Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

Hitch Up Your Hemline! Choosing A Short Wedding Dress

May 14th, 2014 | Rachel Parry

Did you catch our exciting news last Thursday?  The Brides Up North team has grown!  The lovely Rachel joins our editorial team, and you’ll be hearing a lot more from her every week on these pretty pages.

Ian Stuart - Va Va Voom

Va Va Voom by Ian Stuart

Rachel says: When asked to picture a wedding dress the generic image that often springs to people’s minds is a traditional strapless gown complete with sweetheart neckline, corseted bodice, princess style skirt and a long sweeping train. Designers however are constantly challenging the norm to give brides much more choice and the opportunity to wear a dress that reflects their individual style.

One alteration that we’ve seen on the bridal catwalks for several seasons now is hitched up hemlines. The short dress designs are normally one of three lengths; tea-length, which comes to just below the knee, knee-length or mini. Although the dresses are shorter than traditional gowns they can still carry a lot of detail and give brides the chance to make a strong style statement.


Keira Knightly in Chanel

Image via

Some celebrities have been known to brave bare legs on their wedding days by opting for a short dress. Most recently actress Keira Knightley married in a mini. Although her fairy-like tulle dress designed by Chanel wasn’t strictly a wedding dress (the thrifty star had been spotted sporting the frock long before her wedding at a pre-BAFTA party back in 2008), Keira made a beautiful ballerina-esque bride in the pretty number. Fellow actress Natalie Portman also shunned a floor-length gown in favour of a simple tea-length dress when she tied the knot in 2012.

kate moss 4 010711

Kate Moss in John Galliano

Image via

Short wedding dresses are a particularly good choice for brides with fabulous legs – after all why bury your best asset away under layers of tulle? Model Cindy Crawford clearly thought this when she selected a simple John Galliano slip-dress for her barefoot beach wedding back in 1998. British icon Kate Moss also looked to John Galliano to create her beautiful 1920s inspired gown for when she tied the knot with Jamie Hince. The stunning dress featured a sheer overlay which revealed her perfect pins beneath, providing a winning combination of sexiness and elegance.

Jenny Packham - Merle

Merle by Jenny Packham

But you don’t have to be a supermodel to rock a short frock. As the trend continues to catch on more and more designers are including varied length designs in their collections with options to suit a range of shapes and sizes. Slinky-minis are best for slim brides with long, lean legs while designs with that nip in at the waist then follow an A-line skirt are a great option for brides that don’t like their hips. Meanwhile cute tea-length dresses expose just a little leg and are the perfect choice for those having 1950s inspired weddings.

Some of my personal favourite cropped-hem designs come from Jenny Packham. Merle is a stunning mini in steely silver with intricate sparkling detail, ideal for those wanting to flash some flesh, whilst Etta is a seriously glam Great Gatsby-esque gown which finishes below the knee, offering a little more cover-up.

Jenny Packham - Etta

Etta by Jenny Packham

There are lots of lovely 1950s inspired tea-length gowns to choose from including; Martha by Sassi Holford – a dreamy lace creation with flare tulle skirt; Charlotte Balbier’s Loveheart with fabulous full circle skirt, strapless bodice and satin bow corsage or Justin Alexander’s 8729 dress design with illusion neckline, 3/4 length sleeves and satin laser cut floral detail.

Sassi Holford - Martha

Martha by Sassi Holford

Justin Alexander - 8729

Style 8729 by Justin Alexander

But if it’s a show-stopping mini you’re after it has to be an Ian Stuart creation. Va Va Voom from the ‘Revolution Rocks’ collection features an array of beautiful flowers set in lavish folds of tulle and sequined lace while Firefly from the ‘Supernova’ collection boasts a three tiered skirt which moulds into a sculptural decoration at the back for that extra wow-factor.

Ian Stuart - Firefly

Firefly by Ian Stuart

Oh and ladies please remember, a short wedding dress is a fantastic excuse (not that you need one) for fancy footwear so think big – Louis Vuitton, Vivienne Westwood, Jimmy Choo – oh the possibilities!

What do you think?  Will you dare to bare on your big day?


Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2014 as credited

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about the author

Rachel Parry
Rachel joined the Brides Up North editorial team as Features Editor in February 2015. Rachel draws on her news reporting background, experience in features, bridal & lifestyle editing for previous regional titles and time spent working for Yorkshire’s most successful PR agencies. Yet to tie the knot herself, Rachel's own wedding looks set to be very, very pretty...

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