For brides who want to feel glamorous at every moment on their wedding day, ornate robes embellished with feathers, lace and sequins are a go-to option for pre-wedding looks.
A few months before her wedding, Veronica Ume-Ezeoke was scrolling through Pinterest when she stumbled upon an elaborate tulle, ruffled robe from Voir Bride, a Ukrainian brand. Mrs. Ume-Ezeoke already had a delicate lace robe to wear while getting ready for her July 2022 wedding, but she sent it to her sister anyway.
“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, could you imagine?’” Mrs. Ume-Ezeoke, 31, said. “My sister, a very facetious lady, was like, ‘Hideous. Ugly. Totally not you.’ And I was a little offended.”
Turns out, Mrs. Ume-Ezeoke’s sister could picture her wearing it and bought it for her as a surprise. Mrs. Ume-Ezeoke, a senior associate at a health care tech company, had three wedding ceremonies to celebrate her and her husband’s different cultures — Nigerian, Korean and American.
An ornate robe felt right for getting ready with her bridal party for the American wedding. “I wanted to have this one moment of collective feminine energy and to pop champagne and be sexy,” Mrs. Ume-Ezeoke said. She’s not alone in wanting to bask in the getting ready aspect of the day.
Getting ready photos have long been customary, but according to Chi-Chi Ari, a photographer in New York, a larger emphasis has been put on them recently. “When you see this big production of getting ready on social media, brides see that and feel like they have to incorporate that into their weddings,” Ms. Ari said.
And they’ve become significantly more stylized, too, said Minh Cao, a Philadelphia-based photographer. “More thought goes into how that part of the day should be captured,” Ms. Cao said. “I’ve definitely seen the getting ready portion of the day getting more complex.”
When hunting for an outfit to get ready in for her June 2021 wedding, Danielle Tullo La Testa noticed that most brides wore white button-down shirts and simple pajamas, rather than “standout robes.”
“You’re getting ready for your wedding more than you’re doing anything else on that day,” said Mrs. Tullo La Testa, the founder of DLT Creative, a social media agency. “So with that idea, I wanted something unique and special, the same way my wedding dress was.”
She commissioned a custom open-back robe with feathers, lace and a train from Lé Lauriér, a bridal designer in Brooklyn. Mrs. Tullo La Testa is also the founder and chief executive of Partier, a custom merchandising brand often used for wedding events, and she’s recently noticed other brides leaning into similar attire for their own weddings. There are also more options available for brides who want more glamour. “I think I’ve seen them pop up everywhere,” Mrs. Tullo La Testa, 29, said of the fancy robes. “I’m seeing them pop up in a smaller way on Etsy now, too.”
Alisha Walt, 31, a legal coordinator for Gibson, a guitar company, chose a custom robe from Lé Lauriér over pajamas for her wedding last October. She didn’t want it to be “an everyday kind of thing,” she said. The robe “really took it to the next level for me, and it truly made me feel like it was my wedding.”
Lauren Holovka, the designer behind Lé Lauriér, started her brand in 2018 and released her first collection of couture bridal robes, The Dress Before The Dress, shortly after. Ms. Holovka, 29, has noticed a significant boom in business in the last few years with more and more brides searching for couture getting-ready outfits. “Photographers tell me all the time, ‘We literally had to put a time slot in just for your bridal robe,’” she said.
Ms. Holovka, who has a team of six to 10 people, estimates that she creates around 150 to 200 bespoke bridal robes each month during busy season for clients around the world, including celebrities like Heather Rae El Moussa from the reality TV show “Selling Sunset” on Netflix and Teresa Giudice of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey.” Custom robes, which typically take about four to six months to make, range from $2,550 to $5,800, while ready-to-wear robes cost less than $1,000 and are not as elaborate.
Ms. Holovka doesn’t expect brides to wear these robes while having their hair and makeup done and recommends a separate robe for that.
“For hair and makeup, I very much wanted to be in my element,” said Mrs. Ume-Ezeoke, who wore a white button-up shirt while getting her hair and makeup done. “And then I stepped into that bridal robe to change the mood and signal, ‘OK, it’s time to party now.’”
While some robes can be just as luxurious as some wedding gowns, robes offer a bit is more versatility and can easily be worn again in the future, making it a worthwhile investment. Mrs. Tullo La Testa calls hers a “modern heirloom” and hopes to pass it down to her newborn daughter, Juliette, when she’s of age.
While Mrs. Ume-Ezeoke has offered her robe to friends who are planning weddings, so they have their “something borrowed,” she also envisions giving it to a daughter or niece in the future. Many brides re-wear their robes for maternity shoots as well, Ms. Holovka said, and some even return to the designer to repurpose them as Christening gowns for babies.
“I wouldn’t even care if I never wore it again,” said Mrs. Walt, who did end up wearing it on her honeymoon in Italy. “It was so special for the day. It was one of the best things that I’ve done.”