When trying it on moves you to tears, it’s safe to say you’ve found the right dress for your big day. Such was the case for Bryn Mawr’s Kristen Wilf when she first stepped into a strapless Richard Glasgow mermaid gown at the Wedding Shoppe in Wayne. “I tried on the dress a few different times, and every time, I had an emotional reaction to it,” says Wilf. “I finally decided that it was silly to keep looking, because I had obviously found my dress.”
Wilf originally thought she had a clear idea of what she was looking for. “I was set on finding a simple, fitted lace gown with cap sleeves,” she says. “Something traditional—nothing too fancy.”
But Wilf wanted to explore a variety of styles to make sure she was making the right decision. “I tried on what seemed like hundreds of dresses,” she says. “Everything from short styles to ball gowns.”
What finally won her over was the complete opposite of what she’d originally had her heart set on. She walked down the aisle last November in a stunning gown complete with a cathedral-length train and a blusher attached to the veil. “The last time I tried it on, I cried,” she says. “I knew then that I had to have it.”
The Wedding Shoppe’s Pattie Lamantia has helped hundreds of brides like Wilf. Her boutique carries such designer names as Monique Lhuillier, Judd Waddell, Carolina Herrera and Jenny Packham. “It’s a very emotional purchase,” says Lamantia. “There are so many different styles to choose from, and a bride-to-be wants to make sure she looks her absolute best on her wedding day.”
Right now, the Wedding Shoppe is offering something not typically associated with bridal fashion. Couture bridal designer Janell Berté added a unique look to her line last year in the form of gorgeous fitted lace pants that flare at the bottom. A matching sleeveless V-neck top is the perfect complement.
“This look certainly isn’t for most brides,” says Lamantia. “But there are women who have expressed interest in it and have tried it on.”
Regardless, it illustrates that there’s always something for every personality and style. And while there certainly are trends to look for this year, no bride should follow them blindly. Go with what you like.
Just as many brides would pooh-pooh the idea of wearing pants to their weddings, others are aghast at the idea of a short dress. But many designers are offering alternatives for modern brides looking to show a little more leg on their big day. These ultra-chic options are as beautiful as their longer counterparts—just on a smaller scale.
Brides can choose from sleek dresses with fitted bodices or babydolls with full skirts. Micro-minis are definitely rare, with most skirts falling right at the knee or just above. Many of the shorter styles have small spaghetti straps, or go without completely. Some even have dramatic halter necklines with open backs.
While there are still plenty of full ball-gown styles available, many brides are opting for a slimmer look. Nicole Miller’s 2009 Bridal Collection is filled with ele-gant silhouettes that embody this trend. “The dresses are made of fabrics such as silk and hand-cut lace,” says Carly Walko, director of sales and merchandising at Nicole Miller. “The collection is both feminine and romantic.”
Silky, body-conscious dresses look stunning—that is, on a bride with the right figure. If you have problem areas that you’re hoping to camouflage, this is not the style for you. If you’re looking for a dress that’s a happy medium between a large ball-gown skirt and a slimmer style, try a modified A-line dress.
Subtle details make a big impression when done in a classy way. A Rivini gown from the Wedding Shoppe has a small corsage on the bust made of the same silk as the dress. “Floral embellishments are very popular now—from hand-embroidered flowers with bead detailing to these small corsages,” says Lamantia.
Colored sashes (often matching the color the bridesmaids are wearing) around the waist aren’t as popular as they were two years ago, but sashes in more subtle colors like champagne and light pink are still popping up on certain gowns. Vintage has invaded the bridal fashion world, so ultra-feminine gowns with lace and old-fashioned details like cap sleeves are flying off the racks. “We call these the ‘Gatsby-type’ bridal gowns,” says Lamantia.
Classic, strapless gowns may never fall out of favor with brides. But there are other options, including draped cowl necks and deep V-necks and halters. For those looking for a more modern look, one-shoulder dresses are a popular choice.
Chester County bride-to-be Ashley Schneider was surprised at how difficult it was to find a gown in classic white. Most come in subtle shades like ivory, cream and champagne. “Brides are picking gowns in shades that complement their skin tones,” says Lamantia. “It’s no longer a faux pas to not wear white-white.”
And Schneider won’t be wearing a veil. “When I told people I wasn’t wearing one, they weren’t surprised,” she says. “I assume it’s not as traditional as I thought.”
The Wedding Shoppe is located in Spread Eagle Village, 503 W. Lancaster Ave., Suite 110, Wayne. Call (610) 293-1299.
Bridesmaids’ gowns have a reputation for being unflattering. No more. Designers have stepped up and answered the pleas of so many brides who simply want their maids to look and feel as fabulous as they do. When Manhattan’s Ariane Goldman couldn’t find a dress that worked for her bridesmaids, she created one herself. Made of jersey spandex and nylon, it can be wrapped 10 different ways to flatter a range of body types. And the best part? No alterations.
Goldman’s dress caused such a sensation that she left her corporate marketing job to launch twobirds. “As in, killing two birds with one stone, because it makes both the bride and the bridesmaids happy,” says Goldman.
The dress is available in 11 colors, or custom shades can be ordered. It comes in two sizes—A (for sizes 0-14) and B (for sizes 16-24). Dresses are available online at twobirdsbridesmaid.com and can even be “borrowed” for a 10-day trial period. Goldman’s line also includes customized pocket squares and Italian silk ties for groomsmen, and sashes for flower girls.