Our Top Wedding Dress Trends for 2021

Wedding dress styles are always changing and surprising. Our guide to 2021 wedding dress trends gives the scoop on the stunning dresses of the year!

By The Zola Team

wedding dress trends
Photo by Elizabeth Burgi Photography

In 2021, trends changed faster than they’re created.

The minute you learn that new TikTok dance, it’s already old news and there’s a new TikTok dance that’s even more complicated. Fashion trends, on the other hand, seem to stick around a little longer than “The Renegade.” Bridal designers help build upon these trends as well, pushing the limits of modernity and eccentricity just barely to their breaking point—leaving fashion lovers wanting more.

The wedding dress industry is no stranger to trends. While some bridal designers will go all out with their wedding collections—to the point where you can sometimes barely tell that you’re even looking at a wedding gown—other trends are more subtle and can be easily followed by anyone.

From the most avant-garde to the utterly attainable, read on for some of the newest and most popular 2021 wedding dress trends.

1. Something Blue

In past years, wedding dress trends have replaced traditional white gowns with experimental new hues, such as pink and champagne.

Now, in 2021, the new color on the block is a chic shade of pastel blue. That’s right, brides are rocking blue down the aisle this year, and it looks amazing. A blue wedding gown has the soft, delicate feel of traditional white, but offers a cool undertone that’s going to pop on any skin tone.

Ditch the old “something blue” rule and make your wedding dress that “something” for a trendy new take on wedding day fashion.

Trendy Bride Tip: If an entirely blue gown is a little too out there for you, that’s totally understandable. This is your wedding day, not New York Fashion Week. Here are a few ways to incorporate this trendy color into your nuptials in a more subtle way:

  • The Bouquet – Pale blue flowers are going to look absolutely beautiful in your bouquet. This is a clever way to ensure that the blue is visible as you walk down the aisle, without sacrificing the tradition of a stunning white bridal gown.
  • The Veil – Your veil is kind of like your gown’s little sister. It’s not as big, but it looks similar and it’s allowed to do its own thing. If you want to add a touch of this trendy blue to your ensemble without sacrificing your gown, look for a veil with a hint of this shade in it. The cool undertone is going to highlight your face and hair beautifully.
  • The ShoesPale blue shoes can be a gorgeous surprise under your white bridal gown. This is a great way to save the pop of blue for the reception, instead of the actual ceremony. These babies are guaranteed to be the star of the show when your partner goes fishing for the garter (apologies to the garter, for stealing its thunder).
Wedding Dress Trends for 2020 Photo Credit // The Ganeys

2. Keeping It Simple

This year, the top wedding dress trends are taking a page from Meghan Markle’s book. Simplistic designs that shape the body and highlight the face are sweeping the wedding dress industry right now. Forget the heavy beading and embroidery of wedding seasons past. This year is all about simple wedding dresses that are the epitome of elegance.

Pairing a sleek, simple gown with natural, glowing makeup and accessories that provide the bling (tiara, anyone?) is going to have your guests questioning if you’re marrying into royalty.

Trendy Bride Tip: A minimalist gown is going to look best when it’s made from certain fabrics. You want to make sure that you choose a sleek, soft fabric that doesn’t wrinkle too easily. Some good materials to look out for are:

  • CrepeCrepe is an excellent material for minimalist wedding gowns. With a silky appearance, but a stiffer structure, a crepe is going to ensure that your dress looks amazing from the ceremony to the honeymoon.
  • Mikado – Mikado is a thick variety of silk. This material is going to hold its shape and provide you with a beautiful, shiny finish that actually stays in place. This is perfect for a simple gown that requires a little structure, without having to add a lot of frills.
  • Organza – Take a page from the Duchess of Sussex herself by incorporating organza into your minimalist dress. Ms. Markle’s Givenchy gown was said to be made from cady silk with an underlay of organza. Organza is a sheer fabric that’s much softer than your average tulle or chiffon. This fabric is not going to wrinkle easily, due to its stiff nature. It will, however, lend to your soft, simple style better than other sheer fabrics.

3. Layers and Ruffles

If there’s one truth about trends, it’s that they tend to contradict.

While some of the top wedding dress trends have veered in the direction of minimalism, they also seem to be leaning toward layering and ruffles. That’s right, it’s one extreme or the other this year. Vera Wang’s 2020 Spring Bridal collection featured only gowns with extensive ruffles, layers, and netting overlays.

