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*Updated 20th December 2023
The Difference Between Wedding Dress Shopping and Shopping for Elopement Dresses
While there are some similarities between traditional and elopement dress shopping, extra considerations must be made when shopping for the best elopement dress for you. Eloping has the unique benefit of taking place in adventurous locations, such as cliff tops, deserts, mountains, remote beaches, and really wherever you want! More traditional wedding dresses can be overly restrictive, making moving around on uneven, steep terrain treacherous. Another consideration that must be kept in mind is fabric type. Depending on the location of your elopement, a more durable or fast-drying fabric may be preferred over something that is more delicate or heavy.. And depending on the season, a long-sleeved or lightweight dress should be picked to maximize comfort.
One aspect of the dress that people do not often think of changing is the traditional white color. Although white will make you stand out in many locations, other colors can add flair and personality to your amazing photos from your elopement. Most of all, however, make sure the elopement dress you pick is one you love and feel beautiful in! The perfect wedding dress varies from bride to bride, so don’t be afraid to go with whatever suits you best, whether that be a more traditional dress or something more out there.
Styles and Materials of Elopement Dresses
There are infinite possibilities for elopement dresses, so how do you go about picking the right one? Though many styles of wedding dresses exist, not all are well-suited to be elopement dresses. In particular, the mermaid style dresses and other styles like this are not ideal, as they limit leg movement which can prove to be hazardous when hiking up mountains or even just walking over rocks or uneven surfaces. Dresses that are tight around the hips or legs are not ideal for adventures you decide on for your elopement day. What kind of dress styles make for a great elopement dress?
Ball Gown Elopement Dresses
The ball gown style is often what people think of when they think of classic wedding dresses. These are also a great option for eloping, as they allow for freedom of movement in the legs and maintain the classic wedding look. One consideration to make is the bulk of the typical ball gown type dress, as they are sometimes not easy to pack and carry, and can be a bit warmer for summer weddings in warm locations.
A-Line Elopement Dresses
A-line dresses are similar to ball gowns in many aspects. The difference lies in slight differences in the bodices and how the skirt tapers. A-line dresses can maintain much of the classic wedding look but can be lighter and easier to move in because of the less rigid materials they are typically made of.
Boho Elopement Dresses
Boho dresses embody the spirit of the Earth. With their frequent use of natural fiber and earthy color plates, these can make for some beautiful and stunning photos. Lightweight fabrics can keep you cool and add some flare to your photos when flowing in the wind. Boho dresses can be simple, but not lacking in detail. Lace and embroidery give the dress a delicate, elegant touch.
The Best Elopement Dress Brands
Not sure where to start looking. Here are a few great retailers that I recommend.
Grace Loves Lace
Grace Loves Lace dresses are all about luxury, quality, and style, unique to the women who wear them. They design dresses that express your personality, creating dresses as unique as you are. They have award-winning service, with showrooms in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Or book an online appointment for help from an expert stylist to help find a dress that best suits you.
Daci Gowns is a Boise, Idaho wedding dressmaker. You can pick from the Bridal Collection, and customize your dress from there. Or you can design your own custom dress from start to finish. Silks and laces are carefully picked from around the world and all dresses are handmade in the Boise studio.
Temperley Bridal, which launched in 2006, is defined by ethereal, timeless silhouettes and is inspired by the romance and decadence of a bygone era. The creation of British fashion designer, Alice Temperley MBE, from jumpsuits to floral wedding gowns, you can indulge all your high fashion needs.
For brides who want to add some color to their elopement dress! Daring gowns for brides who want to make a statement! If you’re eloping somewhere epic like Ireland or Scotland why not get a dress that will pop in your surroundings?
Based out of Victoria, Canada, Reclamation prides itself on the love and attention to detail in each dress. The design process is very inclusive, so you can assist in the design and creation of your dream dress. Each dress is made to order and unique to you.
Started by a photographer, Flutter Dress Shop specializes in boho dresses. They offer pre-sale dresses, or you can get a custom-designed dress to suit you perfectly. Most dresses offered are maternity friendly and give you the option to buy or rent the dress.
