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'Unexpected details' and 'watercolour designs' among biggest wedding dress trends for 2024

Three brides wearing wedding dresses
Wedding dress trends

If you're planning a 2024 wedding, you've likely already given plenty of thought to what bridal gown you're going to wear, but is your chosen outfit on-trend?

According to British wedding dress designer Cynthia Grafton-Holt, the following 12 months will see a mixture of classic features and modern twists rise in popularity, from ethereal feathers and luxurious textures to unconventional patterns and a sustainable approach.

Cynthia suggests a budget of £5500 for a wedding dress and an additional £2000 for accessories, but there are also plenty of options out there for those after more affordable options. See the weird, wonderful and whimsical wedding dress trends in 2024…

Classic silhouettes with a twist

"Timeless silhouettes like A-line and ball gowns continue to reign supreme but with a twist," began Cynthia.

Bride with a lace jumpsuit on a set of steps
Statement sleeves are set to be popular in 2024. All photos from Cynthia Grafton-Holt's new collection 'Dreams of Paris' (Natalie Pluck)

"Designers are incorporating unexpected details such as asymmetrical necklines, detachable sleeves, over-bodice separates and billowing overskirts. This allows brides to have a versatile look, transitioning seamlessly from the ceremony to the reception."

Just look to the likes of Sofia Vergara's removable skirt and Millie Mackintosh's 'bubble' sleeves.

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Luxurious textures

Classic princess-style wedding dresses with elegant ballgown skirts can be revamped in 2024 "with a focus on luxurious textures," the designer explained, which brings to mind celebrity brides such as Lucy Watson and Jess Wright.

"Think sumptuous silk, opulent satin, and soft velvet, elevating the gown's tactile appeal. Brides seeking a modern yet classic look are opting for dresses with subtle sheen and texture, creating a romantic and sophisticated vibe; allowing them the opportunity to revel in the richness of their gown while maintaining a timeless and sophisticated silhouette."

Whimsical embellishments

Glitz, glamour and sparkles are particularly popular around the festive season, but Cynthia said brides can recreate the "touch of magic" all year round.

"Modern brides are gravitating towards dresses that tell a story through intricate details and whimsical embellishments.

Bride in a wedding mini dress with feathered shoulders
Feathers are a modern touch (Natalie Pluck)

"3D floral appliqués, delicate beadwork, and ethereal feathers add a touch of magic to the gown, creating a sense of romance that resonates with the bride's personal narrative," she continued.

Subtle patterns and prints

Queen Victoria began the tradition of brides wearing white dresses in 1840, but that doesn't mean you can't jazz it up with prints or colours.

"Breaking away from tradition, 2024 embraces wedding dresses with subtle patterns and prints. Soft floral motifs, delicate embroidery, and watercolour-inspired designs grace the gowns, allowing brides to express their unique style while maintaining an air of sophistication," she said.

Elevated colours

Champagne coloured wedding dress with a textured tulle bodice
Champagne colours and textured fabrics are set to be popular (Natalie Pluck)

Speaking of colours, a few more hues are set to take centre stage next year.

"While white and ivory remain timeless, a bold trend in 2024 is the embrace of an elevated colour palette. Blush, champagne, and muted pastels add a touch of modernity to the classic wedding gown, allowing brides to make a statement with understated elegance while still exuding sophistication," said the designer.

So while Victoria Beckham's purple frock may be a little too bold, Gwen Stefani's pink ombre gown and Victoria Derbyshire's subtle blue colour could serve as perfect inspiration.

Statement sleeves

One of the most versatile features of any wedding dress, don't underestimate the humble sleeve!

"The trend for statement sleeves continues in 2024. From billowy bishop sleeves to intricate lace details, sleeves add a touch of drama to wedding dresses. Brides can choose from voluminous puff sleeves for a romantic look or sleek long sleeves for a more modest and elegant feel," explained Cynthia.

Sustainable couture

Bride in a corset wedding dress holding a pink bouquet
Timeless ballgown dresses can be revamped

"With a growing consciousness towards sustainability, eco-friendly options take centre stage in 2024. Designers are incorporating organic fabrics, recycled materials, and sustainable practices into their creations. Brides can choose gowns that not only make a statement in style but also their commitment to a more sustainable and ethical wedding," she added.

Cynthia added that a bride's fashion choices don't just end with her wedding dress. You can also pick out gorgeous accessories such as statement earrings and a stylish clutch and invest in other frocks for weekend-long celebrations.

Want to know what's hot for second and third bridal gowns? To make a grand entrance at your rehearsal, the designer suggested: "A chic cocktail dress that complements the wedding theme, showcasing the bride's personal style."

Designers are focusing more on organic fabrics and recycled materials
Designers are focusing more on organic fabrics and recycled materials (Natalie Pluck)

After choosing your ideal outfit for your ceremony, you can then change into a second look for the evening which she said could be "sleek and form-fitting."

Finally, leave a lasting impression on your guests with your final post-wedding brunch ensemble. Cynthia's pick is a less formal option such as a jumpsuit or flowy maxi dress.

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