8 History-Inspired Wedding Dresses Show Bridal Fashion Through the Ages

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Photography by True Photography

8 History-inspired wedding dresses show bridal fashion through the ages

Searching for a unique wedding dress? Simply open a history book!

Today, Weddingful is bringing you a collection of 8 history-inspired dresses that are sure to leave you lost in time! You’ll explore different styles, embellishments, shapes, materials, and embellishments that have characterized formal fashion through the centuries – perhaps the pages of history hold the inspiration for your perfect dress!



Photography by Aleksandra and Co.

Just before the bustle made an appearance in the late 1800s, dresses were designed to be practically bursting with volume, featuring light materials and gathered flounces like this unique grey wedding dress. This modern take forgoes the long sleeves and abundant trimmings and lace that would have traditionally accompanied this 1860s-era gown, creating a dramatic minimalist statement in an unexpected – and glamorous – grey.


Photography by True Photography
Photography by True Photography

In keeping with the ruffle- and gather-filled styles of the mid-19th century, this voluminous wedding dress emulates the opulent, overflowing styles being worn though out the mid 1800s. Instead of ruffled lace, this modern take opts for pouched gathers of its generous skirt, no doubt hiding several layers of rustling petticoats underneath!


Turn of the 20th Century

Photography: Erin and Tara Photography
Photography: Erin and Tara Photography

The turn of the 20th century indicated the last years for the notorious corset, and as waistlines slowly relaxed, skirts narrowed as well. Dresses were constructed of weighted fabrics adorned with intricate lace patterns and sewn with elaborate beaded patterns, bringing some subtle sparkle to women’s fashion.


Roarin’ 20s


There’s no doubt that this bride’s dress is inspired by the straight lines and glamorous sparkles of the Roarin’ 20s! A blue floral crown completes the look, reminiscent of the feathered headbands that characterize this fun and daring era of fashion.


Photography by Augie Chang and Vero Suh
Photography by Augie Chang and Vero Suh

The 1930s saw the rise of some of the first mermaid-skirt styles. This bride’s 1930’s inspired style also draws upon the large draping shawls, shrugs, capes, and overcoats that often accompanied luxurious evening wear of this era.



Photography: Tony Evans Photo

This bride’s theme draws upon the high waistlines, pronounced shoulders, and tightly pinned curled hairstyles of the 1940s. Women’s fashion in this era witnessed a shift towards styles that were previously reserved for men’s fashion as the wartimes created an atmosphere in which more and more women were taking on jobs typically reserved for men. This dress’ obvious highlight on this bride’s shoulders is a fitting shout-out to its 1940s inspiration!



Photography: Laura Byrnes
Photography: Laura Byrnes

The middle of the 20th century saw fitted dresses, short skirts, and voluptuous curves, just like this white Marilyn Monroe-esque number!



The 1950s also witnessed the A-line skirt’s rise to popularity, shown here in this stunning example of a classic mid-century form. This dress also displays the typical widened neckline featured on so many of those full-skirted, small waisted dresses that characterize the 50s.

As these brides have shown, history has provided us with a wealth of unique shapes and styles to inspire our wedding fashion today! Looking for more inspiration for your own wedding theme? How about some help with your plans? Weddingful’s free Wedding Planning Wizard can help you connect with wedding professionals, ask your question, and get your quotes – all with a simple 3-minute quiz.