These gowns are gorgeous and auspicious.
Photography: Joseba Sandoval Photography1 of 17
Eleni N. Gage, a former Martha Stewart Weddings editor and a freelance writer in New York, just released her latest book, Lucky in Love: Traditions, Customs & Rituals to Personalize Your Wedding. It features a cross-cultural collection of marriage traditions and folklore from around the world. Inspired by the elements described in her book, Gage shares a selection of wedding dresses perfect for the bride who's looking for a little extra good fortune when she walks down the aisle.
Chances are, you were already planning to include something old, new, borrowed, and blue in your big-day ensemble, playing along with the old belief that they'll invite good fortune to your wedding and, subsequently, your marriage. (In case you were wondering, the "something old" represents the love you had in the past continuing, the "something new" is for luck, plain and simple, the "something borrowed" is a sign that your friends will always be there to support you, and the "something blue" is for faithfulness.) But those extra "somethings" aren't the only way to work a little luck into your bridal look.
Some of the most stunning wedding dresses on the market today actually have lucky symbols incorporated right into their design—you just have to know how to spot them (and where to look!). Drawing on the auspicious elements described in Lucky in Love: Traditions, Customs & Rituals to Personalize Your Wedding, Eleni found a selection of bridal gowns that will make you feel even luckier when you walk down the aisle. The following ensembles nod to those "somethings" (as it turns out, blue is a color that symbolizes more than just good fortune—it's a beacon of loyalty and fidelity, too) and more. From celestial, star-embossed garments (a nod to divine guidance!) and bow-embellished numbers (there's a reason why the phrase "tying the knot" is a wedding mantra!) to gowns filled with peony appliqués (a reference back to the Victorian era, when the flower represented married love), these are the gowns that will help you dress yourself in luck.
Read on to brush up on your lucky signs—if you're really lucky, you just might find the wedding dress of your dreams, ahead.
We'll start simply, with dresses that take care of one lucky "something" for you. Blue has long been associated with fidelity in a wide range of cultures. It's also a lucky color for Christian brides because it's linked to the Virgin Mary, who was often painted in religious art using precious blue paint made of lapis lazuli. And in Biblical times, Jewish brides sewed blue ribbons into their wedding attire as a sign of loyalty.
A splash of color across your skirt is one way to work this shade into your ensemble—just take this Oscar de la Renta printed strapless number, for example.
Oscar de la Renta Printed Strapless High-Low Wedding Dress, $4,995, neimanmarcus.com.
Photography: Courtesy of Carolina Herrera3 of 17
Something Blue: Carolina Herrera
This Carolina Herrera gown doubles down on lucky symbols with a blue knot—another beacon of good fortune, as you're about to discover.
Caroline Herrera "Look 12," price upon request, carolinaherrera.com.
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Two different strands come together when you tie a knot, which is why you're said to do so at your wedding. In the Elizabethan era, bridesmaids would tie "love knots" on the bride's dress, symbolizing the couple's bond. And Hindus tie knots around the couple's wrists during the wedding ceremony, to link the pair together.
A dramatic train descends from this gown's beautiful bow, giving the Ines di Santo number an unforgettable back. The best part? The detail is detachable—which means it's easier to kick up your heels after you've made your grand entrance and exit up and down the aisle.
Ines di Santo "Promise" Wedding Dress, $2,990, nordstrom.com.
Photography: Courtesy of Nordstrom5 of 17
A Knot: Cushnie
You're either a bow person or you're not. More minimalist brides will prefer the streamlined symbolism of Cushnie's knotted, off-the-shoulder column gown.
Cushnie Knotted Off-the-Shoulder Wedding Dress, $4,495, nordstrom.com.
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When you're celebrating a love that was written in the stars, dress yourself in these celestial symbols of divine guidance, which were considered auspicious by sailors who used them to find their way home (and back to their wives!).
You'll thank your lucky stars you found Willowby's "Orion" dress, covered in gold-and-silver sequins.
Willowby "Orion" Wedding Dress, $1,995, loveblushbridal.com.
Photography: Courtesy of Justin Alexander7 of 17
Stars: Lillian West
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Long beloved by brides, peonies signify marital love in the symbolic language of flowers Victorians used to flirt way back when. They're also embroidered on bridal attire in China and are part of the wedding table display in Korea, where they symbolize happiness.
Peonies grow along the hem of this fit-and-flare dress by Morilee, making it a lucky fashion choice for your big day.
Morilee "Peony" Wedding Dress, price upon request, morilee.com.
