The Top Trends For Summer Wedding Dressing

Your cheat sheet for taking beach, boho and garden wedding dresses to the next level.

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Christian Oth

Summer weddings are the most popular on the social calendar for good reason—they come with major pros: beach weather, flowers in bloom, guests in holiday mode, the list goes on. With that said, they aren't without dressing cons. Temperatures are sky-high, outdoor ceremonies are a given, and sundresses, shorts, swimwear, and blousy tops are all you'd pack if you weren't walking down the aisle. Here, the season's chicest trends (and solutions) to bridal dressing in the most popular, and warmest season of the year.

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1 Point d’Esprit
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Gossamer laces and ethereal tulles suit aisles all year-round, but with its whimsy and lighthearted vibe, Swiss dot feels appropos when dressing for summertime. This fabrication is light and easy in feel, giving a crisp yet textured look that complements beach destinations, garden parties, and a vineyard's lush surroundings alike. The tonality and texture of a dotted tulle can vary; it can be accented by embroidery or appliqué, or be left on its own for a more romantic look. Pleat it like tulle and it develops just the same volume, and adds a youthful note to an otherwise dreamy dress. Accent gowns flecked in point d’esprit with a bouquet of blooms that speaks to its effortlessness—like a clutch of wildflowers, a nosegay of lily of the valley, or frothy peonies and dahlias.

From top left: Naeem Khan Bridal Fall 2019; Caroline Herrera Bridal Spring 2020; Costarellos Bridal Spring 2020; Temperley London Bridal Spring 2020

2 Leafy Greens
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Turn to the lush greenery of the warmest climates for inspiration, rather than the girly romance of secret gardens full of manicured flower beds. From palm fronds to swirling cascades of greenery, these inspirations for laces, embroidery, and appliqués have an inherently playful vibe that suits the summertime—and were seen all over the Spring 2020 bridal runways. A pop of green takes this summer wedding dressing trend to new heights, especially when done on a frothy tulle high-low skirt to show off your enviable legs, or a killer pair of heels.

From top left: Monique Lhuillier Bridal Spring 2020; Oscar de la Renta Bridal Fall 2019; Marchesa Bridal Spring 2020; Dana Harel Bridal Spring 2020

3 Victorian Collars
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Whether it’s due to the recent royal weddings, or the popularity of period pieces like The Crown or Game of Thrones, Victoriana has had a stronghold in recent bridal seasons. And with that trend comes the type of ruffs and collars worthy of the high court, although a high-collar neckline might not initially scream summer wedding. That said, when done in variations of halter necklines and cold-shoulder styles, along with lightweight laces, these silhouettes can read modest at first, yet sexy in all the right ways. This neckline is elegant, regal, and undeniably sophisticated—whether you opt for it in a glam gilded lace, sheer sparkly version, or an all-over floral that feels just right for the summer months.

From top left: Lela Rose Bridal Fall 2019; Vera Wang Bridal Fall 2019; Viktor & Rolf Bridal Fall 2019; Dana Harel Bridal Spring 2020; Jonathan Simkhai RTW Spring/Summer 2019

4 Summer Gloves
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In bridal, gloves can feel a bit old school—but what’s old is new again. We’re seeing a comeback of this vintage-inspired accessory, done in ways that feel fresh and summertime chic. From sheer options, to embellished extras, to point d’esprit net and classic satin, summer gloves are giving dressing for warmer weather a revival of sophisticated elegance, with a vintage flair. Pair gloves with a short dress or full-length gown, and don them anywhere—be it at a Chateau or in the garden. This is the type of accessory that elevates your photos and your ceremony, but should be shed for a laid-back look at the reception.

From top left: Amsale Bridal Spring 2019; Ralph & Russo Couture Spring 2019; Lein Bridal Spring 2020; Reem Acra Bridal Spring 2020

5 Micro Minis
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In months where blouson gowns and effortless A-lines are your best bets, try for something even more easygoing: the mini dress. Throw away the traditional bridal rule book, and opt for a micro-mini dress for the ceremony, or change into one for the after party. A flirty mini dress will have you on the dance floor all night long and you'll be able to show off your shoes. Expert tip: The ultimate in fashion-forward wedding dressing? Pairing one of these sexy short skirts with a chic veil.

From top left: Oscar de la Renta Bridal Spring 2020; Marchesa Bridal Spring 2020; Reem Acra Bridal Spring 2020; Naeem Khan Bridal Spring 2020; Alessandra Rich RTW Fall 2019

6 Puff & Poet Sleeves
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For the minimalist, summer's affinity for laces and prints can feel overwrought and far too fussy. Rather than sleek and sharp shapes, choose delicate draping, pleats, and poet sleeves that feel both artful and easy. From shorter puff-sleeved capes to longer sheer styles, this look takes notes from characters like Marie Antoinette, but exudes romance and fashion—without going costume.

From top left: Anne Barge Bridal Spring 2020; Viktor & Rolf Bridal Fall 2019; Ronalina Bridal Fall 2019; Marchesa Bridal Spring 2020

7 Scalloped Necklines
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Gloves and puff sleeves aren’t the only ‘80s trends to make a comeback. Strapless used to domineer in bridal, and then off-the-shoulder made its debut; now, the scalloped neckline is making its way back into the mix. Adding interest to any classic neckline—from off-the-shoulder, strapless, sleeved, or sleeveless styles—the scalloped neckline feels undeniably fresh, with designers finding new ways to incorporate this not-so-new design detail. During the months where you want to be anything but fully covered-up, this look adds interest, without feeling too cumbersome, or over-the-top.

From top left: Lela Rose Bridal Fall 2019; Oscar de la Renta Bridal Fall 2019; Reem Acra Bridal Spring 2020; Elie Saab Bridal Fall 2019

8 Smocking
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In the months when rustic, barn, and outdoor weddings reign supreme, bring on the pastoral-inspired details. Case in point: smocking. This technique feels romantic yet intricate; and while its roots are more bohemian, new takes on the trend are helping it feel elevated, like Carolina Herrera’s multi-colored version. This time around, smocking is more high fashion than festival. From sheer, gossamer fabrics to cotton laces and luxe silks, this trend feels chic when incorporated in ways both big and small—be it all-over the bodice and neckline, or in small details, like collars and cuffs.

From top left: Caroline Herrera RTW Spring 2019; Ingie Paris RTW Fall 2019; Christian Dior Haute Couture Spring 2019; Zimmermann Resort 2019

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