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Straying from tradition: new trends in 2016

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When it comes to the bridal party, gone are the days of “one style fits all.” From fabrics to shoes to accessories, almost anything goes. This is good news for bridesmaids, who no longer look like clones of one another, but for brides, the trend adds another layer of decision-making.

Like so many aspects of modern-day wedding planning, brides must decide whether to break convention and, if so, just how far to go. The spectrum is wide and the choices are endless. 

It’s more important than ever for brides to get a handle on the possibilities before making any big decisions. Here’s a quick look at the latest trends:

Pick-your-own style

Mismatched bridesmaid dresses (and shoes!) are definitely in. This is a welcome relief for bridesmaids who won’t have to spend an entire evening in an outfit that’s less than flattering, as well as for brides no longer faced with the challenge of finding a style that looks good on both their petite, curvy best friend and tall, lanky first cousin.

But it’s up to the bride just how far she’s willing to go for the sake of individuality. Brides who want to retain a sense of control over the look of their wedding party will select a collection and hue, and allow their bridesmaids to choose from a variety of styles. They may select a particular shoe or shoe color that matches the dress, or let their bridesmaids make the call.

Same color, different looks

More laid-back brides simply choose a color and let their bridesmaids do the rest. Some may provide a swatch or color template to help their friends hone in on the right shade. This approach allows bridesmaids to select the dress that fits them — in more ways than one — the best. 

Two-toned wedding parties

Who says your bridesmaids all have to wear the same color? Some brides are switching it up, dressing their wedding party in two complementary shades. Or they may choose to honor their maid of honor with a splash of color just for her. 

Alternatives to the wedding bouquet

Some brides are choosing to “toss the bouquet” altogether, in favor of other unique items for their bridesmaids to carry down the aisle, from lanterns to handbags to parasols.

Unique fabrics and finishes 

Charmeuse with a lace overlay or a multi-layered chiffon? A solid cobalt blue or a floral-patterned design? With more choices than ever, brides are selecting bridesmaid dresses in varying textures, materials, and even patterns to match the time of year and style of their wedding. A little research or a knowledgeable salesperson can help you weigh the benefits (and costs) of the different options.

Color swap

Not everyone feels their best in white. A few brides are debunking the conventional idea that they have to wear white on their wedding day. Some brides dress their bridesmaids in bridal white and select a more vibrant hue — like red or pink — for their own gown. A few risk-taking brides even have been known to wear black.

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