Whether your dream dress is a fairytale ball gown or a figure-hugging satin dress, finding the one that’s right for you is the key to looking fabulous when you walk down the aisle. Remember that while details like the cake, the flowers and the menu all play their part in creating your perfect day, it’s the gown that sets the tone for the wedding as a whole.
Wedding attire in 2017 and 2018 takes in looks from all areas of the design spectrum. This includes voluminous ball gowns with romantic ruffles, pleats and bows as well as ethereal ensembles with flutter sleeves and flowing silhouettes made from fabrics like tulle and organza. Off-the-shoulder outfits are popular, and so too are daring dresses with plunging V necklines and thigh-high slit skirts, not to mention see-though garments incorporating ultra-fine netting and tulle, and sheer lace gowns with skin-toned lining.
Bridal fashion inevitably incorporates a retro element, and the decade that’s turning heads right now is the 1970s. Think flares, fringes and leather jackets! Catwalks are also seeing curve-enhancing mermaid gowns, two-piece crop tops, jaunty jumpsuits, detachable skirts, capes and long trains. Organic accents are appearing in bold floral prints, colourful embroidery and floral appliques. Embellished bodices and ever-feminine lace details also remain a favourite. Popular looks for bridesmaids include mismatched, two-piece outfits, florals and textured fabrics, and even some casual options like pantsuits.
Black and white is the surprise contemporary colour trend for 2018, with monochrome ensembles sporting embellishments like black bows, belts, ribbons and jewellery, as well as oversized ebony flowers. Gowns in shades of blush and metallics are still hot, with gold and silver beading adding some tasteful sparkle.
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 for the past two years!
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.
It isn’t only the bride who deserves to look amazing on her wedding day. Thankfully, in 2017 there are a lot more options when it comes to menswear for the groom and groomsmen, who can choose anything from the traditional tuxedo to mismatched suits, ties and waistcoats, textured fabrics, bold colours and patterns.
Suits may either be hired or tailor-made. Basic black, charcoal and grey are safe options. At a formal or semi-formal evening wedding, the groom could wear a classic dinner suit or tuxedo, with a single or double-breasted jacket, and accessories such as a formal dress shirt and necktie with vest or cummerbund. White tie, which is also known as evening dress or top hat and tails, is the most formal type of clothing, and usually comprises a black dress coat, white bow tie, white waistcoat and wing collar shirt.
Modern grooms might like to ditch the conventional look and explore their creative side! In keeping with nautical styling trends, a navy blue suit with white shirt and touches of red in the accessories is very fashionable. Neutral tones of tan, brown and beige are another favourite, with these earthy hues being ideal for outdoor weddings. Shades of burgundy and plum are popular too. The trendy mismatched look could entail suits for the entourage in different styles, colours and patterns (even florals!), or variations of the same shade. Pull these eclectic ensembles together with uniformity in the pocket squares, buttonholes or ties.