Introducing… the most beautiful wedding dress trends of 2021! Don’t worry, these styles aren’t going to date – we’ve searched the catwalks for wedding dresses that translate cool, cutting-edge fashion into timeless looks.
From statement silhouettes to fine details, the styles we’ve chosen are designed to flatter, so you feel your confident best on your wedding day.
That’s the thing about wedding dress trends – they’re all about making classic bridal looks even better. And if you don’t believe it’s possible to improve on the classics, we think our 2021 trends edit will change your mind.
Whether it’s a fresh take on long-sleeve wedding dresses, a fabric update or a new vintage fashion influence, these are our favourite 2021 bridal styles – get ready to make the aisle your catwalk.
1. Statement sleeve wedding dresses
The statement sleeve has been part of the wider fashion conversation for the past year – and if the catwalks are anything to go by, the look is here to stay. In everyday terms, this means serious volume, which is possibly a bit too fashion-led for a timeless style. That’s why clever wedding dress designers have softened the statement sleeve for bridal, adding just enough extra volume to keep the overall look fresh but not so much as to tether it to 2021.
Take Antonella by Morilee. The bishop sleeves have a subtle flare, which pairs beautifully with the classic A-line silhouette. The sleeves are detachable, so you can switch up your day-to-night look.
Remember, statement sleeves don’t have to be long. As Antoinette from the Madeline Gardner Couture Spring 2021 collection shows, short sleeves can have a big impact, too.
2. Jazz Age influences
We’re not talking full-on vintage revival – this trend is more about capturing the mood of the Jazz Age, that 1920s period associated with carefree glamour and exuberance. Think glittering beadwork, notice-me details and soft silhouettes that are made for dancing.
The Justin Alexander Signature Spring/Summer 2021 collection explicitly references the influence. The Etta gown, for example, has a plunging back and chiffon streamer – 1920s dresses often had backs with as much drama as the fronts – and there’s glamorous sparkle throughout. The fit and flare silhouette keeps it contemporary.
There’s a similarly glamorous mood in Pronovias’s 2021 Cruise Collection. The Peters dress gives a back view that is simply stunning, with lace inserts designed for maximum impact.
Technically, this is a movement rather than a trend, but it’s worth highlighting the fact that wedding dress designers are recognising the importance of making their work as kind to the planet as possible.
Sanyukta Shrestha has long been championing sustainable and ethical design practices – all the organic cotton and bamboo fabrics she uses are biodegradable and are created in in Nepal Tulsi Mehar Mahila Ashram, which houses homeless and destitute women. Her beautiful designs include the chic halterneck Jamie dress.
Sustainability is at the heart of what Reformation do – they’ve developed a sustainability framework covering everything from fabric selection to social responsibility. Their wedding dress collection is cool and covetable – we particularly like the clean lines of their Hollyhock dress.
Style 208 from Jesús Peiró’s 2021 collection is made from plastic bottles that were littering the oceans.
READ MORE: Green wedding ideas – make your day more sustainable
4. 3D flowers
3D florals are not unheard of in bridal, but they’re mainly seen on lace. For 2021, get ready to see more wedding dresses of different fabrics enhanced by this type of detail – it gives an overall look that’s pretty but with a fashion edge.
The Spring Bouquet Cascade gown from Victor & Rolf Mariage is a prime example. The handcrafted blooms flow along the border and hem into a glorious train. The rest of the dress is kept pared-back, a perfect contrast to the frothiness of the flowers.
Halfpenny London’s Gregory dress is a delicate, ethereal take on the look, with a light-as-air skirt and bodice.
5. Strong silhouettes
Prepare to let your silhouette do the talking in 2021. We’re seeing some deliciously chic wedding dresses where it’s all about the shape. There may be some detailing, but for the most part this is kept to a minimum.
Savannah Miller nails the look in her Spring 2021 collection. The Jessica dress is a favourite of ours – the A-line skirt is universally flattering, and the square neckline feels so fresh with the mid-width strappy sleeves.
