Less is More: 9 Short Wedding Dresses That Stunned

Ask someone to picture a traditional wedding dress and 99% of the time it’s a big white gown with a long train that springs to mind (think Princess Diana and 25ft of silk and taffeta). However, it’s short wedding dresses that are taking centre stage

So where did this trend start, and who has pulled off the look? We take a look at nine short wedding dresses that have turned tradition on its head – and looked great doing it.

1. The Poiret Wedding Dress

Our first dress takes us back to the origins of the short wedding dress trend. Before Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and Givenchy, there was Paul Poiret, the man they called “The King of Fashion”. From his Parisian fashion house, which opened in 1903, Poiret released women from their suffocating corsets, changing the way they dressed forever. In 1925, he created one of the first ever short wedding dresses which, like all his designs, was fittingly inspired by his wife and muse, Denise.
 

9 Short wedding dresses that stunned - Paul Poiret dress | CHWV  9 Short wedding dresses that stunned - Paul Poiret dress | CHWV
Image courtesy Met Museum

2. Poppy Delevingne

At first glance, the Chanel wedding dress model and it-girl Poppy Delevingne wore to her Moroccan wedding to James Cook looked like a traditional, full-length gown. But when the sun went down, the hems came up: Poppy removed her gauzy train to reveal a sexy short wedding dress.
 

9 Short wedding dresses that stunned - Poppy Delevingne | CHWV

9 Short wedding dresses that stunned - Poppy Delevingne | CHWV
Images courtesy Appleberry Press

3. Natalie Portman

Despite her best efforts, a paparazzo did manage to snap a shot of Natalie Portman at her strictly vegan and very private wedding to choreographer Benjamin Millipied. What he captured was Natalie wearing not only a gloriously happy smile, but an ultra-cute short wedding dress too.
 

4. Keira Knightley

Keira Knightley was praised for her thriftiness when she married James Righton in a gorgeous short dress by Chanel that she had been pictured in many times before. She later admitted (somewhat bashfully) that the dress fell prey to an errant glass of red wine, which just goes to show that you have to be as careful with short wedding dresses as you do with long ones.
 

Keira Knightly Wedding | Daily Mail
Image source: Daily Mail

5. Cindy Crawford

In 1998, Cindy Crawford took to the beach barefoot in a simple short wedding dress by John Galliano to marry her second husband, Rande Gerber, making her one of the first celebrities to do so. Ever the trendsetter, many have since followed in Cindy’s bare footsteps and taken inspiration from her less-is-more approach to the short wedding dress.
 

9 Short wedding dresses that stunned - Cindy Crawford | CHWV

6. Mia Farrow

Mia Farrow was almost thirty years younger than Frank Sinatra when she married him in 1966, yet her choice of chic short wedding dress and that trademark, boyish haircut made her look elegant beyond her years. Her marriage to Ol’ Blue Eyes may have only lasted three years, but this look is timeless.
 

9 Short wedding dresses that stunned - Mia Farrow | CHWV
Image courtesy Getty Images

7. Audrey Hepburn

The undisputed queen of the short wedding dress, Audrey Hepburn could have had three entries in this list. People adored the Balmain tea-length wedding dress she wore when marrying Mel Ferrer in 1954, while the bateau wedding dress she wore opposite Fred Astaire in the 1957 musical ‘Funny Face’ became iconic in its own right. The dress that makes it onto our list, however, is the one she wore at her second wedding to Andrea Dotti in 1969. Designed by her close friend Hubert de Givenchy, the short wedding dress is made from pink wool with a structured neck and an elegant matching headscarf – and it’s nothing short of exquisite.
 

9 Short wedding dresses that stunned - Audrey Hepburn | CHWV

9 Short wedding dresses that stunned - Audrey Hepburn | CHWV

8. Mitra - real life Gaynes Park bride

You may have to be a fashion designer to make a short wedding dress, but you needn’t be a style icon to look stunning in one. Mitra always knew that the traditional, long, white gown wasn’t for her. Instead she chose a short wedding dress by Candy Anthony with four layers of mint green petticoats, a wide turquoise sash and Kurt Geiger court shoes dyed to match. The final look came as an immense relief to her husband-to-be Elliot, who had thought from all the colourful swatches lying about the house that she would be head-to-toe in DayGlo. It’s sweet that he would have married her anyway.
 

9 Short wedding dresses that stunned - Mitra - real life Gaynes Park bride | CHWV

9 Short wedding dresses that stunned - Mitra - real life Gaynes Park bride | CHWV
Images © Harry Richards Photography

9. Sarah - real life Bassmead Manor Barns bride

Finding the perfect short wedding dress requires determination, which our next bride had in abundance. Sarah scoured many wedding boutiques for the 50s-style short wedding dress she’d fallen in love with on Pinterest, to her utter delight eventually found it in stock and in her size. She teamed it with a flattering jacket from her parents, T-bar shoes and from her husband-to be, Martin, a bracelet from Tiffany’s. We thought there was something very Audrey about her…
 

9 Short wedding dresses that stunned - Sarah - real life Bassmead Manor Barns bride | CHWV
Image © i-d Image Development

For more short wedding dress inspiration, head over to Pinterest

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