By Jenn Schleich / Published at Bustle.com
Despite our proclivity for perusing the World Wide Web all hours of the day and night, many of us have only been treated to alternative wedding fashions in passing and even fewer have attended a wedding where a bride wore anything other than a white gown. Wedding fashions remain staunchly traditional, even in their wildly extravagant runway form.
The first time I came face-to-face with a non-traditional wedding gown I was about 16. As a teenager, one of my favorite Internet pit stops was Craftster — a community of do-it-yourselfers before DIY was hip. The clothing section was a happening place to discover alternative fashions and wedding dresses were no exception. That frequent exposure to custom quirky and alternative wedding gowns completely normalized non-traditional wedding fashion for me. As a teenager who performed craft surgery on her wardrobe daily, I was undeniably drawn to the funky, colorful and personalized dresses. Everything you could image was being hand-crafted (often by the bride herself), from rainbow crinolines, rockabilly and gothic dresses, to themed costume inspired by comic books or steampunk.
That’s not to say I don’t love a good old fashioned white wedding; I’ve swooned over many a friend’s dress as she glided down the aisle. My vices in life are few, but I do harbor a secret affection for shallow television — cue soap operas and Say Yes to the Dress. Like my affinity for junk food, I can’t resist flipping the station to TLC whenever I come within 10 feet of cable TV. I’ve watched more marathons of Randy Fenoli pulling out glamorous Pnina Tornai dresses than I care to enumerate for the sake of my own image, but on onlyone occasion did I ever see a bride try on a black gown. I bet you can already surmise that she didn’t buy it. Randy himself insisted she pick something more “bridal” because to Randy Fenoli bridal means white, just as it does to most everyone else. Say Yes to the Dressis a great example of the pervasiveness of long-held tradition in the wedding industry, but in case you didn’t realize, there’s so much more available than white.
What’s surprising to me is that nearly 12 years after my first encounter with alternative wedding dresses, they still aren’t more broadly normalized in our society. Traditional gowns remain the go-to choice and it’s still assumed brides will wear a white dress. Even if you aren’t experimental or fashion-brave, my hope is you will still appreciate how amazeballs these quirky and alternative wedding gowns really are….