A Dress of a Different Color

The classic tune people hum when thinking about weddings says, “Here comes the bride, all dressed in white.” But some brides are marching to a different tune in a different hue.

Photos by Kristi Telnov Photography

The white wedding dress is iconic. The style may change, but the ivory or white fabric has become a symbol associated with marriage.

But that doesn’t mean some new options aren’t going to give the tradition a run for its money. Designers such as Hayley Paige and Vera Wang have splashed their collections with colors ranging from pink to blue to black. And for the bride who wants to, she can be the pop of color on her wedding day.

Photos by Jessica Vogelsang Photography

When Kailyn Thomas started dress shopping, she wasn’t sure what type she was looking for. She had watched many episodes of “Say Yes to the Dress” and knew she wanted to find something budget-friendly and fitting for her style.

“I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a dress that you’re only going to wear one day,” she says. “My thing was to find a nice, inexpensive dress and save the money for the shoes, because the shoes you can wear more than once.”

And she did go all out on the shoes — or rather, the Choos. But she made sure to find a dress that was as much of a statement as her Jimmy Choo bridal shoes. Kailyn tried to go the traditional route with her dress, but she wasn’t sold.

“I just didn’t feel that white dresses had enough personality,” she says. “So, that was pretty much the segway into trying other kinds of dresses. Then I went shopping by myself and happened to find the dress that I chose for my wedding. I said, ‘This is everything I love.’”

The dress she loved featured multi-colored beading that created a paisley pattern all over. She stepped even further away from tradition with her wedding gown because it was originally a prom gown. This didn’t even faze her, though, because she knew she would have to ditch the rules to find what would make her happiest. She wants other brides to remember this, too.

“Go out of your comfort zone,” Kailyn says. “If you don’t feel right wearing white, then don’t.”

Even though she loved the dress she found, a negative reaction from a family member made her rethink her choice. After initially putting a deposit down on the dress, Kailyn returned to the store and took her deposit back. She kept thinking about the dress, though, and returned to the store to put down the deposit once more. But her doubts got the best of her again, so she took the deposit back one more time. Finally, a friend urged her to put the deposit down for the last time and get the dress she wanted. That’s when Kailyn realized that a bride needs to listen to her heart.

“Don’t stress yourself out over what others may think when dress shopping,” Kailyn says. “If you love the dress, it will show on your face and through your emotions, and people that really care about you will see that and think you look beautiful no matter what you wear.”

Angelea Kuruc, founder of Pittsburgh-based Blanc de Blanc Bridal, is familiar with the bride who wants to be a little colorful on her wedding day. She says she started picking up on the trend in the spring of 2017 and has since started bringing more non-white dresses into her store.

“I was a little bit nervous because I still feel like the average Pittsburgh bride is a little bit more traditional, especially the Pittsburgh mom as well,” she says. “But I also felt like there were girls here in Pittsburgh that were wanting something different, wanting some color, wanting to do a really unique wedding. So, I wanted to offer them that experience.”

Photo via Blanc de Blanc Bridal Instagram

Kuruc knows that just as a traditional dress isn’t for everyone, the opposite is true as well: Not every bride will be interested in a non-white dress. She keeps this in mind when consulting with brides about how they envision themselves looking on their wedding day. If she notices that a bride keeps trying on white gowns but the color is clashing with her skin tone, she’ll suggest trying a different approach. Kuruc will grab ivories or nude-toned fabrics as a way to introduce less traditional dresses.

She has noticed that sometimes brides are hesitant about trying something so different, but she says there are ways to make non-white dresses look more traditional.

“Colored dresses still have a lot of room to accessorize them — even wearing a veil or a veil with color,” Kuruc says. “You can definitely add some more traditional feeling accessories to make the look all that much more bridal.”

Marisa Sklarsky was one of those brides who had some anxieties about wearing a non-white gown. The Pittsburgh bride chose a Hayley Paige gown in the color “Rosewater,” but it took some reassurance from her family and friends to help her make that decision.

“I was really nervous that people would be offended or turned off that it was not white. So when I was choosing my dress, I kept having that thought in the back of my head,” Marisa says. “I was thinking, ‘Are my grandmas going to be mad that I don’t have a pretty, white wedding dress?’ But when I talked to them, they reminded me that it’s my dress. They also said they would be shocked if I didn’t get a pink dress because it’s my personality.”

Whenever she thought about her wedding day, she thought she would be wearing something traditional, so a non-white dress never even crossed her mind. But when she saw the pink dress, she couldn’t help herself from trying it on. And once she tried it on, she couldn’t get it off of her mind.

“It was the only dress that made me feel special and happy,” Marisa says. “It just complements my skin tone and my features really well.”

While it may have been all of those things when she tried it on, she couldn’t stop thinking about what her guests might think. After she tried on more dresses, she came up with four final options. All were Hayley Paige gowns, and only one was not white. But with the help of the people around her, she picked the one she knew she wanted.

“My mom and my future mother-in-law were both with me when I finally bought the pink one. They said, ‘This is definitely your dress. It is you personified. You have to get the pink one,’” Marisa says. “I would maybe not have gotten the one that I loved the most if they hadn’t backed me up.”


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