Just picture it: a beautiful outdoor wedding ceremony under the sun or the stars, with the love of your life and your friends and family gathered to celebrate with you. Does it get any better than that? We think not.
Though we might be a bit biased, and somewhat easily swayed by a particularly stunning photoshoot…we are wedding enthusiasts, after all!
But today we’ve turned our attention to the wide world of outdoor weddings. Whether it be a garden gazebo or a beach with guests sitting on blankets, outdoor weddings often give brides a chance to express their personal style. Thanks to their slightly more casual vibes, brides have an enormous selection of wedding gowns to choose from.
You can take a hint from the natural beauty that surrounds you and add a pop of color. Or, mimic the lovely florals with some lace appliques. Sheer and ethereal is always an alluring choice befitting of a more semi-formal wedding. And, if you’ve been waiting for warmer weather to show off some more skin, there are plenty of low back, plunging, and high slit gowns waiting for you!
Are you excited yet? Because we are! We can’t wait to share our absolute favorite outdoor wedding dresses with you!
- What Type of Dress is Best for an Outdoor Wedding?
- Our Favorite Outdoor Wedding Dresses
- Outdoor Wedding Dress FAQ
What Type of Dress is Best for an Outdoor Wedding?
As we mentioned, outdoor weddings generally give brides a lot of freedom (breathe a sigh of relief!) when it comes to dress style, cuts, and materials. But for all its awesomeness, there is one drawback to an outdoor wedding – and that’s the weather. Mother nature can either behave or crash your wedding. Thankfully though, we have some tips for that too!
When it comes to outdoor weddings, there is almost no wrong answer to the question, “what dress should I wear?”. As long as you choose the right fabrics, you can get away with just about anything.
Nevertheless, some dresses are more suited to specific locations than others. Warmer outdoor weddings may call for a knee-length dress, a halter dress, or a low-back dress. If you want to wear sleeves in warm weather, lace cap or butterfly sleeves can keep you both cool and modest. Princess ball gowns might get a bit hot in the summer but can be positively enchanting for a winter wedding.
The bottom line? It’s all about whatever you feel most comfortable in!
Wedding Dress Cuts
We adore a mermaid or trumpet gown for a beach wedding (it isn’t hard to guess why!). Garden weddings can be the perfect locale for an A-line or tea-length dress (this is what our content editor opted for at her outdoor garden wedding last year!). Whimsical forest settings are well suited to column gowns or sheath dresses, while ball gowns and dresses with sleeves perfectly complement winter wonderland weddings.
But once again, it’s really up to you. If you want to wear an extravagant organza ballgown to your wedding in the woods or a long sleeved jumpsuit to your intimate garden ceremony, we’re here for it!
Wedding Dress Materials
Heat is not your friend on your wedding day. Take it from someone who knows – you’ll likely be running warm, so keep this in mind when choosing your dress.
Think about the weather, the time of day, and the location. Warm weddings call for cool fabrics: think sheer, lacy, and lightweight. You can still choose a gown that’s full-figured, just make sure your layers are breathable.
Have a winter wedding in mind? You have a bit more wiggle room, especially if you plan on adding an accessory (more on that later!).
Dressing for Your Venue
Nobody has ever said you can’t wear long sleeves on a beach in July, but it might not be the best idea for your comfort. Again, weather, time of day, and location are key. Will it be hot? Cold? Windy? Sunny?
Try to choose a dress that will play to your venue’s strengths. For example, a low back, ethereal silk chiffon gown for a sunny seaside affair. Just think of how gorgeous the photos would be!
Accessories and Weather
Warm weather brides may find the fewer accessories they have, the better off they are. You may even want to switch up your chapel length veil for a birdcage or hair chain. Cold weather brides can accessorize with a cape, a jacket, or long gloves.
Atypical Settings for Alternative Brides
If you’re an alternative bride, an atypical setting, like a garden or a vineyard gives you an awesome opportunity to flaunt your unique style. Want to wear a bridal suit, add a cape to your gown, or wear a black wedding dress? Go for it!