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In China, butterflies are associated with romance because of a legend about the ancient sage Zhuangzi, who chased a butterfly into a garden where he met his true love. Aside from that meet-cute, these winged wonders represent transformation in many cultures. This makes sense: They start out as caterpillars that crawl and evolve into soaring butterflies. What better symbol for a bride who feels transformed by love?
BHLDN's "Floating On Air" gown lives up to its name thanks to beaded butterfly appliqués flitting about the sheer bodice.
BHLDN "Floating On Air" Wedding Dress, $290, bhldn.com.
Photography: Courtesy of Claire Pettibone10 of 17
Butterflies: Claire Pettibone
Tinted butterflies and blooms grace the back of this Claire Pettibone number, aptly named "Papillon," the French word for butterfly.
Claire Pettibone "Papillon" Wedding Dress, price upon request, clairepettibone.com.
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Some brides shy away from pearls due to a superstition that equates them with crying (the ancient Greeks believed they were the tears of the gods). But the Greeks themselves thought that wearing pearls would prevent a bride from crying on her wedding day, and would take the place of any tears she might shed during her marriage, making them a lucky pick. A Hindu tale says that Krishna picked a pearl from the ocean floor and gave it to his daughter, Pandaia, at her wedding, adding to the precedent for wedding-day pearls.
A minimalist chic sheath from the front, Maggie Sottero's "Evangelina" gown surprises with a show-stopping plunging back accented with pearls and crystals.
Maggie Sottero "Evangelina" Wedding Dress, from $870, kleinfeldbridal.com.
Photography: Courtesy of David's Bridal12 of 17
Pearls: David's Bridal
Photography: Courtesy of Nordstrom13 of 17
Clovers: Hayley Paige
Four-leaf clovers are considered lucky to find because they're rare; the three-leafed variety, shamrocks, are more common, with four-leafs making up only about one in 10,000 clovers. Various blessings, such as hope, faith, love, and luck, are ascribed to each of the four leaves. No matter how many there are, each leaf of a clover is heart-shaped, making them a highly romantic symbol.
What's even rarer than a four-leaf clover? The five-leaf versions are among the flowers that make up the lavish lace on Hayley Page's tulle "Clover" gown. The designer says she chose the five-leaf variety (which only occurs in about 1 in 20,000 clovers) because, "I like odd numbers." But folklore holds that the fifth leaf stands for money coming soon.
Hayley Paige "Clover" Wedding Dress, $2,915, nordstrom.com.
Photography: Courtesy of Lovely Bride14 of 17
Tassels: Rue de Seine
Today, tassels are often spotted on brides who consider themselves modern bohemians. But traditionally, tassels were found on the uniforms of religious or military leaders—they were believed to have the power to brush off the Evil Eye.
Lucky tassels will swish and sway around the hips of the bride who chooses to wear the "Samira" dress by Rue de Seine.
Rue de Seine "Samira" Wedding Dress, $3,375, lovelybride.com.
Photography: Courtesy of BHLDN15 of 17
Mirrors: Chosen by One Day
Another well-known deflector of bad mojo is mirrors, which reflect the Evil Eye back at the giver. (Mirrored sequins work, too!) In Morocco, Berber women sew mirrors onto wedding scarves for this purpose, but they're just as powerful—and pretty—on the gown itself.
It's not just lucky mirrors but glass beads, crystals, and pearls that make the "Houston" dress, by the Australian designer Chosen by One Day, sparkle.
Chosen by One Day "Houston" Wedding Dress, $690, bhldn.com.
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Photography: Courtesy of Nordstrom16 of 17
Braids: Rosa Clará Couture
In a braid, two sections combine to create something that is stronger and more beautiful than each was alone—a beautiful symbol for a marriage. (And sometimes it's three strands that make up a braid, which is perfect if one of you has a child.) Additionally, in countries from Ireland to Yemen, brides traditionally wear braided hairstyles as a sign of fertility and femininity.
With a V-neckline and high leg slit, all trimmed in an elegant braid, Rosa Clara's crepe "Maori" gown is sleek, sexy, and lucky, too.
Rosa Clará Couture "Maori" Wedding Dress with Braid Detail, $3,937, nordstrom.com.
Photography: Courtesy of Therez Fleetwood17 of 17
Cowrie Shells: Therez Fleetwood
Along Africa's West Coast, these ornamental shells are incorporated in bridal attire because they're believed to bring fertility. This makes gowns that feature them ideal for brides who dream of having children.
Therez Fleetwood's made-to-order "Amalia" gown features cowrie shells, hand-painted for iridescence, along the ornate bodice and ball-gown skirt.
Therez Fleetwood "Amalia" Wedding Dress, price upon request, therezfleetwood.com.