Choosing the Ideal Casual Wedding Dress

03/13/2017 Wedding IDEAS, INSPIRATION AND INSIDER TIPS

A casual wedding sets the stage for ease, intimacy, and fun. When deciding on a more informal wedding dress, keep in mind the activities and overall setting of the affair to help influence your choice. Dresses for a simple wedding can be every bit as stunning as the attire for a formal event. A delightful advantage is that at a casual wedding, one of the foundational factors when choosing the dress is comfort.

Looking at various options of non-formal wedding dresses is substantial event in a woman’s life. This process involves the purchase of the single most important garment of their lifetime. An awareness of this fact can become a bit overwhelming, especially if coupled with pressure caused by binge-watching of television shows like “Say Yes to the Dress.”

Shopping for your dress does not have to become a personal cataclysmic affair. The following ideas can help narrow your checklist of what to look for when browsing through racks and catalogues for your perfect casual wedding dress.

Informal Wedding Dress Types

Casual wedding dresses do not typically have the full silhouettes characteristic of formal wedding gowns. Don’t worry just because you are looking for a wedding dress that doesn’t have such a full silhouette, long train, or extravagant detail, doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice on style.

Some options for casual wedding dresses that fit in perfectly at an informal affair include short wedding dresses, flowing silhouettes, and light-weight fabrics.

  • Short Dresses: There are so many options for hem lengths and don’t be scared off by the shorter hem. Short wedding dresses are just as fashionable. Iconic brides such as Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, and Natalie Portman have all worn short wedding dresses on their big day. Some options for length include vintage inspired tea-length dresses to ballerina length, to short knee length. Short dresses are perfect for courthouse weddings, outdoor weddings, and many other venues. Without the longer hem or train detailing you don’t have to worry about ruining your dress while dancing.

  • Soft Silhouettes:  Flowing soft silhouettes such as soft A-line’s, sheaths, and mermaids are the perfect silhouettes for a casual wedding. This silhouettes are more subdued in size and offer great movement while having all the traditional elements of a bridal gown. These silhouettes paired with a smaller chapel length or sweet train make it easy to wear on the beach and outdoors.

  • Light-weight fabrics: These fabrics include tulle, chiffon, and organza that will help lighten up your wedding gown.


The shoes you wear can elevate or tone down the dressiness of your wedding attire as well.

Keep in mind what guests typically wear at casual weddings, as a guide to help choose your wedding dress:

  • Men wear dress pants with a polo or button-down shirt.

  • Women wear a skirt, summer sundress, or nice blouse with pants; and hair and makeup has a natural, everyday appearance.


Of course, the choice is completely up to you! If you have a different idea of what you’d like your guests to wear, send a note in the invitation so they are aware of the attire.

Type of Wedding Venue Can Help

If you are planning a casual wedding, you have an endless amount of options for venues. You aren’t limited by the improbabilities of getting the ideal booking in an iconic venue fit for formal weddings. You can walk down an aisle carpeted with sand or lined with flowers, instead of pews. It’s up to you!

Ask your venue what types of dresses they have seen or recommend for a casual wedding.  Potential venues include:

  • On a beach;

  • In pastoral seclusion at a bed-and-breakfast;

  • In a forest clearing;

  • An unpretentious picnic-like setting where children can toss a Frisbee and adults can enjoy a party-like celebration;

  • On a yacht; and

  • At a ranch or estate, indoors or outdoors.

The venue can impact your choice of dress for a variety of reasons. If your wedding will be held at an informal venue, your dress ideas could balance simplicity and elegance.

On a beach, it may not make sense to have a floor-length – make that sand-length -- wedding dress.

If you find yourself feeling compelled to sacrifice too much of the dreaminess in your dress due to the venue, it’s time to find ways to elevate the venue. You don’t want the location to dramatically clash with your dream dress.

Body Type

Rather than randomly choosing a dress you like, it’s best to try on dresses that like you or rather that suit your body type. The pictures taken in your wedding dress will be among the most cherished of your lifetime. You should like marvelous in the dress you get married in.

  • If you have a pear shape, it’s good to choose from dresses for a casual wedding that will nicely balance out your proportions. An A-line gown is the ideal silhouette, and choosing a dress with added style and textural details up top can further enhance.

  • A defined waistline is a crucial feature for full-chested body types. An off-the-shoulder neckline or a wide, high neckline that follows the curve of the collarbone and ends at the shoulder seams, known as a bateau neckline, will also help complete the perfect look.

  • If you would like to add curves to your rectangular figure while still keeping it casual, look at dresses that add volume and details to both the hips and chest.

  • Steer away from an excess of tiers and ruffles if you have a curvy silhouette, especially if you want to keep the look informal. You may want to choose a body-hugging style, to enhance your hourglass figure.


Adding a Pop of Color

There are many wedding dress colors to choose from, and it’s best to look at colors that will complement your complexion.

Stark white, for instance, will cause fair-skinned brides to look washed out. Dark-skinned beauties, on the other hand, look wonderful in bright, crisp whites. Brides with fair skin and those with pink undertones look most radiant in eggshell or ivory dresses. Ivory has a range of shades from understated white to a creamy look and is universally flattering.For brides with dark complexions and with yellow or olive undertones, champagne-colored casual wedding dresses are great. Champagne has gold and pink undertones.

Who says you must wear white? Wedding dress designers offer styles in a variety of shades, such as soft rose, blue, or lavender. Color can also be added in the details of a white dress, such as satin bands, lace, or embroidery. Sometimes you can even get color added to a dress that may not have any as it stands.

Remember, the color will look different in natural lighting at a garden or beach wedding than it will look inside.

If you think looking for informal wedding dress ideas is no trivial matter, you’re correct. Even though the theme of your wedding may be leaning towards more casual, that doesn’t make choosing the perfect gown any less important!

Now that you know there are many options available for casual dresses, take a look at our other tips to help prepare for wedding dress shopping. Happy shopping!
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