Wedding Ideas

Simple Wedding Gowns for the Understated Bride

Posted At : May 8, 2009 2:43 PM   |  Posted By : Bridal Network   |  Views: 72,451
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Weddings have become such elaborate affairs in recent years that certain ceremonies could even rival a royal precession. But while many brides may want to feel "like a queen for a day", not every bride wants to literally look like a queen. Tiaras, teetering heels, and Cinderella-style ball gowns aren't for every bride, and the simple elegance of an understated gown often proves the old adage that "less is more."

Simple can be Sweet, Sophisticated, and even Sexy

Whatever your reasons for wanting to keep your wedding dress simple, the following diverse styles and selections show us that simple gets a bad rap for being boring when it can really be stunning!

Stella's Bridal in Winnipeg (but also online) carries several simple yet sophisticated wedding dresses from various lines, such as this gown (style no: Cr176) by Demetrios. Spaghetti straps and a sweetheart neckline meet delicate embroidery around the bust and empire waist, followed by a sleek, straight skirt.

As this wedding dress demonstrates, simple doesn't have to cancel out sexy! A plunging V-neck and empire waist flatters curves in this chiffon number from Vancouver's Paradise Style Group (style no.1003). Double spaghetti straps that crisscross at back also add sex appeal to an otherwise simple gown.

What a Simple Wedding Dress Isn't

Instead of describing the characteristics of a simple wedding dress, it's easier to envision one by taking a look at the features it doesn't have. Lots of ornate detailing, whether in the form of intricate sequins or beading are hallmarks of an elaborate design, in addition to various types of fabrics and textures featured on the same gown (ruching, crinoline, lace, etc.)

Also courtesy of Vancouver's Paradise Style Group, the "Angela" features a shorter skirt, perfect for a beach wedding. Added frills at the bottom create a sassy, salsa look.

Straight from the runway at Vancouver Fashion Week comes this strapless design from Canadian eco couture designer, Adele Wechsler. This wedding gown demonstrates how accessories such as ropes of beads can add a unique touch to a simple frock.

Ruching above the empire waist creates a memorable detail on this sleek satin number, designed by Mikaella Bridal (style no: 1307) and sold at Winnipeg online bridal retailer Stella's Bridal.

From Frocks Modern Bridesmaids (Calgary & Vancouver), the "Carrie" dress is ideal for an informal wedding. The length is perfect for a sandy beach ceremony, and won't trip up the bride on a shoreline stroll.

As this design from Alfred Angelo shows us, a simple gown is the perfect canvass for an eye-catching accessory, such as a sparkling rhinestone broach, or stunning ribbon. Brides can choose from any one of 55 different coloured ribbons to go with this wedding dress.

Simple spaghetti straps and a straight neckline make for casual elegance in this bridal gown, designed by Sandra Sung (style no. 2215).

This Sandra Sung gown (style no. 2026) features the same understated elegance as the above number, yet crisscrossed spaghetti straps and a halter neck add a unique touch of sophistication.

Canadian designer, Caroline Calvert created the short and flirty "Kelly" (style no. 2120), shown here in silk shantung. This dress features a low-waisted princess seam trailed by layers of organza and lace – a touch of fancy frill for an outdoor wedding.


  • Simple, understated gowns are perfectly complemented by one or two bold accessories, such as a colourful ribbon, sparkly hair clip, or chunky necklace. Wraps and ornate veils also look better with a simple gown.
  • If you're confused about whether or not a simple gown is right for you, try to visualize the main effect or image that you want to convey. If words such as "ethereal", "elegant", and "sophisticated" come to mind, then a simple gown will likely work for your look. But if you're aiming for "glamourous", "trendy", or "fashion-forward", you might need the extra help of added accessories.
  • Simple bridal gowns should reflect the style of your overall wedding. If your ceremony is on a beach, in a backyard, or in a small, intimate venue, a simple dress will suffice. However, if your wedding is going to be a big procession, such as in a cathedral church, hotel, or other large venue, you may feel informal in a simple gown.

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