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Gorgeous Silk Gown

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The selection of a wedding dress is one of the major decisions that a bride has to make as part of planning her wedding day and it is far from easy. With so many styles, fabrics and even colours to choose from, it can all be a bit overwhelming. To lend a hand, we thought we would ask some experts to give advice on choosing a wedding dress: Beryl from Katie Mae Bridal, Natalie Carrad, Louisa of Preston Design, Joan from Bridal Brilliance and Sharlene from Rosabella Bridal.

 

The bride has a gold organza skirt. The gold is repeated in the neck edge flowers.

Dress by Natalie Carrad

The bride wears a deep gold jacquard silk dress which has been decorated with feathers and also features crinkle pleated godet and bodice contrast.

Dress by Natalie Carrad

Trends

As with all clothing, there are also fashion trends in wedding dresses. While you may not aspire to wear the latest gown off the Milan runway, having an idea of the current trends will help your dress to have a contemporary feel (unless of course you are going for a particular period look). Natalie advises that the trend is for “multiple types of fabrics and laces in one garment, a bridal version of what is happening in fashion across the board; Lots of Grecian style wrapping of fabric around the body”. She has also seen a definite trend in brides experimenting more with soft shades of colour. “Strapless gowns with fuller skirts and trains and an organza overlay are also very popular as it gives an added softness to the skirt” says Beryl. And Joan agrees “strapless, not too busy and above all elegant”.

“A strapless bodice with an A-line skirt has been a very popular choice for a while now, as it suits most people” Louisa tells us, “Although lately brides have been wanting a longer looking silhouette, such as a sheath or mermaid shaped dress.” Louisa also mentions that the subtle use of colour is being seen more and more and, interestingly, the use of lace is also growing in popularity, “however not necessarily how it was once used (perhaps for just the bodice or sleeves) but now for the entire dress, which looks gorgeous in a simple style.” Sharlene also notes that the A-line is still the most popular shape for her clients but she is starting to do some long lean bodices contrasted with full skirts starting at the hip for the younger, funkier bride. “Brooches and floral detailing such as silk roses are popular and colour is creeping in mostly muted pastel pinks, mint green and soft baby blue. I have also produced a quite a few bias cut soft flowing gowns with plunging necklines or very low backs.”

 

Dress by Katie Mae Bridal

Dress by Katie Mae Bridal
(click picture for larger image)

Dress by Katie Mae Bridal
(click picture for larger image)

Alternatives to White

As mentioned above there seems to be a move away from only having wedding dresses in the traditional white or cream, especially as some couples are opting for a more casual approach to their wedding and many ceremonies are being held outdoors. I wore a satin white dress as that suited me but I also wondered what other colour options there are for a wedding dress.

Joan assured me that the colour of her wedding dress is completely up to the bride as “ any colour is acceptable”. Sharlene has noticed a lot of interest in coloured wedding gowns and she has found that the palest pinks, icy blues, silver and softest sage green are popular. She suggests silk white as a great alternative to stark bright white, cream or ivory, as it suits nearly every skin tone. A different idea is having a coloured lining on a white dress and bring that colour into some crystal beading, jewellery, flowers and head wear. Louisa advises that you should always ensure that the colour suits your skin tone, and that it suits your personality, whether it is just a subtle hint of colour, such as dusky pink or lemon yellow, or for the more daring, a burst of colour, such as fuchsia pink or olive green. Also remember that there are all sorts of ways colour can be incorporated into your dress. If you don’t want it completely one colour, you could have inserts of your chosen colour, or have embellishment such as coloured crystal beading or handmade flowers.

Beryl suggests that brides looking to move away from the more traditional white could consider pastel shades such as ice blue, blush and silver. Natalie agrees and notes that white bridal wear has only been in vogue this last century. “It started as something only the upper class did”. She also feels that today’s social expectation is still strong that brides wear white so it can be difficult for a bride who feels uncomfortable head to toe in white. To get over this, she suggests that if a bride would like to use colour to let a little of her own personality or theme shine through, pastel shaded fabric or spots of colour in the trims such as ribbons, lace or buttons work exceptionally well. Though remember if you choose a colour for your dress you will probably need to dye your shoes to match as you may not be able to buy the same shade off the rack.

