Jane Yeh. Picture / Alpine Image Co.

How to Find Your Dream Wedding Dress

Wedding dress experts share their insight and tips on finding the perfect dress

JANE YEH

What are the key trends for wedding dresses?
Classic white and light ivory are still popular colours for brides with soft hues such as champagne for bridesmaids. Full-length dresses are still evident, although more informal weddings sometimes opt for a knee-length dress. Silhouettes are slim rather than the princess-style gown and popular fabrics are beautiful chiffons and laces.

Do fashion trends affect bridal trends?
Fashion trends do affect bridal trends. The bohemian look and lace are influencing bridal looks.

What about bridal accessory trends right now?
Bridal accessories such as handmade lace or fabric flowers or fresh flowers are popular.

How have dress trends changed in recent years?
Dresses have become less formal and traditional. The vintage look featuring lace and chiffon-fabrics, rather than heavy satin, is very popular.

What do you always ask a bride when she is looking for the perfect gown?
I ask whether they have a dream dress in mind, and what their wedding style is — vintage, glamorous, formal, beach...

What piece of advice do you always pass on to your customers?
Always enjoy the time leading up to your wedding day. Make lists so that you are organised and not stressed and don’t be afraid to delegate some duties to the bridesmaids.

What do you love most about designing wedding dresses?
I love the creative aspect of designing wedding dresses and being able to create a work of art for a bride on her special day.

Rue De Seine. Picture / Supplied

MICHELE CORTY, RUE DE SEINE

What sets your wedding dresses apart from others?
We are mix of artists, dreamers, and craftsmen creating gowns as unique as our brides. Nearly all of our fabrics this season have been designed by Rue De Seine and inspired by faraway places. We feel that our design team’s ready-to-wear background allows us to look at bridal differently, creating fashion-forward gowns for the modern bride. We also make all our gowns in New Zealand which is pretty special to us.

What are the key trends for wedding dresses?
Colour: Nude tones and warm golds.
Length: Long lengths with shorter linings for our beach girls.
Silhouette: Fitted silhouette with sleeves and a beautiful open back.
Fabric: Textured laces like crochet, folk-inspired embroideries and beads.

Do fashion trends affect bridal trends?
Definitely. Our brides follow fashion and want their day to have a certain editorial appeal.

What about bridal accessory trends right now?
We are in love with feathers and crystal-adorned pieces right now.

How have dress trends changed in recent years?
Girls want a dress they can move in and feel stunning in. We were happy to see the impractical gown on its way out.

How early should a bride start looking for her gown?
I would start to look as early as a year out. Having extra time will allow a bride to try on different silhouettes and not feel stressed about timing.

What piece of advice do you always pass on to your customers?
Don’t forget to enjoy your gown. Wine will be spilt and hems will get dirty. Have fun!

What was your own wedding dress like? Do you still have it?
I do still have my gown as it was so special to me. The skirt was dripping in silk organza peonies and pleated silk. I am a die-hard romantic and wanted my dress to reflect the beauty of the day. If we were to renew our vows I would go for one of our fabulous fringe dresses!

Vinka Design. Picture / Katherine Tuenter from The Undefined Photography.

ANITA TURNER-WILLIAMS, VINKA DESIGN

What are the key trends for wedding dresses?
Nude effect with sheer soft layers, low backs, sleeves and, of course, lace. Having said that, heavier satins are starting to make a comeback and dupion silk.

The main colour in bridal will always be ivory, however ivory over a nude base is amazing. Several really strong looks are the fitted gown — showing the body shape (often in full lace or embroidery), fitted bodices with soft layers of dreamy chiffon or tulle, (necklines and sleeves really feature here), and the boho look often in lace with unstructured layers and low backs.

Do fashion trends affect bridal trends?
Yes, I think there is an influence there, lace is very strong in fashion so brides are more open and excited to be using these gorgeous fabrics in their gowns. Also fashion styling, hair and make up are big influences. Having said that, there is more personal style coming through with today’s brides, being more open to doing their own thing.

