With a seemingly endless array of wedding dresses to choose from, it can be difficult to find the right one for the new bride. But the latest bridal trends can help point you in the right direction.
CultureMap spoke with Joan Pillow, owner of Joan Pillow Bridal Salon, who has nearly 30 years of experience working in the bridal industry. With stores in Houston and Atlanta, Pillow has helped countless brides find their perfect dress and has a unique insight on the latest trends and hottest designers.
Boleros over strapless dresses
"One of the things I keep hearing from brides is that they want a dress that will be on the shoulder and not strapless," Pillow says. "A great solution has been using boleros to transform a strapless dress and give the bride two looks for basically very little money.
"It's a look that offers a bride the ability to have something on her shoulder and yet still end up with a second look for the reception," she adds.
Although you might not expect to have an everyday use for something you wear on your wedding day, Pillow notes that brides can continue using the bolero, as it can easily be worn over a simple dress.
Overskirts for two looks
Wedding dresses with overskirts make for a fantastic option as they provide brides with two distinct looks — one for their wedding and another for the reception.
"It's dramatic, and yet she can eliminate it when she wants," Pillow says. "There's a Monique Lhuillier dress — L'Amour — that has an overskirt. It's been very, very popular, and I think it's very pretty. It gives a slim silhouette with the high drama of a tulle overskirt."
Flowers as inspiration
"I definitely saw flowers as a big influence in this year's collections," Pillow says.
Whether it's as a floral lace or as a more dramatic accent — "Monique Lhuillier had petals peeking out from the dress's skirt in one of the folds with big cabbage roses," she says — floral accents on wedding dresses is one of the year's hottest trends.
"I have a designer that I've been really partial to, and that's Mira Zwillinger," says Pillow. "She's out of Israel, and her dresses are constructed uniquely. They're sensual and also very feminine."
According to Pillow, Zwillinger's dresses require 22 measurements, making them "as close to custom as any bride could ever have."
"The details that she puts on her dresses are unique," she adds. "The lace she uses is a Kapoor lace, which is heavily embroidered cotton lace, so that's unique versus the Alençon lace that almost every other designer has been using. She uses a tulle for her skirts that makes them not so voluminous that it overpowers a bride."
Many of Zwillinger's dresses are made with chiffon, which Pillow notes is important when planning a destination wedding, as the dresses can be packed and still maintain their shape.