On your wedding day, you should never be judged for what you’ve chosen to wear. You can’t make everyone happy, and you shouldn’t try to. Plus, it’s your day (well, yours and your significant others’), and if it makes you happy and feel beautiful, you should go for it!
With all of that being said, we’re more than happy to dive into the 25 couture wedding dresses that should have stayed on the drawing board. From the minds of fashion houses and designers, these bridal gowns haven’t actually been worn by any brides (at least, not that we know of), and so we figure that they’re fair game to point to as exactly what not to wear when you’re walking down the aisle.
Thanks to the pageantry and drama that goes into a fashion show, many of these looks get the added bonus of being stylized with extreme hair, makeup, and accessories, which really brings these looks to a whole new level of OMG. Whatever look your mom was rocking in the ‘80s probably pales in comparison to these not-so-hot, haute couture dresses.
Like we said, you can’t please everyone on your day (and nor should you try to), but these dresses probably don’t please ANYONE.
25 This Knitted Tube
The craziest thing about this dress (and there’s a lot to work with here) isn’t that someone decided to make it, but that someone decided to make it twice! Yes, this knitted tube that looks more like a feminine hygiene project is a recreation of a 1965 Yves Saint Laurent couture creation that was a strange suggestion for bridal wear. However, if you’re feeling the need to cover up some morning-after bloat or have a great excuse not to dance at the reception, then this dress is for you!
24 This Shower Loofah
If you’re reading What To Expect When You’re Expecting alongside a copy of a bridal magazine, then this wedding dress is the one for you! And, to be honest, that’s about the only use we can think of for this puffy creation, which resembles both a shower loofah and a Ferrero Rocher hazelnut truffle!
Debuted during China’s Spring/Summer Fashion Week back in 2012, we have to give credit to the model for putting on her bravest face as she waddled down the runway in this getup.
23 This Toilet Paper Mistake
Okay, we’re all for an ethereal look when it comes to walking down the aisle, but this looks like something that some designer gave up on halfway through! Sheer dresses have been big on the runway and the red carpet the past couple of years, and have made their way into bridal looks, but this gown – which was showcased as the Lan Yu Wedding Dress Show in 2012 – with its random swathes of fabric looks more like something you’d use in the bathroom than when saying “I do”.
22 This Octopus Lady
If your dream is to channel Ursula from The Little Mermaid on your wedding day, then this is the dress for you! The full skirt and sheer top on their own are okay, if not wow-worthy, but it’s those tentacles on puppet strings that really knocks this one out of the park! We can’t imagine any bride would feel graceful walking down the aisle while she had to maneuver those! On your wedding day, you want to feel like a beautiful princess, but in this gown, you’re more like a sea witch.
21 This Structural Confusion
In the spring of 2011, this architectural dress was used to close the fashion show of designer duo Viktor & Rolf – and boy, what a closing number it was!
Obviously, when you’re looking at runway looks, there’s a great deal of avant-garde involved, especially in a design team that was behind the look of Katy Perry’s “E.T” music video. However, for potential brides who were looking for some inspo, this structural mess would have left them running in the other direction. Busy, stiff, and uncomfortable are just a few words that come to mind!
20 This OTT Look
Another bridal look from a big-name designer, this highly over-accessorized outfit comes from Jean Paul Gauthier!
While the silhouette of this look seems to be a dress, it’s actually a jumpsuit with very accentuated hips! In all fairness to the design house, we kind of see that the jumpsuit looks like two hearts atop one another, which is very marriage-appropriate, but it’s the tiny hat – as well as the beaded and bejeweled detailing – that really takes this into Wild West territory.
19 This Extra Rustic Outfit
Not in the mood for a white dress? Don’t worry, this ugly gown has you covered! If you dreamed about a rustic hipster wedding – think a barn setting, shiplap everywhere, burlap accents, and mason jars – then a dress with a straw-like skirt fits the setting perfectly!
Made with almost any other material, we could get on board with this dress. Its shape is classic and flattering, but when it resembles something that a horse would eat, we have to pass.
