Summer is a perfect time for weddings, and summer wedding gowns can make the day even more beautiful. Check out our guide to summer wedding dresses.
By The Zola Team
Photo by Derek Chad Photography
Summer weddings are in a league all their own. The magic of summer is unmatched by any other time of year—the twinkle of the fireflies, the comforting warmth in the air, and the fact that the sun sticks around a little longer than usual, almost as if it loves summer, too.
Oh, and don’t forget the buckets of sweat that come along with a hot summer day.
Okay, maybe summer isn’t perfect, but is any season? Spring weddings offer the gift that you didn’t register for: allergies. Autumn weddings bring the winds strong enough to blow you back to the dating stage. And, don’t even start on the dangers of winter weddings (losing a heel in the snow? No thank you).
Every season comes with its own challenges. Your love is too strong to wait around for the universe to invent some perfect fifth season where it never rains and it’s warm, but not warm enough to melt your makeup off—so summer it is.
The best way to prepare for a summer wedding? Finding the perfect summer gown. You want something that’s breathable, but beautiful, and something light, but elegant—it’s complicated.
Don’t worry. Let’s take this one step at a time.
Photo Credit // Chesley Summar Photography
You’ve Got Options for Summer Wedding Gowns
Choosing the perfect gown for your special day involves a lot of different factors. There are so many types of bridal gowns that are perfect for summer. Everyone’s wants and needs are going to be different, but the unifying factor for all gorgeous summer brides is this: You want to look hot, not be hot.
To that end, the first step is identifying the shape.
The shape of a wedding gown is a preference that varies from person to person. You’re going to want a dress that’s comfortable in the heat and allows you to enjoy your perfect day without breaking a sweat. While this may sound a little intimidating, don’t worry. A summer wedding doesn’t have to limit your choices. Here are some of our favorites:
The Little White Dress – This is a nontraditional style that’s perfect if you’re looking for something unique. A short wedding dress can look beautiful, without the heat-producing heaviness of a full-length gown. If you’re looking for something different that gives off major summer vibes, this is a great option.
Off the Shoulder – Keeping your neck and shoulders exposed is a beautiful choice for summer. Not only will this shape show off your sun-kissed glow, but it’s also going to keep you cool in the heat. Unfortunately, pit stains don’t stop existing just because it’s your wedding day, and white isn’t a forgiving color, but this shape is going to help ventilate that area and prevent the evidence from appearing on your gown. Off the shoulder gowns are a classic shape that’s guaranteed to look beautiful. If you’re going for a summer style, but still want that classic look, this shape is going to be your best friend (sorry maid of honor).
Two-Piece Gowns – In recent years this style of gown has gained some newfound popularity. Not only are these gowns modern and trendy, but they also provide extra comfort and mobility. A two-piece gown is going to allow you to move in ways a traditional dress doesn’t, while maintaining that elegant, princess-style shape. If you plan to get down on the dance floor during the reception, this is the perfect dress to ensure that you won’t bust a seam trying to bust a move.
Loose Mermaid – Everyone knows the classic mermaid gown. Beloved by many, this shape accentuates curves and looks effortlessly glamorous. For a summer wedding, the tightness of a traditional mermaid wedding dress or trumpet style gown might be a little hot. If you love this shape, opt for a more breathable version of it. This gown is going to provide the length and shapeliness that comes with the mermaid style, but provide more wiggle room in the lower half, with a slightly more flowy skirt.
When it comes to summer wedding gowns, choosing the perfect material is a bit more complicated than the shape, but it’s equally important in terms of comfort and style. Stiff materials, such as brocade, velvet, and certain varieties of lace, are beautiful for the colder months, but may be too heavy for a summer wedding. Whether you’re going for a light, flowing dress, or something with a more traditional shape, there’s a perfect material for any summer wedding gown:
Satin – A classic choice, satin is a beautiful fabric for summer wedding gowns. Not only is satin smooth and breathable, but it’s also one of the most versatile materials that you can choose. Satin provides a beautiful sheen that will accentuate your skin’s natural glow during the summer season. This popular material won’t be hard to find and it won’t break the bank, so it’s perfect if you’re looking for something easy, breezy, and perfect for summer.
