Ah, the empire waist dress, a universally flattering style that focuses on the bodice over a high waist and, typically, a long, flowing skirt (although there are trendy exceptions to the length and look of an empire waist dress these days).
This waistline style has its roots in ancient Greece, and the Grecian fashion gained massive popularity with European ladies of the early 1800s, especially during the Regency era.
Thanks to every Hollywood rom-com movie based on Jane Austen’s books (and every swoon-worthy season of Bridgerton), diehard romantics like us will adore empire waist dresses forever!
Speaking of romantic, if you’re craving an empire waist wedding dress, we are delighted for you! We thoroughly enjoyed curating a delicious list of wedding dresses featuring the unmistakable empire waistline, and we’ll also reveal how the “empire waist” got its name.
Return to Regency Wedding Dress
It’s only fitting to kick off our list of empire wedding dresses and gowns with a nod to the Regency period.
If you’re planning a historical-themed wedding or fancy a simple but stunning dress that makes you look like the star of a Bridgerton episode, this perfect blend of linen, cotton, silk, and polyester will deliver your dream style.
The authentic design keeps to Regency period dressmaking because there’s no modern zipper to fasten this garment!
The boat neckline and sweet rose embroidery on the bodice make us sigh, and we adore the high waist and dramatic red waistband that is adjustable on your body.
So. Why is it called the empire waist, and how was Napoleon Bonaparte involved?
Emperor Napoleon’s first wife, the popular Joséphine, adopted the Grecian style as her own. As fashion spread and continued to evolve throughout the Regency period, it became known as the empire waist in honor of her.
Empire Waist Dress Offers a Boho Wedding Vibe
You can always trust an Italian designer to create a boho masterpiece to wear on your big day!
This unique dress is a once-in-a-lifetime purchase, and it’s far from cheap, with quality materials including a hemp bodice, satiny feeling chiffon, silk crepe chiffon, and silk crepe de chine.
The beauty of this dress design is that you can style it yourself in many different ways, including in an empire-waisted fashion. But, of course, the focus here is on a fully-boned, lace-up corseted bodice that manages to be structured and light, highlighting your natural beauty and amping up your confidence.
A modern twist happens with the four silky layers on the rich rust-colored ombre skirt and a chiffon overlay that floats around you like a dream. This coloration is a unique dip-dye process ensuring every dress is individual.
One special note that makes this design all yours is the ability to customize the colors to your wedding day. So if you’d prefer a softer baby blue or a more vibrant shade of purple, your designer will make it perfect for you!
An Ancient Empire Wedding Dress with Flutter Sleeves
Let’s harken back to Grecian goddesses with this whimsically beautiful dress, custom-made from chiffon, tulle, satin, and lace.
While the solid white empire waistband is an attractive feature of this design, the off-white bodice, golden lace trim embroidery, and airy tulle sleeves fluttering like fairy wings make this wedding dress a standout!
Golden Lace Empire Waist Dress for Rustic Wedding
If you’re noticing a trend on this list of more off-white, ombre, or blends of colors in an empire waist wedding dress, there’s a good reason for it historically.
The significance of wearing a white wedding dress to symbolize purity and romance happened long after empire waist dresses surged in popularity during the Regency era.
In 1840, a young Queen Victoria married her beloved Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld in a highly publicized ceremony that helped make British royalty prominent again. She chose British materials for her white satin dress with its flouncy lace neckline.
Before Victoria’s wedding, most royal brides wore rich shades like gold, and during the Regency period, many brides preferred an empire waist dress in a dramatic red!
We love when modern brides get a choice in colors and styles, and this “gala rustic” lace wedding dress is a perfect example. Made of a satiny-soft, semi-matte jersey, you can select your favorite color for the lacy overlay out of ivory, champagne, golden, or rosy quartz.
This wedding dress is fully lined and has a tube top for chest coverage. Its comfy elasticized waist can be drawn higher under the bodice for an empire silhouette, creating a beautiful look for all body types.
Creamy Shades of Ivory and Soft Green Wedding Dress
The designer calls this a “hippie lace” empire waist dress, and we picture this super-sweet and adorable style on a boho bride who’s a rustic romantic!
Your dress is handmade with love from velvet, various laces, and a stretch knit material that ensures freedom and comfort on your big day.
The colorful empire wedding dress trend continues with the rich ivory and soft green you’ll see in this gorgeous gown.
We also love how the designer welcomes input from brides to make this dress your own.
This Empire Waist Wedding Dress Is Minimalist Perfection
Silk and lace are the luxurious materials that create a Grecian goddess vision in this flowing tunic-style wedding gown.
You can create (or change) the shape of this dress because of a special feature: the discreet silk chiffon belt you wear high above your waist for an empire look or drop lower onto your natural waistline.
The main adornment here is strategically placed clusters of floral lace on the shoulder straps and the silk chiffon “wings” floating airily behind you. You’re like an angel on Earth!
Timeless Empire Waist Dress Is a Marriage of Vintage
Charmeuse is French for “female charmer” and is a premium fabric with an incredible history.
This empire waist dress of charmeuse and golden lace is undoubtedly charming, and its design is a stunning mix of modern whimsy and vintage elegance.
