When you’re shopping for elopement dresses, it can be hard to know where to start!
You Don’t Have To Settle
Some folks think that dresses for elopements necessarily are less exciting, less elaborate, and less expensive than traditional wedding dresses. Of course everyone has different styles and budgets, but there isn’t some rule that says you can’t wear a “real” wedding dress for your elopement!
You deserve to wear whatever makes you feel celebrated and amazing.
What To Look For When Shopping For Your Elopement Dress
If you’re going to be doing anything active for your elopement, like hiking or frolicking in a meadow, you’ll want to look for a few key features to make sure that you feel amazing all day long.
1.Breathable and Moisture-Wicking Fabrics
Not all fabrics are created equal when it comes to staying comfortable in the outdoors.
While super breathable and comfortable, cotton doesn’t dry quickly, and can leave you feeling…swampy. If you’re like me and tend to get sweaty, you may want to look for a dress with a low cotton content.
Nylon and Polyester
These synthetic fabrics are showing up more and more, even in higher-end designs. These fabrics wick moisture very well, and can be pretty breathable depending on how tightly they are woven.
The trade-off with these fabrics is that they tend to retain odors, but unless you’re planning on wearing your dress multiple days in a row, for something like a sunrise session the next morning, that probably isn’t something you even need to worry about.
Rayon, Lyocell, Viscose
These cellulose-based fabrics are often found in dresses because they drape well and feel silky. In addition to a silky look, they also dry pretty quickly (although not as quickly as polyester) and can be very breathable depending on what they are blended with.
A downside to rayon, etc., is that it tends to wrinkle, which may not be the best option if you’re planning to carry your wedding clothes in your backpack for part of your hike.
A great, lightweight fabric made from the flax plant. While usually super breathable, this fabric is a lot like cotton in that it gets heavy and holds onto water. This means it’s not a great option if you tend to get sweaty or will be doing a lot of activity.
Silk is the ultimate luxury fabric, and it can be a great option for your wedding clothes. It’s a lightweight and breathable material. However, silk is not good at wicking moisture and tend to hold onto odors.
Mermaid cut wedding dresses are super beautiful and popular, but are not a great option for a wedding day that involves a lot of walking or hiking, or really any activity that requires you to take normal-sized steps.
When looking for your perfect dress for your elopement, an A-line skirt is going to be your best friend. Lots of room for you to move your legs, climb a mountain, and hop up on a boulder for that epic shot with your partner.
Christine Greenberg from Urban Set Bride says:
3. A Bodice You Can Breathe In
A beautiful boned, lace-up corset bodice might not be the right choice for an elopement day where you will need to be able to bend over and breathe deeply.
Instead, look for a bodice where the structure is created by the cut and fabric.
Additionally, if you’ve ever worn Spanx, you know that they’re not exactly “activewear”. Look for a dress you feel amazing in without restrictive shapewear. Your strong, beautiful body will be working hard to get you to that summit in time for sunrise, and you deserve to be comfortable.
Elopement Dress Recommendations From A Wedding Dress Expert
I am so lucky to have an expert like Christine from Urban Set Bride right here in Richmond! With years of experience working as both a wedding planner and a wedding dress boutique owner, she is solidly an expert on finding the perfect dress(es) for every wedding.
Based on her tips for what to look for in a dress for your adventurous elopement, she sent me several recommendations of gowns that she carries in her shop that check all of the boxes!
1. Martina by Jenny Yoo
Martina is the perfect combination of elegance and comfort. With the fine lace bodice and loose, flowy skirt, this is a flattering option for anyone planning an adventurous elopement.
2. Josephine by Maggie Sottero
Josephine proves that minimalist doesn’t mean boring! This gorgeous, structured gown is a great option for anyone who is looking for simplicity in their wedding dress so that their love and the gorgeous scenery are what really shines through in their elopement photos.
3. Burke by Maggie Sottero
Burke is the quintessential boho elopement gown, with its oversized floral lace and flattering cut. The A-line skirt and fitted, but not restrictive, bodice make it an obvious choice for your breezy and bohemian elopement day.
4. 66163 by Lillian West
With its fuller skirt and plunging illusion neckline, 66163 is an incredible option for those looking for a little drama for their elopement day look. The illusion neckline makes a plunging neckline like that a viable option even for active wedding days, since the sheer netting helps to hold everything together up top. That means you can pay attention to where you’re stepping, and not have to worry about wardrobe malfunctions!
Meet The Author
Leah is an elopement photographer based in Richmond. She is committed to helping couples shake off the pressure and societal expectations surrounding their wedding day, so that they can celebrate their love and commitment in a way that makes them feel seen and celebrated.