hile still largely considered an alternative choice, the short wedding dress has in fact been a staple of modern nuptials since the 1920s, with famous fans including Hollywood royalty Audrey Hepburn, Keira Knightley and Raquel Welch, and actual royalty Charlotte Chasiraghi, daughter of Princess Caroline of Hanover. Also, an increasingly popular choice for brides on the hunt for something more fun and freeing for their reception, whether you’re after a vintage-inspired tea-length gown or a flirty, fashion-forward mini, read on for the best short wedding dresses for 2022.
Mid-length wedding dresses
Alessandra Rich ruffled dress
The perfect halfway house for those who like the romance and drama of a classic wedding dress, but are planning an event that calls for something a little more relaxed, a mid-length gown is formal enough for church ceremonies while still embuing a contemporary edge on your look. Alessandra Rich’s ruffled number features a flattering tie-waist and floaty skirt that hits mid-calf for ultimate leg-lengthening.
Monique Lhuillier tulle dress
Part-1950s prom dress, part-cropped bridal gown, this whimsical dress from eveningwear expert Monique Lhuillier hits all the right wedding notes without tipping into twee or basic. Tulle? Check. Strapless? Check. Full skirt? Check. Featuring diaphanous layers spangled with miniature stars, its tea-length cut also makes it a great option for thrifty brides looking for a dress that can be repurposed after the big day.
David Koma feather-trimmed dress
If there was ever a time to pull out all the stops, it’s your wedding – and David Koma’s absolute diva of a dress does just that. Cut mid-calf, but with a thigh-high split that you may need to warn granny about in advance, it’s finished with voluminous feathers that are guaranteed to wow in your wedding photos.
Knee-length wedding dresses
Erdem Austin dress
Planning to eschew the veil as well as the floor-length gown? Erdem’s shimmering sequinned dress features a cape-effect silhouette, so you’ll still have the aesthetic effect of a traditional veil-and-gown without having to worry about fiddly hairpieces and overwrought updos. And we don’t need to tell you that all-over sequins are perfect for hitting the dancefloor.
Halfpenny London Okotan separates
London-based bridalwear designer Kate Halfpenny has cornered the market for luxe separates, offering a range of mix-and-match tops, skirts and accessories (as well as full gowns) that give brides an experience that is as close to custom as possible without going fully bespoke. Happily, the range also includes a number of short options, such as this elegantly draped Okotan skirt. Pair with the matching Bardot-style corset for a bridal look that is simple yet utterly sophisticated.
Rixo Candice dress
If you’re opting for a short gown as a second (or even third) outfit, you’re probably not looking to pay couture prices – but that doesn’t mean you have to scrimp on style. Rixo’s highly-regarded bridal collection offers an array of laidback gowns designed with thoroughly modern brides in mind. This Sixties-inspired shift is crafted in silk crepe and finished with a feathered hem for the most fabulous of costume changes.
Mini wedding dresses
Vivienne Westwood Venus dress
Big name, small dress. Vivienne Westwood’s bridal line features the edgy aesthetic and masterful corsetting on which the British designer made her name, and is guaranteed to make you feel a million dollars. Of course, the original punk excels in short gowns: this Venus dress features delicate floral appliques and an asymmetric hem ideal for wearing with satin heels, or Dr. Martens.
Reformation Corinth dress
If you’re only going to wear a dress once it probably shouldn’t cost the earth – figuratively or literally. Originally conceived as a vintage fashion resale brand, sustainability has always been at the forefront of Reformation’s collections and its burgeoning bridal range is no different. Created, one suspects, in a nod to the Stella McCartney halter design Meghan Markle wore for her own wedding reception, Reformation’s Corinth dress takes four fewer gallons of water and creates eight pounds less carbon dioxide compared to similar designs made using standard US clothing production methods.
Viktor & Rolf Mariage playsuit
Okay, we know this isn’t technically a dress but it's so chic we couldn’t help ourselves. The ultimate in alternative bridalwear, this sculptural playsuit by haute couture master Viktor & Rolf eschews romantic detailing in favour of a single dramatic oversized bow. We can already hear the gasps as you walk down the aisle.