Some brides easily can envision what they will wear while sashaying down the aisle. Others flip through stacks of magazines and scan Pinterest, gathering bits of inspiration before they even visit a bridal boutique. Regardless which camp you fall into, if you’re on the hunt for a wedding dress, there are lots of options out there.
Take it from four local bridal boutique owners, who are well-versed in wedding fashions. Here’s what’s trending and why.
Mandy Wienhusen, owner of Town & Country Bridal, has witnessed the return of what she calls “ladylike dressing,” a movement inspired by recent royal brides.
“Over the past few years, bridal gowns have been heavily influenced by couture Israeli labels showcasing risque designs and gowns that leave little to the imagination,” Wienhusen says. “It’s refreshing to experience the shift of New Orleans brides opting for more conservative, classic necklines and silhouettes.”
The sophisticated gowns are made of structured fabrics, such as silk faille, Mikado silk and crepe; and they tend to be a true white, rather than a champagne or a similar shade. Clean designs — from trumpet silhouettes to full, “twirl-worthy ball gowns” — are heavily requested, Wienhusen says.
Melissa Estess, owner and co-founder of The Bridal Boutique by MaeMe, has seen sleek gowns grace the runway, but often they’re paired with a dramatic veil, cape or detachable train. She also says gowns with romantic details and floral lace patterns are in, along with sheer fabrics placed on plunging necklines, side cutouts and low-cut backs of dresses.
“The back of a wedding gown has become as important as the front,” Estess says. “Show-stopping trains and back details have become a staple in this season's wedding dress lineup.”
Fluttery “boho chic” styles also are enjoying popularity, says Courtney Schulman, co-owner of Pearl’s Place. She cited the Willowby collection by Watters — “a boutique favorite” as an example. Each dress from this line, she says, would look perfect paired with a bouquet of wildflowers or placed in a rustic venue illuminated by fairy lights.
Estess says some brides have shown interest in the bohemian trend, but usually select more traditional gowns and add a touch of whimsy.
“Fit and flare gowns still remain the most popular silhouette for our Southern brides,” Estess says, noting that ball gowns are making a comeback.
Fabric and color
Graceful crepe gowns are having a moment, Schulman says. “There is a return to the timeless and classic gowns with no lace or beading — a look that I adore,” she says, pointing to the simple yet elegant dress that Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy wore on her wedding day.
But still, there’s been an emergence of the “Romantic Rebel,” Wienhusen says, explaining that brides are balancing traditional soft textures with unexpected elements.
“One of our favorite looks is a sleek, crepe column gown paired with an edgy lace bomber jacket,” she says, adding that sweet details like pearls are still prevalent but are found unexpectedly paired with a plunging neckline and lace.
Brides who want some color lean toward ivory, and many current wedding fashions feature a warmer or slightly darker lining that showcases an overlay of ivory lace and delicate beaded details, Estess says. Unconventional dress colors on the market include champagne, blush, almond and milky latte tones.
When it comes to accoutrements, brides relish the idea of an overskirt because it offers the best of both worlds, Wienhusen says. “They can have a ball gown moment for their ceremony, but then transition into something more manageable for their reception by removing the overskirt,” she says.
This season’s bridal jewelry has an organic feel and features floral themes, Estess says, noting that gold and rose gold are now displayed alongside silver tones.
Yvonne LaFleur, owner of Yvonne LaFleur clothing boutique, says earrings and bracelet pairings are in style, along with pearl and Swarovski crystal hair ornaments and glitzy beaded belts.
“The right-now style is what makes the bride feel beautiful and fits her body and venue,” LaFleur says.
For many New Orleans brides, that special something is a stunning cathedral veil. All the boutique owners say this adornment is a perennial favorite.
“Cathedral veils with lace are beautiful, classic and timeless,” Schulman says. “They pull together a bride’s look and give everyone the goosebump moment.”