The modern bride’s sartorial dilemma: creating a beautiful look for the big day without looking, you know, too bridal. Fortunately, many modern designers have created timelessly chic ensembles that won’t conjure up cringe-worthy repeats of those ’80s bridal looks (sorry, mom!).

“Today’s bride is all about style,” says Daniel Onori, a Toronto-based expert bridal stylist and Plutino Group artist. “It’s really important for her to pull together a look that is individual and different from people around her.” And, as he points out, today’s wedding dress options for brides are more exciting than ever before—you can be everything from a bohemian beauty to a city sophisticate.

Onori shares his bridal fashion savvy for looking great when walking down the runway—ahem—aisle.

Modern bride fashion update #1: Add colourful accessories.

Expert word: “Many modern brides choose classic dresses and accessorize with colour to truly make the look their own,” says Onori. Unless you’re feeling extra bold—then don a full-out red wedding dress from Oscar de la Renta’s Spring 2013 collection.

The switchup: Go from a day to night look by swapping out soft or neutral accessories for the ceremony with their edgier night-look equivalent for the reception. “Add a black sash or an amazing piece of colorful jewellery to truly add a sense of glamour,” suggests Onori.

TRY IT: Don a poppy red satin pump or wrap a colourful sash or embellishment around a classic white wedding dress.

Modern bride fashion update #2: Mix up the right combination of classic fabrics—and skin.

Expert word: “With the return of the lace gown—from Chantilly to Alençon—designers went romantic for the season,” says Onori.

The switchup: Forget the puffy, padded shoulders you’ve seen in ‘80s wedding photos— the long, laced sleeve is back and it’s both delicate and form fitting on the wedding dress. Call it the Kate effect. “More girls are opting out of strapless traditional dresses and are either asking for sleeves or putting in removable ones.”

TRY IT: Think Angelina’s #rightleg for a striking look that’s trending too: “Showing off your gams is huge this season,” he adds. “Slits take centre stage on the big day!”

Click here for traditional and non-traditional something blue items to pair with your wedding dress.

Read on for more bridal fashion tips for the modern bride…

Dior-bks-A-RS12-5951Canvas.jpgModern bride fashion update #3: Enter the flapper bride with metallic colours and a cocktail-length dress.

Expert word: “With options from 2012 collections by Ivy & Aster or Jenny Packham, brides are choosing short dresses or metallic finishes to their wedding gowns,” says Onori.

The switchup: “There are many options for clutches for brides,” says Onori. His pick? Metallic satin and leather clutches by New York handbag designer Lauren Merkin. “They look just as good with your wedding gown as when you are out on the town!”

TRY IT: Opt for soft organzas in blush or delicate laces from designers like Monique Lhuillier; for a standout bridal sheen, gorgeous metallics from designers like Jenny Packham come with hints of color or in neutral tones.

Modern bride fashion update #4: Take celeb inspiration and remember that two (or three) looks is better than one.

Expert word: For celeb-approved bridal trends, “Kate Moss truly inspired many bohemian brides, while Kate Middleton inspired the classic bride,” says Onori.

The switchup: Literally: “Kim Kardashian probably had some influence in the multiple dress department— She made it OK to want to change [the dress] and express different looks on the big day!” says Onori. And why not? “It’s your moment to shine.”

Take your cues from Kim Kardashian’s Vera Wang bridal gown changeup and slip into a sleeker number for the cocktail reception.

Modern bride fashion update #5: Mix in a few classic staples for a truly vintage look.

Expert word: “I think earrings are the most important essential for a bride,” says Onori. “Adding visual interest to the face makes all the difference in pictures and when speaking to people.”

The switchup: For a modern look, add in vintage pieces from Carole Tanenbaum’s Vintage bridal collection—like retro brooches or chain mail necklaces—available at White Toronto. “[Bridal jeweller] Erin Cole does vintage-inspired pieces you will wear well beyond the wedding day!”

TRY IT: Look for a shoe that’s comfortable –yes, we said it!—and that has a little bling to it. Onori’s current favourite? “The classic Crystal D’Orsay from Oscar de la Renta.” Simply stunning.

Read more:
10 bridesmaid dress ideas from the runways
Wedding trends for stylish brides
The best (not-so) traditional wedding shoes
The top wedding dress trends