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Fairytale Wedding Dress
A gown as lovely as one made by a Fairy Godmother.

A fancy wedding dress with an old-fashioned style of skirt, usually full length and bell-shaped, and plenty of trimmings such as pearls, flowers, lace, Giant Poofy Sleeves, a Giant Waist Ribbon, a long train, a large veil, etc. After all, what's a Wedding Day without some Costume Porn? And since Tropes Are Flexible, even a Simple Yet Opulent dress can work.

The main reason for such dresses (and perhaps the key to this trope over any other wedding dress) is the notion that many women like to "feel like a Princess" on their wedding (even if she is already royalty), and wearing such a dress is at least one way to carry out that wish. She's probably had this desire ever since she was a small child in her Princess Phase. Back then she probably had everything planned out, except for who the groom was, maybe.

And this kind of dress is Truth in Television, as any Bridal Magazine will show loads of these, at least as much as the modest and sensible dresses.

Sometimes it doesn't even have to be worn at a wedding. It can show up in a bridal Fashion Show, or be one of several dresses a character tries on for her wedding (often a dress that she turns down due to either cost or it genuinely not being the kind of dress she wants).

When it is a wedding, this tends to be worn by younger women. Older women are usually seen as not being so naive about how wedding should go (even if they aren't above romance).

Now as the name indicates, this dress is likely to show up at the end of some Fairy Tales, or at least modern works of them. (Genuine folk fairy tales tend to skip over the satorial details to lavish attention on the villain's horrific death. Illustrated versions may show it, though.)

It isn't immune to being Impossibly Tacky Clothes if either the bride has little taste or she is forced to wear such a dress. It also isn't immune from being Doomed New Clothes or a Blood-Splattered Wedding Dress, unless it's a live action work and the dress is too expensive to wreck.

Name comes from the term "fairytale wedding", which is meant to evoke old-fashioned grandeur and elegance (look for the newlyweds to leave in a horse drawn carriage), which includes the dress, and is quite popular in Weddings in Japan.

A Sub-Trope of Pimped-Out Dress, Woman in White (most of the time).

Compare Virgin in a White Dress, Happy Holidays Dress, Elegant Gothic Lolita, Little Black Dress, Pink Means Feminine.

NOTE: Since this involves weddings, some of these entries will be spoilers. You Have Been Warned.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Princess Martina's dress at the end of Slayers Next.
  • The Love Angel dresses in Wedding Peach, as well a most of the actual wedding dresses.
  • An wedding themed episode of Sailor Moon featured lots of these.
    • In the final chapter of the manga, Usagi finally wears one for her wedding to Mamoru.
  • A couple of dresses in Love Hina, including Naru's when she marries Keitaro.
  • A potential dress for the princess in Voltron/Go Lion is made, and then modeled, although the series ends before she even gets engaged.
  • Clarice's wedding dress in Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro. Former princess Sayako of Japan (who gave up her title to marry a commoner) liked it so much that she had a real-world one made for her wedding dress.
  • In the Toei anime of Yu-Gi-Oh!: Honda fantasizes about marrying Miho, with her wearing one of these.
  • In Kuragehime, while watching jellyfish at the aquarium, Tsukimi's mother promised to make her a wedding dress just like that, fit for a princess. Though she then said, "Or is it weird that jellyfish remind me of princesses?"
  • In Episode 3 of Cutie Honey Flash there are four such wedding dresses that the episode plot revolves around.
  • In Rosario + Vampire Kahlua Shuzen's dress is similar to something bride would wear on her wedding(except maybe the boots and the slit}.
  • In Mirai Nikki, Yuki and Yuno go to a marriage simulation place, and in their "wedding photo" Yuno is wearing one of these.

    Comic Books 
  • Jean Grey's wedding dress in X-Men has a gorgeous but unconventional mermaid style and a white hooded cape instead of a veil.
  • One appears in Superman: The Wedding Album. However while Ellen Lane thinks it looks wonderful, Lois herself absolutely loathes it. It isn't the dress she wears for the actual wedding.
  • Brittany's wedding dress malfunction in Gold Digger. As a were-cheetah, she planned to marry in her lovely, spotted, eight-foot-tall furry form. The dressmaker, apparently never having seen Brittany, sized the dress for human proportions instead, somehow overlooking fitting sessions or phone verifications. Her barbarian grandmother literally forged her a proper Barbarian-tribe substitute dress: traditional Valkyrie-ish armor. Just when it looked as though Brittany would actually have to wear that, her arch-mage dad conjured a magical wedding dress out of a dream: perfect in every way. She was, of course, overjoyed.
  • Being a book about modelling, Katy Keene has a number of them.

    Film 

    Literature 
  • At the end of A Brother's Price Jerin Whistler is married wearing a walking robe - basically a dress that men of his world wear when not in kilts or trousers - of white silk and seed pearls, with a cloak so long it almost brushes the ground.

