No longer does buying a wedding dress—probably the most important fashion excursion of your life—mean making the most obvious sartorial choice. Gone are the days of scanning through racks of monochromatic white and tiered crinoline gowns. With the advent of new stylish dress choices available for your big day (vintage or modern, silky champagne or tulle-beaded) wedding dress hunting has become infinitely more interesting—and cumbersome. Andrea Anastasiou, fashion stylist and owner of Yorkville’s White Toronto bridal boutique, shares the top wedding dress trends of the season and her savvy shopping tips for selecting a dress that you’ll love always and forever.

Bridal fashion tip #1:
Go big or go home.

“We’ve definitely seen a rise in brides asking for bigger dresses,” says Anastasiou. “They are looking for dresses that are light, airy and comfortable but that are also big with a full A-line silhouette and natural waist.” A strong contender for most-requested style? The modified trumpet shape, which has a fitted, elongated torso and a soft bottom that gives the dress its dramatic flare. If both you and your BFF will be brides this summer, choosing interesting dresses with texture and unique details will set you a part on your respective wedding days.


Image of Monique Lhuillier gown in Candy courtesy of Monique Lhuillier, available at White Toronto.

Bridal fashion tip #2: Find your perfect fit.

While there’s no one-size-fits-all wedding dress, a fitted contour still takes the wedding cake for most brides. “I can put a size-two and a size-16 girl into a fitted dress and both can look amazing. The dress just has to flatter her proportions,” she says. For instance, a taller woman can wear a number of shapes but for women with a slim, athletic build, a dress that has some volume will be very flattering. To pull off a fitted silhouette, some natural curves are necessary. Anastasiou adds that the cap-sleeve trend doesn’t work as well on a narrower shoulder frame, as the fabric needs to be filled out and have somewhere to sit.

“The whole Great Gatsby retro style has to be for someone who is well-toned,” Anastasiou advises. “Often these dresses are softer, more eveningwear-inspired and don’t offer any structured support.” As always, chiffons, charmeuses and beaded tulles are classically beautiful fabrics but require proper foundational garments to keep everything in proper place.

Click here for our top picks for wedding shoes.

For more bridal fashion tips to help plan your big day, read on…

Bridal fashion tip #3: Be as vibrant as you are.

Even with Oscar de la Renta injecting a pop of crimson into his Spring 2013 wedding collection with two red bridal gowns, some of the most fashionable women still want a classic white dress for their big day. Anastasiou’s advice? Use accessories to express your colourful personality. As she points out, “Many brides will not wear a red dress but they may be inspired to put on a pair of red satin Valentino shoes.” She also suggests tying a black or coloured sash at the waist of the bridal gown. “These two choices tend to be the easiest way a bride can individualize her look and still not distract from her dress that day.”

Anastasiou adds that colour can spring up in the tiniest of details, such as the ribbon wrapped around the bridal bouquet. For a flush of colour on the gown, there’s the soft blush hue of Monique Lhuillier in Candy or subtle platinum tint of the Peony dress.

Bridal fashion tip #4
: Glean wedding attire tips from your favourite style icons.

Duchess of Cambridge’s hand-cut English lace and French Chantilly lace Alexander McQueen gown last April inspired the “
Kate effect” in weddings that soon followed: dresses with sleeves or a removable sleeve, a second dress to change into at night, cardigans. While the marital attire of Kate Moss and Kim Kardashian were also popular, says Anastasiou, this year it’s all about Angelina. (We bet tattoos will become a popular accessory down the aisle as a result.)

Bridal fashion tip #5: Accessorize with something old— and new.

Brides are definitely wearing vintage jewellery and accessories, says Anastasiou. “Brides fall in love with the tradition of acquiring pieces they can maybe one day pass down to family, while also giving their own modern look a touch of vintage.” The best periods for vintage-inspired accessories? “The 1920s deco pieces are still strong and 1950s button earrings and delicate bracelets layered are the most popular looks.” There are also sparkly
hair accessories from Jenny Packham and Jennifer Behr (a Blair Waldorf hair fave) to cap off vintage looks with old-school-inspired glamour.

Bridal fashion tips #6: Look to the runways for next season’s hottest bridal trends.

As with anything fashion-related, the runways are the best place to start for inspiration. To check the bridal fashion forecast, Anastasiou recently attended the Spring 2013 bridal fashion week in New York. “Some of the looks I saw included the idea of taking one dress and adding layers to it to change the look brilliantly!” she says about
peplums layered over full and skinny gowns to transition from day to night at Reem Acra. “This of course will help brides get two dresses out of one and truly customize their look.”

Her fave highlights from the weeklong bridal affair? Swapping the day belt or sash with a more glamorous piece for the evening reception was popular at Monique Lhuillier, while Rivini gave a fresh and modern spin on the vintage look, layering pretty lace with airy organza and then adding a bit of edge with gunmetal-jeweled details and delicate beading; staying true to their roots, Marchesa showcased ultra glamorous looks with tulle-beaded sleeves and laces. “Beading is huge for next spring,” says Anastasiou. “It’s kept very delicate, with an airy illusion so it looks likes it’s magically floating on the body!” Fashion magic on your wedding day? Sounds good to us.

Read more:
10 amazing summer flat sandals
Top 10 spring dresses
Retro sunglasses for under $200
Hottest bathing suits this season