Creative 2021 Wedding Dress Trends Reflect Versatility

Image via Kaviar Gauche Cloud N 9 Bridal Couture 

Wedding dress trends for 2021 capture the versatility and creativity that brides yearn for in a season when planning is tricky. The joyous occasion may still be a micro-ceremony, but brides are hoping to celebrate a brighter future.

Designers have added dramatic touches for brides who are ready for some unique excitement to spruce up their wedding day attire. Capes and ruffles kick bridal style up a notch, while bishop sleeves demand attention. Square necklines and boleros add a vintage feel to bridal silhouettes.

These are just some of the wedding trends that offer flexibility, beauty, and modern, of-the-moment statements to gorgeous wedding confections.

Mini or Tea Length Dresses

Designers realize Zoom weddings and pared-down ceremonies call for hemlines that reflect the times. If you’re planning on a long gown for the ceremony, you may find a short, white dress is just the ticket for your bridal shower or rehearsal dinner. Many designers such as Viktor & Rolf Mariage, Ines Di Santo and Eisen-Stein favor a tea-length dress for brides who prefer the classic  Audrey Hepburn look.

One appropriate option for the micro-wedding is the Tatum shift dress by Allison Webb (shop here), thanks to the illusion bow-back halter neckline and all-over beading.

Shoulder Capes

Capes offer a regal option with plenty of visual interest, just short of the usual train. Collections such as Savannah Miller, Vivienne Westwood, Ti Adoro by Allison Webb, and Leanne Marshall show gowns adorned with fabric attached at the shoulders. Designers chose sheer fabric for a minimalist look and selected beaded capes for extra drama. Either choice will elevate your bridal style.

Look to the Elspeth design in Jenny Packham Bridal Collections (shop here) for a dramatic cut-out back and structured beaded shoulders.


The bride who wants to make an ultra-feminine statement on her wedding day can look to the trend of ruffles, ruffles, and more ruffles., Whether the frilly detail is exaggerated, fashion forward, or whimsical. Designers who are all-in for exaggeration include Viktor & Rolf, Leanne Marshall, Kaviar Gauche, Marchesa, and Justin Alexander. Here you can find frothy, cascading ruffles turning up the drama volume on a full skirt and a mermaid silhouette, finding enhanced dimension with a ruffle skirt.

Indulge your hopeless romantic with the Tiffany Overall design from the Kaviar Gauche (shop here) Cloud N°9 – Bridal Collection.

Bishop Sleeves

Princess Diana is an icon of this ’80s-inspired wedding dress trend. Today’s bishop sleeves, or balloon sleeves, are flared at the shoulder, pleated, quarter length, or gathered at the wrist in the long poet sleeve form. Pair them with an off-the-shoulder neckline for a romantic new look. Bishop sleeves are plenty dramatic, so if you want to avoid overdoing it, style your puffy sleeves with a slim silhouette and simple accessories. Detachable sleeves also offer the convenient option of removing them for your reception.

Unleash your inner Victorian in this three-quarter length dress with balloon sleeves and fitted scallop lace over silk taffeta slip. The Isadora design is from Elizabeth Fillmore Bridal (shop here).

Square Necklines

The return of the square neckline this season reminds us of the ‘90s, and a simpler time. This sharp, geometric style first appeared during the Renaissance (think of the ultra-romantic movie, Romeo and Juliet) and remains popular, with good reason. The neckline flatters the bride’s shoulders and collarbones, and today’s trend complements almost every wedding style and fabric. Heavy satin says “classic,” while floral lace signals “romance.” Crepe uniquely delivers a more modern vibe.

The Modern Collection at Justin Alexander Signature (shop here) features the Charleston square neckline ball gown with trimmed hem and pockets.

The Statement Bolero

Versatility is a major trend this wedding season as evidenced by the removable statement bolero. The bolero provides coverage and an effortless way to kick your bridal style up a notch. Collections that made the most of this accessory are Vivienne Westwood’s ruched puff sleeves, Ines Di Santo’s feathers, and Anne Barge’s cropped ruffles.

The Islington bolero from Justin Alexander Signature (shop here) is a delicate dream in satin laser cut appliques and ruffled mandarin collar.


Dress alternatives come in comfortable and figure-flattering options. Brides can choose from a variety of rompers, tailored pantsuits, classic white jumpsuits and flowing trouser separates that are totally of the moment. Pairing them with removable overskirts in shimmery fabrics and allover lace gives the bride a two-in-one option. Layer on the overskirt for the wedding ceremony and remove it for the after-party or rehearsal dinner.

High waisted pleated Duke trousers in silk crepe look stunning with the Liza cropped vine embroidered bralette. Both are from the Elizabeth Fillmore Bridal (shop here) collection.

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