Gothic weddingThe word “gothic” often invokes images of a macabre nature. Backgrounds of cemeteries, Tim Burton movies, clothing draped in black lace, spider webs, and Anne Rice novels. Weddings, however, are usually known for roses and white wedding dresses.

But why not mix gothic and traditional wedding aesthetics to create a unique look? It doesn’t have to be Halloween to enjoy your dark side. Gothic influences can be pulled from works of literature by authors including Edgar Allan Poe, the Brontë sisters, and Charles Dickens. These stories are full of dark corners, bleak houses, spirits, and the classic creaking floorboards. Here are some ideas for an awe-inspiring gothic couture wedding.

Victorian Inspiration

The Victorian gothic novel touches on science and characters like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. During the Victorian era, 1830 to 1901, aptly named for Queen Victoria, gives the fashion world the high necklines, lace, and pagoda sleeves. These sleeves begin narrow where they attach to the shoulder and then fan out into larger, bell-bottom-shaped sleeve. A lace-covered wedding gown with these features in any color display the Victorian influence.

Your wedding dress can be, for example, white underlay with French black lace on top. Corsets give the dress the hourglass shape, which can be incorporated under or even as a bodice on top of the dress. To give your dress the true Victorian look, you can add a bustle to the back.

Bustles were typically made from wire and padding to give the back of the dress more of a shape. If you can sew, creating your own one-of-a-kind dress can display the style and color scheme you desire. This option can also save you a few bucks because custom dresses can be pricey.

Bridal Party

Your bridal party consists of your closest friends and family. What they wear should be aesthetically beautiful and complement you, the bride. You can go sophisticated and simple with, for example, black prom dresses. You can easily add Victorian gothic flair such as period-inspired chokers.

A popular accessory of the time was the cameo or oval-shaped jewelry that displayed the profile of a woman. To add a gothic touch, you can purchase ones with skeleton silhouettes. Ankle-height boots were the typical footwear in the 1880s. Today, you can get them for yourself and bridal party. These can come in white and black with buttons on the side or back, or black with crimson or purple underlay.  

The Main Event

Floral arrangements can be found in a rainbow of color including darker shades. While flowers don’t grow in a true black hue, you can find ones in dark purples, blues, and browns. If you wish for a solid black color, you can spray-paint real or fake flowers.

Perfectly named flowers for your dark-side wedding are hellebore or the bat orchid, also known as devil flower. Chocolate cosmos, with their maroon hue, can make a nice addition to your bouquet. Add pops of colors such has bright yellow tulips or pink gerbera daisies for a fun contrast.


The wedding cake is a blank slate to play with. You may like the look of traditional three-tiered with a spooky display of a skeletal bride and groom on top. If you also like bright colors, edible Day of the Dead sugar skulls can be placed on the cake and integrated in the decor. You can have a small cake for the married couple and add a softer color like lavender or mauve frosting on cupcakes for the guests. Cupcakes can be a refreshing twist from the normalcy of a wedding cake.