Ask Alysia: Pushing Bridal Boundaries

Bohemian Rose Photography

April 4, 2024

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How do I wear a colourful dress but still feel bridal?

The beauty of a modern-day wedding is how much freedom we have to make them our own. I might sound like a broken record here, but weddings can truly be whatever you want! So, in order to make sure you feel ‘bridal’, investigate what that means to you. The white dress and long veil combo has become a quick shorthand for bridal, but that doesn’t mean it’s what feels right to you. And if you’ve already started looking into colourful gowns, my bet is you already know that. So, to reframe your question – what are ways to make sure your look feels special enough for your wedding? Here are three things to consider:

Formality of fabric and cut

What’s the difference really between a colourful dress you’d wear to a birthday dinner and what you’d wear on your wedding day? One big consideration is the fabric. A high-quality charmeuse or crepe will immediately elevate the gown and make it feel different than your everyday polyester dress. Similarly, the cut of the dress will help make the gown feel wedding day ready. That doesn’t mean you need to go with a silhouette completely different from what you’re comfortable with or used to, but try playing with exaggerated features like a fuller skirt or an off the shoulder neckline. Details like this make a gown that much more memorable.

Bring in traditions in other ways

A white gown isn’t the only way to look like a traditional bride! Take a look at weddings in your family or culture and see if there is anything you can pay homage to within those traditions. Did your mother have a sash on her gown that you could repurpose as a bouquet wrap or shawl? Are there bits of lace from your grandmother’s gown you can strategically add to your neckline? My family is Armenian, where often a traditional wedding gown is red, so I could use this as inspiration for what kind of colourful dress I wanted. Having these through lines to family and tradition can certainly help make your gown feel extra special.


Playing with accessories is one of the easiest ways to make your look unmistakably bridal. I’m a sucker for a coloured veil, especially one that matches the colour of your gown for a cohesive look. There are so many incredible wedding headpieces on the market right now – anything from a delicate crown or an over-the-top celestial halo can help make you feel ready to walk down the aisle.

My family are concerned I’ll regret my non-traditional wedding look in a few years, what should I tell them? Or are they right?

One of my hottest takes as a bridal stylist is that timelessness in your wedding gown is a fool’s errand. Timelessness is an illusion – no matter how simple the gown or classic the silhouette, your dress will look of the time and that’s more than okay!

If what you’re actually afraid of is buying into a trend that you’ll cringe at later, I get it. So many mothers show me their 80s wedding pictures and laugh at the giant poofy sleeves they forced their bridesmaids into. But isn’t that part of the joy? Shouldn’t your wedding capture this moment?

Trying to guess what kind of dress you will like 10 or 20 years down the line is adding an unnecessary pressure that frankly is impossible to really satisfy. We have no real control on the way wedding trends develop or what will be considered ‘timeless’ down the line. What if by 2050, having a white wedding dress is considered gauche? What if what your family considers the correct traditional gown is something we’ll look back at as the ultimate trend? Years ago, the ‘anti-bride’ movement was considered alternative, but take a look at most ‘anti-bride’ Instagram accounts now and they are the exact embodiment of what is en vogue.

I picked my wedding dress in 2015 and refer to it as the Kitchen Sink Dress. It had everything – a pink tulle ballgown skirt, a lace bodice with a Queen Anne neckline, a jewelled belt stitched at the waist that matched the completely beaded back. I loved it, but if I were to get married now, I’d get something completely different. Does that mean I regret it? Absolutely not! When people say they are looking for a dress that feels ‘timeless’ I have to laugh a little. We want to protect ourselves from future regret, but letting that fear be the guiding light in your decision process is only going to make it that much more difficult.

The best way to not regret your wedding look is if it feels authentic to you, now. If you love it, now.


Alysia Cole is a plus size personal bridal stylist who has helped hundreds of nearlyweds find their perfect wedding outfit. Based out of Los Angeles, you can also find Alysia on TikTok and Instagram.

This article originally appeared in issue 52 of Rock n Roll Bride magazine. You can purchase the latest copy here, or why not subscribe to never miss an issue?