Wedding dresses


I was web surfing for a formal gown for an upcoming event, and was on a wedding shop site looking at bridesmaid type dresses when I noticed the wedding dress categories - destination, formal, casual, and then two categories I hadn’t thought about - temple ready, and modest.

It got me thinking. I’ve never been to a Catholic wedding, but are there requirements for how ‘covered up’ the bride should be? I mean, can she go strapless? or spaghetti strap? or does she have to cover up in the ceremony and then can take off the jacket or whatever?

Just curious, hadn’t thought about it before…:slight_smile:


We’re supposed to dress modestly so that would mean no bustier type bodices or spaghetti straps. But, for every bride who gets a modest dress there is one who will not. Sometimes you just have to shake your head and say “What WAS she thinking?”

FWIW, even Miss Manners in her column about wedding etiquette says (paraphrasing) the gown should be modest for the church, what you take off for the reception is your business. "One is not showing oneself off to society at that point but entering into one of its most cherished states.’’


Well, I know I’ve seen some pretty “interesting” ideas about what’s appropriate, but I just wondered about Catholic weddings in particular. I’d heard that the shoulders have to be covered, so that would make halter styles difficult I should think,

So is it up to the Priests advice? or up to the bride? Does it vary by church?

Just curious…


Most parishes will tell you no strapless or other restrictions. I know my priest asked me about my dress and if I was planning on wearing a hat, veil or what. I really think that this should be done by a female who understands fashion and knows what the termes like empire, princess waist, etc mean.


Wow, I didn’t even think about the headgear question - is that a factor as well!?


Despite the Church’s guidelines on modesty, we see strapless gowns all the time around here, even at the Cathedral. This is a college town, so maybe they are a bit more lax about the rules, I don’t know. The parish priest would have the final say. Back in my day, we had a little jacket or cape-type thing to wear over our sleeveless gowns for church, which we were free to remove at the reception if we so desired. But that was 30 years ago…sigh. I haven’t asked, but I go to the most traditional parish in town (we have TLM every Sunday), and I’ll bet Father wouldn’t allow bare shoulders in our church. :eek: That’s fine by me; I am soooo sick of seeing all of that skin…and the assortment of tattoos which are exposed by those immodest gowns! But I’m just an old fogey… :wink:


Some parishes require shoulders to be covered. Actually it depends on the priest- we go through a lot of priests and some have said yes, others no. I think I asked when we had our initial interview but that was 2 priests ago! I ended up getting a strapless even though I’m not normally a fan, so I hope come May 31 whoever the priest is is okay with it…I have a long veil anyway :shrug:


When I got married in 2003, my parish allowed strapless. My dress was strapless, but I had a bolero jacket made to match the gown. My shoulders would’ve been covered by my veil, but I still didn’t feel comfortable without a jacket.


It was for me because I had children… it is not appropriate for a woman who has had children to wear a big veil and white dress which are usually reserved for virgins… I wore an ivory gown (no train) with flowers in my hair.


Well, I sure hope we’re allowed to wear strapless because my dress is strapless, wedding is 2 months away and the priest never mentioned anything to me…
I thought I would want something with straps but all of them looked awkward on me.


I went to the wedding of a very serious Catholic couple where the bride was so pretty. She wore a beautiful big white dress with no straps … so her shoulders were bare and so were her arms. The front of the dress was rounding over the chest. I never ever thought of her as being unmodest although only her veil covered her arms and shoulders, for I know the heart of these people and I dont believe any one in the gathering saw her as anything but fantastically beautiful on the occasion.
The wedding was not very big… we all knew them well and love them.
Actually I helped her pick the dress she most liked, although I would prefer a different style myself with some kind of sleeve.

In my world view this is very true: For those who are pure all things are pure.
Do I think Jesus thinks she looked beautiful? Absolutely… and I think He was happy for this couple on their wedding day and celebrating with us even though we could not see Him :slight_smile:


Big congratulations on your up-coming wedding dear sister in Jesus :thumbsup:


If I am ever so blessed that God deigns that I marry a man I will wear a big beautiful WHITE princess-dress on my wedding day…

You see, I believe in Jesus. He says: “See the old is no more, something new has begun”.
I am happy that I believe in the cleansing Blood of Christ so that I, in spite of some falls in my past on the sexual area, can wear a white dress, a crown on my head and flowers in hair a weil on that day.

