20 Wedding Dresses for a Fine Art Bride

Ophelia Gown by Hannah Tikkanen (Image: Simply Sweet Photography by Nomo Akisawa)

This morning we’re focusing on one of my favourite elements of a fine art wedding – the dreamiest gowns you can imagine! Because of course, you want to look like a masterpiece on your wedding day! So what IS a wedding dress for a fine art bride, exactly? Well, it’s less a specific look than a feeling: ethereal, hand crafted, unique, with beautiful fabrics and intricate details. It’s definitely not your standard wedding salon ivory ballgown, and often it isn’t white or ivory at all – colour is definitely part of the equation. Above all, a fine art dress photographs beautifully, which is another reason why you’ll often see dreamy rivers of tulle in fine art inspiration shoots. But where to find these one-off beauties? Well, there are some local designers who lean in this direction, but you could also take the leap and look to the artisan dressmakers on Etsy, which is what I have rounded up here today. Get ready for full scale swoonage. This might be our prettiest dress roundup EVER. Links in bold denote affiliate links. The cost to you remains the same, but SBB may receive a commission for any sales made.

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Cozy Protea-filled Wedding at Old Haliwell by Kristi Smith

I swear, I am always so discombobulated when it comes to seasons. For one thing, right when I’m curled up in blankets drinking hot chocolate with my dog, my Aisle Society sisters are sipping sweet tea or heading for Martha’s Vineyard, or whatever it is they do over in the States when it’s summer. And right when we start getting summer vibes, there’s tons of autumnal wedding inspiration that hits the net. And then, of course, there’s the fact that we often feature weddings months after they happen, which is why now is the time of so many cold weather weddings and cozy receptions for me, and as much as I’m a summer girl, I LOVE it. Case in point: Anzél and Jaun’s Midlands celebration, which is cold weather wedding style done oh-so-right. Rich colours (including and inspired by beautiful Proteas and complemented by classic black), long sleeves (Anzél’s lace gown is to die for, and her bridesmaids are rocking black lace in a big way!), and cozy homemade touches like rusk favours and a rustic cheese wheel cake. Leaves on the ground, love in the heart – it’s wonderful. And be sure to read the couple’s story, because they have one of the cutest ‘how we met’ stories ever! Kristi Smith took these lovely, moody pics.

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Cotton Fields Engagement Shoot

We don’t feature a lot of engagements here on SBB, but when we do, they always include a unique theme, gorgeous styling or a super cool location. Today’s e-shoot has two out of three, because Elzaan and Rikus not only picked a fabulous locale (cotton fields for days! And a citrus orchard!) but made it totally pop with their own fashion styling. We’re loving Elzaan’s embroidered floral Burberry dress (a bold choice, which totally works!) just as much as we adore Rikus’ tweed blazer and bowtie combo. Of course, what brings it all together is these wonderfully romantic pics by JCclick. I met this super nice pair of photographers recently at the TopVendor awards, and can’t wait to feature more of their work on SBB!

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Chic Autumn Wedding at Lanzerac by Wedding Concepts & MvR Film

Show me a Wedding Concepts celebration, and I’ll show you one happy bridal blogger. And when that wedding happens to take a cozy autumn style and setting and turn it into a magical, elegantly lush celebration, I’ll show you one performing the dance of joy. Helande & Christian’s wedding was just that – a seasonal soiree given the WC touch, with opulent florals on the tables, clusters of Edison bulbs and fairy lights hanging from the ceiling, and most romantic of all, a candle-lit cellar ceremony. The palette is classic autumn jewel tones, given a modern twist, and I loved that the tables also included plump grapes and vintage brass platters and candle holders alongside the protea, orchid and hydrangea arrangements, which has the effect of an old masters still life. MvR Film captured these truly lovely images of a very special day!

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Lady of the Camellias

Happy Monday friends! We have so much fab content to share this week, and we’re starting off with a beautiful fine art shoot from my friend Louise over at B.LOVED. I love stepping into Louise’s world, which has got more beautiful as the years have gone by and she’s gone from strength to strength as a stylist, and this spring-inspired shoot is a gorgeous example. With a spectacular English venue, soft fabrics, romantic details, and a beautiful corally-blush palette to match the camellias that were abundantly in bloom, and stunning photography by Kate Nielen, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate spring.

