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All the Nontraditional Bridal Looks I’ve Worn Throughout My Engagement

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Photo: Anya Al

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After I got engaged last fall, one of the first things I did was whip out my laptop and start searching for bridal outfits. I was so excited about using this life event as an excuse to invest in sentimental pieces and curate my dream lineup of white dresses. I quickly realized that modern and effortlessly cool bridal looks are few and far between. From frilly bridal-shower frocks to sequin-covered bachelorette-party dresses, most bridal collections feature conventional designs that are way overdone. So I knew it would be a challenge to source interesting and unique pieces that reflect my personal style yet still felt somewhat “bridal.”

Luckily, I’ve spent countless hours over the last seven months doing exactly that so you don’t have to. And here, I rounded up all the bridal clothes, shoes, and accessories that made the cut. These are the pieces I tried, loved, and actually wore throughout my engagement — and will continue to wear after my wedding. Plus, I’ve included some of the best bridal shopping tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way.

Check back throughout the year for updates as I find outfits for my bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, welcome party, and wedding ceremony and reception.

So, you’re also on the hunt for nontraditional bridal looks?

➼ Engagement photo-shoot outfits
➼ Bachelorette-trip outfits
➼ FAQs

What to wear for your engagement photos

Before choosing outfits for my engagement photo shoot, I researched different styles of photography and made a rough shot list on Pinterest. I kept both of those elements in mind, along with the photo-shoot locations, when shopping for my looks. To match the grand marble staircases and high-vaulted ceilings of our first location, the New York Public Library, my fiancé wore a tuxedo, and I opted for this glitzy metallic slip by COS. It features a flow-y fit, a flared skirt with side slits, and lustrous satin fabric that catches the light beautifully, so I knew it would be perfect for what I wanted: editorial-style photos with lots of movement (nothing too posed).

Photo: Anya Al
Photo: Anya Al

Our second location was Central Park. I knew I wanted to wear white, since it’s a classic New York City spot and a more traditional place to shoot engagement photos. But I didn’t want to limit myself to a boring bridal dress, so I chose a coat and trousers instead. The long length, padded shoulders, and crisp white color of this Loulou Studio piece was striking in photos. I added black sunglasses to make the look feel a bit more edgy.

Photo: Anya Al
Photo: Anya Al

What to wear on your bachelorette trip

This is where your bridal wardrobe can quickly go south. Bachelorette trips are notoriously difficult, from planning, hosting, and paying for them to searching high and low for white outfits that are somewhat on-theme. Luckily, I spent hours and hours curating my perfect bachelorette-trip wardrobe (seriously, at this point, I’ve wasted weeks of my life planning these outfits) so you don’t have to.

For travel and lounging

No matter where you’re going or what you’ll be doing on your bachelorette trip, I highly recommend investing in a few weather-appropriate white sets. They’re great for traveling, plus you can mix and match them throughout the weekend to maximize your wardrobe. Since I’m going somewhere warm, I opted for this easy-breezy linen set from Dissh. My bachelorette trip also includes a group workout, so I packed my most flattering and confidence-boosting workout set from Lululemon — in white, of course.

For the boat or the beach

If you’re having a beach or boat day during your trip, you don’t have to wear a boring white bikini. Instead, layer and accessorize to create a full, head-to-toe look. I’ll be wearing this iridescent, bright-white bikini from Divino Seas with a low-rise maxi skirt from Reformation and a cowboy hat because I can’t help myself. (If you, too, want to wear a cowboy hat but can’t find one that looks sophisticated — not corny — try Lack of Color.) I’m also packing a one-piece from SAME, the Los Angeles–based brand that has an entire collection of bridal swimsuits, and sheer pants from Jade Swim.

For daytime activities

When it comes time to get dressed for brunch or other daytime activities, you can’t go wrong with a classic A-line dress. Posse has several white linen options under $300, including this one that has a square neckline and side pockets. I’ll also be packing a good white tank because it goes with everything and can easily be dressed up with a maxi skirt or dressed down with these voluminous balloon shorts from Source Unknown. Another essential? Comfortable walking shoes.

For dinner and drinks

Don’t feel confined to a sparkly white dress! I’ll be wearing this minimalist set by St. Agni instead; it’s sleek, polished, and effortlessly cool, which will appeal to anti-brides everywhere. Both pieces have adjustable straps for a customizable fit, and the semi-sheer top has an open back that adds a bit of sexiness. I’ll be pairing the set with these strappy sandals from Mango’s collaboration with Victoria Beckham for the perfect dinner look.

For going out

Sparkles and feathers and fringe, oh my! It’s certainly not what I would usually go for, but when in Rome, right? I sifted through thousands of pages of party dresses to find the best options that evoke that classic bachelorette style without looking tacky. Retrofête and PatBO both have robust bridal collections with dresses and matching sets that are perfect for a fancy bachelorette party or even your wedding-reception look (Clio Peppiatt and Rabanne are also great options if you have a higher budget.) I’m also packing this unique piece from Aje that features an open back and a raffia tiered hem.

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Hanna Flanagan , 2024-05-24 21:00:18

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