What Do Black Wedding Dresses Symbolize?

Dresses | July 9, 2024
Bride wearing black wedding dress Aspen by Maggie Sottero with her husband

Wedding traditions are a beautiful thing. We love the occasion, the “something old,” the tried-and-true and timelessly beautiful declarations of love… These are all hits for a reason, and will remain so for seasons to come. That being said, “happily ever after” should also be deeply personal, stylish, and one-of-a-kind. It’s an opportunity for couples to fully dive into their visions and try new things. An unexpected venue? Heck yeah. A nontraditional bridal party? Bring it on. A non-white wedding dress? YES, PLEASE. If you’ve got a nontraditional bridal vibe, you just might have your eye on black wedding dresses and edgy accessories… We’ve compiled everything you need to know about the bold and fabulous trend below!

Can a Bride Wear a Black Wedding Dress?

PC: Kimberly Sha Caton

Can brides wear black? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! Brides can wear whatever color wedding dress they’d like… including an exceptionally eye-catching and sophisticated shade of black. There is so much that goes into choosing the perfect gown, such as personal aesthetic, wedding theme, emotional draw, and comfort, and for some brides, a black wedding dress checks all those boxes. 

If you’ve got a whole Pinterest board dedicated to black wedding dresses, you’ve come to the right place. And even if you’ve never pictured anything but traditional white gowns, we still encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and shop a few colorful bridal dresses… There’s no harm in trying them on! If you’re open to the possibility but maybe black is a little too much “Gothic drama,” check out some of our colorful wedding dresses for options in blush, gold, blue, and other gorgeous non-white options. 

What Do Black Wedding Dresses Symbolize?

PC: Cabrera Photography

Just as white can mean different things to different brides, black wedding dresses can be as personal as you make them. Just as a traditional white wedding dress is commonly meant to symbolize innocence, youth, and purity, a black wedding dress can bring an element of power, mystery, and individuality to the bride who wears it.

Consider also the unique context of a black gown. Historically, in Spanish, Scottish, and Finnish cultures, black wedding dresses actually were the traditional choice… It took until around 1840 for white wedding dresses to become popularized in Western culture thanks to Queen Victoria.

For many brides, wearing a black wedding dress is a fun, sexy way to break current traditions. The style may also just fit a bride’s personal aesthetic or wedding theme better than a white dress does… It all depends on your season, venue, vision, and overall vibe. 

Finally, there are stylish and practical reasons to wear black! Black wedding dresses are iconic for their slimming, sophisticated, and sensual effects on the silhouette. Many brides gravitate towards their unique beauty and elegant aesthetics for a one-of-a-kind silhouette.  

Are Black Wedding Dresses in Style?

PC: Michelle White

Black wedding dresses are totally trending among bold brides! If you’re looking for an ultra-modern and effortlessly stylish bridal gown, black is a great way to go. The color choice is just non-traditional enough that you’re sure to turn heads and create an unforgettable look for your big day, but not so outlandish that you’re on the outs of that fashion world. If you can’t tell from our enthusiasm, we LOVE a black wedding dress for you. 

And the trend doesn’t stop with black wedding dresses… Check out our other Colorful Wedding Dresses For A Unique Bridal Look to consider all your non-white bridal options. 

Celebrities Who Wore Black Wedding Dresses

PC: Monique Lhuillier Bride | Getty Images

Still not totally sold on a black gown? Maybe these real-life celebrity brides will serve as inspiration:

  • Avril Lavigne – The princess of 2000s pop-punk had a Gothic-themed wedding with her ex-husband Chad Kroeger. She wore a stunning lace black wedding dress by Monique Lhuillier, holding a bouquet of black roses and adorned with a shimmering hairpiece.
  • Ellen Pompeo – She wore a simple ruched black wedding dress by Yves Saint Laurent that she purchased in Paris. With delicate spaghetti straps and a simple A-line silhouette, Ellen looked stunning at her 2007 wedding at New York’s City Hall.
  • Tina Turner – We love how Tina Turner incorporated not one non-traditional color, but two! She wore a taffeta black wedding dress with green accents embellished with Swarovski crystals to her wedding with Erwin Bach. We’re obsessed with the square neckline, sheer cap sleeves, and ballgown silhouette.
  • Sarah Jessica Parker – She wore a black ruffled Margane Le Fay gown to her wedding with Matthew Broderick. We love the more casual, understated A-line V-neck wedding dress in such a unique color.
  • Ellie Goulding – Ellie wore a beautiful strapless black wedding gown with a full skirt and belted waist as one of her five stunning wedding dresses when she married Caspar Jopling.

