Ivory vs White Wedding Dress: Choose Your Perfect Dress

So you’re starting to think about your wedding dress… what an exciting time in the wedding planning process!

There are a lot of elements to think about when picking the perfect dress for you… the cut, the shape, and the material, but what about the color of your dress?

Are you leaning towards an ivory shade or the traditional true white dress? Which is best and what is the difference? And how do you know which is the right shade for you?

Here we delve into the frequently discussed dilemma of ivory vs white wedding dress…

Ivory vs White Wedding Dress

The Ivory Dress

Ivory Wedding Dress

Ivory is the most popular shade of white for wedding dresses. But what exactly is the color ivory?

Whilst it’s technically white, it’s a slightly creamier shade with warm or sometimes yellow undertones. You may also hear ivory dresses being referred to as an “eggshell” color. 

But don’t panic, your ivory wedding dress will still look white in your photos! It won’t look yellow in any way. The difference between ivory and white is very minimal, it’s just slightly warmer. Often you can’t tell much difference at all… although your photographer might!

The White Dress

White Wedding Dress

White is white, right? Well, actually there are two main types of white to consider: stark or pure white and natural white. 

Stark white is the brightest shade of pure white, it’s often bleached to get its crisp tint and isn’t mixed with any other color. Stark white can be so crisp that it can appear light blue under certain lighting and HD cameras. It is best achieved with synthetic fabric, so if you are thinking of taffeta, satin, or a polyester blend then this could be a good option. 

Natural white is the whitest shade that natural fibers can achieve without the need for bleaching. Natural white falls between stark and ivory shades, with ivory being the warmest of the three.

A natural white gown will appear pretty much identical in your wedding photos to a stark white dress – but with less risk of the blue tint mentioned above. 

Skin Tone

For women with olive or darker skin tones, brighter whites generally work best.

If you have a fair complexion or have pink undertones in your skin, the warmer ivory shades will compliment you best. A stark or pure white dress against lighter skin could make you look washed out. 

Generally speaking, the ivory shade is more universally flattering, but natural white is also suited to a wide range of skin tones, especially those with yellow undertones. 

We recommend you have this discussion in the bridal boutiques you visit. The dressmakers and staff who work in the stores will have an intimate knowledge of ivory vs white wedding dresses and will be able to advise you on which shade suits your skin type best.

Wedding Tradition

Traditional wedding etiquette may dictate that a pure white wedding dress is the most appropriate and “correct” shade for a bride to wear.

However, we say this is nonsense these days! Ivory dresses do not appear hugely different than pure white dresses and most people won’t even know the difference.

So go with the option that you feel works best for you.

The Colored Dress

If you are thinking that you would like to avoid a white dress altogether and you quite like the idea of an out-of-the-box color, then there are plenty of options for you to consider!

Before you start your search, you should determine what shades will match your wedding color palette, and of course, will look the best on you. The time of year may also affect your decision, for example, darker shades are best suited to winter weddings.

If you’d like your wedding dress to have a subtle hint of color, then consider pale shades of pink, lilac, or powder blue. You can find dresses that give a nod to certain hues, for example, the bust may be white but it gradually fades into a blush-colored skirt. 

However, perhaps you want to have a dramatic bridal look! In which case you should choose something loud and bright like green, red, or even gold. We’ve also seen some beautiful sequinned gowns as well as black wedding dresses that make a real statement – it all depends on your style and taste.

You’ll find most bridal shops do have colored wedding dresses in stock, although perhaps just a small selection. There’s no harm in trying a few colorful dresses on to see what suits you!

Wedding Dress Shopping Tips

Whilst we’re here we thought we’d throw a few extra tips your way to make sure you get the most out of the wedding dress shopping experience… it’s a very important day!

Firstly, do everything you can to make sure you feel fabulous on the day; do your hair, wear make-up and some nice earrings so you’re already feeling good. 

Take good white or cream underwear and don’t forget to bring your shoes. This will help with getting the length of your dress right. If you don’t have your exact wedding day shoes yet that is fine; instead, take your favorite pair of shoes that have a similar height to what you’ll be wearing on the day. 

And the biggest tip? Go with an open mind! Try on both white and ivory dresses. Try options that you are not naturally drawn to. Try different necklines, cuts, and materials so that you can work through a variety of options!

What matters most is that you love your wedding dress and the color that you have chosen. If you have your heart set on a certain shade, but it’s not an exact skin tone match, don’t worry. It’s YOUR wedding dress and if you feel amazing wearing it then go for it!

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