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”, older brides can look every bit as beautiful as their younger counterparts.
If you’re a bride in her 40s, 50s, 60s or over, you can dazzle in a wedding dress that flatters your figure, looks effortlessly elegant and perfectly suits your individual style.
For brides looking for fashion advice, here’s everything you need to know about wedding dresses for older brides.
Image: Claire Graham Photography
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Styles to Consider
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.
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.
Vintage style wedding dresses can work wonderfully for more mature brides, but choose your era carefully.
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. 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.
SEE MORE: The Ultimate Guide To Wedding Dress Styles
Down to the Detail
The details of a wedding gown are crucial for older brides: whatever the style of dress you’ve always dreamed of, choosing clever details will help you pull it off, whatever your age.
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.
Colour is another detail that can enhance your bridal styling: if you're not sure about white, try on dresses in nude, blush, grey, ivory, silver and gold tones. And 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.
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How to Accessorise
Some older brides feel they have to “hide” behind huge accessories like elaborate fascinators and oversized shrugs – but you must remember that beauty is ageless! Rather than worrying about looking “young” and disguising anything that gives your real age away, concentrate on looking your fabulous self.
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, twinkling crystal jewellery or a waist-cinching sash.
Be inspired by some of our favourite wedding dresses for older brides.
Be demure in this illusion bateau neckline dress in champagne from Justin Alexander with a detailed neckline and pretty cap sleeves.
The clever illusion V-neckline of this Ronald Joyce gown is an elegant choice and the cinched-in waist is a real figure flatterer.
If you’re keen on a vintage style, this knee-skimming tea style wedding dress from Timeless Chic will be a talking point.
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Adorned with hand-cut, individually placed Guipure Lace the illusion tulle bodice of this Martina Liana bridal gown is sheer beauty.
The elegant silhouette of this Badgley Mischka column gown is ideal for mature brides.
Soft silhouettes look beautiful on older brides: this flowing tulle dress by Jasmine Couture is available in champagne or gold.
SEE MORE: Perfect Plus-Size Wedding Dresses
The flared sleeves of this lovely Kenneth Winston lace dress give it the wow factor.
If you’d prefer long fitted sleeves, check out this elegant design by Maria Senvo.
READ MORE: Beautiful Wedding Dresses Under £100
A 30s inspired design from Melanie Potro, feminine details including a rose corsage and a silk chiffon belt enhance a classic silhouette.
If you’re an older bride looking for a plus size wedding dress, consider a flattering bateau style from Special Day BB+.
Working to a budget? Then don't miss our hitched edit of wedding dresses under £500.