Best Wedding Dresses of the Year: Our Favorite Gowns From 2021

Danielle Vic Pierce the Veil Engagement
photography: Jordan Voth | dress: Teuta Matoshi

Fashion friends, it’s that time of year! We looked through all the dresses featured on GWS in 2021 and painstakingly narrowed down the list to our absolute favorites. It wasn’t easy, but in the end, 17 wedding dresses remained the best of 2021! From unique materials and silhouettes to new iterations on a classic, brides and stylists chose gowns that represented positivity, resilience, and a bit of caution to the wind when it came to keeping tradition.

But this year, it was more than the dresses alone that made them favorites. It was also the woman who wore — and embodied — the dress. As if each of these gowns found the perfect match in their person. How she styled it, how she fit it, or simply, how she radiated in it.

So, without further ado, here are our favorite wedding dresses of 2021:

Best All-the-Way Boho Dress

Galia Lahav Wedding Dress

photography: Vicky Baumann | wedding dress: Galia Lahav | hairpiece: Dry Please

This dress features all our favorite aspects of a boho wedding dress in 2021: the exaggerated puffy sleeves, the corseted bodice, the beading, the tulle, and most importantly, the combination of it all.

Featured in: Intimate + Beachy Boho Wedding with Dusty Desert Tones

Best Mini Wedding Dress

Odylyne The Ceremony Dress

photography: Halle Morgan | wedding dress: Odylyne The Ceremony – The Mini Caspian | florals: Bloom Shakalaka

We kicked off the year with this party of a dress and genuinely haven’t been able to stop thinking about it ever since. It inspired this bridal trend, and this bridal trend…and this one, too! Who knew one little dress could do so much?

Featured in: this Rooftop Elopement Downtown

Best Blue Wedding Dress

Big Sur California Elopement

photography: Bruna Kitchen Photography | wedding dress: Rue de Seine | wedding dress boutique: a&bé Dallas

The way she wore this Rue de Seine gown — it’s as if it were made for her! She punched it up perfectly with a dried flower crown, moon phase earrings, and a stack of necklaces. It’s the blue of the dress and the blue of the ocean and all the little details that made this wear one to remember.

Featured in: Big Sur Elopement with Two Dresses

Best Green Wedding Dress

bride in green wedding dress

photography: Hugo Coelho | wedding dress: Vesselina Pentcheva Bunce

Did she just pull off a Kiera Knightley?! We think so! This emerald silk dress was inspired by the actress’s iconic green dress in her film, Atonement. What’s especially fun is how all the guests wore white — a breezy backdrop that put the spotlight on the stunning gown. PS: You must see the back!

Featured in: Boho-Chic South Africa Wedding

Best Celestial Wedding Dress

Celestial Wedding Dress

photography: Kim Butler | wedding dress: Reclamation Design Company | wedding dress boutique: The Kindred Soul

This celestial dress was especially stunning for its Death Valley location, one of the last places in America where the night sky can be photographed without light pollution. Her dress reflected the sky in all its starlit glory.

Featured in: Death Valley Elopement

Favorite Frothy Dress

Orange Tulle Dress Millia London

photography: Sinja Hemke | dress: Millia London

Give us all the tulle! Layer it, cinch it, and color it because there’s something that’s rather dreamy about prancing around in a cotton candy dress.

Featured in: Pretty in Peach Fashion Editorial

Best Sequined Gown

Danielle Vic Pierce the Veil Engagement

photography: Jordan Voth | dress: Teuta Matoshi

This dress was made for running around the outdoors. From the forest to fields of gold, she wears it so well — almost like a fairy queen enjoying her kingdom. From the long bubble sleeves to the loose sequins, the deep-V, and the unexpected belt detail, this is a dress we’d love to see again.

Featured in: Vic Fuentes of Pierce the Veil’s Engagement Photos

Most Unexpected Wedding Dress

Pampas Grass Skirt

photography: Chris & Ruth | dress: Madebride | event design: Tie the Knot Santorini | florals: Betty Flowers Santorini

When you love pampas grass so much, you incorporate it into your wedding dress! This is one of those “will it work…?” moments and we were pleased as punch to see that it TOTALLY did!

