Whether it’s your second wedding, you’re taking the plunge after many years together or you’ve waited a while to find ‘The One’, it’s hugely exciting to plan a wedding as an older bride. You know more about who you are, what you like and are more comfortable in yourself.
While a sparkly princess-style wedding dress might be suitable in your 20s, most mature brides are looking for an effortlessly elegant style that flatters, enhances and allows your personality to shine.
Image: Claire Graham Photography
There’s a lot of nonsense rules out there about wedding dresses for older brides: you shouldn’t wear white, you must cover your arms, etc. The truth is that it’s your day and you just need to find a dress that you feel comfortable and confident in.
READ MORE: The Biggest Wedding Dress Trends For 2019
We’ve got plenty of advice about what to look for in wedding dresses for older brides, and at the bottom you’ll find our pick of 21 favourite designs.
Wedding Dresses For Older Brides: Top Tips To Follow
1. Stick With Styles You Know Work
As a rule, ball gowns and princess dresses are the preserve of younger brides: the show-stopping silhouette can help younger women feel confident when they walk down the aisle but, as an older bride, you have the life experience and fashion savvy to cut a dash without the extra volume.
Look for clean, soft lines that flatter your figure, such as column and fit & flare gowns: avoid overly-structured designs that can look too severe. Shorter lengths ooze confidence and an empire waist is more elegant and “grown-up” than an A-line silhouette. Slip dresses can work well for body-confident brides in their 40s and two piece designs are beautiful on brides over 50.
2. Choose Flattering Necklines
When you’re choosing a neckline, look for bateaus, high scoops, V-necks that don’t cut too deep into the cleavage, halter styles and illusion necklines. All will flatter, add elegance and hint at your sexiness without going over the top.
Image: Mon Cheri
3. Different Ages Suit Different Vintage Eras
Vintage style wedding dresses can work wonderfully for more mature brides. In the 40+ bracket, 1950s and 60s style dresses work brilliantly, giving a fresh vibe to your styling as well as a cheeky nod to the past.
READ MORE: The Most Beautiful Lace Wedding Dresses
If you’re in your 50s, 1970s and 1920s inspired dresses can work really well, giving a relaxed boho feel to your look and making the most of your bust and waistline.
Over 60, consider ultra-elegant dresses from the 30s and 40s: these styles tend to be sophisticated, elegant and modest – perfect for a stunning, mature bride.
4. Sleeves or No Sleeves?
Sleeves are often preferred by older brides, but – unless you’re particularly self conscious about your arms – you don’t have to cover up. Cap or flutter-style sleeves are a great way to keep your shoulders and upper arms under wraps and still show off some skin. Or consider lace or illusion sleeves: three quarter lengths work well as they flatter your hands and wrists.
A backless wedding dress could cause a stir, but if you’d rather not show too much flesh, a lace or illusion plunge to the rear of your dress looks beautiful.
5. Embrace Colour
You can 100% wear white, whatever your age and even if it’s your second (or more) marriage! But colour is also a great choice for older brides. If you’re not sure about white, try on dresses in nude, blush, grey, ivory, silver and gold tones.
Details that add interest to your dress, such as buttons, embellishments, lace layers, pleats and appliqués can help you to make a statement, even if you choose a dress with the most conservative silhouette.
6. Don’t Hide Behind Accessories
If you love bold, attention-grabbing accessories, that’s great – but don’t feel any pressure to add them to your look if you wouldn’t usually wear them.
Search for timeless ways to accessorise such as a subtly sparkling hair clip, little bolero jacket, a vintage birdcage veil, crystal jewellery or a waist-cinching sash.
Image: Martina Liana
Our 21 Favourite Wedding Dress For Older Brides
Be inspired by some of our favourite wedding dresses for older brides, plus there’s a few jumpsuits and bridal separates thrown in there too!
Justin Alexander – Style 8928
With a ’30s Hollywood feel, this Justin Alexander dress is simple yet glamorous. The straight style lengthens the body and the illusion plunge adds a hint of sexiness. It comes with a detachable dramatic train so you can dress it up or let the dress speak for itself.
Catherine Deane – Lavada Corset and Jordan Skirt
A structured skirt and lace cami are a brilliant modern take on a wedding dress for an older bride. These Catherine Deane bridal separates feature a flattering high-waisted midi skirt (with pockets!) paired with a detailed lace corset. It’s fresh and you can add real edge with a jacket – be that silk, denim or leather.
Badgley Mischka – Colleen
The elegant silhouette of this Badgley Mischka column gown is ideal for mature brides. The waist detailing nips you in to create curves and the cap sleeves add a little coverage.
Phase Eight – Victoriana Bridal Jumpsuit
Dresses aren’t for everyone, which is why we love this bestselling Victoriana jumpsuit. Featuring statement frill sleeves and a detachable embellished waistband, it proves a dress isn’t a necessity to feel like a bride. Plus, it costs just £199 so is brilliant for brides on a budget!
