Hippie wedding dresses are a tiny bit different from Bohemian wedding gowns, but not by much. I’ve lived through both eras and here’s what I know.
What’s the difference between hippie style and boho chic style? Answer: Hippies can’t afford boho. Hippie wedding dresses are more down-to-earth, with simpler styling, or they are 40s-vintage, thrift store finds, with a hit of street style. Bohemian wedding dresses are often eccentric, flashy, and over-the-top designer fashions that are made of expensive fabrics, like painted silk.
There is a lot of overlap between hippie (hippy for those in the UK) and boho, making my casual explanation a bit simplistic. Hippie clothing can be fabulously high-end; boho chic can be cheap. Both styles rock as indie bridal gowns.
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Former Hippie Girl
What do I know? I’m not a clothing designer. I’m just an average, ex-hippie chick who lived in Haight-Ashbury for a short time, went to hippie rock festivals, and lived through many of the hippie clichés. While I can’t (and won’t) tell you what to wear for your own wedding, I can tell you my impressions of various hippie and bohemian designs from an artistic point of view.
Cute Hippie Wedding Dresses
There are lots of different hippie chic and boho wedding styles. Use the pictures and the links for reference.
- Flower Child Hippie Wedding Dress: Click on photo 1, at the bottom of the page, to see all of the elements of a good hippie-style dress: happy floral print in 60s colors like orange and pink, patchwork type of pattern, casual styling, and maxi length.
- Magical Fairy Wedding Dress: Photo 2 is perfect for the type of girl who keeps a copy of The Hobbit on her nightstand and likes to spread wonder by blowing bubbles at a crowded park on a sunny summer’s day.
- Prairie Dress Wedding Gown: Prairie dresses, with their ruffles and lace, are a 70s style for the woman who wants a simple and uncomplicated, but real, life with a good man. She likes to bake banana bread and live in the country, even though she might be stuck in Manhattan.
- Psychedelic Hippie Rocker Dress: This is for the woman who is not a wallflower, who wants to get married on stage with her favorite rock band playing, “Here Comes the Bride,” Led-Zeppelin style. Other good prints include: paisley, floral, and tie-dye fabrics.
White Wedding Dresses for Hippie Brides
Here are some white, off-white, and pastel dresses, and the reasons why they fit the hippie genre.
- Romantic Flower Girl Wedding Dress: In photo 5, the short white dress has subtle flowers, a 60s empire waist, and 60s-style bell sleeves. This was the type of frock worn by every hip young girl in the latter years of the 1960s.
- Art Nouveau Dress: This short embellished dress, in picture 6, has several elements found in real hippies’ closets during the 60s and 70s: art nouveau beading or detailing, soft unstructured design, and a vintage look. The real vintage gowns were found in thrift stores for a few dollars. They were worn as they were, or they were taken apart and reworked to add a groovy element to other clothes.
- Ethnic Hippie Wedding Dress: Neo hippies (and bohemians) take a lot of cues from other world cultures. The dress in photo 7 is Asian inspired. Common themes are South Asian Indian, American Indian, Mexican peasant, and Gypsy, using an uninhibited mixing of styles.
Boho Wedding Gowns
Bohemian gowns can be white, but, to me, boho brings color and a certain vibe. You can use the words hippie and bohemian interchangeably, but hippie is a tiny bit more vintage and bohemian is more modern. Hippie is more about living in your VW van at the beach and getting back to basics. Bohemians are a bit more worldly and ostentatious. Both groups can be artsy, environmentally aware, counter-cultural, musical, and anti-establishment (i.e. indie).
I’m not sure if designers would agree with my distinction, but I have lived through many fashion trends and I have had a varied repertoire of lifestyles.
Bohemian Wedding Dresses
My boho dress picks have rich colors.
- Yellow Bohemian Maxi Dress 8: This looks a little like a yellow sari or an art deco design from Old Hollywood because of its silver and jewels. The thing that makes it boho is its sumptuous drapey and fluid silhouette.
- Elegant Blue Bohemian Gown 9: This has elements of hippiedom: a floaty, vintage style and romantic, dyed fabric.
- Artsy Boho Maxi Dress 10: This one-shoulder gown has a painted watercolor or tie-dye feel, but the shape is modern.
Indie Wedding Dresses
- Indie Wedding Dress – Main Photo: The gown in the main photo is a fine fusion of hippie and bohemian styles. It’s hippie, with that unique street style, and it’s boho chic, in its silky and expressive refinement. The flower is arty but sweet; the bold colors are very 2011. This dress is nothing but pure rock-and-roll drama, with a bit of Studio 54 glamour. I like the look.
Once you have decided to have an inexpensive hippie wedding, you still have to decide what kind of bohemian indie bride you want to be. Have I included all of the unique nuances of hippie and bohemian styles? No. Do you have to follow all of these rules? Not if you are smart and creative.