As societal norms around women’s equality and around marriage itself begin to evolve, so too do styles and options of wedding dress.
By Meredith Pruden
Photography by Erin Gray Cantrell
The big, beautiful ball gowns haven’t disappeared entirely (and probably never will), but they have been scaled back to make room for more contemporary explorations of what it means to be a 21st century bride. Today, there’s a style of dress out there for any type of bride — from the most traditional to the most modern — so, it’s not surprising the spring 2016 bridal gown collections are some of the most creative and avant-garde we’ve seen to date:
Upping the ante on the multi-season trend toward color and ensuring any bride will look as though she stepped off the canvas of a great watercolor master, the Theia Fae halter sheath dress ($2,995) features a muted pastel floral pattern on flowing silk chiffon and comes with a tie back belt (not shown here).
The team at Diamonds R Forever paired the dress with equally trendsetting jewelry, including a 38.29ct lavender quartz ring accented with diamonds in 14K yellow gold ($2,099), 14K white gold Tahitian pearl and custom pink and green tourmaline charms on diamond huggie style hoop earrings ($2,199), and a 1.93cwt Sylvie Collection diamond engagement ring in 14K white gold ($4,325). Yellow gold is making a comeback, and it’s okay to mix and match metals! Theia gowns are available at Adore.
Spring 2016 is simply flush with trendy details like 3D florals, intricate wave patterns and more, but one of our favorites is the opulently daring feather. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen feather details over the last five years, but they’re making a comeback and looking better than ever! The Aria Marilyn ($2,950) is a strapless sweetheart gown with full-length feathered mermaid skirt and corseted bodice with garment boning in silk satin.
When you’re wearing feathers, your jewelry also should make a statement, so the Diamonds R Forever team added an 18K two-tone diamond and natural pink sapphire band ring ($3,699), a 1.45ctw pink sapphire ring in 14K white gold accented with 0.15twt diamonds ($5,999), round diamond stud earrings ($8,799) and a 5.12ctw big and little diamond line bracelet in 18K white gold ($14,900). Aria gowns are handmade in Los Angeles and locally available at Adore.
It’s never been more appropriate to show a bit of skin on your wedding day but, for the more modest amongst us, this sleeveless stretch mesh sheath gown by Mon Cheri Enchanting ($398) still manages to leave a little something to the imagination while being totally on trend. The plunging pleated bodice features hand-beaded illusion at the bateau neckline and drops to a V-back. It also includes a front panel skirt that opens to a center slit, which hints toward the timely thigh high slit trend without revealing too much.
A 14K white gold beaded diamond line bracelet ($1,875), sterling silver and mother of pearl ring ($119), pearl stud earrings with diamond halo ($699), pearl and diamond earring jacket in 14K white gold ($1,500), 14K white gold engagement ring with 1.31ctw diamonds ($2,655) and 14K white gold stackable diamond band with .09ctw diamonds ($929) prove you don’t have to break the bank to rock a bit of bling on your wedding day. All jewelry at Diamonds R Forever. Enchanting by Mon Cheri gowns are available at Bravura and Encore.
This well-tailored pearl white Ellen pant suit by Theia ($1,995) features a deep V-neck, long-sleeve jacket and trouser slacks for a crisp two-piece look that will have any bride looking smart on her big day — no matter the locale. It’s one of the best examples of the trend toward two-piece and separates we’ve seen, plus it can undoubtedly stand in for the consummate (but possibly overdone) little white dress long lauded for its wedding destination appropriateness.
There’s little need for super flashy jewelry when your wardrobe is this timelessly classic, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still rock a bit of ice. Three diamonds by the inch chains are stacked for a layered look up top (a Roberto Coin diamonds by the inch with a twist 18K 36” necklace for $4,740, an 18K yellow gold diamonds by the inch 20” with seven round diamonds necklace for $2,934 and an 18K yellow gold diamonds by the inch 20” with five round diamonds necklace for $1,738), then the team at Diamonds R Forever added a Roberto Coin 18K medium primavera stretch bracelet ($2,000) and a 2.26ctw white and fancy champagne diamond band ring in 14K yellow gold. Theia is available at Adore.
While there are plenty of Spring 2016 gowns that are little more than well-placed lace, this sophisticated, full-length mermaid gown with sweetheart illusion neckline by Beautiful by Enzoani ($1,150) plays at the illusion bodice trend without the bride having to bare it all. Corded lace tulle and re-embroidered scallop hem lace create the illusion, while the low U-shape illusion back helps create the wow factor from any angle.
The team at Diamonds R Forever accented this elegant look with equally refined jewelry, including an 18K fancy diamond necklace with round brilliant diamonds ($2,250), a 14K white gold diamond cuff bracelet with round diamonds ($2,150), a 14K white gold diamond band with mill grain accents and 27 round diamonds ($899 band only), and a 14K white gold split shank halo engagement ring with 0,50ctw round brilliant diamond halo ($1,399) with 1.02ctw pear brilliant diamond ($4,695). Beautiful by Enzoani is available at Amor.
