Summer Wedding Dresses Perfect for Warmer Weather
If you're in the process of choosing a wedding dress for your summer celebration, you might feel limited by the warmer weather—especially if you're tying the knot under the sun, sans air conditioning. While breathability should be one of your big-day ensemble priorities, it's important to note that a summer-appropriate garment that keeps you cool doesn't have to feel formulaic (so many brides think a strapless silk number is their only option!). There's a way to make just about any silhouette—traditional or contemporary—work for your warm-weather nuptials. The secret? It all comes down to fabrication.
Believe it or not, you can absolutely wear gowns with unexpected elements that often connote cold-weather events—like sleeves, high necklines, and ball gown skirts—in the summertime. Choosing ultra-light, sheer fabrics that hardly touch the skin is key when you're altering these accents to suit the soaring temperatures. Of course, you don't have to go this route. Classic summer ensembles—like this bride's sleeveless silk Theia sheath with a romantic boat neckline—are just as beautiful, as are gowns with open backs and short or draped sleeves (two popular summer elements). These go-to cuts are tried-and-true for a reason: They keep brides cool and speak to the season's fashion scene.
If you'd prefer a summer classic, know that there are plenty of ways to make your garment your own. As you're about to discover, timely motifs, like butterfly and floral appliqués, add personality to your wedding dress, but still feel seasonally-appropriate. To help you find an ensemble that works for your summer event, we've rounded up some of our favorite wedding dresses from warm-weather fêtes. They prove that your look can and should reflect who you are, whatever the temperature.
Short and Sweet
Long summer nights call for shorter hemlines—so either skip the floor-length wedding dress entirely or change into something mini for your reception. Consider a cocktail-length option made with laser-cut lace (the perforations will make the ensemble more breathable), like this one by Self Portrait.
Sheer Long Sleeves
There's absolutely a way to wear long sleeves on your summer day—just keep them sheer to prevent them from feeling too heavy (and therefore, hot!). We loved this bride's Claire Pettibone dress' transparent iterations, which were decorated with colorful floral appliqués (another bright nod to the season!).
There isn't a better season for an open-back gown (another dress element that will keep you cool). If you don't want to commit to the full look, however, consider strategically-placed cuts out made with ultra-light fabric. The back of the bride's Hayley Paige gown was intricately draped with silk, creating the illusion of intentional negative space.
Summer High Neck
You probably didn't think that a vintage-inspired Victorian gown with a high neckline was an option in high temperatures—but this beauty's Yolan Cris ensemble (which also features long sleeves!) proves otherwise. The trick to pulling off this typically cold-weather motif? Choose a style with a gauzy overlay that is so light, it barely touches the skin on your neck.
Look to the season's flora and fauna when selecting a summer wedding dress. This Kaviar Gauche garment's illusion bodice was covered with a plethora of butterfly appliqués—each was applied to look as if it were about to take flight. The bride's Oh My Butterfly headpiece complemented her look perfectly.
Summer's Something Blue
If you're tying the knot in the middle of summer, you'll want a style that helps you breathe as much as possible. The draped sleeves—a warm-weather interpretation of the off-the-shoulder neckline—seen on this Lex and Lynne Bridal garment will help you do just that.
We're loving the ruffle cascade on this bride's sweet A La Robe ensemble—the floaty accent isn't heavy and billows prettily in a summer breeze.
Know that you want to wear sleeves on your wedding day, but don't want to commit to full-length? Look to the garment that you wear regularly during the summer for inspiration—t-shirts. This bride's elegant, 1920s-inspired number from Jenny Packham featured a bodice with t-shirt sleeves (they offer more coverage than cap iterations, which hit just past the shoulder!) that proved that the style can feel as formal as it does seasonal.
A lighter-than-air cape gives the coverage of sleeves—which works well for brides exchanging vows in a place of worship—without the weight, as evidenced by this woman's simple silky garment.
The New Open Back
There's a new way to interpret the open back wedding dress trend (a popular cut for summer brides). Note this Maya Palace gown's draped crystal beading—the accent didn't inhibit the dress' breathability, but still brought a contemporary energy to the tried-and-true silhouette.
Summer brides, bookmark this traditional cut, reimagined for warmer weather. A deep back cowl neck (typically seen on the front of a wedding dress) offers a classic vibe without any of the weight. This style was created by Ghost London Bridal.
A two-piece wedding dress, like this Rue De Seine number, complete with a tied cropped top and flowing skirt, is the definition of summer-meets-bohemian bridal style.
It doesn't get any more classic—or seasonally appropriate—than this Romona Keveza gown. The style's sheer cap sleeves and subtle V-neckline felt effortless enough for summer; it's chapel-length train offered a touch of contrasting drama.
Looking for a way to make a classic wedding dress summer-ready? Switch it up and walk down the aisle in a bold color that nods to the bright, sunny season. Everything about this bride's Monique Lhuillier felt traditional (from its tiered skirt to its simple long sleeves)—except for its bright pink hue. Dark pink floral appliqués tied the ensemble to her flower-filled summer venue.
Draped and Beachy
A completely backless wedding dress with some room (note how this beauty's Carol Hannah ensemble floats away from her waist) is perfect for a breezy summer wedding on the beach.
Beach Ball Gown
Who says you can't wear a traditional ball gown in the summertime (and on the beach, of all places!)? Though a formal, voluminous gown contrasts a casual oceanside setting particularly prettily, you'll have to make sure it's designed for the weather. This Monique Lhuillier dress' spaghetti straps and airy skirt prevented this bride from overheating at her beach nuptials.