Our Favorite Outdoor Wedding Dresses
As we’ve discussed, outdoor weddings can take place during all seasons at all kinds of venues. For convenience, we’ve separated our favorite outdoor wedding dresses into a few different categories: garden (lighter and cooler), beach (effortless with movement), winter (long sleeves and warmer materials), and boho (versatile, modern looks).
Outdoor Wedding Dresses for Garden Weddings
1. Vivienne BG
Tulle and lace combine to form a flowing and whimsical skirt. Cover them with a knockout three-dimensional floral lace applique and you have a wedding gown fit for a garden goddess! The sheer back panel, plunging neckline, and the flutter sleeves are as cooling as they are captivating.
2. A-Line Ankle-Length Tulle and Lace
A-line wedding dresses are the epitome of femininity, and this sweet little gown is giving us serious vintage Grace Kelly vibes. Layers of lace and tulle hover gently at the ankles while the illusion neckline and keyhole back keep things classy up top. It’s a must-have for garden nuptials.
3. Cami and Skirt Separates
Separates, you say? We’re here for it!
Minimalist and dainty, this soft camisole with spaghetti straps tuck nicely into a billowing midi skirt. The top is silky and feminine while the bottom is playful and casual but classic in shape. It’s a match made in bridal-wear heaven!
4. Blossom BG
We think this dress is bold, but not because it is big or grand – quite the opposite, in fact. It’s daringly casual sweet sort of way! This satin mini dress has a square neckline, a heart-shaped back cut-out, and a gathered bubble skirt. All of these elements combine to create a girly, fun, and free-spirited wedding dress perfect for a modern bride.
5. Lilo BG
When we think of a garden wedding we often think tea length, but this floor-length slip gown has other ideas. Glamorous crepe satin forms a curve-hugging V-neck bodice, a low scoop back, and delicately thin spaghetti straps. It flows into a gently flared skirt embellished with princess pleats designed with see-through lace. Floral, feminine, and just a little bit fancy, this elegant dress would look at home among the blooms and topiaries.
Outdoor Wedding Dresses for Beach Weddings
6. Emi BG
Cool, comfortable, and captivating! The asymmetrical high-low appearance of this dress is so unique. With its lace-over-matte-satin design, casual pockets, and dainty spaghetti straps, we can practically hear the beach waves calling. It’s practically begging to be worn to a summer wedding.
7. Genevieve Jumpsuit
Thinking about a beach ceremony? It might be time to break out the jumpsuit! Flowing wide-leg pants are seamlessly attached to a low swooping halter neck bodice. It’s casual but somehow insanely chic. The delicate lace overlay adds the perfect amount of flair.
8. Chiffon A-Line
This dress is described as easy-to-wear, and that couldn’t be more accurate. It looks so comfortable and casually chic with its high neck, tie-back, and breezy chiffon bodice. It would flatter a wide range of brides thanks to the soft, flowy nature of the fabric. A high slit in front offers the ideal amount of allure (and lets in a nice cooling breeze for all those beach brides!).
9. Willowby by Watters Geranium Gown
It was so hard to put this dress into a single category! The grosgrain ribbon belt gives it rustic vibes while the barely-there lace overlay makes it feel romantic, like a garden tea party. But we could also envision the gauzy tulle skirt sweeping down a sandy beach aisle. Its hint of blush coloring found on the sweetheart bodice and skirt under layer would suit any location and bride.
Outdoor Wedding Dresses for Winter Weddings
10. Long Wedding Dress with Trimmed Capelet
Sleeves can be a little daunting for some brides, but get ready to cast your doubts aside when you see this dress. Its gorgeous lacy capelet keeps things modest without covering up too much. A deep-V in both front and back is absolutely breathtaking. We adore the dainty crochet trim as an intriguing final touch. This dress is downright regal – perfect for an outdoor setting adorned by evergreen trees and winter sunshine.
