Bridal Fashion Week wrapped up in New York City earlier this month, showcasing top designers’ latest offerings for brides. And fashion insiders say that if the week demonstrated anything, it’s that there is a wedding look out there for every bride on every budget. Designs were both bold and whimsical, ladylike and risqué.
Here are four looks that editors at Martha Stewart Weddings say will be rocking the wedding aisle in the coming year and, in some cases, causing jaws to drop.
3-D Dresses: A growing number of designers are making wedding dresses spring to life with the use of appliques that leap from the dress. Among those to embrace the look are Marchesa and Monique Lhuillier. The appliques add rich detail and dimension to a wedding day look.
It’s A Wrap: A growing number of designers are pairing capes, capelets, and even lacy motorcycle jackets and furs with the gown, enabling brides to have two looks for the big day: one for the ceremony and one for the reception. The look can change dramatically just by putting on or taking off the jacket, and the added cape or jacket can be worn after the wedding, too.
Say No to the Dress -- Say Yes to the Pants: Lots of designers are embracing pantsuits and pant looks. Everyone from Christian Siriano to Lela Rose to Monique Lhuillier to Carolina Herrera are showing bridal pants looks in their collections. The pants can add some drama or fun to a bride looking to shake it up a little. Even Amal Clooney rocked pants for her civil ceremony when she wed George Clooney.
The Naked Dress: Arguably the most scandalous look to rock the wedding aisle during Bridal Fashion Week was the naked dress. Thanks to the naked dresses rocked at Met Gala Balls in recent years by everyone from Kim Kardashian West to Beyoncé and Rihanna, naked dresses are taking the wedding aisle by storm. The gowns, featuring largely-transparent material, leave little to the imagination, prompting many to wonder what someone should wear beneath such a dress. Darcy Miller, one of the Martha Stewart Weddings editors, says the answer is nude underwear and chicken cutlets backed with double-sided tape.
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What to Consider in Selecting a Dress
Location, Location, Location: Knowing the place and time of your wedding will help focus your search. Will you be having a daytime ceremony on the beach? You can rule out ball gowns with long trains and dramatic embellishments. Exchanging vows in a candlelit cathedral? Avoid short slip dresses or anything that looks like it could be worn to a cocktail party. Most fabrics are suitable year-round, but some, like linen and organdy, are more appropriate for warm weather, while velvet and brocade are best left for winter.
Set a budget: Figure out how much you want to spend, and tell the salesperson before she starts bringing out gowns. That way, you won't lose your heart to a dress you can't afford. Typically, a wedding ensemble, including veil, undergarments and any other accessories, accounts for 10 percent to 15 percent of the total wedding cost. Factor in extras, such as alterations, which can add a few hundred or a few thousand dollars depending on how involved they are -- and shipping fees. Once the dress arrives, it may require professional pressing or steaming, which can tack on a hundred dollars or more.
Start early: Begin shopping six to nine months before your wedding. It takes about four months for a manufacturer to make a dress and another two months to complete the alterations. Very elaborate gowns will take longer. Short on time? Many shops do rush orders for an additional fee, but your choices will likely be limited. They also may have a sale section with samples you can buy off the rack. If you're lucky, you can get one that needs just minor alterations.
Hot New Accessories to Consider
• Organic floral shapes
• Gold headpieces
• The coronet shape
• Bobbypins are perfect to tuck into braided updos or a classic chignon or to pin back bangs.
• Wearing veils over your whole look and just taking them off afterwards. This way you still have the headpiece on through the whole reception.