Extreme Wedding Dresses: Top 5 Bridal Trends

From slits to sleeves, it's not just your grandmother's wedding dress anymore

Feb. 10, 2012 -- Ask any bride and she'll tell you, almost as important as finding the perfect man is unveiling the perfect dress to wear on the big day.

Fashion insiders are calling 2012 a watershed year for bridal gown design, with more jaw-dropping looks available for brides-to-be to choose from than the bridal industry has seen in years.

PHOTOS: Extreme Wedding Dresses

"More and more, we're seeing weddings be a reflection of a bride's personal style, and she wants her wedding dress to reflect her personal style," Anne Fulenwider, editor-in-chief of Brides magazine told "Good Morning America."

With all those options, where should a bride look to stay ahead of fashion, and still capture her own style?

Here are five bridal gown trends to look for this year.

Trend One: Sleeves

2012 has seen the return of the sleeves, a trend almost entirely attributed to Kate Middleton who wowed a worldwide television audience when she stepped out in sleeves last April in her wedding to Prince William.

"The royal wedding was watched by billions so she's had a tremendous effect," said Terry Hall, fashion director for Kleinfeld, the famous New York City bridal emporium featured on TLC's "Say Yes to the Dress." "As a result, we've seen an interest in the sleeves and now we're receiving a tremendous amount of requests."

The Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen-designed gown Middleton wore as been showing up in various incarnations on the bridal runway ever since.

Trend Two: The Slit

Just because sleeves are in, doesn't mean the desire to look sexy on the big day is out.

"We're seeing a very sexy trend in bridal where brides really want to show some skin," Fulenwider said. "We're seeing this in really high slits."

The slits are even making appearances in ballgowns.

"Definitely for a fun bride," Hall, of Kleinfeld, said of the look. "Not only is it fun, but also if she's wearing a really fun shoe, you really get a chance to see the shoe, especially when she's dancing."

"I think it's absolutely fun and it is quite popular," he said.

Trend Three: Unusual Headpieces

Reality TV star Kim Kardashian's marriage may have only lasted 72 days, but fashion experts say her choice of a jeweled headpiece has made a lasting dent in the bridal industry.

Brides are going ga-ga over all types of retro headpieces, including fascinators and 1970s-style headscarves.

"Headwraps are definitely in," said Molly Guy, of the Manhattan bridal showroom Stone Fox Bride. "There's something really beautiful and gypsy-like about them, especially when paired with some heavy eyeliner."

Trend Four: Pants

Yes, you read that right, pants, and pantsuits, are increasingly popular for the modern bride.

"If a bride wants to do something completely opposite the conventional wedding gown, this would be a good option," said Guy.

"It looks really, really good on. It's sexy. It flows," she said of the look that she says is an ideal option for what she calls the "downtown bride."

Trend Five: Color

For years bridal gowns have flirted with a colored sash here, or a tinted ribbon there. But, this year, expect to see more solid colored dresses in pinks, blues and even reds.

The sophisticated bride looking to have a runway moment of her own when she walks down the aisle need look no further than the most recent collection by famed wedding gown designer Vera Wang that features a series of black wedding gowns, each more dramatic than the last.

"I think brides want to be themselves these days," Kleinfeld's Hall said of the trend towards color. "They're very confident, they're less traditional and they want to make a statement."