For Better, for Worse: Celebrity Brides Who Wore Unconventional Wedding Dresses

From Sarah Jessica Parker's black satin to Gwen Stefani's hand-dipped gown to Keira Knightley's party dress, these stars prove that long, white and lacy isn't for everyone

By Natalie Finn Jun 07, 2017 3:00 PMTags

Unless you're marrying royalty, you're technically free to wear anything you want on your wedding day—so isn't it funny how so many women end up wearing a variation of the same long, white dress?

Not that there isn't still plenty of appeal in the classic fairy tale vibe, and there are increasingly more styles to play with. But in increasing numbers these days, brides are going with less traditional looks, whether they're shaking up the silhouette, playing with length, or eschewing white—and skirts—altogether.

"I'd worn the dress lots. It was my something old," Keira Knightley reminisced about the flirty, blush-colored Chanel frock she chose for her 2013 nuptials in Provence, which she was famously re-wore after her big day. "And I liked not making a big deal about it. I just wanted to be in something I had had a great time in, something I would have a great time in again."

Famous Wedding Day Blunders

"I didn't want it to be crazy and puffy," Avril Lavigne told ET Canada about how she got around to wearing "gothic" black Monique Lhuillier for her wedding to Chad Kroeger, her second marriage. "I didn't want it to wear me."

But years before Lavigne charmed in inky black satin, Sarah Jessica Parker had been there, done that, in a Morgane Le Fay ballgown in 1997. Alas, being years ahead of her time didn't pay off for SJP, who revealed on Watch What Happens Live! in 2016 that she'd "white it up" if she had it to do over again.

"I'd wear a beautiful, proper wedding dress, like I should have worn that day," she confessed to Andy Cohen.

Other famous brides who've worn black down the aisle in recent years include Liberty Ross (on her second go-round, with Jimmy Iovine) and Shenae Grimes.

So far, no regrets.

At the end of the day, feeling beautiful and confident on your wedding day—possible future cringe-factor aside—is all that really matters. Here's a sampling of the famous brides who opted for an unconventional look and more than pulled it off.

Keira Knightley

The British actress got more use out of the flirty Chanel party dress she wore on her wedding day than some stars get out of a pair of jeans.

Dianna Agron

The Valentino gown the Glee star wore for her nuptials under the Moroccan sun cost a cool $20,500.

Piper Perabo

The Notorious actress donned a unique, textured metallic silver gown by Michael Kors and a pale yellow veil for her nuptials.

Whitney Port

The Hills star opted for a custom-made gown with a waterfall hemline. She designed the gown in collaboration with Ashi Studio.

Ashlee Simpson Ross

The "L.O.V.E." songstress opted for a boho-style crop top and skirt that featured intricate lace detail for her wedding to Evan Ross.

Alison Pill

The Newsroom alum chose to wear a vintage yellow dress on her special day.

Julianne Moore

During her backyard wedding, Moore opted for a lilac Prada dress.

Shenae Grimes

The 90210 actress opted for a black Vera Wang gown when she said "I do."

Amber Tamblyn

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants actress wore a marigold-colored dress that featured a cream train when she tied the knot with actor David Cross.

Kristen Bell

NBC's The Good Place actress married Dax Shepard at the Beverly Hills courthouse in a pair of black pants and a black top.

Kaley Cuoco

The Big Bang Theory actress looked gorgeous in her pink Vera Wang gown. The dress had a sweetheart neckline, a hand-gathering detailed bodice and hand appliqué Chantilly lace accents. The veil, also by Wang, was nude tulle with petal-pink floating hand appliqué Chantilly lace.

Alas, looking radiant on her big day wasn't a guarantee of happily ever after. Cuoco divorced Ryan Sweeting in September 2015.

Gwen Stefani

The hand-dipped pink wedding dress by John Galliano, then the head of Dior, that the singer wore to marry now ex-husband Gavin Rossdale in 2002 was an instant unconventional classic—and in 2011 it became a piece of history when it was acquired by London's Victoria and Albert Design Museum.

And if a bride does plan on wearing her wedding dress again one day, here's another ringing endorsement for black.

"It's now got red wine spilled down the front," Knightley revealed in 2014 about her ready-to-endlessly-wear wedding dress, which saw better days and then some. "It's quite impressively splattered. But, hey, a good night is a good night and when a dress has had its time, maybe it's had its time.

"I'm pretty sure I can get it out but, if I can't, I'm happy with the memory of a good night and the story of how the dress got destroyed."