Hampton by Justin Alexander Signature
Justin Alexander Signature’s Hampton ballgown has floral appliqué and a belt, but other than that, it’s the plunge neckline and box-pleat skirt that really draw the eye.
The Billie dress by cool French designer Caroline Takvorian is an easy-wearing take on the trend, with just a little embellishment on the sleeves.
READ MORE: The best princess wedding dresses
6. Wedding dresses with tiered skirts
A tiered skirt adds a sophisticated boho note to a bridal look, so we were delighted to see carefree tiered wedding dresses throughout the spring 2021 collections.
That tiered skirt makes Style MJ265 a fashion-forward twist on the classic ballgown wedding dress.
A tiered skirt can also lend added opulence to a wedding dress, as seen in Victor & Rolf’s Tulle Dream – now this is how you make an entrance.
Isla by Whistles
The trend has already hit the high street, thanks to quick-off-the-blocks Whistles – the tiers on their Isla dress are finished with lace, which is a lovely touch.
READ MORE: 32 best high street wedding dresses from brands you love
7. Wedding dresses with bows
It was perhaps inevitable that bows would make their way to bridal for 2021 – they’ve been all over the red carpet and the smartest Insta grids, and they’re big news when it comes to shirting. While you’ll find bridal styles with the oversized bows beloved of fashion insiders, some designers have made the detail more delicate to suit a romantic bridal look.
We love the large detachable bow detail on Justin Alexander Signature’s Coleman dress, which brings a 2021 feel to a timeless silhouette.
On-trend tiers meet a delicately pretty bow back detail in Katya Katya’s bewitching Adara dress.
Victor & Rolf Mariage’s bow spine dress is a cool and unusual take on the trend.
8. Geometric lace wedding dresses
Pretty floral lace will always have a place in our hearts when it comes to wedding dresses, but for 2021, geometric lace is the headline.
All-over geometric lace can look a bit stark for bridal, so what we like about Stella York’s boho design is that the detailed bodice is balanced by a smooth, flowing skirt.
Over on the high street, Self-Portrait already have the trend in hand with their lace detail wedding dress.
9. The thigh split is back
Cast your mind back to 2012, when Angelina Jolie broke the internet – we said “break the internet” in 2012 – by striding onto the red carpet in a black gown with a high thigh-split. Well, the look is back on the catwalk, and now it’s bridal – which means softened by sparkle and flowing fabrics, but still very, very sexy.
A new line from Berta is something to celebrate, and jolie bridal certainly doesn’t disappoint. Style JO6, for example, is an enchantingly pretty confection, given an edge by that ultra-high thigh split.
READ MORE: The sexiest wedding dresses
10. Off-the-shoulder wedding dresses
Obviously, the look isn’t new, but what’s caught our attention is the sheer number of off-the-shoulder styles in the 2021 collections. The off-the-shoulder wedding dress is poised to take 2021 by storm – and we couldn’t be happier, as this is a chic, subtly sexy look that suits everyone and comes in lots of different permutations.
READ MORE: 45 elegant off the shoulder wedding dresses
Daalarna’s 2021 Rhapsody collection features several shoulder-baring styles, including this illusion-sleeve style that feels delicate and romantic.
The Elsa dress from Savannah Miller’s 2021 Aurora collection is another winner, with those capped sleeves flowing into streamers to give a fluid feel.
The Justine mermaid gown, from Maggie Sottero’s latest collection, is wonderfully sophisticated – that sculptural ruffle train is perfectly balanced by the off-the-shoulder bodice.
If bridal separates are your thing, the Holly top and Marlow skirt from Katya Katya’s 2021 Meadow collection could be right up your bridal fashion street, particularly if you want to create a boho look.
Once you’ve chosen your look, don’t forget those finishing touches that really make an outfit – our guide to the 32 best wedding hair accessories is a must-read.