Where and How to Find "The Dress"
BY MADALYN ROTHMAN
|Bridal experts Monica McLaughlin, Frannie Erace, Pattie Lamantia and Janice Martin|
Finding the perfect dress for your big day can become overwhelming, but some advice for brides is to just enjoy the process, follow your heart and rejoice when you’ve found the gown you want to get married in. And remember—there will always be more dresses out there. When you find the one that you love, stop looking and commit to it.”
This is the advice of Monica McLaughlin, bridal consultant at Bijou Bridal & Special Occasion (102 E. Montgomery Ave., Ardmore; pa.bijoubridal.com). But with so many options for your dress, veil, shoes and jewelry, finding exactly what suits your wedding-day style can quickly induce more anxiety than excitement. After speaking with the top wedding dress experts in Philadelphia about the most popular designs and accessories and the wedding watched around the world, we have found the most elegant bridal styles that will take your breath away for all of the right reasons.
This season witnesses the return of romance, thanks in no small part to the latest fashion (and bridal) icon, the Duchess of Cambridge Catherine Middleton—and her Grace Kellyesque long-sleeve lace gown by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen. Janice Martin of Janice Martin Couture (41 Cricket Ave., Ardmore; janicemartin. net), who specializes in custom-designed dresses, says brides have come in looking for this exact type of gown. “To have two brides in the past six months who want dresses that look like Grace Kelly’s, I’d say that yes, there is something royal in the air,” observes Martin.
If the idea of sleeves feels too formal, consider shorter ones, says Priscilla Costa of Priscilla Costa Brazil (2535 Huntingdon Pike, Huntingdon Valley; priscillacosta.com), a new, by-appointment sustainable bridal showroom. “Even brides who love the royal wedding gown sometimes dislike the long lace sleeves for themselves,” she says. “A V-neck with short sleeves is flattering on any body type and has the same effect.” She adds that this is all part of the move away from strapless gowns, as brides seek a “more signature look.”
Accessories are also important for the big day. “The accessories you choose can really add drama to your look,” says Pattie Lamantia of The Wedding Shoppe (503 W. Lancaster Ave., Ste. 110, Wayne; wedding-shoppe.com). “Many brides are forgoing traditional veils for interesting hair accents,” says Lamantia. “A lot of brides are taking off their veils and opting for a touch of feathers instead, using haircombs that have both flowers and feathers in them.” For those who prefer veils, however, birdcage veils are sweet and stylish and offer the flexibility of working with any type of hairstyle.
Statement jewelry is another popular look for fall. “Bouquets are getting smaller, and we are beginning to see big, wide, cuff-like bracelets with gemstones, pearls or even a pop of color as the only piece of jewelry worn with the gown,” adds Lamantia. Colorful shoes also have been spotted up and down the runway, as well as the aisle. Blue, coral or metallic silver and gold are just a sampling of the hues peeking out from under layers of tulle and silk. “They add a lot of fun to the tradition,” declares Frannie Erace of Unveiled (200 W. Washington Sq., Ste. 250; unveiledphiladelphia.com). “It all depends on the woman’s preference. Romantic shoes that tie across the instep in ivory or champagne are also popular for fall.”
Erace has seen it all, but she holds one moment above all else. “The most important trend I have seen in this business is when the bride stands in front of the mirror and says, with tears in her eyes, ‘This is the one!’ For me, no fashion trend can ever touch that moment.”
PHOTOGRAPH BY ZANDER TAKETOMO