals or bohemian shapes), go for it, my love. The wedding dress world is your oyster.
Finally, a crazy cute current trend that’s a favorite of mine: the selkie. According to selkiecollection.com, a selkie is “a creature or spirit in Scottish and Irish folklore that has the form of a seal but can also assume human form.”
This shop has a stunning collection of selkies “filled with color, exuberance and power” and says that their pieces are “for the Selkie women everywhere, setting themselves free.”
How could anyone resist that? Selkies are the perfect way to celebrate the loveliness of spring and summer and bring out your most natural, authentic beauty through a comfortable dress that truly fits you. 10/10 recommend choosing a selkie for your elopement or casual wedding for a unique look that inspires + fulfills your soul.
BONUS: Viking-themed attire
And a fun bonus option that I had to throw in here: viking-themed attire. Yes, I’m speaking from real experience. One of my insanely cool couples a few years back, Danielle and Donovan, had a legit viking-themed wedding, based around German/Hungarian vikings. From the hand-sewn garments to the blacksmith forging weapons on-site (yes, on-site!), the cosplay for this wedding was out of this world and completely blew my mind. If you want to celebrate your love with a super unique theme, even if it feels wild and hard to bring to life, this wedding should be the encouragement that hell yes you can do it! See the full viking wedding magic here.
My Favorite Elopement Dress/Outfit Designers + Shops
Now that you have some new ideas about what to wear, and how you can branch out of the typical traditional wedding dress options, I wanted to give you some of my favorite designers and shops to buy from. The list below has a variety of shops that each offer unique dresses and/or other alternative options that I absolutely recommend looking into for your wedding attire and accessories.
For women’s suits:
Free-spirited + bohemian wedding dresses:
One-of-a-kind dresses + pieces:
Dresses made of reclaimed + vintage materials:
Jumpsuits + a large variety of dresses:
For bolo ties:
Using Accessories to Make Your Elopement Outfit Unique
The next most pieces of your elopement outfit are the accessories you pair with it. Accessories can make or break your look, and can really help you personalize your outfit + make it feel completely like you. Whether you want to keep the accessories simple and rock a killer, super intricate dress/suit/etc., or you opt for a more minimal main piece and really glam up your accessories, there are so many ways you can do it to create the vibe you want.
Here are some of my favorite accessories for you to consider adding to your look, no matter what type of dress/alternative outfit you’re wearing!
Jewelry: bracelets, earrings, necklaces, rings, anklets, back pieces
Jackets: leather, denim, patterned, custom
Hats: brimmed hats, fedoras, floppy hats, cowboy hats
Ties: bolo ties, bowties, neckties, classic ties
Shoes: chunk boots, high heels, sneakers, outdoor boots, sandals
Capes (yes, capes!)
Removable sleeves: puffy, flowy, fringe, lace
Hairpieces: flower/greenery crowns, bejeweled hairpieces
betsy + cristin flower crowns
More Elopement Tips + Inspiration
Looking for more related elopement and wedding tips, or more real-life inspiration? Take a look at a few of my most popular blog posts below and I promise you will find everything you are looking for!