Ivory vs White Wedding Dress: 6 Tips to Make Your Dress Sparkle

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Choosing a wedding dress is no small task. Maybe you think it’s as simple as pinning a few inspirations on Pinterest and then choosing from them, but there’s a lot more that goes into it — you have color, texture, shape, and details to decide on. The battle of ivory vs white wedding dress begins now!

One of the biggest questions to ask yourself is whether you want to wear an ivory wedding dress or a white wedding dress. The answer to that question lies in your style, of course, but also your skin tone, wedding colors, preferred textile, and more. A great wedding is truly all about the details!

First, let’s establish the difference between these colors so you know what you’re talking about when you go to the dress shop.

The Difference Between A Ivory and White Wedding Dress

Although you might be thinking that ivory and white are just different names for the same color, in the world of wedding fashion they are two distinct categories. Ivory refers to a slightly off-white color that strays more toward a yellow or gray tint. White refers to crisp, pure whites that look like a fresh sheet of printing paper.

When you think of ivory, you might be thinking of a lacy gown or a sleek silk dress. White is more commonly used for ball gown style dresses. But don’t fret — there are tons of textile options in both color categories. After all, it’s your special day, so you should have the exact dress you want!

It’s a good idea to think about whether you prefer ivory or white before you go to the dress shop. That way, your stylist can narrow your search and only show you dresses that you’ll love. Here are some tips for picking the right color that will make your wedding dress sparkle.

Now let’s get into the tips on picking a ivory vs white wedding dress.

1. Pick A Color That Compliments Your Skin Tone

Man and women on their wedding day.

First thing’s first: both white and ivory dresses can look absolutely breathtaking on any skin tone. Nothing is off limits — it’s all about what makes you feel beautiful. In general, it’s good to pick a color that compliments your skin tone. 

If you are very pale with pink tones in your skin, for example, you might consider leaning more toward soft ivories. These ivory dresses will make your skin pop, whereas crisp white tones may make your skin seem pink or washed out.

People with very dark skin look amazing in stark whites because it draws attention to the brightness of your skin color. You’d also look great in ivory because it draws out olive undertones, but this look has more of a dainty wedding vibe. It’s all about the style you’re going for in your wedding.

There are plenty of experts to talk to about which colors will make your skin glow on your wedding day. Make sure to ask your stylist about this after looking up pictures of brides with your skin tone.

Again — your skin can look great in any color wedding dress. It’s all about picking the feel that you want and making sure the color compliments your natural beauty.

2. Consider Your Wedding Colors

Ivory and White Wedding Dress

Another important color to consider when choosing between an ivory vs white wedding dress is what other colors you’d like to see at your wedding. While you’re looking for a dress, you probably haven’t picked out bridesmaid dresses, napkins, or flowers.

But if you know there are must-have colors for any of these details, consider them when you’re choosing your dress. If you absolutely have to have blue hydrangeas in your centerpieces, for example, consider choosing a white vs ivory dress because it will complement those cool tones.

In general, warm tones — like pink, orange, or yellow — look beautiful with ivory dresses. The yellowish tint of an ivory dress will bring these warm colors out. Super crisp white dresses with warm wedding colors look pretty, but your dress probably won’t draw a ton of attention because the other colors will seem brighter. 

Those bright whites look great with cool tones, like green or blue. The cool tones will bring out the blueish nature of a really white dress and make the dress pop even more. If you are a lover of neutral tones, a bright white dress would look amazing with any bridesmaid dress. 

Browns and tans are such a fashionable choice for weddings, and paper white wedding dresses really sparkle next to that color, though ivory dresses that are less on the side of yellow would also look great. Gray or slate details should almost always be paired with a white dress as opposed to an ivory one, which creates a totally sleek look for an upscale wedding.

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3. Match The Color To The Texture

She's wearing a Ivory Wedding Dress

While there are beautiful ivory and white dresses in every texture, it’s true that some materials just look better in one color — unless you’re going for a really specific look.

For example, if you are going for a vintage look for your wedding, an ivory dress made of silk-like material would look absolutely stunning. In any other context, though, that combination of color and textile may seem out of fashion. In general, pair silk — or other sleek materials — with white dresses. This makes for a super modern, high-fashion look.

Another rule of thumb is pairing lace with ivory. Lace and other florals look amazing in ivory because they complete the rustic, fairytale look for your wedding. If you love the outdoors and will have flowers in your hair, a lacy ivory dress will look stunning.

A few materials look great in any color, like tulle. Tulle is so common in wedding dresses, and both ivory and white dresses can make it look super special. This texture is key for any bride that wants to feel like a princess on their wedding day. 

4. Choose An Amazing Shoe

With most traditional wedding dresses reaching all the way to the floor, it’s easy to forget about the importance of shoes. But a fabulous shoe can really make your dress pop — here are the colors that go best with your pick.

For an ivory dress, a fun way to make your dress pop is by matching your shoes to your wedding colors. Since this dress already has warm tones, a pink or blush shoe won’t detract at all from the main star of the show — your beautiful dress.

If you’re picking a stark white dress, super white shoes make for a high-fashion look. However, you can also make a bright red shoe look amazing with this color dress — especially if you’re a bride with a lot of confidence.

A dark-colored shoe, like navy blue, can look lovely with a white dress but sometimes makes your feet appear comically small when paired with a really bright white dress. Keep this in mind when you’re selecting the right shoe to pair with your wedding dress.

5. Match The Vibe Of Your Venue With Your Wedding Dress

She chose a white wedding dress.

When you’re shopping for a dress, it’s important to keep the whole picture in mind — especially if you’re having a really aesthetic wedding. If you’re getting married at one of California’s gorgeous upscale wineries, for example, you might consider choosing a dress that matches the vibe.

Winery weddings are often outside, surrounded by natural colors — this really makes an ivory dress pop. When you’re surrounded by the natural warm tones of golden hour, ivory dresses truly glow and make the bride look simply angelic.

If you’re having an outdoor wedding on a patio at a venue like Charles Krug Winery in Napa County, a crisp white dress would give a sense of elegance and really elevate the vibe of your wedding. An ivory dress would also fit in great here, especially if you’re after a more rustic, farmhouse feel.

6. Trust The Experts On A Ivory vs White Wedding Dress

No matter what dress you choose, your event planner can help you make sure everything matches perfectly. If the dress is most important to you, pick ivory or white first, and then you can plan the rest of your wedding details around your perfect dress.

It’s important to trust the experts when you’re picking a dress. Stylists ar0e not there just to make you happy at the moment of purchase — they want you to look your best on your wedding day. They are experts in color and fashion, so make sure to remain open to their advice about what works best for your wedding, from style and cut to the color of your dress.

Whether you end up in ivory, white, or a non-traditional pop of color, you’ll look amazing on your wedding day. Picking out a dress is just one small step in this exciting journey to the big day. We can’t wait to see what you choose!

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