Choosing the Ideal Casual Wedding Dress

07/30/2021 Wedding IDEAS, INSPIRATION AND INSIDER TIPS

How to Choose the Perfect Casual Wedding Dress

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

Looking at the various options of non-formal wedding dresses can be overwhelming. The following can help give you an idea of what to look for when choosing your perfect casual wedding dress.

Informal Wedding Dress Ideas

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

Some of the best wedding dresses can be found in a casual style. Options that fit well at an informal affair include short dresses, flowing silhouettes, and light-weight fabrics. We go into more detail about different options below.

Short Dresses

Don’t be scared off by a shorter hem! There are so many options for hem lengths and short wedding dresses are just as fashionable. Iconic brides such as Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, and Natalie Portman have all worn short dresses on their big day. 

Some options for length include vintage inspired tea-length dresses, ballerina length, and short knee length. Short dresses are perfect for courthouse weddings, outdoor venues, beach 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 Silhouette Styles

Flowing soft silhouettes such as the soft A-line, sheath dresses, slip dresses and mermaids are the perfect silhouettes for a casual wedding. These silhouettes are more subtle 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 sweep train make it easy to wear on the beach and outdoors.

Here are some examples of soft silhouette dresses:

Soft Silhouette Tulle Wedding Dress









Soft A-line Casual Wedding Dress With Leg Slit









Light-weight Fabric Dresses 

If you’re looking to stay cool with a lighter gown then consider fabrics such as tulle, chiffon, and organza

Light-weight Chiffon Wedding Dress

Light-weight tulle wedding dress with lace spaghetti straps

Other Options Instead of a Dress

Some brides choose to opt for something besides a dress. A bridal jumpsuit or pantsuit with a blazer creates a minimalist look while providing both comfort and style. This type of outfit is also perfect for other celebration events such as the engagement party, bridal shower, or rehearsal dinner. Plus, as a bride, you can enjoy the reception without having to worry about bustles.

Of course, the choice of dress type is completely up to you! There are many different casual wedding dress ideas to explore.

Other Considerations

There are other aspects to consider when choosing your dress. Even the shoes you wear can elevate or tone down the dressiness of your wedding attire.

Venue

When planning a casual wedding, there’s an endless amount of options for venues. You aren’t limited by the constraints of booking an iconic venue fit for a formal black tie event. 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 an informal affair.  Potential venues include:

  • A beach or destination wedding where a lightweight, flowy dress typically fits the scenery and the weather.

  • A pastoral seclusion at a bed-and-breakfast.

  • A forest clearing where a dress with earthy tones blends in perfectly with the natural surroundings. 

  • A picnic-like setting where a short, fun dress could fit the laid-back atmosphere.

  • A ranch or backyard setting.


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

Body Type

Feel confident on your big day by wearing a wedding dress that compliments your body type. Some things to consider:

  • 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 good 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.

  • Consider steering away from excess 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.

Add a Pop of Color

You can keep things a bit more casual on your big day by choosing a dress with some color. There are many wedding dress colors to choose from beyond bright white. Eggshell, ivory, and champagne are other options to consider.

Designers offer styles in many other colors as well including soft rose, blue, or lavender, just to name a few. Color can also be added in the details of a white dress, such as satin bands, lace, or embroidery. You can even get color added to a dress that may not have any to begin with.

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

Find Your Ideal Casual Wedding Dress

The modern bride has an incredible amount of choices for her wedding day. Whether you’re thinking of throwing a minimalist rustic wedding or a small backyard gathering, it’s important to feel stunning in the dress. Just because the event is more casual, doesn’t make choosing the perfect gown any less important! 

Keep in mind that your dress should be similar to the wedding guests attire. At casual events guests typically wear dress pants with a polo or button-down shirt, skirts, summer sundresses, or a nice blouse with pants. 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.

These casual dress ideas can also be helpful when choosing bridesmaid dresses and even mother of the bride dresses. 

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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