If some other Christian lady because of falls in her past such as fornication, pride, gossip, disrespect of her parents, violence or theft … does not feel worthy to wear a white dress on her wedding day I would tell her: God has abandoned your sin and restored you… when the Father looks at you He sees Christ. You are a chosen one, a daughter of the most high… Dont let yourself be hung up in old grief, but wear the most pretty white dress you can find and celebrate the Cross and the Lamb of the Blood on your wedding day, just like on any other day in your life.

God is a good God and poweful to make all things new.


WOW, since when were tattoos a symbol of a lack of faith? They shouldn’t be seen at church? If I followed your line of thinking I would only be able to go to church in winter, in a long sleeved turtle-neck. :smiley:

I know you disclaimed you’re just an “old fogey” but seriously, tattoos are so main-stream now, might as well get used to seeing them, everywhere, not just at church. Hope you won’t judge faith by it though, because a tattoo, in my mind and heart – does not separate one from God.:thumbsup:


Get a stole or something pretty to wear over your shoulders for the Mass. My dress was a high-cut strapless- no cleavage, high back coverage- with optional spaghetti straps (which I wore until I caught and snapped one at the reception), but it came with a pretty stole trimmed with the same beading that was on the dress. I wore that over my shoulders in the church. I let my bridesmaids choose the dress, and they chose a spaghetti-strap model, but their dress also came with matching stoles so again, problem solved.


The thing is priests tend to assume that brides will know how to dress properly for Mass. Ball gowns aren’t church wear – but that seems lost on many brides. It’s no more proper for brides to wear stapless gowns than it is for any other woman to wear stapless dresses to Mass. A wedding doesn’t trump modesty rules for church.


Fear not, I don’t judge faith by externals. I am talking aesthetics here; I couldn’t give a rat’s patootie about what someone chooses to have permanently placed on their flesh as long as they go about it in a sanitary manner and don’t wind up with hepatitis or HIV. I am a former trauma nurse and believe me, I have seen tattoos and piercings on **all **parts of the body. (And yes, I do know what a “Prince Albert” is). It’s not that I am not “used” to seeing tats, I’m just over it. To my aging eyes, it just seems a bit odd to see brides and their maids up there in their glamorous formal wear with a pair of Rolling Stone lips or heaven-knows-what-else on their shoulder. Anybody ever heard of Dermablend (heavy-duty cover-up cream)? If I were 25 years younger, I’d go to medical school, specialize in dermatology, and open a tattoo-removal practice, because I am already seeing hordes of people in middle-age who got tats when they were younger, who are now saying to themselves, “What was I thinking???” It would be a great job: no nights, weekends, or holidays, no overnight call, and I’d make money hand over fist! :wink:


Same here, except mine was halter, and I didn’t feel it was appropriate to wear it without the jacket for the wedding ceremony (took it off for the reception afterwards :slight_smile: ).

Here’s the pic of my dress w/ jacket:


I know that the priest at my parish always asks that shoulders are covered and that the dresses are modest. One of my good friends wore a beautiful shawl with her strapless wedding dress. It seems like most of the dresses out there are strapless.


The cathedral where we’re getting married says no strapless dresses for bride or bridesmaids “officially,” but when I talked to the wedding coordinator he said that as long as my veil covers my shoulders with a strapless dress, it’s OK. The FSSP Oratory in town has the exact same rule…

My wedding dress shopping experience taught me how it is basically impossible to find any dress with sleeves that is going to be as flattering on as many women as a strapless dress. Besides, something like 80-90% of wedding dresses on the market *are *strapless. It’s pretty darn hard to find non-strapless ones! And when I did find them to try on, even my mother agreed that they were awful enough to put aside (and she’s one of those who would never let me out of the house to a dance in a spaghetti-strap dress).

So it’s not as easy as you’d think to pull off those ‘temple-ready’ styles. Adding sleeves, a wrap, or a jacket or shrug seem to be the best bet for most brides/bridal parties.

I’d describe my dress in more detail, but FH lurks on CAF too much! :thumbsup:

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