18 This Veiled Ensemble
Look, when it’s your wedding day, you should be able to wear whatever you want, so long as it makes you feel beautiful. You can’t please everyone, and you shouldn’t try to on a day that’s all about you and the love of your life.
With that being said, we beg you, don’t wear this! From the Kaviar Gauche 2012 runway, this barely-there “wedding dress” would look more at home on the set of a film than walking down the aisle.
17 This Fruit Fiasco
Some people wear their hearts on their sleeve, and some people dress like a giant pineapple when they decided to tie the knot – to each their own! At the 2011 Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, Russian designer Venera Kazarova unveiled this look that no bride in her right mind would want to wear on her big day!
And, as if this weren’t ugly enough, Kazarova even had a flower girl dress made in the same style! Misery loves company, right?
16 This Walking Canopy
Weddings can be stressful. Sometimes you just need to take a moment to collect yourself, catch your breath, and remember that you’re doing this for love. And, what better way to do all that than don a wedding dress with your very own private canopy?
The dress itself – all designed by Yumi Karsura – isn’t anything great either, looking more like fish scales all the way down an unflattering cut. No wonder the model looks so sour – who can blame her when she’s strutting down the runway looking like that?
15 This Junk Drawer Find
Wedding gowns can be crazy expensive and, if you’re not willing to splash out a ton of cash on something you’re only going to wear once, why not just cobble something together out of the random stuff you have lying around your house like this designer did?
The scrunched skirt looks like curtains while the bodice appears to have been decorated with computer mice or novelty-sized candy, and the whole thing looks an absolute mess. In all honesty, it reminds us of a Pinterest fail, except this is one that definitely shouldn’t have made it to the runway.
14 This Gargantuan Headpiece
Many brides like an air of mystery or whimsy when it comes to dressing for their big day, and, for some, that means donning a gigantic hat that obscures not only your own vision but everyone else’s view of your face!
Designed by Chanel, we kind of like the skirt, with its multitude of differently-sized flowers, but, coupled with the long, fingerless gloves and boxy shirt, there’s just no way this could go from the catwalk to the wedding aisle. Plus, we just can’t get past the hat.
13 This Sheer Shocker
Well, that’s one way to ensure that you have a memorable wedding! Going sheer was the choice of designers Kauffeld & Jahn Couture in 2014 but we doubt it’ll be at the top of the list for many brides.
While many brides-to-be like the idea of being stunning on their wedding day, this is taking things a step too far and would have most struggling to maintain eye contact! We suppose the skirt is modest enough to balance things out, though.
12 This Wild West Woe
Let’s look past the 1980s eye makeup under the knowledge that this is a runway show, and thus hair and makeup is usually quite exaggerated or stylized, and focus all on the dress. Resembling a saloon girl from the Wild West thanks to the ruffled skirt and studded bodice, this gown is all sorts of unflattering, even on a runway model! A drooping neckline, taupe accents, and strange neck embellishments tell us that this look should’ve stayed in an 1800s bar.
11 This Split Personality
There are high-low hems on wedding dresses, which are very trendy and great for showing your gorgeous wedding shoes, and then there’s this dress, which tries to offer the best of a frothy mini-dress and a more traditional ball gown – and fails miserably at both.
Peplums were designed with the idea of creating an hourglass silhouette with a nipped-in waist and exaggerated hip, but this inner tube look just doesn’t do it for us (and the model doesn’t look too thrilled either).
10 This High-Necked Dress Fit For A Vampire
If you’d prefer a more modest look when it comes to your special day, may we suggest this high-necked choice that wouldn’t look totally out of place at the most recent Met Gala?
Designed by Yumi Katsura back in 2005, this gown could have worked in an haute couture scenario for the highly dramatic, but for tying the knot? Probably not. With the fringe, the lace cape, and the column gown underneath it all, it’s a lot of fabric that doesn’t exactly accommodate enjoying yourself on your big day!