For the bride who loves the illusion bodice trend and is ready to take it just a step further, this Enchanting by Mon Cheri cap sleeve silky crepe slim A-line gown ($538) showcases a lace appliqué bodice with bateau illusion neckline while still featuring a fairly modest skirt with sweeping train. It’s a great way to introduce a bit of sex appeal to the big day without offending mom. So long as we’re bucking tradition with the dress, why not walk the line between traditional and contemporary with the jewelry choices too?!
The Diamonds R Forever team paired this gown with a 5.12ctw big and little diamond line bracelet in 18K white gold ($14,900), custom blue topaz and south sea pearl dangle earrings in 14K white gold ($1,349) and a 0.92ctw Sylvie Collection engagement ring in 14K white gold head built for 1ct center stone ($4,475; center stone not included in the price). Enchanting by Mon Cheri gowns are available at Bravura and Encore.
What happens when you take a traditional bridal gown silhouette and cut it in two? You get this comfortable and contemporary two-piece satin dress set ($558) with a cap sleeved crop top featuring illusion jewel neck over lace, illusion back and hand-beading at the banded bottom, paired with a high-waisted trumpet satin skirt with chapel train and matching hand-beaded band along its top. It’s perfect for almost any bride from the family church to the sea shore.
Although this dress is quite fashion forward, it also boasts the most bling of this year’s collection, so the team at Diamonds R Forever selected jewelry that’s as stylish as the gown, including 24.60ctw blue topaz Briolette dangle earrings in 14K white gold ($699), 0.45ctw diamond band with fishtail mount, 14K white gold fishtail diamond band fashion ring with round diamonds ($1,710) and 18K white gold emerald cut crosscut ring ($15,750). Enchanting by Mon Cheri gowns are available at Bravura and Encore.
TREND No. 1: COLOR
We hate to say we told you so, but color is here to stay. When we featured a black gown in the first ever Brides issue years ago, folks thought we were crazy, but the contemporary trend has continued ever since with new colors gracing the runways each season. Last year, steel gray and other pastels made an appearance at spring weddings, so it’s not surprising to see a bevy of pastels gracing this year’s collections. But, it’s not just new colors that are making a mark this year, as the trendy look evolves into patterns in a wide array of eye-catching palettes. One of our absolute faves is the Theia Fae included here.
TREND No. 2: DARE TO BARE
Another trend that continues to buck tradition and become more daring with each passing season is to show more and more skin. Whether it’s this season’s plunging necklines, thigh high skirt slits or full on illusion bodices, the idea of the blushing bride hidden behind layers of Cinderella ball gown and huge veils is quickly becoming a thing of the past. We chose to showcase a few gowns on the more modest side of this trend, including a tamed plunging neckline with illusion lace by Enchanting and two illusion bodice looks of varying reserve by Enchanting and Beautiful. Aria also has a modified princess ball gown with thigh slit skirt that is to die for (not shown in this feature). All of these are sure to add a bit of va-va-voom to the big day.
TREND No. 3: DETAILS
Attention to detail always has been an important part of bridal gowns and certainly one of the contributing factors to their price tags as well. This year, detailing reaches new heights, as designers add 3D floral appliqués, intricate hand beading, delicate embroidery and even cool wave patterns to the spring 2016 collections. Although all of these trendy elements contribute to the overall feel of the season and overwhelming attention to detail of its gowns, our favorite new detail is feathers. Sure, we’ve seen this trend before in year’s past, but nothing like the spring 2016 season where they’ve truly taken center stage. There’s really no better way to marry whimsy and old Hollywood glamour than feathers, and one of our favorites is the Aria mermaid dress included here.
TREND No. 4: SEPARATES
It seems like we’ve talked about destination weddings and the little white dress (LWD) pretty much every year, but the truth is these trends aren’t going anywhere. Since it seems the LWD and designation weddings are here to stay, it only makes sense designers would finally start finding new ways to keep today’s modern brides on their collective toes. Sure, you can still find plenty of LWDs out there, but this season there are so many more options! Enter two-piece wedding dresses and separates. Whether for a destination wedding or just a bride who wants a bit more contemporary comfort, we think separates are, like designation weddings themselves, here to stay. Some of our favorites for this season, including the Theia Ellen pant suit with sexy deep V neckline and the Enchanting two-piece satin trumpet gown, are featured here.
Model: Florina Guraliuc of Marietta
Hair/Makeup: Maria Rigney of Dyer & Posta Salon
Flowers provided by Gail’s Florist
105 Riverstone Pkwy., Canton
Photographed at Marietta Educational Garden
Center 505 Kennesaw Ave., NW,
Marietta | (770) 427-3494,
Jewelry provided by Diamonds R Forever
4200 Wade Green Road
Ste. 212, Kennesaw
Dyer & Posta Salon
600 Chastain Rd., Ste. 312, Kennesaw
(770) 514-1620 | www.dyerandposta.com
Adore: A Bridal Boutique
2908 Moon Station Road, Kennesaw
Amor Bridal Boutique
4809 South Main St.
Suite C, Acworth
The Avenue East Cobb
4475 Roswell Road, Suite 1610, Marietta
Encore Formals and Bridal
3718 Dallas Hwy., Marietta