Not only are ruffles trendy, but they’re being added to some new places. Bunches of fabric on the shoulder, or around the waist is a huge bridal trend for 2021. Think pirate chic, with a parrot on your shoulder (but the parrot is made of soft organza fabric, and also it doesn’t have any sassy remarks).

These bunches and ruffles are meant to resemble floral designs, with a three-dimensional element that is utterly 2021. If you’re planning a spring or summer wedding, this beautifully modern floral trend is a unique way to celebrate the season.

Trendy Wedding Dress Tip: If you want to participate in this bridal trend, but Vera Wang’s designs are a bit avante-garde for your tastes, try a more subtle approach to these ruffled, floral patterns:

  • Embroidery – Opt for a gown with soft, floral embroidery. This will help you incorporate three-dimensional patterns without having a five-pound ball of fabric on your shoulder as you walk down the aisle. Ruffles can be used in the skirt for a more traditional approach to these trendy layering techniques.
  • Poncho – Try a gown with a sheer poncho overlay. This is a beautiful way to utilize layering techniques without completely covering your gown. A sheer poncho is going to look trendy and modern without turning your special day into the Museum of Modern Art.
  • Tone Down the Ruffles – If you want to emulate Vera’s designs without going overboard, try a gown with a smaller ruffle on the shoulder. This is a great way to tone down the original design without sacrificing the general idea of it. Opting for a single-shoulder gown is also a great way to show some skin, while maintaining the trendy look (because you want people to see you, not just the gown).

4. Pockets

Get ready to go nuts over this one. This year is the year of gown pockets (queue screams of joy). For years, men have enjoyed the luxuries of pockets. Even when women earned the right to wear pants, they still didn’t provide the ample pocket space that men have taken advantage of for centuries.

Have you ever seen a man put something in his pockets? They have more storage space than a studio apartment.

Even at weddings, men walked around in their tuxedos, pockets galore. Meanwhile, women had to suffer their pocketless fate in beautiful gowns with zero functionality.

Well, that time has come and gone, because gown pockets are officially in. This is a trend for gowns that have a larger skirt. The gorgeous folds of flowy, A-line wedding dresses are a perfect place to hide pockets. (Sorry, mermaid gown lovers, maybe next year.)

Trendy Wedding Dress Tip: There is no good reason why someone wouldn’t want a gown with pockets. So, instead of offering alternatives to this wedding trend, here are some items that you can put in your pockets when the big day arrives.

  • Phone – What is a bride supposed to do with her phone? It’s not like you’re carrying a purse down the aisle. This is your wedding day, you should be allowed to have your phone on you to take pictures and videos, and to post the occasional live twitter update of the ceremony. “@BrideBaby1993: walking down the aisle right now #nervous!”
  • Lipstick – If your partner knows their way around a kiss, your lipstick is not going to make it to the reception intact. Keep your lipstick on deck for some quick touch-ups to ensure that you look your best for any impromptu photos.
  • Travel Pack of Tissues – Think about it: Weddings make people cry. You don’t want your mascara (or even worse, your nose) running while your partner reads their heartfelt vows. Keep a pack of tissues on deck in case of any emotional emergencies.

Trends Come and Go, but Love Remains

Whether you’re a huge trend follower or you walk to the beat of your own drum, it’s undeniable that trends are difficult to ignore in 2021.

While some of the latest wedding dress trends are a little out there, others are an amazing example of how far the wedding industry has come. And although trends can be fun and exciting, the most important thing to follow on your wedding day is your heart. Is that cheesy? Yes. Is it true? Also yes.

First and foremost, what you wear on your wedding day is going to be up to you. While trends can be helpful in deciding what to wear, make sure that your wedding dress is something you would love no matter what decade it is. At the end of the (wedding) day, you’ll want to be wearing something that you feel happy, comfortable, and radiantly beautiful in.

Whether that’s a simple gown or pirate chic, just make sure that it’s undeniably you.

Follow Trends at Zola

While your local wedding dress shop may not be up-to-date on all of 2021’s trends, Zola’s online Bridal Boutique has everything that you’re looking for. With a large selection of styles, designers, and colors, Zola’s Bridal Boutique is your one-stop-shop for all gowns, from traditional to trendy and everything in between.

Looking for the best 2021 wedding dress trends? You’ve come to the right place.