9 This Bird-Like Getup
Wait a second – isn’t this what Natalie Portman had to wear in Black Swan? Now, we’re not opposed to the skirt, and we can even get on board with the sheer bodice with all its feather details. However, we’re taking the entire look into account, and we just can’t agree with the headpiece of the giant, facial silhouette bolero! (Or at least, we think that’s closest to what we can call it.) Designed by Gianni Molaro, this bridal look has us sneezing through our computer screen!
8 This Strappy Pearl Bodice
Another entry into the sheer wedding dress trend, we have this concoction from Valentin Yudashkin. It would take an amazing figure to be able to pull this look off but, even if you could do it, should you? We kind of like the tiered ruffles of the skirt, with a mixture of silk and chiffon, but the haphazard jewelry of the bodice is where our approval stops short. If you’re hoping for a wardrobe malfunction with this dress, you can almost guarantee it’ll happen! And, with so many smartphones available, you can bet someone will capture it for posterity!
7 This Hippy Haute Couture
Bridal boot camps, “shedding for the wedding”, detox diets – brides-to-be do them all in order to look and feel their best on their big day. However, if you’re feeling dissatisfied with your figure, you can always try on this dress and feel better!
Like an inner tube circling your hips of what is otherwise a fairly simple (if boring) strapless white dress, this design from Delphine Manivet at least allows for the bride to lift the gown up easily over her head!
6 This Tissue Box Inspired Piece
Many brides dream of being a fairy princess on their wedding day. Layers of chiffon and tulle and lace create images of a bride floating down the aisle, delicate and graceful, ethereal in all her glory.
This dress is what happens when you try for that but end up looking like you tied a bunch of Kleenex together instead.
With no discernible shape or silhouette in sight, this dress at least offers the benefit of movement. Now, if only it didn’t look like it was about to dissolve at a moment’s notice!
5 This Sad Cupcake
Scrolling down this photo, it looks like a pretty standard wedding dress – until you get to the last foot, that is. It’s not very exciting, in an ivory color, with a beaded, off-the-shoulder bodice that goes down past the hips, and a taffeta ball gown. But it’s that last foot that turns this dress from “meh” to “ick”.
Why designer Ines Di Santo decided to create this deflated cupcake of a skirt for the Fall Bridal Collection show in 2014 is anyone’s guess, we just hope it doesn’t get repeated.
4 This ‘80s Homage
Another travesty against the good people in hair and makeup, we can almost forgive the Technicolor application this time, because it so fits the 1980s Barbie vibe that this dress is giving off! Another entrant at the Fundacion Universitaria Del Area Andina show in 2011 (alongside the Wild West girl, above), this dress looks more suited to a throwback night at a club that getting married. Also, is it just us, or does the skirt look like it’s been decorated with gum wrappers?
3 This Balloon Blow-Up
We have to give points for creativity here. After all, it’s definitely impressive that a wedding dress was made entirely out of balloons – bouquet and all! While it’s likely not a very comfortable dress, on account of being made of balloons, it’s also not the most aesthetically pleasing, either.
We can appreciate quality craftsmanship as much as the next person, but there’s just something about those balloon accents that reminds us of, well, worms, which isn’t the image you probably want called to mind when you’re walking down the aisle.
2 This Extra Face Netting & Cape
In an old Hollywood, high glam sort of way, we like this dress. Sure, it doesn’t exactly fit the model, but we like the clean lines, sweetheart neckline, and dripping embellishments. Unfortunately, designer Yumi Katsura went a little too costumey in her reworking of 1940s vintage glam, with the face netting and the fur cape. That fur cape might be a warm idea if you’re having a winter wedding but, combined with giant gnarled flowers and a floor-length hem, and we have given this look the thumbs down.
1 This Giant Flower & Top Hat Ensemble
For a fancy summer BBQ or a hostess job at an expensive restaurant, this romper with a giant flower on the front could be a cute look (if you remove the tiny top hat in both situations, of course). When it comes to a wedding, though, this looks a little too childish and cutesy for such a big undertaking.
Unveiled at China Fashion Week for Spring/Summer 2012, we can’t imagine any self-respecting bride actually attempting this look in front of in-laws – although we’d be dying to see what the rest of their wedding party was wearing!