 

Dress by Preston Design
Dress by Preston Design

Veil

The decision to wear a veil is a personal one. There is something traditional about wearing a veil on your wedding day. Though once you decide to wear a veil there are a lot more decisions to be made such as colour, style, length.

Beryl assures us that a veil is not necessary but it does give a finishing touch to your bridal look and the majority of brides she sees are opting to wear one. She also encourage brides to try one when they are looking at gowns. Joan agrees and says that she personally loves a veil “as it tends to compliment the gown and completes the picture”.

“Some brides find they are very uncomfortable wearing one, after all they are just nylon which is not the most tactile fabric ever invented. Also, if a bride is spending a lot of time outdoors on a still day fine but with a little breeze she might find herself continuously pushing it out her face. However, on a positive note they do create the most gentle frame to a bride’s face and, for longer veils, silhouette. It’s a very personal thing, what expectation the bride has as to what you need to wear to look like a bride. It also depends on the setting. Wearing a veil tends to create a more formal look. I find brides are often very decisive on whether they will feel comfortable wearing one” says Natalie.

As an alternative to the veil, “floral detailing, crystal clips and diamante pins are in, in, in!” says Sharlene. On the other hand, a veil may complete a traditional gown and frame the face for a romantic look. It is, however, in no way necessary and in some situations, such as a beach or garden wedding, or an evening cocktail wedding Sharlene believes that they can get in the way and even detract attention from a stunning gown. Louisa agrees that the choice to wear a veil really depends on the look the bride is trying to achieve, the style of her dress and her personality. Some brides prefer to accentuate their dress by wearing ornate jewellery, such as a stunning necklace or even to have the emphasis on their hairstyle, rather than wearing a veil. Though she cautions that brides should be aware not to over-accessorise, as wearing too many accessories can compete with each other and create a cluttered look.

 

Dress by Bridal Brilliance
Dress by Bridal Brilliance

Our expert’s favourite tips for choosing your dress

Beryl: Try on a variety of styles. Often brides have an idea of the style they want and when they try on something completely different they are quite amazed at how stunning they look and how good they feel.

Louisa: Envision what you see yourself in on your wedding day and think about what look you are going for, whether it be modern, classic, romantic or otherwise. Take into consideration the theme of your wedding and the location. Also, have a look through your wardrobe and pick out anything that you really love and think about what it is that makes you feel good in it. Is it the cut? The fabric? Is it that it feels summery? Sophisticated? These are the things you need to think about and from this you should be able to come up with what is your personal sense of style, and what you are looking for in your perfect wedding dress.

Joan: Purchase magazine for ideas, try on gowns to see what style suits, once you have a better idea try sketching it and make a calico of the gown first.

Natalie: Spend time visualising your day. Immerse yourself in how you would like to feel on the day and what you will feel comfortable wearing. Think of favourite outfits in the past. The silhouette, styling or even colour might give clues as to a style that will flatter you best. Find a designer who you feel totally at ease with. Enjoy the process it can be the most rewarding self discovery.

Sharlene: Think about location and style of wedding. Does it need to be practical for transport or venue reasons (boats, beaches)? Does it compliment and flatter your shape? and most importantly, does it must reflect who you are? What is your own personal style – classic, funky, traditional, romantic, eclectic or modern and contemporary? And lastly, what does your budget allow? Don’t just make do, go the extra mile so that in 10 years time you can look back on your dress and still love it as much as you did on your big day!

 

Dress by Rosabella Bridal

We would like to thank the following for their contribution to this article:

Beryl from Katie Mae Bridal

Natalie Carrad

Louisa of Preston Design

Joan from Bridal Brilliance

Sharlene from Rosabella Bridal

 

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