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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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