Here it is, that moment — you’re zipped, corseted, buttoned, tucked and pinned, and you turn to face the mirror to see your own face behind a veil as delicate as a breath — and you really do look every inch the bride.
Choosing a wedding dress is perhaps the most iconic tradition in wedding planning. Some brides like to gather all their friends around and help them as they say “Yes” to the dress that encapsulates their dreams. Others prefer to browse online until they find just the right style, sheath or tea-length or ball gown.
Caroline Ward got married at Stowe Mountain Resort last year, and says she found her wedding dress online.
For Ward and her husband, the mountain setting was an important part of the browsing process.
“It is a big day, so we wanted to dress up for it, but we also knew that we would be in the mountains and wanted to honor the laid-back simplicity,” Ward said.
For them, the custom bespoke detailing they had worked into their wedding attire was what set it apart. Dana Ward, Ward’s husband, worked with a custom tailor in Boston to have their wedding date embroidered on the underside of the collar of his suit jacket.
“Dana knew that he wanted to coordinate and fit in with his groomsmen without requiring them to purchase a lot of extra gear for the day,” Ward said. “Dana ended up wearing the same shirt as his groomsmen, they all wore their own khakis and brown shoes, and then Dana had his custom suit jacket. Dana had brown belts for all of his groomsmen with their stamped initials.”
Personalized trends are big in the wedding dress industry, says Mark Needleman, who owns Needleman’s Bridal & Formal, with several Vermont boutique locations.
He says many of the dresses his company’s brides ask for continue to be form-fitted — the princess-style ball gowns of the past are simply no longer in vogue.
“They don’t have the long trains that they used to have, with all the glitz. Now it’s more conservative, if you will. A lot of people get married in the barn,” Needleman said. “The princess dresses, they’re more of a fitted look. Not quite the A-line or the ball gown, more straight dresses.”
The mermaid fit, tight around the bodice and clinging to the upper thighs before flaring out, is still right on trend.
The evergreen sweetheart neckline — strapless, with ornate touches along the bust — is always a popular choice, but Needleman says his company has also seen a rise in sales of gowns with thin, delicate straps.
“We’re doing more with straps than we have in the past,” Needleman said.
Lace is king — queen?
“There’s hardly any satin. Chiffon, lace, things like that” that look more natural are popular, Needleman said. “I honestly don’t see a whole lot of tulle either.”
Tara Lynn Scheidet, owner of Tara Lynn Bridal in Sutton, says she gets plenty of requests for personalized dresses loaded with unique details.
“I see a lot of embellishment. I see a lot of texture,” Scheidet said. “My customers are typically not interested in the big, poofy dress.”
A more fitted look rules the roost at Scheidet’s design studio, too.
“I’m seeing more color, as in embroidery, appliqué, print,” Scheidet said.
Her most unique piece yet?
“I custom-made a digitally printed wedding dress for someone last year. Her father passed away a year before her wedding, and he was a photographer. It was a hobby of his, and he took photographs of a lot of wildlife in Colorado, where they grew up. She wanted to have a print designed using his photography. It was really, really incredible. It was truly unique wedding dress,” Scheidet said. “There was even a bear on her dress. There was a goat in there.”
Let’s hear it for the boys
Menswear is straying far from the traditional tuxedo, Needleman said. He estimates 75 percent of the grooms who find their formalwear at Needleman’s Bridal & Formal opt for a suit.
“The suits have changed dramatically over the last five years,” Needleman said. “People aren’t getting married in big ballrooms anymore.”
Instead, they’re choosing venues with barns or grand old halls with lots of rustic wood and lodge touches, and that’s reflected in their attire choices.
One combination Needleman sees a lot is a navy suit with a charcoal vest and a burgundy tie.
“It’s really what Pinterest demands,” he said. “That’s what they see. Pinterest really fuels a lot of what people are wearing.”
So do award shows. When men see fitted, slim trousers on actors or male models at award shows, they want to emulate that, and Needleman delivers.
“Suits are more tailored at the wrist, tailored at the ankle for a much more slim-fitting look,” he said.
Whatever a bride and a groom chooses, Ward urges them to take their time, and enjoy the experience — finding a wedding dress and the perfect suit is a defining moment, and you’ll know it when you see it.
“My biggest considerations are to not overthink it. If your gut says yes, it’s probably a yes, and if your gut says no, it’s probably a no. I think we have the tendency (among lots of decision-making) to make a selection and then second-guess. Pay attention to that gut,” Ward said.