A staple of Gothic Horror, ghosts in wedding dresses are common sighting both in fiction and Real Life accounts. Often they are the ghosts of women who have died on their Wedding Day, forever haunting wherever they died without the satisfaction of saying her vows and consummating the union.
The idea is not just applied to disembodied spirits. Zombies and vampires are also likely to wear them, often stained with gore to emphasize the blasphemy of such unholy abominations wearing clothes meant for a sacred occasion.
Sub-Trope of Incongruously Dressed Zombie, Jacob Marley Apparel and Ethereal White Dress. May be the result of being Widowed at the Wedding. There is some overlap with Blood-Splattered Wedding Dress , though not as much as one might think. If purposefully invoked for real weddings, see Themed Wedding. See also Cute Ghost Girl and Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl.
- Emily is the titular character of Corpse Bride, having been murdered by the man she tried to elope with. Now a zombie woman dwelling in the Land of the Dead, she awaited the day when she would finally be married. This is eventually fulfilled by the main protagonist Victor, who placed a ring on her skeletal hand confusing it for a branch as he practiced his wedding vows, kicking the plot off.
- In Insidious, it is revealed that Josh Lambert possesses the same ability to enter The Further, a dark netherworld home to various restless spirits and demons, that his son Dalton has. It is explained that as a child, he was the target of a sinister apparition that took the form of an elderly woman wearing a pitch-black wedding dress simply known as The Bride in Black, who intended on taking over his body. By the end of the first film, in Josh's efforts to bring Dalton back to the real world, his body winds up being possessed by the bride. In the sequel Insidious: Chapter 2, her backstory is expanded upon, revealing him to be a Creepy Crossdresser serial killer who was driven to madness by his abusive mother, his intent to possess the young Josh born from a desire to live a normal childhood.
- Lucy in Bram Stoker's Dracula, after she comes back to life as a vampire is found wearing the white dress she was buried in. Word of God claims that it was deliberately designed to evoke the design of a wedding dress, her subsequent death and vampirization occurs at the same time as when Mina and Jonathan marry in Transylvania. While Mina's wedding dress was designed to fit the Victorian standard to emphasize Mina's modesty, Lucy's costume was meant to emphasize her new lack of humanity, the lace and frills comparable to that of a clown or a lizard.
- One of the cases Encyclopedia Brown is called upon to solve is that of a man who bursts into the Brown home late at night, convinced he he has just seen the ghost of Jennifer MacIntosh while camping on the beach. A local legend has it that Jennifer's fiance was lost at sea the night before their wedding 100 years ago, and Jennifer still walks Idaville's beaches in her wedding gown, searching for his body.
- Mary Zimmerman's 2007 Metropolitan Opera production of Lucia Di Lammermoor has two examples of this trope. The first is in Act II, when Lucia sings of seeing the ghost of a young woman beckoning her: in this staging, the audience actually sees the apparition, who wears a white dress. Later, in the final scene, the ghost of Lucia herself appears in the same white dress and a wedding veil, beckoning her lover Edgardo, and finally guiding his hand as he stabs himself so they can be Together in Death.
- One of the most iconic characters from The Haunted Mansion is the Bride. Initially a nameless haunting figure who might have been a Black Widow in the earliest days, she lost the story once her partner, the Hatbox Ghost was removed, and became a lonely, mournful figure. Later on, she was replaced with Constance Hatchaway, who brought back ths black widow story in full force. Constance was a beautiful woman who sought to obtain wealth and luxury. She accomplished this by marrying several rich men, including bankers, businessmen, farmers, and barons. However, each was murdered after the wedding by the deadly bride, decapitated with a hatchet so that she could claim their inheritance. Despite her crimes, she was never punished (likely due to lack of evidence), though the public did dub her "The Black Widow Bride". After her death, her disembodied spirit was eventually relocated to the Bloodmere Manor by the Ghost Relations Department. The Paris version of the ride, Phantom Manor, instead features a more developed version of the "lonely bride" story, telling how Melanie Ravenswood lost her suitors and died unmarried. All three versions of the Bride wear their wedding garb when seen in the rides, emphasizing the ways marriage went wrong with each.
- Invoked in Bloodborne by Queen Yharnam's attire, which looks like a Blood-Splattered Wedding Dress, symbolizing her backstory as the metaphorical "wife" of an Old One and the failed mother of its child, the stillborn god Mergo. Given how this happened thousands of years before the game, it is also pretty clear that she is not alive anymore in the conventional sense — not that it makes any difference in this universe.
- Brides in Brütal Legend are a type of support infantry unit of the Drowning Doom faction. They are dressed in wedding gowns and carry around a parasol with a perpetual raincloud that debuffs enemies. While she prefers avoiding fights, she will attack with lightning bolts if provoked.
- In Terraria, the Blood Moon brings out armies of the undead to terrorize your town. Survive long enough through a Blood Moon and eventually, you might encounter the Bride and Groom, a pair of zombies in wedding attire. Defeating them allows you to take their attire for yourself.
- In The Curse of Monkey Island you'll encounter a ghost bride in the Goodsoup Crypt in Blood Island. She's waiting for the groom that never came, because he died in the nearby hotel. You'll have to fling his corpse to the crypt where the two will finally be united in a part of a plot puzzle.
- The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel in Alberta, Canada is a hotel that plays host to various alleged hauntings, one of which is the Bride, the spirit of a young woman who had died on her wedding night and now haunts the halls in her wedding dress.