Sydney's Closet style experts put together this guide to answer all your questions about plus-size wedding dresses in tea-length.
What is a tea-length wedding dress?
To begin, it’s not your traditional bridal gown that is designed with a formal length that reaches to the floor and includes a train on the back of the skirt. Nor is it a short wedding dress that hits at or above the knee. It is actually somewhere in between those two popular styles.
What gives a tea-length dress it’s name is the length of the skirt. The hemline will generally fall below the knees to almost the middle of the calf. Of course, exactly where the hem falls depends on your height and the length of your legs.
As a general fashion guideline, the skirt is a bit longer than the knees and dips to about two or three inches above the ankles. If the style goes to your ankles it is a ballerina length.
The silhouette flatters your curves with a fitted waist that nips your body at it's narrowest point.
Dresses in tea-length certainly are all the range for brides who plan to tie the knot in 2022 and 2023. The trending look is perfect for modern couples who prefer to opt for casual more intimate ceremonies, destination weddings and even elopement.
But the nostalgic style actually isn't a new trend. The skirt came into fashion almost a century ago when women in the 1920s wore tea-length dresses to high tea, a late afternoon social event that was posh and popular.
Audrey Hepburn propelled the look into bridal fashion when she wore a tea-length wedding dress by French designer Hubert de Givenchy in the 1968 movie Funny Face.
The trend accelerated in 1954 when off screen the actress tied the knot wearing a Pierre Balmain tea-length wedding dress with a high ruffled neckline and oversized sleeves.
Ever since the timeless look has become a fashionable and popular alternative for brides having informal weddings who want a retro look.
Who Can Wear a Tea Length Wedding Dress?
The answer is any bride! This polished and elegant design flatters brides of all ages and all types of bodies, including plus size.
Older brides tying the knot for the first time, second or third time adore the vintage vibe of this style. Younger brides love the flirty, fun look.
It’s hard to resist the charm of a tea-length dress on your wedding day. No wonder! The elegant design is a refreshing fashion alternative to the predictable floor-length bridal gown.
The style isn’t only pretty, it is also practical. The shorter length creates comfort and coolness l that can not be matched by a long, formal - and sometimes fussy - bridal gown. Best of all, there's no need to bustle a cathedral train for dancing at the reception.
A tea-length wedding dress lets a bride keep cool for nuptials in Spring, Summer or early Fall when the weather can be hot and humid. And brides traveling to a romantic destination for their wedding, find packing a short dress so much easier than transporting a long gown on a plane or in a car.
Don’t Skirt the Issue
Depending on your choice of fabrics and accessories, the bridal look in a tea-length dress can be vintage or modern. Bring on the best of Boho with a choice of an airy crochet lace. For a nod to the past, nothing creates more nostalgia than dotted Swiss fabric on the bodice and skirt. Bridal satin delivers a minimalist look ideal for a chic, urban bride. Embroidered lace on the bodice and skirt gives your partner and guests a definite nod to your romantic side. Don’t forget girly details like bows and buttons contribute to a feminine and oh-so pretty aesthetic.
Looking to capture the retro vibe reminiscent of swing skirts that were all the rage in the 1950s. Shop for a full skirt designed with layers of crinoline sewn under the top layer of fabric. The petticoat creates a full skirt that is fun and flirty and reflects your free spirit.
How to Style a Plus Size Tea-length Wedding Dress
When it comes to wearing a tea-length, it’s best to keep your bridal accessories simple and scaled to the dress. Your fashion goal is to balance the proportions of the dress to the scale of the accessories.
- Shoes: for a head-to-toe polished look, pick a pair of high heels or pumps. They'll make your legs look longer and more slender, especially if you are petite. An elegant pair of flats can also finish the charming and polished look.
- Veil: opt for a shorter veil that is proportionate to the dress length. Or underscore the throwback aesthetic with a birdcage veil that partially covers your face. For a simple but striking touch, consider hair jewelry.
- Gloves: if your dress is sleeveless, lace or satin gloves make an ultra feminine and nostalgic accessory. Fishnet gloves make a major contribution to a vintage vibe on your wedding day. Avoid gloves longer than your wrist. They will look too formal with your dress.
- Belt: wearing a plain satin dress? Bling it up with a beaded belt. Be sure to scale down the sparkle to a minimum so you don’t over power your look.
More Style Than Down the Aisle
Don’t wait to walk down the aisle to wear a white or ivory dress in a tea length. The style makes a magical choice for a bachelorette party, rehearsal dinner, wedding shower, reception or honeymoon.