PC: Getty Images | elliegoulding/Instagram

Check out Business Insider’s list of celebrities who wore black wedding dresses for more!

15 of Our Favorite Black Wedding Dresses

Vivica

Vivica by Maggie Sottero is a sultry, chic, and slinky silhouette that’s perfect for a black hue. It’s a vampy choice for a stylish and modern celebration. 

Norvinia Lane

Norvinia Lane by Sottero and Midgley makes for a dramatic statement with luxe layers of lace, illusion, and shimmer. This over-the-top design would be truly unforgettable for a regal, black-tie wedding theme.

Also consider Norvinia by Sottero and Midgley and Norvinia Lynette by Sottero and Midgley for variations on this gown’s silhouette and lace. 

Fortune Black Wedding Dress

Fortune by Maggie Sottero (made with lower-impact materials!) is a truly timeless silhouette featuring a gorgeous satin. This versatile design complements a variety of unique yet elegant celebration vibes. 

Penny

Penny by Maggie Sottero is chic and romantic, the perfect fusion of sweet and sexy bridal vibes. We adore the unique lace treatment and illusion contrasts… This looks incredible in photos.

Add the Penny Detachable Cap Sleeves for a touch of effortless cool. 

Aspen

Aspen by Sottero and Midgley (another gown with lower-impact materials) is bold, glamorous, and perfectly tailored. The silhouette is lush, the thigh-high slit is sexy, and the bodice is so divine. 

Derrick Marie Black Wedding Dress

Derrick Marie by Maggie Sottero serves up major bridal glam… the black brocade satin is luxe, feminine, and uniquely regal. (We imagine it paired with a tiara or over-the-top headpiece. Do it for the plot!)

Add the Derrick Marie Detachable Cap Sleeves (lower-impact materials!) for a fairytale princess vibe.

Zander Lane

Zander Lane by Sottero and Midgley is a gorgeous choice for nontraditional brides. It’s a red-carpet inspired silhouette with captivating illusion details.

Alexandria

Alexandria by Rebecca Ingram is another vintage-inspired silhouette that looks dramatic and chic in black. This would be stunning for a fall or winter wedding.

Add the Alexandria Detachable Sleeves and Alexandria Veil for matching accessories. 

Faro Black Wedding Dress

Faro by Maggie Sottero is beautiful and classic in white, but the black hue makes it truly exceptional and eye-catching. This would be stunning for a formal bridal venue.

The Faro Detachable Cap Sleeves (also lower-impact!) add a beautiful flourish to the ballgown silhouette. 

Ethelinda

Ethelinda by Rebecca Ingram is a simple yet ultra-chic silhouette in satin. It’s minimalist, sweet, and truly effortless to style. The black color adds the perfect edge! 

Hilo

Hilo by Maggie Sottero is all about the curve-hugging silhouette and unique brocade satin. It’s a beautiful choice for a Hollywood-inspired aesthetic.

Add the Hilo Detachable Bow for a stylish statement in the back. 

Peony Black Wedding Dress

Peony by Maggie Sottero is all about the unique lace and contrast. The white lace flourishes are the perfect accent to the sexy, form-fitting silhouette.

The Peony Detachable Cap Sleeves and Peony Veil are stunning accessory options for this romantic ballgown. 

Anniston Lane

Anniston Lane by Maggie Sottero showcases glitter, ethereal texture, and a gorgeous bodice treatment. This black wedding dress is ready for the spotlight!

Another variation of this style is Anniston by Maggie Sottero, featuring a fuller ballgown silhouette. Both styles are beautiful in black shimmer. 

Taryn

Taryn by Maggie Sottero is made with incomparably tailored satin. We adore the mermaid skirt treatment… It’s a beautiful flourish on a stunning silhouette.

The Taryn Pearl Shoulder Wrap and Taryn Plain Shoulder Wrap are dramatic accessories… The black is exceptional! 

Tristyn Black Wedding Dress

Tristyn by Maggie Sottero is a beautiful fusion of a white and black gown trends… The perfect balance for brides who love both. Add the matching accessories for extra dimension and flourish. 

Zander

If you love sleeves, Zander by Sottero and Midgley is one of our most popular and iconic bridal gowns. The sleeves are dramatic, elegant, and ultra-romantic. 

Excited to experience these black wedding dresses IRL? Head to an Authorized Retailer to try on specific styles and choose your favorite! Your stylist can help you with all the gorgeous details for your personalized, nontraditional, totally unique wedding vision. Happy shopping for your bold, beautiful, and totally unique gown!

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