11. Lace and Tulle Long Sleeve Ball Gown
To us, long sleeves equate to a fall or winter wedding, but this could be completely doable for spring or brave-hearted summer brides. We’re swooning over the amount of sheer lace! From the finely detailed sleeves to the embellished full skirt, this romantic dress features a semi-sheer bodice and floral applique detailing.
12. Princess Cathedral Train
Pair this whimsical wonder with a capelet or sleeved jacket and you have a princess dress fit for an outdoor winter or fall wedding! A sweetheart neckline offers wonderful support and creates a lovely silhouette, ending at your natural waist. From there, the layers of fabric drape out into a full skirt complete with a cathedral train. We love how the floral appliques from the bodice spill delicately onto the skirt. It would also do very well as a springtime garden dress with a sheer layer on top, if you’re having a warm weather ceremony.
Outdoor Wedding Dresses for Boho Weddings
13. The Renaissance Gown
Check out these boho vibes! Whether you’re getting married in a coastal town or a country vineyard, this impressive floral gown is sure to complement your venue. Its soft color, flowing form, and beautiful floral pattern are simply gorgeous. Though it billows out with body, the layers are lightweight and cool. It is undoubtedly bold and utterly romantic.
14. Fringe Wedding Dress
by Etsy: BelleAndKai
Fringe. Florals. Need we say more?
Its vintage bohemian meets modern flair with this intricate gown. The flowing and long silhouette is complemented by the fluttery angel wing sleeves. We can’t get over how the front is soft and ethereal while the open back provides breathtaking contrast.
15. Lace V-Neck Sheath Wedding Dress
The empire waist of this casually beautiful boho dress offers brides a long and slimming silhouette. Wide straps and a not-too-low V-neck provide modest coverage. But it’s ooh-la-la in the back, thanks to its enchanting keyhole back framed with floral lace and secured with a delicate ribbon.
16. A-Line Court Train
This bohemian gown takes an elegant A-line style dress with a court train and combines it with bell sleeves and a lace-up back to create a summer-ready show stopper. Lace on top and chiffon on bottom pair effortlessly well. It is ethereal, flowing, and perfect for a warm-weather wedding.
17. Graced With Love Plus Size
This dress mixes flirty and fancy in the most beautiful way. An A-line skirt combined with an empire waist is figure-flattering while lacy, flowing sleeves offer a bit of coverage up top. The romantic V-neck has gorgeous scalloped edging, as does the bottom of the skirt. Plus, this lace fabric has stretch, effortlessly moving with you as you dance beneath the stars!
18. Boho Off the Shoulder Wedding Dress
by BHLDN: Willowby
Sweeping layers of tulle cascade down from the off-the-shoulders top to the billowing full-length skirt. The rucched back provides some visual intrigue, but we’re totally smitten with the front. The unique sleeves are what makes this dress. It’s vintage, casual, boho…and entirely unique!
Outdoor Wedding Dress FAQ
This is usually most important for warm weather brides who need to stay cool and comfortable. Lightweight and breathable fabrics, like chiffon, rayon, organza, and crepe can all create brilliant gowns that won’t weigh you down or cause you to overheat.
When searching for a dress keep your venue in mind, along with the time of day and the possible weather. Telling your bridal consultant all about your weather is helpful, too!
Where outdoor brides usually have a wide selection of dresses, the same can’t exactly be said for shoes.
Have you ever tried stilettos in the sand? You don’t want to get stuck in the sand, grass, or a boardwalk. What’s more, heat and tight-fitting shoes can lead to uncomfortable swelling.
But hey, we see it as a great opportunity to go barefoot!
A Natural Setting For Your Wedding
We hope this list has shown you how limitless your dress options are for an outdoor wedding.
Outdoor nuptials can take place in all seasons, which is why we included a variety of dress lengths and styles to keep you cool or cozy. Add in a few well-thought-out accessories, and you’re ready to be the perfect bride outside.
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Megan’s wedding experience began over a decade ago when planning her dream ceremony. Since then, three kids have been added to the mix. Megan wholeheartedly embraces all things baby, childhood, and family. When she isn’t writing or chasing little ones you can find her running, hiking, or reading.