bridal_haderALL DRESSED UP

Bridal fashions seen on the runways point towards some clear trends for 2016. After the blues and silvers which were seen so prominently during 2015, the warm shades of cream, ivory, gold and blush are now taking centre stage. What’s more, a number of new looks are revolutionising summer bridal wear, with the bridal jumpsuit, cocktail dress and skirt and crop top combo representing the perfect marriage of fun and glamour.

The more traditional bride will welcome a return to the vintage Victorian gown, where the fullness of hoop skirts has been recreated through voluminous tiers of silk, lace and tulle. The fairy-tale theme is given added emphasis in gowns sporting fringes, fluttery sleeves and layers of organza, tulle and feathers for a magical and ethereal effect that’s perfect for romantic brides. Using floral appliqué to achieve three-dimensional detail on collars, sleeves and skirts is another favourite design feature which is adding texture to bridal silhouettes.

At the other end of the scale, designers are pushing the boundaries of bridal decorum with keyhole and deeply plunging V necklines, thigh-high slit skirts and all manner of see-though garments, from ultra-fine netting and tulle to daringly sheer lace gowns over skin-toned lining. Short bridal dresses, some sleeveless and others with side cut-outs, are also making a bold style statement. In addition to the ever-popular floral motif, embroidered wave patterns are becoming a hot new trend.

Choosing a bridal gown

Have an idea of what you’re looking for before setting out on your bridal gown quest! Then determine how much you have to spend so as not to waste time trying on dresses that are out of your price range. Things to bear in mind include the season and time of day you’re getting married, the ceremony and reception venues, and styles that flatter your figure. Begin the search early, especially if you’re not buying off the peg, as getting a gown custom-made by a designer can take around six to eight months, and even alterations to a ready-made dress can take a month or two.

When you begin visiting bridal stores, keep an open mind and listen to the consultant’s advice. Although an outfit may have no ‘hanger appeal’, it could look very different when you try it on. You might like one that draws attention to your best feature (for example, your shoulders, arms or waist) while de-emphasising those aspects that you find less desirable.

Don’t leave shopping to a busy weekend. Rather take a morning off work to take advantage of a quieter store and more of the salesperson’s time. It’s preferable not to bring too many people with you as all the opinions may well end up being too distracting and confusing. It’s also wise to be realistic. Buy the dress that fits you comfortably now, not something that will only be right once you shed that last five kilograms you’ve been aiming to lose since last Spring!

Think you’ve found the one? Those in the know suggest taking photographs of the dresses you try on; not just from the front, but from a variety of angles to get the total effect. Also look at how the fabric appears in photographs: some fabrics, while appearing gorgeous to the naked eye, may look a lot different in your wedding album.

Mothers of the bride and groom

Weddings are special occasions, not just for the bride and groom, but for their mothers and grandmothers too! According to custom, the mother of the bride is the first to choose a dress, with the mother of the groom expected to follow her lead with a dress of similar length, colour and style.

While formal or evening weddings generally call for the sophistication of a floor-length dress, current fashions are seeing shorter silhouettes, with a chic one-piece ideal for semi-formal as well as informal weddings. The look is versatile, and can be dressed up with gorgeous jewellery, heels, an elegant cover-up or beaded bag. On-trend dress details include beautifully jewelled and embroidered necklines, as well as illusion necklines which are wonderfully flattering and able to give just the right amount of cover.

Versatile, comfortable and stylish, the jacket dress is another firm favourite as while the coordinating jacket provides coverage it can also be removed to reveal the beautiful dress underneath. A two-piece or mock two-piece can be fitted to accommodate varied proportions, and is excellent for concealing the tummy area and shaping the waist.

Colours should complement those of the bridal attendants. While there are colour charts available online to help you identify suitable shades based on the colours being worn by the bridesmaids, there really are some colours which seem to go with everything! If in doubt, shades like mocha, bronze, taupe, champagne, putty, silver and charcoal, or even navy blue, tend to be sure-fire winners.