Pros & Cons: Wearing a Short Wedding Dress

The perks and drawbacks of selecting a shorter number as your wedding-day ensemble.

Whether you want to wear a minidress for your ceremony, reception, or after-party, we're sharing all of the pros and cons of choosing a bridal gown with a shorter hemline!

Photo: Samuel Lippke Studios

The wedding dress: the unofficial symbol of the industry. Some women grow up dreaming about their future wedding dress, while others haven’t given the outfit nearly as much thought. Either way, should you choose to wear a bridal gown for your big day, you’ll have a decision to make.

Your stylistic preferences are of the upmost importance when you’re in search of a wedding dress – brides want something that will fit their body, budget, and the blueprint of their event. Not so long ago, women had significantly fewer options as far as the design of their frocks were concerned; however, modern brides have paved the way for personalization in almost every aspect of their nuptials, dress included. As a result, there are a fair number of hemline choices available to women – and some choose to have a shorter minidress, or tea-length dress, instead of the traditional long wedding gown.

Are you considering a shorter ensemble for your vow exchange? Consider the pros and cons!

Pros of Wearing a Short Wedding Dress

They provide better mobility.

If you’re somewhat of a dancing queen, full-length frocks can be quite restricting. It is for this reason that so many of today’s brides switch into a short wedding dress for their reception – however, mobility should not solely be considered for the dance floor. Taking pictures, getting in and out of vehicles, walking down the aisle, and even making sudden turns can be made easier by a hemline that falls above the knee. Even if your long gown is not particularly tight, the weight and fullness of the skirt alone can increase the level of difficulty: having your legs mostly free will help you move about with less trouble.

Typically, they are less expensive.

This is not necessarily a blanket statement – there are plenty of designer tea-length frocks and minidresses that rival or exceed long gowns in price – however, your chances of purchasing a lovely short dress without breaking the bank are higher. There are a plethora of short white dresses available that may not be considered wedding ensembles: these are more often thought of as cocktail attire. Additionally, you have more places to choose from when looking for a “normal” dress as opposed to a wedding gown.

You can wear them again.

No matter their original purpose, long white dresses will always make people think of a wedding outfit. These particular ensembles aren’t typically worn a second time, whereas a short dress can be worn during many more events than your nuptials. Even if the frock is formal, women can don them once again for dinner parties, upscale birthday celebrations, and even business functions. It’s likely they will be easier to alter as well.

Cons of Wearing a Short Wedding Dress

They go against tradition.

Even if you believe yourself to be an offbeat kind of bride, there is a chance you’ll regret not seizing the chance to wear a traditional long wedding gown on your big day. Additionally, even for those women who are secure in their decision to sport a shorter ensemble may have to deal with objections from friends and family. While you should always wear exactly what you want for your big day, strong opinions can cause unnecessary arguments and create tension – it will be an extra stressor during an already busy time in your life, and for some women, the short style isn’t worth it.

There aren’t as many bridal options.

For the “pro” point that includes the fact that you’ll have many more stores to choose from, this is the opposite side of the coin. While you can shop at more places, your actual “bridal” options are far more limited. Should you want to combine the formality of a wedding gown with a knee-length hemline or higher, you’ll have to select from a significantly smaller selection of ensembles.

They can strongly dictate your overall concept.

Unfortunately, no matter how intricate and beautiful the dress, a shorter skirt signifies a more casual vibe. Electing to don a short dress will automatically give off a more playful, laid-back vibe – which, of course, is perfect if that is in fact the motif of your wedding. However, you don’t get as much wiggle room (figuratively speaking) for the concept with a tea-length gown: a bride who’d like a version of a formal affair should steer clear of shorter styles.

Read the pros and cons of wearing your mother's wedding dress, see chic ensembles to get ready in, and find out how to wear your bridesmaid dress again.

Opening photo by Samuel Lippke Studios; From Real Wedding: Charming, Rustic Elopement with Outdoor Ceremony in Santa Barbara