David’s Bridal – 9WG3898
If you’re a plus size bride, you’ll love the flattering fit of this David’s Bridal trumpet dress. The shape moves beautifully with you so you can shake your stuff on the dance floor all night, and the beaded lace appliques on the bodice and cap sleeves will really catch the light. The waist belt nips you in for that sexy hourglass shape.
READ MORE: Perfect Plus-Size Wedding Dresses
Eliza Jane Howell – Flanders
Soft silhouettes look beautiful on older brides and this vintage-inspired dress by Eliza Jane Howell is incredibly romantic. This is sure to turn heads with its regal, Golden Age feel. You can still feel like royalty without wearing a huge princess ballgown.
Kenneth Winston – Style 1616
The bell sleeves of this lovely Kenneth Winston lace dress give it the wow factor. With a subtle ’70s vibe, this gown is flirty and playful but the gorgeous lace ramps it up to wedding-worthy!
Ellis Bridals – 11482
If you’d prefer long, fitted sleeves, check out this elegant design by Ellis Bridals. With an all-over illusion sleeve and low illusion back, this dress is striking and sophisticated.
Bianco Evento – Greta
Just because you want long sleeves, doesn’t mean you want a floor-length dress. We adore this chic, city wedding-suited dress from Bianco Evento. This smart little number would be absolutely perfect for a warm summer or destination wedding and has a distinct ’50s feel.
ASOS Edition – Embellished Blazer and Trousers
Want something completely different? You can’t get more statement than this embellished suit! With the blazer costing only £100 and trousers £85, this is a complete bargain. It would be great for a registry office wedding with a little camisole underneath or with a little cleavage on show for an evening reception outfit.
READ MORE: 20 Elegant Dress For Classic Brides
Martina Liana – 755
Romantic shoulder flutter sleeves and spaghetti straps complement the simplicity of this fit-and-flare sheath dress that trails into a dramatic train. It’s so easy to dress this up with statement jewellery or hair accessories – or even just a bold red lip.
David’s Bridal – WG3861
Like we said, don’t limit yourself to white. A champagne pink like this David’s Bridal gown adds a subtle pop of colour to your day and would look beautiful at a spring or summer ceremony. This is as close as you can get to a ballgown without being a puffy princess style and we love it!
Blue by Enzoani – Geva
We love an illusion neckline and sleeves for covering all manner of things. Here, it’s elevated with a sparkling foliage design and set atop a sleek mermaid dress that’ll skim over bumps and elongate you. Team with big heels to make you look like you’re gliding down the aisle.
Monsoon – Meghan Geo Lace Wedding Dress
This chic number is a bestseller for a reason. Made from guipure lace with grosgain panels, its figure-skimming silhouette is incredibly flattering. With a small puddle train, we could totally see this at a destination wedding. The material won’t make you too hot and the train will be ideal for a beach wedding. Of course summer in the UK would work equally well too!
Lily Rose – Alula
How gorgeous is this Grecian style gown from Lily Rose? You can see it here in ivory but it comes in champagne too if you don’t want to wear white or similar. A glamorous A-line does wonders for almost every body shape – the plunge here would look incredible on small busts and subtly sexy on bigger busted brides, while the bodice cinches you in.
Phase Eight – Poppy Embroidered Wedding Dress
Phase Eight are taking the crown at the moment for gorgeous affordable bridalwear. The High Street store has another winner on its hands with the Poppy dress that combines all-over lace with contrast satin edging and a semi-sheer back. A truly modern feeling dress that comes in at under £500 too.
Justin Alexander – Style 88000
Dance the night away in this fashion forward crepe jumpsuit. With a sexy plunging neckline and illusion back, you’ll flash just the right amount of flesh. Fabulous for a non-traditional wedding or evening reception outfit.
Mori Lee – Lucia
Perfect for plus size brides, the draped Chantilly lace and mermaid silhouette are effortlessly flattering. The cap sleeves are detachable so if you love your arms, you can remove them and wear it as a sweetheart neckline – but if you want a bit of coverage, the sleeves can provide that.
READ MORE: 19 Wedding Dresses With Pockets
Kelsey Rose – 80015
A high-low ballgown is a brilliant shape for older brides. You get the waist-enhancing power of the ballgown shape, the skirt cuts off below the knees to show a little leg, and the illusion straps add support if you’ve got a larger bust. This Kelsey Rose dress has a retro feel to it; we love it paired with a ’60s headband.
Martina Liana – James, Tait and Sadie
Prefer a relaxed, boho vibe? We love this combination of James jacket, Tait skirt and Sadie top from Martina Liana. The best thing about bridal separates is that they can be worn again so you get so much more value from your outfit. Wear statement earrings, necklace or bracelet for a sophisticated look or add a flower crown, flats and flowing waves for a beachy or festival outfit.
Beautiful – BT18-10
Truly embrace colour with this floral dress from Beautiful! Florals are such a big trend this year and this dress will really show off your personality if you’re a colour-lover. With vibrant pink and purple watercolour flowers on the fabric, this isn’t for shy brides. But why should you hide who you are and what you love on your wedding day?