Wedding Dresses and Accessories

Timeless Weddings Gowns with Modern Appeal

From white satin to sparkling stones, traditional wedding gowns and jewelry will always be fashionable. Although fresh takes on wedding wear can be interesting, the warm, feminine grace of the time-honored wedding gown will trump vibrant colors and daring cuts if you're aiming for an elegant entrance.

While a full dress with clean lines is universally flattering, the traditional bride has several options when it comes to fabric, cut and length of her wedding dress. Discover which classic gown design will be best for your body and your setting, and which updated details can bring a little modern flair to the ensemble.

Traditional Fabrics for Easy Elegance

Wedding Dresses and Accessories

When it comes to structured opulence, satin is at the top of the list. A full and gleaming satin skirt with folds around a structured bodice will sit still and look pristine from the ceremony through to the reception. If you like sparkle and shine, this is a good choice: the luster in the fabric pairs well with sparkling diamond, crystal and silver accents, and you can add a taffeta overlay for an extra layer of sheen. Unfortunately, satin and taffeta are rather heavy fabrics, and though their smooth shine is unmatched, they can be a poor choice for a summer wedding.

At the other end of the spectrum, you'll find soft and airy fabrics like tulle, chiffon and some finer laces. These are obviously better choices for warm weather, though they can also be layered for a more structured ensemble. But if you're after shine, you won't find too much here: the mesh-like structure of these materials doesn't allow for threads of luminescent fabric. Tulle and chiffon are often used for flowing gowns or layered on top of satin for more volume and a softer silhouette.

Though these are two distinct camps, you don't have to commit to one type of fabric. Many designers work with a host of different fabrics to create the right measure of shine to shape and texture, so you can find the perfect style for your wedding personality. If your budget allows, top-shelf materials like charmeuse or pure silk will offer that elusive mix of cascading glamour and luxurious shine in one layer of fabric.

A Suitable Style for Your Setting

The cut and style of your dress should flatter your body and make you feel great, but you should also consider how and where you'll be wearing it on your wedding day. For instance, the chapel train is ideal for walking down the clean and carpeted aisle of a church, but might not be the best choice for an outdoor reception. A bustle is a good solution to a blousy skirt, but it could change your silhouette, so give it some thought before you make your decision. Although you won't be wearing your dress around town before the big day, try to get a sense of the space you have to work with, sightlines and potential obstacles that you could meet on your wedding day. When you visit your reception venue, walk around and take note of the style of the hall to be sure your dress will work with the atmosphere rather than against it.

A Modern Take on the Classic Look

If you're eager to wear your mother's or grandmother's dress but you're worried that it may be a bit dated, think about subtle ways to update:

  • One or two trendy accessories are especially productive: a designer bolero, a cutting-edge fascinator or a piece of modern statement jewelry can update a gown without transforming it.
  • Diamonds might be on top today, but colored stones like rubies, sapphires and emeralds were the stones of choice in the 18th and 19th centuries. Just like flowers, different stones carry different symbolism, so you might like to look further into the age-old tradition of colored gems instead of the typical wedding jewelry choices.
  • Yellow gold is the traditional color for a wedding band, but the sophisticated shine of white gold is hard to resist. Moreover, your skin tone will often decide what suits you best. One solution is to use both styles of gold – if your heirloom engagement ring is yellow gold, a simple white gold wedding band can look marvelous against it.

There's a place for tradition in any modern wedding; you can decide how many customs you choose to acknowledge. If you stick to classic shapes and silhouettes, you'll find that there are many ways to alter and add to your look for a personalized take on a time-honored style.