    Live Action TV 
  • Mimi's dress in The Drew Carey Show, although it still had touches of her fashion eccentricities. Also, Kate had a couple.
  • Alice Tinker's wedding dress in The Vicar of Dibley episode "Love & Marriage", although being Alice it has a few unique additions of her own, such as a headpiece that looks like a glass sculpture with hearts hanging from it, fairy lights, and an illuminated bodice reading "I Love Hugo".
  • One of the minor characters on The John Larroquette Show got married, and his wife wanted a literal fairytale wedding, with her and the bridesmaids in Cinderella-esque gowns.
  • Amy and Donna's dresses when they get married in Doctor Who.
  • Darlene's wedding dress in Roseanne. Originally her grandmother Bev's, its old-fashioned look fit in nicely with Darlene's goth style.
  • Phoebe's wedding dresses in Charmed fits this, since her romance ideas came from "Cinderella", it fits.
  • Worn as part of a Fashion Show in Gia, with a huge white fox muff that had a bouquet attached. She even tossed the muff when she got to the end of the runway.
  • In Daddy's Daughters, Dasha wears one to her wedding, making it the first time she has worn white.
  • Many dresses featured on Say Yes to the Dress.
  • As mentioned below in the real life section, this is often (but not always) the case with weddings in the Traveller and Romany Gypsy Communities, to the extent there is a Reality Television show about it: My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.
    • This is, however, contested by many within the Traveller and Romany Gypsy communities who state that the prevalence of these dresses is overexaggerated greatly, mainly by Thelma Madine the (non-traveller) woman who creates them and makes a lot of money from them.
  • Guinevere's coronation gown in Merlin. It's unclear whether her coronation doubles as her wedding, but it's still a pimped-out frock and it still involves a ceremony that signifies her marriage to a man.
  • In the Four Weddings episode "And a Shark Tank", Celeste wears a dress with a bunched and puffed overskirt that can be removed to show a short feather skirt an elaborate handmade bodice with leaf-like decorations, and a white rabbit wrap (with two puffballs) over the dress.
  • Several in Friends.
  • Grace tries one on in Will and Grace, but settles for something more understated and fashionable for her own wedding.
  • Despite the unflattering focus on the brides in Bridezillas those women still often get very pretty gowns.

    Music 

    Theatre 
  • Christine wears a gorgeously ornate wedding dress, complete with a train, floor-length veil, and lace spiralling up the skirt, in the final scene of The Phantom of the Opera. Unfortunately for her, though, she's only wearing it because her Stalker with a Crush the Phantom made her do so as part of his Scarpia Ultimatum, so she has rather more pressing matters on her mind than looking like a princess.

    Toys 
  • Some of Barbie's wedding outfits, but not all of them.

    Video Games 
  • In Super Paper Mario, Peach's dress when she was forced to marry Bowser, was basically a white version of her usual dress, but still was of a form that fit this trope.
  • Yuna's would-be wedding dress in Final Fantasy X counts, despite the atypical cut of the skirt. It is huge, fancy, and looks extremely expensive.
  • Ashe's dress at the beginning of Final Fantasy XII.
  • Medea's dress at the end of Dragon Quest VIII.
  • In Medieval II: Total War, the cinematic for the marriage of one of your royal family's daughters shows her entering the cathedral in one of these. The train of the dress is at least ten feet.
  • In King of Fighters 97, if you had Mai face off Andy, she'd show up in a fancy wedding dress just before the fight to tease him, then quickly change into her trademark clothing and throw the bouquet - which a deathly embarrassed Andy would hide in his clothing.

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • As noted, this is common in royal weddings.
    • The Trope Codifier was Queen Victoria, who popularized the bride wearing white, when wedding dresses before were normally just variations of typical pimped out dresses.
    • The future Queen Elizabeth II's dress.
    • Princess Diana's dress, although she hoped the moths had gotten to it.
    • Kate Middleton's dress here and here is in the "fitted princess" style. With just a fair amount of lace, it's quite a Simple Yet Opulent dress.
    • Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran, was married three times. Although his first wife, Princess Fawzia of Egypt, wore a relatively simple dress, his next two wore gowns that fit this. His second, Soraya Esfandiary-Bakhtiari, wore the most extravagant (seen here and here), with a dress loaded with trimmings of gauze and soft feathers.
    • Grace Kelly's wedding dress was designed by Oscar-winning costume designer Helen Rose, and 36 seamstresses worked on it for six weeks. Parts of the dress were made of nineteenth-century Brussels needle lace. Today, it's displayed at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
  • Céline Dion's wedding dress. Even had a matching white mink jacket to wear outside in the cold.
  • There are Hello Kitty themed weddings that includes several dresses like these. Think this is a joke? See here and here.
  • And, of course, there are wedding dresses based on Disney Princess dresses, which can be viewed here. The dresses aren't necessarily based on what the girls wear in their movies, but capture their look and feel. Yet some forgo the traditional bell shape (the one for Ariel is obviously mermaid-style, for instance), but still fit this trope otherwise.
  • Many wealthier Irish Travellers are notorious for having lavish weddings with large, poofy gowns. (See examples here, here, and here.


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