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A Traditional Bride’s Guide to Modest Wedding Dresses

While some brides want a sexy wedding day look, others prefer a more traditional or modest style to walk down the aisle. Whether you are choosing to wear a conservative wedding dress because of a personal style choice, or religious or cultural customs, there are so many gorgeous timeless wedding dresses you can choose from Stella York, Martina Liana and Essense of Australia! Read on to learn more about modest wedding dresses, see some beautiful gowns and learn how to make a wedding dress more modest, if needed. 

What Style of Wedding Dress Classifies as Modest? 

Modest wedding dresses have more coverage in places like the back, bodice and décolletage areas. High or illusion necklines, covered shoulders, sleeves and silhouettes that don’t hug the body or show a ton of skin are all details you may find when searching for modest dresses. The great news is that you can find a modest wedding dress to fit your bridal style, whether minimal, glam or boho. It’s all in the details! 

 When choosing a traditional/modest wedding dress, keep these tips in mind: 

  • If getting married in a religious setting, make sure to check what the requirements are for coverage. What may be considered modest at one venue may not be at another. 
  • Illusion necklines and sleeves embellished with delicate lace are a beautiful way to add additional coverage while still being fashion-forward! 
  • If you only plan on adding coverage for your ceremony, there are so many gorgeous options that allow for two looks in one!
  • When it comes to styling conservative bridal gowns, hair accessories could play a big role! With higher necklines and sleeves, you may not notice jewelry as much, but adding a sparkling comb or long cathedral veil adds to the classic look of a modest wedding gown. 

Modest Wedding Dresses 

Simple Modest Wedding Dress 

simple modest wedding dress - 7535 Stella York

Stella York Style 7535+ 

For the modern bride with a modest, minimalist style, Stella York Style 7535 is a stunning choice! Designed in an elegant Mikado fabric, this timeless wedding dress features a regal and modest off-the-shoulder banded neckline for a princess-like appeal. The bodice extends into a full A-line skirt that accentuates the waist while still offering a demure look. 

Modest Ballgown Wedding Dress 

modest ballgown wedding dress - 1441 martina liana

Martina Liana Style 1441 

For the traditional bride who wants to feel like royalty on their big day, Martina Liana Style 1441 radiates romance, elegance and luxury. The sweetheart neckline and beaded bustier corset top with exposed boning create an incredibly flattering and soft fit. For extra coverage, the detachable illusion tulle and delicate lace jacket can be worn for the ceremony and then removed for two looks in one. This ballgown is proof that conservative bridal gowns can be stylish too! Add a lace-trimmed cathedral-length veil for a traditional look that will stand the test of time. 

Modest Boho Wedding Dress 

modest boho wedding dress - d3529 by essense of australia

Essense of Australia Style D3529 

The modest bride can achieve a boho look by opting for a gown with romantic floral lace details, sleeves and an ethereal A-line skirt! Essense of Australia Style D3529 is an enchanting gown featuring sheer off-the-shoulder sleeves with natural vine leaf appliqués and embroidered beaded details.  

Delicate organza florets are artfully placed upon the fitted bodice and gently cascade down the frothy tulle skirt, leaving sparkling beading streams that catch the light with every movement. This soft A-line silhouette finishes with a romantic layered skirt and train for an effortless and timeless look. 

Modest Long Sleeve Wedding Dress 

modest long sleeve wedding dress - 1437 martina liana

Martina Liana Style 1437 

Modest styles can be sleek too! Martina Liana Style 1437 is an elegant sheath wedding dress with a fashion-forward straight neckline and long, luxurious illusion tulle lace sleeves. Boning and seaming complement and contour the upper body for a flattering fit.  

The simple yet stylish open keyhole back leads to a slightly pleated skirt with an elegant lace and tulle train that brings the drama. The floral details add a delicate and romantic touch, while shiny sequins give this gorgeous gown a subtle shimmer. 

Modest High Neckline Wedding Dress 

modest high neckline wedding dress - d3195 by essense of australia

Essense of Australia Style D3195 

High necklines are one of the hallmarks of modest wedding dresses. Not only do they provide coverage, but they also add a traditional and elegant touch. Essense of Australia Style D3195 combines the classic high neckline with modern asymmetry. Luxurious hand beading and pearls embellish the asymmetrical neckline and sheer bodice, as the delicate tulle overlay graces the top of the right shoulder while falling into an off-the-shoulder effect for a modern Grecian feel.  

Modest Lace Wedding Dress 

modest lace wedding dress - d3358 essense of australia

Essense of Australia D3358 

There’s something truly romantic about all-lace wedding dresses! They evoke a feeling of classic soft elegance, while also feeling fashion-forward and fresh. Essense of Australia Style D3358 embodies all of these qualities and more. With its beautiful lace bodice and optional long sleeves this dress is perfect for the modern bride who wants to feel like a princess on her big day. The large-scale floral motifs add a touch of whimsy and romance, while the V-neckline is both modest and sexy. At the skirt, layers of tulle create incredible volume for a truly spectacular walk down the aisle.

Modest Mermaid Wedding Dress 

modest mermaid wedding dress - d3404 essense of australia

Essense of Australia Style D3404 

You can show off your shape in a mermaid wedding dress and still have a modest wedding day look! It’s about balancing the features you want to show with those you want to downplay. Essense of Australia Style D3404 is a matte Mikado gown with clean lines and bold accents for a classic yet fresh look.  

The scooped neckline is effortlessly stylish and less revealing than a plunging neckline. Simple double straps add a delicate and fashion-forward touch, meeting at the back of the gown in a dainty V shape. The contour seaming on the skirt highlights the body’s natural curves, flaring below the waist to complete the timeless mermaid silhouette. The detachable bow adds an ultra-modern finishing touch. 

How Can I Make my Dress Look More Modest for the Ceremony? 

If the location of your wedding ceremony requires a particular level of coverage, there are ways you can adjust the modesty of your gown easily. Wearing a cape, detachable sleeves, bolero, bodysuit or jacket is a beautiful way to add coverage and have two looks in one if you don’t want to be covered during your reception. If a fitted gown is of concern, you may be able to add a detachable overskirt over the top. 

We hope this helped you confidently begin your search for modest wedding dresses! To explore even more beautiful gowns, you can browse our wedding dress gallery or find a store near you to start the shopping process.