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A black wedding gown

Would you wear a black wedding dress?

There is a growing trend to add color to your wedding gown, but some brides go one step further and choose a gown with no color at all: in black. Black is not for everybody, but brides who wear it stand out from the crowd and show off their unconventional side.

If you like to do everything a little differently to the crowd, why not turn the white wedding on its head and wear a black wedding gown, with your bridesmaids in white dresses and black sashes?

How to carry off a black wedding gown:

Avoid using too much heavy, dark makeup. Aim for a fresh-faced look to complement your dress.

Avoid very heavy fabrics like velvet as they add bulk and can overwhelm a bride, although this is a fabulous fabric for winter weddings when combined with a lighter fabric like taffeta. Choose lightweight satin, tulle, chiffon and lace for a more streamlined effect.

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Avoid long sleeves as they can spoil the line of a gorgeous black gown. How about a pair of slinky long gloves instead?

A strapless or halterneck gown works perfectly in the monochrome color scheme.

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Black lends itself to most styles of gown: sleek, figure-hugging bodices with full, ballgown skirts, a classy cocktail-style wedding dress, or a Victorian or Gothic-style gown for genuine lovers of vampire chic.

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Why not add a touch of red for a splash of color?

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Bridal veils are also available in black these days but if you don’t want the Gothic bride look, then choose a veil in fine tulle, or consider a birdcage veil. If your dress is mainly white with black embellishments, then a white veil edged with black will work perfectly for you.

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If you want to wear a hairpiece instead of a veil, there is a vast range of hair accessories on offer so you are sure to find the right one to suit your wedding day look. Rhinestones and Swarovski crystals look fantastic against a black gown, particularly when a silver base is used, adding a touch of sparkle to your look.

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If you aren’t quite brave enough to wear a completely black dress or feel it looks too funereal, but want to incorporate it into your outfit, then a good option is to add a black motif, sash, bow or silk flower to a traditional white or ivory gown or choose a white gown with black lace accents.

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audrey-hepburnFamous brides in black

One screen bride who wore a black and white wedding dress is Audrey Hepburn, who wore an elegant and timeless Givenchy gown in her 1954 movie Sabrina.

However one famous bride who regretted her real-life choice is actress Sarah Jessica Parker, who wore a black wedding gown when she married Matthew Broderick in 1997. She told Harper’s Bazaar magazine: "(I would) white it up. I'd wear a beautiful, proper wedding dress, like I should have worn on that day."

Some brides who are considering a black or colored gown may wish to check with their church that it is acceptable. It almost certainly will be permitted, but it is always worth checking the “dress code” if you are planning a religious wedding.

Back to black – a little history

Historically, brides used to wear their best dress, whatever the color - black, red, blue… However in Victorian times, dark colors and in particular black, became associated with death, mourning and evil, and western brides started wearing white or ivory dresses to symbolize goodness, purity and innocence. Black, on the other hand, was seen as symbolizing death, mourning and evil. However, in these modern times anything goes, and black is also associated with elegance, strength and power, ideal for today’s daring contemporary woman.

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