Gorgeous gowns

Top trends for brides before they say yes to the dress

 

Story by Lauren Dowdle

Photos contributed

 

There’s something truly magical about a wedding dress. For some, sliding one on is the first time they feel like a bride. The whole experience can bring tears, smiles and every emotion in between for the bride and her friends and family.

"It's the most self-expressive garment you'll ever wear, so it needs to capture the bride's style." -Carol Riney

“It’s the most self-expressive garment you’ll ever wear, so it needs to capture the bride’s style.” -Carol Riney

But before they can find the one, brides have several options to choose from when it comes to gowns. They have to pick the length, color, neckline, design and accessories to create the wedding look they’ve always dreamed about.

“It’s the most self-expressive garment you’ll ever wear, so it needs to capture the bride’s style,” says Carol Riney, owner of Bella’s Bridal & Formal in Hoover’s Patton Creek.

There are several dress trends brides can expect to see as they begin their search for the perfect wedding look.

One popular material that continues to be a hit with brides is lace, Riney says. And there are now different patterns to choose from with lace, like vertical-line designs.

But, it’s not the only material catching brides’ attention.

“Lace is still very popular, but crepe and satin are becoming more prevalent,” says Amber Revis, assistant manager at Bella Couture in Mt Laurel.

Many brides are also opting for a different neckline, instead of the traditional strapless design, Riney says. “We’re seeing more sleeves,” she continues. “Even cap sleeves are good on some of the dresses.”

Some dresses come premade with sleeves, while others can be custom made to add them.

“We have seen a lot of requests for off-the-shoulder styles and lace,” Revis adds. “Sweetheart necklines are definitely the most popular, and we have also seen a lot of high-neck styles, as well. Also, two pieces and detachable skirts have become increasingly popular.”

It seems the days of bright white gowns have also faded away. As more brides stray from the traditional white dress, they are choosing light gold, champagne pink and ivory options. Almond-colored dresses are also popular, Riney says, especially under lace to really make the lace pop.

Brides also have several top designers to choose from when looking for the perfect dress. Bella’s Bridal & Formal carries ones like Justin Alexander, Allure Bridal, Mori Lee, Badgley-Mischka, Essence, Jasmine, Kitty Chen, Kenneth Wilson, Sottero, Tarik Ediz, Essence of Australia and Watters.

“Both Justin Alexander and Essence of Australia are huge right now,” Riney says. “They are unique and very well made. No one wants to look like their friends did at their wedding — they want something different.”

Bella Couture carries designers like Marisa, Allure Bridals, Lazaro, Alyne by Rita Vinieris, Enzoani, Justin Alexander, Pronovias, Ti Adora, Valenta and Tara Keely. Their most popular designers right now are Justin Alexander, Pronovias and Lazaro.

The majority of Bella’s Bridal & Formal’s wedding dresses cost $2,000 or less, although they do have a few that go up to $4,000. The average price brides are looking to spend on dresses is $2,000 to $3,000, Revis adds.

Accessories are another popular way for brides to set apart their wedding look. Bella Couture has accessories from a.b. Ellie, Erin Cole, Malis Henderson, Stephanie Browne and Westwood.

“Lace jackets are a big trend right now,” Revis says.

In addition to jackets, other popular accessories include beaded sashes, headbands, beaded shoes from Badgley-Mischka (helping traditional brides add in something blue) and, of course, veils, Riney says.

“Veils really complete the look,” Riney explains. “It sets the bride and her look apart.”

The majority of veils are elbow and fingertip lengths, although they do sell cathedral veils as well, Riney says. Most of the dresses they sell are chapel length, she adds.

No matter their style or ideas, Riney encourages brides to come into their dress consultation with an open mind.

“What you fall in love with in a picture might be different from what you fall in love with at the store,” she says.

She gives the example of a bride who has dreamed of a mermaid style but later likes an A line when she tries it on. “Be willing to try different things,” Riney says.

Going forward, Revis predicts lace, off-the-shoulder, two-piece, high neck and shear bodice dresses will be the biggest trends this year.

Riney says many of last year’s wedding dress trends will continue in 2017, but necklines and the backs of dresses — like keyhole backs and backless gowns — will offer even more unique options.

Bella’s Bridal & Formal (Bellasalabama.com) is located at 4441 Creekside Ave. Suite 125 in Hoover’s Patton Creek, and Bella Couture (Bellacouturellc.com) is at 104 Croft Street Suite 109 in Birmingham.