Tulle – Tulle is a lightweight, netting fabric that provides shape without adding weight. This material will help make any breathable summer dress look like the traditional timeless gown you’ve been dreaming of since childhood. It’s your special day, don’t let the heat stop you from being as extravagant as you want. Take up space. After all, you paid for the venue.
Lightweight Lace – When used over stiffer fabrics, lace can have a wintery feel that just isn’t practical for a summer wedding, but it doesn’t have to. When used on its own or with other breathable materials, lace can create beautiful summer wedding gowns that add lightweight and stunning texture.
Photo Credit // Rayana Nastor Photography
Practicality Is Great, but What About Style?
So you’ve figured out the dos and don'ts when it comes to comfort on your summer wedding day, but what about style? Obviously you’re not going to make this big decision based solely on practical reasons—it’s your wedding day, you’re allowed to be a little impractical.
If you’ve chosen a summer wedding, you probably have a certain vibe you’re going for. The warm air and the carefree attitude will make your wedding an amazing experience—and you want a gown to match.
The shape of your gown is one thing, it’s technical and categorical. The style of your gown, on the other hand, is something all it’s own.
There are all sorts of wedding dress styles. Beyond categories of a ball gown, trumpet, or A-line cut, it’s important to understand your own personal style. Are you going for something more traditional? Something bohemian? Or maybe you’re all about the glamour. Here are style ideas for summer wedding gowns that will match your summer vibe:
Ruffles – Match the exciting summer energy with an exciting, summer wedding dress. Ruffles add shape and texture to your gown and mimic the ocean waves that are so iconic of this beachy season.
Bell Sleeves – Who says that summer wedding gowns can’t have long sleeves? Bell sleeves are breathable and bohemian. This style offers a trendy retro vibe that’s going to look beautifully unique. Forget the ‘67 summer of love—this gown is going to make your wedding the summer of love part two.
Bling-bling – If you like a little ✨sparkle✨ (or a lot of sparkle), summer is the perfect time for a gown with some bling. Don’t be shy, you spend all winter covering up your style with heavy layers. Now is the time to shine like never before.
Cottagecore – The cottagecore movement has been sweeping social media lately. This style embodies a simpler time, using soft fabrics, ruched designs, and oftentimes puffed or loose-fitting sleeves. A cottagecore gown is going to compliment any summer wedding, and offer comfortable, breathable designs perfect for the hotter months.
Summer is a bright season. The muted cream and buff shades have been particularly trendy in recent years, but they lend more to a winter color scheme. Like the summer sun, you’re going to want to shine on your big day. Consider incorporating some of these colors if you want your blinding radiance to make your guests reach for a pair of shades (or a second pair, if they’re already wearing some):
Classic White – White is traditional, but it’s not as popular as it used to be. Sometimes, going back to the basics is actually the perfect way to spice things up. White doesn’t have to be stark or boring. A crisp white gown is going to absolutely pop on any skin tone, ensure that all eyes are on you, and keep you cool in the summer heat.
Pop in Pink – Pink is both a delicate and trendy option that’s going to provide the same glow as white, but with a fun pop of color that’s perfect for summer. A pink gown is bubbly and fun, and what time of the year is more fun than summer? Blush pink is going to look beautiful, fresh, and it’s definitely going to ensure that your partner is blushing when he or she sees you walk down the aisle.
Red Hot – Indian weddings often use red in their gowns. Red is associated with love and passion, which couldn’t be more fitting. Red is also a beautiful fiery shade that perfectly embodies the spirit of the season.
With all of the different ways that couples around the world celebrate their special day, the list of colors could be never-ending.
Find Your Favorite Summer Wedding Gown
Suggestions are just that—suggestions. You want to know what the best summer wedding gown is going to be? That’s up to you. Whatever dress makes you feel comfortable, confident, and ready to marry the love of your life is going to be the perfect summer wedding dress.
Trends are fun to follow. Styles and shapes offer some guidance when you’re shopping. But ultimately, you’re going to look your best in a gown that you love.
Zola: Your Source for All Things Wedding
If you’re struggling to wade through the vast sea that is wedding gown shopping, check out Zola’s online Wedding Boutique. Here, you can find dresses from all different brands, in all sorts of styles.
Zola is your one-stop-shop for all things wedding. Don’t spread yourself thin, take a breather and let Zola help you tackle that long to-do list.