Featured in: Boho-Chic Surfer Wedding Inspiration With a Pampas Grass Dress

Favorite Statement Dress

Melbourne Australia Micro Wedding

photography: Tahnee Jade Photography | wedding dress: Zimmermann | bride’s shoes: Steve Madden | florals: Bloom Boy

This mini purple dress has it ALL but what we’re really here for are the butterflies perched on the sleeves and down the bodice! The bride was 7 months pregnant at the time of her wedding and we love how she totally went for it in lavender and sparkly booties!

Featured in: 70’s Themed “Vegas” Wedding in Melbourne

Best Dressed Brides

Fashion Forward Joshua Tree Micro Wedding

photography: Lorin Kelly Photography | dress: Kiki Riki | suit: Twisted Tailor

If you need a moment to take it in, we won’t blame you. From the hi-low dress to the space-silver booties, and then that rad black suit with a gold crescent moon pattern — give these two an award!

Featured in: Fashion Forward, Ethereal Elopement in Joshua Tree

Best Whimsical Gown

Roksanda Blush Wedding Dress

photography: Ana Galloway | wedding dress: Roksanda

This is one of those gowns that transports you to a magical place where anything is possible. It’s full of whimsy with the floating silhouette over a pale pink slip and the embroidery just puts it over the top.

Featured in: IG Post on Green Wedding Shoes

Favorite Starry Dress

celestial wedding dress

photography: Kadi Tobin Photography | wedding dress: Watters from BHLDN

This is the dress you wear when your friends describe you as spunky, fun, and a big dreamer. She wears it well, doesn’t she?

Featured in: Small Backyard Wedding With Amazing DIY Decor From Ceremony to Brunch Reception

Best Iridescent Gown

Sequin Crop Top Wedding Dress

photography: Kirsty Mackenzie Photography | wedding dress: Bowen Dryden | veil: Ashley Wild Bridal | florals: Bud Flora

Why decorate with disco balls when you can BE the disco ball? We love all the lavender accents here and truly, this dress is all about the cool factor.

Featured in: IG post on Green Wedding Shoes

Most Romantic Wedding Dress

Blush Ballgown Wedding Dress

photography: The Shepards Photography | wedding dress: Inbal Dror | dress boutique: Dimitras Bridal Couture

We LOVE this updated take on the fairy-tale dress. Cinderella who? The muted natural tones and embroidery over the corset are perfect.

Featured in: Desert-Inspired Destination Wedding During Pandemic Guidelines

Best Cowgirl-Chic Dress

Rue de Seine Black Dress

photography: Brogen Jessup | wedding dress: Rue De Seine | dress boutique: Dress Theory San Diego

Something about this dress just brings the old-school Shania vibes and we gotta say it — let’s go, girls! It’s unapologetic, wild, and free. A free spirit embodied in a dress!

Featured in: Stunning Black and White Wedding Dress + Terrazzo and Disco Ball Decor

Most Glam Brides

Blush Ruffle Wedding Dress

photography: Simple Adri Photography | dress: Desert Love Gowns | sequin suit: Zara (no longer available but here is a similar one!)

Excuse us, we’re not worthy. Ruffles, tulle, AND sequins? It’s too much to take and yet it’s JUST right.

Featured in: IG post on Green Wedding Shoes

Favorite Fairy Tale Ballgown

Fashionable Lake Como Wedding Inspiration

photography: Lilly Red | wedding dress: S A R A M R A D | florals: Lada Fiori

Finally, the dress that made us stop in our tracks. This handmade pink ballgown features a skirt entirely covered by layers and layers of feathers. It’s grand, it’s dramatic, and it’s every bit the fairy tale look.

Featured in: Dreamy Lake Como Elopement in Italy

More from the best of weddings in 2021!