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5 Bridal Outfits for Every Stage of Your Wedding

Feature: Long Read
Words by Eleanor Hibberd

If you’re tying the knot this year, there’s a good chance your celebrations won’t be limited to the big day alone. Whether you’re planning a wedding ceremony that’s chic and intimate or an all-out party with a guest list to match, there are plenty of opportunities to have fun with bridal style both on your wedding and in the lead-up. From engagement party ensembles to modern wedding dress ideas, here’s what to wear at every stage of being a bride.

The Engagement Party

You may be feeling the butterflies on your first event as a bride-to-be, so aim to strike a relaxed style note. Off-white suits from The Mannei, Studio Amelia, BITE Studios and more make for chic, cosmopolitan style without restricting you to the typical bridal genre – meaning you’ll be free to re-wear the outfit post-wedding, too. If suiting’s not your thing, smart-casual midi dresses are equally understated yet elegant. Try pairing with a colourful shoe or clutch bag rather than going head-to-toe white, if you want to take it down a notch. These outfit formulas work perfectly, too, for smaller, town-hall style weddings – or for a whirlwind elopement.

Woman wearing a white pantsuit

The Hen-Do

Here’s your opportunity to really have fun. While traditional bridalwear may call for Grace Kelly levels of poise, the so-called ‘last night of freedom’ invites something a little more daring. Put your faith in professional partiers such as The Attico, No Pise La Grama, 16Arlington, Area NYC and more, whose white hen-do dresses offer an abundance of feather trims, crystal embellishments, fabulous fringing and thigh-skimming hemlines.

Hen-do
Two women wearing white clothing

Getting Ready

Some think of the wedding morning as just the staging area, but these are precious moments to share with your closest friends and family. Countless glam sessions with them have led to this moment – attention must be paid. Look the part in time for the photographer’s arrival in Sleeper’s signature party PJs or Morgan Lane and Loretta Caponi’s vintage-style sets with their ‘something blue’ motifs and bows; elsewhere, smooth silks from the likes of Carine Gilson and Olivia von Halle will be enough to soothe any pre-wedding jitters.

Two women wearing white sleepwear and loungewear

The Ceremony

The pièce de résistance – your wedding gown. No two brides are the same, and with the myriad options out there, choosing a wedding dress can feel daunting. The most important thing to remember is to remain true to your personal style. Wear a piece that makes you feel like the best version of yourself, whether it’s head-to-toe embellishment, a slinky silken number or a chic and structured silhouette. Mikael D’s beautifully adorned gowns make for the ultimate entrance, while Halfpenny London leans more traditional in style, and Roksanda’s alternative bridalwear is perfectly understated.

Woman wearing a white wedding dress and veil

Mikael D gown – available in-store and through our Personal Shopping service.

Wedding dress

The Reception

Now comes the party. As your guests make their way to the dance floor, this is the time to slip into something a little more ‘evening’ in tone and aesthetic. If you can’t do an outfit change on your wedding day, when can you? Opt for a clean silhouette with freedom of movement, so you can concentrate on having fun – rather than who’s stepping on your train – and lean into the celebratory spirit with mirrorball embellishments.

Woman wearing a white, strapless reception dress
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