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Forget princess wedding gowns — dressing like a Disney villain could be the next big bridal trend

Amanda Krause   

Forget princess wedding gowns — dressing like a Disney villain could be the next big bridal trend
  • Alabama-based bridal stylist Lillie Dawson has gone viral for creating princess wedding looks.
  • But she told Insider more brides seem to prefer villain-esque dresses these days.

Ball gowns, tiaras, and other princess-esque pieces have long been staples of bridal fashion. After all, who doesn't want to look like Disney royalty on their big day?

According to bridal stylist Lillie Dawson, there are actually lots of brides who don't.

The 24-year-old from Alabama told Insider that while princess looks still have an audience, many brides she works with are trying to find gowns that give off the strong, darker energy of characters like Maleficent and Ursula.

@lillieanndawson #disneyvillains #disney #disneyweddings #weddingtiktok ♬ Once Upon a Dream (Theme from Maleficent) - Anya Del Prete

You might recognize Dawson from TikTok, where she regularly shares videos of themed bridal looks she creates, from Barbie-esque dresses to gowns for every zodiac sign.

Her princess-themed videos, in particular, have skyrocketed on the platform — one has reached over 63.8 million views as of Tuesday — but she said the brides who "are bringing in screenshots" of her villain videos have encouraged her to start stocking darker, sexier gowns at Bella's Bridal, the boutique she works at.

"I'm constantly trying to get more black dresses in the store, more dark greens, dark blues — everything fun," she said.

Why brides are shifting to the dark side

Wedding trends could be influencing brides to look for less traditional gowns. Dawson said she's noticed an uptick in themed receptions, darker color schemes, and reversed dress codes, where brides wear black and guests wear white.

But she also thinks the change is cultural.

"It almost feels like brides are remembering that young, princess innocence you feel at a young age when you think about your wedding, but then realize we've gotten older, gone through life, and dealt with heartbreak and hardships," she said. "We've become women now, so we're gonna be the sexy, dark villains."

@lillieanndawson #CapCut Black corset top ball gowns for the win #weddingtiktok #weddingdress #wedding #dress #bride #blackweddingdress ♬ original sound - Stan :)

How to find the villain-esque dress of your dreams

Dawson knows that choosing a darker, sexier dress isn't always easy — even for the most enthusiastic brides. So she recommends starting slow.

"I have some brides that go full dark with black lace on top and a black lining underneath," she said. "But if you're just not there yet, start by trying on a black dress that has a nude, white, or blush underlay to balance out that darkness on top."

There's also a specific dress that can help you get a good sense of whether or not the trend is for you.

"We have the Zander dress from Maggie Sottero, which is one that I pull for all of my brides who want to start exploring dark wedding gowns," she said. "It's a beautiful black dress, and it has this nude underlay that breaks up the black lace. It allows you to put your feet in the water and see if you really like that look."

Dawson said it's important to remember that your wedding day is for you, and your dress should be something you love.

"Weddings are a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and you're allowed to lean into your princess, poofy feminine side," she said. "But you're also allowed to lean into your dark, feminine energy and your villain side."

"I just want brides to enjoy that feeling, whether they wanna look like a princess or feel super sexy like a villain," she added. "Just take that attention, because you deserve it."

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