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Winter Elegance Wedding Inspiration

Time for some pretty! While we may be marching toward summer in SA (come on summer!), today’s inspiration is all about the simple pleasures of the winter months. With an outdoor setting in the beautiful Golden Gate area, a stylish bride and groom (LOVE the bride’s lace tattoo gown especially!), and simple elements that come together in the most beautiful way, it’s almost enough to make me wish the chillier months would last juuuust a little bit longer. I know many of you love the natural, minimal look, and this shoot perfectly combines those simple shapes and textures with a few of the fine art elements that I’ve been on about this month, including silk ribbon and gold cutlery, as well as a loose greenery bouquet and a simple, elegant cake. It’s a stunning combination, created by a team led by stylist Melissa Bredenkamp, and captured to perfection by Ian Odendaal Photography.

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Adorable Couple’s Boudoir

I have to admit you guys, when I heard that ‘couple’s boudoir’ was a thing, my first thought was: ick. I mean, some things should be private, right? But since then, I have to admit my mind has been changed by the classy way that photographers have captured fun, playful, intimate moments between couples. As today’s photographer, Samantha Jackson, says: “There are rules – we don’t want to get too out of hand! But overall the sessions are sexy and fun, and a reminder to couples of the steamy connection that they share.” That’s why I love this Mr and Mrs session – it’s super sweet (and beautifully captured) and, like the best kind of boudoir, is like a peek behind the scenes rather than a dodgy provocative lad’s mag shoot. It’s full of laughter and fun, and of course – love! And just wait until you read the adorable couple’s love story and how they pulled off the perfect, relaxed elopement!

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Casual, Intimate Wedding at Café Felix by Hewitt Wright Photography

I think it’s safe to say that when it comes to wedding planning, subtlety can be vastly underrated. After all, this is the world of extravagant walls of flowers, and crystal embellished gowns worth thousands of dollars. But sometimes the best weddings focus on the most important things – the setting, the food, the vibe of fun and togetherness and love; and when that’s the case, just the littlest touches can pack the biggest punch. Case in point? Ashleigh & Tim’s sweet-as-pie Riebeek West wedding, which brought together their nearest and dearest for a beautiful, heartfelt garden ceremony and then adjourned to the courtyard at Café Felix for wining, dining and dancing under the stars. Tables overflowing with greenery, and fairy lights everywhere… it’s just magical. And Hewitt Wright‘s photographs bring all of it to life for us again. Who needs a bunch of bling when you have this kind of enchantment?

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Romantic Pastel Wedding at Memoire by Genevieve Fundaro

Pink and pastels can look impossibly chic, and if you have any doubt, this beautiful, heartfelt wedding at Johannesburg’s Memoire will show you the way. From the bride’s romantic cascade of orchids bouquet to the bridesmaids in dove grey lace, from the pretty watercolour stationery to the tall arrangements of roses and hydrangea at the reception, everything is colour co-ordinated to absolute perfection. And let’s not forget the vision in white that is bride Duané – she wanted to make the kind of first impression on her groom that he’d made on her the night they met (i.e. love at first sight!) and Micah’s emotional reaction was proof that she hit the mark. I love the way these two look at each other – it’s pure love, like there’s nobody else in the room but them. So no wonder they decided to opt for a sweetheart table (dripping in blooms, obvs!) for their reception – every moment of togetherness is clearly treasured. The lovely Genevieve Fundaro captured these light-filled images of their beautiful big day.

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Dearly Beloved

I like to think all the shoots we feature on SBB are special, but today’s really is something extra. As well as being oh-so-pretty, it’s a personal tribute from stylist Kate Bell of Bells & Whistles Event Styling to her lovely grandmother, who sadly passed away earlier this year. Using flowers that reminded Kate of her grandmother’s garden, where she played as a little girl, and a pair of treasured vintage scissors as a prop, Kate drew inspiration from cherished memories of someone who really was “dearly beloved”. As well as being an utterly beautiful way of honouring someone, I think this is a lesson for brides and grooms too, because as I always say, a wedding should be a reflection of you and your story. So when you’re deciding on your wedding design, be sure to allow your imagination to run wild, dig deep into your most precious memories and keepsakes, and what you create really will be truly you. The wonderful Stella Uys took these gorgeous images!

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