Ivory Empire Waist Dress with Boho Bell Sleeves
This long, flowing empire waist dress contains another romantic detail: lovely bell sleeves creating a super-flattering wedding day look!
The gown looks comfortable and beautiful because the designer included a quality viscose elastane fabric lining that moves with you.
Bridgerton-Style Gown Includes Your Something Blue
For the more petite bride (and Bridgerton enthusiast!), we’re happy to present this small (US-sized) empire waist dress that’s simple, affordable, and so pretty!
The lightweight silken chiffon material is perfect for warmer spring or summer temperatures, and we adore how a satiny, sky-blue sash highlights the empire waist.
Sweet Empire Waist Wedding Dress Has Special Details
Every time we give this sweet wedding dress another glance, we catch another exceptional detail that makes it stand out. Of course, the lovely blush sash on the empire waist ensured this wedding dress scored a spot on our list!
Other notable style features are the sweetheart neckline with lovely ruching across the satin chiffon bodice and the airy puff sleeves for a Western wedding feel.
The lacy overlay on the chapel train is perhaps our favorite thing about this dress, and those handmade peach and ivory florals are just breathtaking!
Gorgeous Gray Wedding Dress with Floral Embroidery
A gray wedding dress?! You betcha, and the spectacular shade of this empire waist dress in tulle makes the colorful floral embroidery stand out even more beautifully.
If you’re not quite sure about the color, you can choose traditional white or brighter yellow, pink, or green shades. For our goth brides, this dress is also available in beautiful black!
Other features can be requested and built into this wedding dress, including a corset, butterfly sleeves, or pockets.
The Long and Short of a Super-Chic Empire Waist Dress
A sandy destination wedding location might not automatically give you Bridgerton vibes. But if you fancy a Grecian goddess style, check out this super-chic empire-waisted look.
We love the shorter half-circle skirt under a flowing, ivory linen mesh overlay, picture-perfect for a beach bride!
Boho Simplicity Makes an Empire Waist Wedding Dress
Soft, simple, and oh so comfortable, this lovely linen empire-waisted dress only needs your natural beauty and stunning smile for an exquisite bridal look!
Goddess Wedding Gown with Lovely Open-Back
This Grecian-inspired beach wedding look has a more unstructured empire waistline accented by a deep V-neckline and the lacy band separating the bodice from the skirt.
The open-back is gorgeous, and that simple tie-up bow is a beauty!
Perfect Empire Wedding Dress for Baby on the Way
If you’re getting married while preparing for a new arrival in your family, this formal empire waist wedding gown will bring out your beautiful bride, and expectant mom glow!
We love how the lacy sleeves have some give at the wrist for a stylish look that will feel equally comfortable. The bodice is nicely detailed with matching lace, and the princess neckline will be flattering.
The pearly back buttons are elegant, and the silky little sash above your baby bump will melt everyone’s heart!
You’ll Rule in This Empire Waist Wedding Dress
This empire waist wedding gown may be hard for us to describe… and there’s a perfect reason why!
It’s because the designer creates one-of-a-kind wedding dresses custom-made for you. They focus on choosing laces for your dress to make your dreams a reality, whether vintage materials, upcycled, or brand-new.
Color plays a role in the style as well, and you can request whatever shades you want, from light ivory, rich champagne, or blush pink.
The highlight of this dress design is a built-in empire waist, but you can also purchase a specially-made sash from the designer for added definition around your waistline.
Additional features for your dress design can include sleeves, a train, neckline embellishments, or even an ombre slip.
This designer aims to please, so every bride like you is over the moon on your special day!
Authentic Austen-Style Wedding Dress
Here’s another pretty version of a genuine-looking Regency period wedding dress.
It’s shown in traditional white with red piping around the narrower fitting bodice and a lovely red ribbon tie at the back.
Still, you can get this dress in a rainbow of colors and materials, such as lilac in linen or red in crepe de chine (as we mentioned before, red was a popular wedding dress color in the Regency era).
Be Original in This Infinity Style Wedding Dress
Suppose you’re not already familiar with infinity dresses. Here’s what to know!
An infinity style is hugely popular with bridal parties because the upper half of the garment can be customized by the wearer in many ways, including an empire-waisted style.
This infinity dress design takes it up a notch with stunning color choices, a sweeping sash, and the addition of a beautiful lace overskirt.
These are just a few ideas of color and styles to light up your imagination: a “Bondi Beach Gold” underskirt with a soft, off-white overskirt, a “Swan Lake Heather” with beige lace, or a “Sailcloth Ivory” with a blush lace overskirt. So many gorgeous ways to style an empire waist wedding dress of your dreams!
High Waisted Wedding Dress with Slender Straps
This pure and organic-looking silk wedding dress has a high waist and slender straps that you can remove before your wedding day or after your ceremony if you’d prefer a strapless gown for your reception.
The princess-style bodice layers silky chiffon and lace with an adjustable corset and the design of the skirt creates a breathtaking vision as the train floats behind you like you’re floating on a cloud!
You can tie the train up in sections for an asymmetric draping effect for an even more unique bridal look. It’s super-chic and romantic, and you’ll look stunning in your wedding day pictures.