Rue De Siene
Bringing a taste of Parisian flair to boho elopement dresses, the dresses are made for brides who want to look majestic from a distance & even better when you get up close. There’s an attention to detail and effortless style that you really will love. Based out of New Zealand and stocked throughout Northern America & Europe.
An Anthropologie company, BHLDN gives you so many amazing options. They have their own in-home elopement dress designers plus they stock a range of other wedding dresses from Wtoo by Watters to Jenny Yoo. Whether you want something ultra-modern like a wedding jumpsuit to a boho elopement gown BHLDN will have something you love!
Perfect Accessories for your Elopement Dress
When you elope you have the freedom to get married your way! You aren’t bound by any traditions; you really can do whatever makes you happy and not worry about the opinions of others! So that means you get to accessorize your elopement dress however you like!
A few ideas would be a leather jacket or denim jacket; these can even be customized just for your elopement day. The photo below shows a bride who customized her black denim jacket with this awesome “til death” motif! If you don’t want to wear a jacket then a shawl could be a great addition to help keep you warm.
How about a pair of statement earrings & a hat or you could embrace all your fairytale dreams & get a tiara! The world really is your oyster; you can create your perfect elopement outfit!
Elopement Dresses For Colder Climates & Winter Elopements
If you’re planning to elope in the mountains, a colder climate or in the middle of winter then there a few things you’ll need to consider when it comes to selecting your elopement dress.
Long sleeves will definitely help keep you warm. A lot of brides wear thermal leggings and thermal underwear, so a dress that will cover these up is essential. If you want a shorter dress, then you probably need to elope in the warmer months.
For more tips on keeping warm during winter elopements, check out my blog post on that. You can click HERE to read more.
The Top 10 Places Online to Find Bargain Elopement Dresses
Some brides don’t necessarily want to be spending thousands of dollars on an elopement dress that could get pretty messy during their adventure elopement. For some great dresses for under $500, check out these online elopement dress stores.
Packing Your Dress and Hiking in Your Dress
One major consideration to make when picking out an elopement dress is hiking in and packing your dress. If you decide to hike to your destination in your dress, preparation while choosing is very important. Lighter, flowing dresses make the best hiking dresses. The lighter material makes hiking less fatiguing, and a flowing dress makes mobility easier, especially on uneven terrain. Additionally, if you plan on hiking in your dress, be sure to pick a material that is somewhat durable and that you aren’t afraid to get a little dirty.
If you instead decide to pack your dress, some problems that come along with hiking in your dress are avoided, but a few others are presented. Packing along your dress is considerably easier and more comfortable when hiking, especially long distances. This being said, you do have to pack your dress carefully. A backpack or hanging bag that allows for minimal folds works well to keep your dress safe while also making hiking easier. Additionally, if you plan to pack your dress, make sure to choose materials that will not be badly wrinkled or ruined by folding.
Tips for online elopement dress shopping
Buying clothing online can be difficult at times, and a wedding dress is no exception. The best way to find the perfect fit is by contacting the maker of your dress. Then, they can find you the best fitting size, modify it if needed, or create a dress just for you. Always read the reviews on the retailer to make sure others are satisfied with the customer service and product quality. Having someone help take your measurements if often quite helpful in making sure the fit is perfect.
Planning in advance is also important. Be sure to check the return policy in case of the wrong fit or defect. Make sure you can receive your dress with enough time to spare for a return in case of any needed adjustments. If you decide on a custom dress, be sure to allow 6-8 weeks, and in some cases longer, for your order to be finished. Above all else, listen to the maker of your dress. They can give some better in-depth tips and advice to guide you to the perfect dress. The possibilities are really endless, and the perfect elopement dress is up to YOU! Finding a great dress for your elopement is not an easy undertaking, but with the right help, you can find a dress that you will love and be a part of your greatest adventure yet.
Elopement Planning Tips
I hope this has been helpful & that you find your perfect elopement dress! I’ve made lots of other useful resources that will help you on your elopement planning journey. If you scroll down, there will be links to three other helpful posts.
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