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Why the mini dress is 2019's ultimate alternative wedding gown

Charlotte Casiraghi wedding dress 
Charlotte Casiraghi opted for a Saint Laurent minidress for the second dress she wore on her wedding day earlier this month Credit: ERIC MATHON / PALAIS PRINCIER

‘Tis the season when our Instagram feeds get flooded with brides in sleek column gowns, princess skirts and cathedral-length trains. And while those looks will never date, Charlotte Casiraghi’s choice of a silver minidress for her wedding in Monaco a couple of weeks ago made for a refreshing change.

Grace Kelly’s granddaughter, 32, wed film producer Dimitri Rassam, 37, in a civil service at Monaco’s Prince’s Palace in a guipure lace shift embellished with bows, and coordinating silver satin and crystal heels, both by Anthony Vaccarello for Saint Laurent. It was a look that was both romantic and fun, reminding us that when it comes to bridal style, traditional ‘rules’ are made to be broken.

Of course, Charlotte isn’t the first to marry in a short dress - the mini has been embraced by stylish brides since the 1960s, including Yoko Ono, Raquel Welch and Mia Farrow. Cindy Crawford wore a mini slip when she wed Rande Gerber on a beach in the Bahamas in 1998 and Nancy Shevell wore a custom Stella McCartney dress that fell just above the knee to marry Sir Paul McCartney in 2011.

Cindy Crawford wore a mini John Galliano slip dress in 1998 when she married Rande Gerber  Credit: AP

Nor is Charlotte the first to do away with the colour white, a traditional symbol of virginity, though most modern brides are anything but. Elizabeth Taylor wore yellow chiffon to marry Richard Burton in 1964 and Cilla Black wore red velvet when she wed Bobby Willis in 1969. More recently, Lara Stone served up inspiration for unconventional brides everywhere in gold strapless Givenchy for the afterparty of her 2010 wedding to David Walliams. Both she and Casiraghi are proof that metallics are a guaranteed way to shine on your wedding day.

The best thing about choosing a non-traditional wedding dress though, is that you’re not limited to traditional bridal brands. Instead, consider investing that typical wedding dress budget into a designer piece that will not only serve you well on your wedding day, but on special occasions in the future too, driving down that cost-per-wear ratio. Valentino, Elie Saab and Giambattista Valli all create the kind of standout eveningwear that would work well as a wedding day look, as would the signature silhouette of a Vampire’s Wife dress or the flirtiness of a Zimmermann design.

Nor do you even need to spend close to a four-figure sum. Brides on a tighter budget should look to contemporary brands such as Self-Portrait, Acler and Needle & Thread, where luxe details like lace and embroidery make each piece look far more expensive than their price tags, which average around £300.

Lara Stone wore a gold Givenchy mini dress in 2010 when she married David Walliams Credit: PA

There are a few things to consider when wearing a mini that aren’t necessary with a longer gown, and the first is your legs: a little fake tan can go a long way in making them look more flawless and toned. Ask your makeup artist to apply a little body foundation if there are any imperfections you’re concerned about.

With a short dress, your shoes will also draw a lot of focus - a classic high-heeled court or strappy sandal will elongate the leg and go with almost anything, though a crystal-embellished shoe or ankle boot would make for a more fun, fashion-led statement.

For a wedding in this country, where the weather can be unpredictable, sleeves are a good idea, plus it helps to balance the high hemline with a little coverage at the neck or arms. Beach brides can get away with a more relaxed look - whether it’s a simple silk slip like Cindy Crawford, or a cool cotton- or linen-blend frock - add drama and balance proportions with a ruffle or volume in the skirt or sleeves.

Audrey Hepburn opted for a long sleeved, funnel-necked mini dress by Hubert de Givenchy for her wedding to Dr Andrea Dotti in 1969 Credit: AP

Whatever the setting, the mini wedding dress is more versatile, fun, and yes, classic, than many traditionalists could even imagine. The right piece will stand the test of time in wedding photos - and Instagram - as well as becoming a wardrobe hero for years to come.

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Would you wear a mini dress at your wedding? Or is a full-length gown the only way to go? We want to hear from you in the comments section below.