What Is a Tea Length Wedding Dress?

Wondering what a tea-length wedding dress is? We’ve outlined what exactly a tea-length dress is and the benefits of wearing one at your wedding. Keep reading to learn more.

By The Zola Team

What Is a Tea Length Wedding Dress
Photo by Zola

When it comes to wedding dresses, there are several different varieties and styles to choose from. While all brides have their individual preferences, bridal gowns typically range in measurement from floor-length to shorter options such as a tea-length wedding dress.

If you’re wondering what exactly a tea-length wedding dress is, look no further. Read on to discover all the details about tea-length wedding dresses, from what type of weddings they work best with the accessories they pair perfectly with.

Tea-Length Wedding Dresses

What Is a Tea Length Wedding Dress Photo Credit // VILD Photography

In the mid, the too late 1950s the tea-length wedding dress rose to popularity, and in doing so, the trend went on to transform the traditional long-length wedding gown aesthetic in the years to follow. With a shorter hemline that falls between the knees and ankles, tea-length wedding dresses take a stylish approach to the traditionally formal, long-length bridal attire.

The shorter style that tea-length wedding dresses embody is typically favored by brides who are looking to have a less formal or a vintage-style wedding. However, when it comes to types of tea-length wedding dresses, there are a variety of options to choose from:

Fitted Top, Full Skirt

A fitted top, full skirt tea-length wedding dress is one of the most common dresses of its kind. With a tighter upper half and a filled out bottom half, this tea-length dress takes on an Aubrey Hepburn style, making it a fashion-forward vintage dress.

High/Low

Aside from the fitted top, full skirt tea-length wedding dress, a high/low-style hem is also fairly popular. With a high/low tea-length gown, you get the best of both worlds—short in the front, floor-length in the back. Brides may opt for a high/low dress for many reasons, with the most common being convenience and style.

Sleek and Modern

While tea-length wedding dresses often take a more vintage approach to a wedding dress, there are sleek and modern silhouette options that are a perfect balance between classic and contemporary. Sleek and modern tea-length dresses are minimal in the structure around the bodice and waist, leaving you with a fashionable design that will most definitely “wow” your guests. This modern style of tea-length silhouette dress tends to highlight those with an hourglass shape, as the dress drapes beautifully over the figure.

Sleeved Tea-Length Dress

If you’re getting married in the fall or winter or simply prefer to wear a dress with sleeves, a tea-length wedding dress with sleeves is a stunning option. From lace to chiffon, to tulle, the sleeves of a wedding dress can be made from any fabric to complete the perfect dress.

When it comes to tea-length wedding dresses, oftentimes brides will add sleeves to make the style a bit more formal. Nowadays, dresses can also be made with detachable sleeves, which leaves you with even more options and customization with your wedding dress. With detachable sleeves, you can easily change the look of any dress by adding one long sleeve and leaving the other arm exposed.

Why Opt for a Tea-Length Wedding Dress?

Each type of tea-length wedding dress has its unique style that will beautifully tie together the special day for the bride. But the aesthetic isn’t the only thing these dresses have going for them. Brides love tea-length dresses, because they:

Are Easy to Move-In

What Is a Tea Length Wedding Dress Photo Credit // Jamie Lucido Photography

First and foremost, tea-length wedding dresses make it quite a bit easier to move around throughout your wedding. Whether you have a large wedding reception venue that will have you walking all around greeting guests or you plan on dancing the night away, the shorter dress will allow you to move much easier than you would be able to in a longer length dress.

Keep Your Dress Clean

Another great benefit to choosing bridal gowns that showcase a shorter hem is the ability to keep your dress as clean as possible on the day of your wedding. Since the hemming falls between the knees and ankles, the bottom of the dress doesn’t drag on the floor throughout the event. While this may not keep the entire dress from staying in perfect condition, you can guarantee that it will significantly reduce the wear and tear of the fabric—at least on the bottom half.

Stand Out From a Traditional Dress

If you want a less traditional dress, look no further than the tea-length wedding dress. This shorter style dress will allow you to stand out from brides that opt for a more traditional, lengthier wedding dress. With a much shorter body, the tea-length wedding dress will allow you to naturally embrace a more vintage style that your guests will never forget.

For the Shoe Enthusiasts

When it comes to showing off your shoes at your wedding, there’s no better way to do this than by wearing a beautiful tea-length wedding dress. The shorter style naturally allows you to bring attention to wedding shoes that are just as stunning as the dress itself.

It’s Cost-Efficient

As far as pricing goes, the longer the dress, the more expensive you can expect the price to be. When wedding dresses are being made, the price factor is determined by the time it takes to make the dress and the number of materials used in the manufacturing process. With that said, if you’re on a budget and interested in a short wedding dress, a tea-length option will most definitely look beautiful on you and save you money at the same time.

Changing It Up

If this isn’t your first time getting married, opting for a shorter wedding dress length than your previous marriage(s) may be a nice change — assuming you didn’t wear a tea-length dress in a previous wedding ceremony.

Oftentimes with a first wedding ceremony, brides tend to go all out and wear extravagant dresses that incorporate a ton of tulle, lace appliques, or a variety of embellishments. However, the best part about doing it all over again is that you can still look just as beautiful in a dress that is as comfy as it is elegant.

Accessorizing a Tea-Length Wedding Dress

Among all of the benefits of wearing a tea-length wedding dress, you also have more room to accessorize in ways that a long dress doesn’t necessarily allow you to. Here are our top two favorite ways to accessorize a tea-length wedding dress:

Anklets as Foot Embellishments

In addition to showing off your shoes, a shorter wedding dress also leaves you with more room to accessorize around your ankles. In this case, anklets are fun and glamorous way to accessorize more than just around your neck and wrists. From pearls to diamonds, the options to accessorize with a beautiful wedding anklet are endless.

Opt for Gorgeous Barefoot Sandals

Another great option to accessorize a tea-length wedding dress is with barefoot sandals. If you’re having a summer wedding ceremony on the beach, barefoot sandals are a unique and elegant alternative to heels or ballet flats. Not only are they comfortable and stylish, but they also act as a perfect, delicate addition to a gorgeously crafted tea-length dress.

Accessorize With a Belt or a Sash

If you’re looking to accessorize somewhere on the dress specifically, the bodice of your dress is a great place to accessorize with a beautiful belt. Oftentimes, tea-length wedding dresses are embellished with a belt that ties the dress together elegantly. With that in mind, if you’re looking to make your perfect dress stand out even more with a belt, consider an off-white color that complements the bridesmaid dresses and the wedding theme altogether.

If, however, a belt feels a bit too informal for your wedding, a sash is another great option that’s slightly more ceremonial. Whether you choose a sash made of ribbon, satin, or any other complementary material, you can’t go wrong with a beautiful sash to complete your wedding day look.

While anklets, barefoot sandals, and belts are the most common ways to style a tea-length wedding dress, they are simply just a few options from an endless accessory selection. From bows to veils and everything in between, you can’t go wrong customizing your wedding dress in any way you choose to do so.

Say Yes to the Dress (and the Rest of the Wedding Planning)

While deciding on the perfect wedding dress is an incredibly important factor in the wedding planning process, it’s one of many wedding day details to plan for. If you’re not sure what’s next on the to-do list of planning a wedding, Zola has all of the best wedding planning tools to guide you through the process.

With free wedding website layouts, an easy-to-use registry, and all things invite-related, Zola provides all the information and tools you need in one place. Remember, this should be a fun and exciting process, so say yes to all the help you need and enjoy the journey to “I Do!”

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