Photo courtesy Maggie Sottero

Nontraditional wedding dresses are on the rise—here are some ways to get the look

As tradition holds, brides in the Western world have tended to wear long white gowns ever since Queen Victoria stole the show in a snow-colored dress during her 1840 wedding ceremony, upending generations of simply wearing one’s finest dress to the altar and calling it a day. But now, more brides and designers are beginning to look past old expectations and branch out into new colors, textures and even patterns, from Maggie Sottero’s black-accented ball gowns to Monique Lhuillier’s flower-strewn puff sleeves—and boutiques in Baton Rouge are getting in on the action in subtle, stylish ways.

The Maggie Sottero “Zander” gown in black

“Colorful patterns are definitely coming into trend, and there are always a variety of styles that can suit that vibe,” says Ashlee Johnston, bridal manager at Bustle. “We certainly carry several gowns that veer toward the unorthodox side, especially with a trend toward neutral tones, deeper shades of blush pink, or even taupe.”

Salons like Bustle pride themselves on stocking dresses to suit everybody, with Johnson noting that a twist in tradition can often come from something small like an unexpected accessory or colored detailing on a veil.

Monique Lhuillier “Amalia” top and “Alice” skirt

“I always tell my brides that the only rule in the game is that there aren’t any,” says Johnston. “Typically brides come in with a game plan, and they know what they’re going to put their bridesmaids in and what color palette they want to use. But oftentimes, brides come in with a particular idea in mind, and they end up choosing something totally different. We always like to give brides full reign to explore—they don’t have to stay in a box.”

Plus, almost all Bustle gowns can be ordered in at least one different color, unless they’re made of a simple silk or bedecked in complicated embellishments. One common trend, says Johnston, is to add a color like mocha or pale lavender in the lining of a dress, leaving the outer layer a traditional white.

“It’s not necessarily a pop of color, but it’s definitely a versatile option for brides,” she says. “We’ve also been seeing a lot of new lace patterns, more florals, and even some really unique jacquard-style fabrics that lend a lot of elegance and texture.”

So although a red gown a-la Rachel McAdams in About Time may not be everyone’s exact cup of tea, the whimsy of an uncommon bridal dress is more easily achieved—and more readily accepted—than one might think.

For more bridal gown inspiration, visit or follow along on Instagram @bustlebridal. See more of this year’s bridal gown trends in this story from the inRegister Weddings issue.