What about bridal accessory trends right now?
Veils feature strongly, mainly long and fine, often lace-trimmed. Headpieces — beaded and woven into the hair, or fresh flowers either as leis or, again, woven into the hair.

How have dress trends changed in recent years?
Brides have more confidence, so are more comfortable showing skin. Necklines and silhouettes have changed to reflect this.

How early should a bride start looking for her gown?
I personally think six months out is good, it gives us plenty of time to create a gown, but whatever works for each bride is fine with us. Most have the perception that they have to start early — at least nine months out, but because our gowns are hand-created here in New Zealand, the lead-in time is much less.

What do you always ask a bride when she is looking for the perfect gown?
I try and find out her sense of style. Working with this and her figure, it’s easy to come up with some exciting options. Venue and location also help as the gown has to perform for the bride. Also, budget can be a handbrake.

What piece of advice do you always pass on to your customers?
You will never forget your gown, how you looked and felt. Make it special.

Anna Schimmel. Picture / Mike Hill.

ANNA SCHIMMEL

What sets your wedding dresses apart from others?
Superb cut, the most exclusive fabrics and timeless, feminine styling.

What are the key trends for wedding dresses?
Colour: Winter white as well as nude bases, also vintage gold hues.
Length: Floor-length with long, dramatic trains.
Silhouette: Striking, almost theatrical mermaid silhouettes.
Fabric: Large patterns/designs feature as eye-catching embroidery, in heavy guipures or flattering appliques.

Do fashion trends affect bridal trends?
Yes, but not directly.

How have dress trends changed in recent years?
Bridal fashion has really accelerated and because of sites like Pinterest, hot looks are shared worldwide in an instant.

What do you always ask a bride when she is looking for the perfect gown?
Where is your wedding, and how many guests?

How early should a bride start looking for her gown? It depends on the size of the wedding and how fantastic the gown needs to be. Exquisite couture takes around 12 months as fabrics may need to be woven and beading designed. For simpler styles, six months will be fine.

What do you love most about designing wedding dresses?
Only the best will do.

Johanna Hehir. Picture / Jenny Siaosi.

JOHANNA HEHIR

What sets your wedding dresses apart from others?
I pay a lot of attention to the cut of my dresses, so figuring out the most flattering lines is the most important part of the design process for me. I love to draw on inspiration from past eras to create timeless styles in the very best quality silks and laces.

What are the key trends for wedding dresses?
Colour: Blush tones and bright whites.
Length: Full length.
Silhouette: Soft bodices and gently flowing A-Line skirts.
Fabric: Georgette and guipure lace.

Do fashion trends affect bridal trends?
They certainly have an effect, for example the 1970s revival that is happening in fashion right now has filtered through, so there is a hint of the bohemian in a lot of the current bridal styles.

What about bridal accessory trends?
Flower crowns and short veils are very popular at the moment and a lot of my brides tell me they are planning to have fresh flowers in the hair.

How have dress trends changed in recent years?
Bridal trends have changed dramatically. Wedding dresses have become less structured and less formal, brides-to-be are now looking for something comfortable, elegant and less fussy.

How early should a bride start looking for her gown?
The earlier the better. Most companies will require a bride to order at least six months before her wedding date. It obviously depends on how long a bride has until her wedding, but I think brides-to-be should aim to start looking around 12 months in advance.

What do you always ask a bride when she is looking for the perfect gown?
I like to ask her where she is getting married and to share with me her ideas for how she is going to style her day. I try to get a picture of her personal style so that I can help her find the perfect dress for her.

What piece of advice do you always pass on to your customers?
I always tell my customers that they must feel completely comfortable in their wedding dress, it should make them feel confident and happy when they step into it on the morning of their wedding.

What do you love most about designing wedding dresses?
I love creating a dress that is so very special to the wearer. I find that even though some of my brides wear the same dress, no two brides are the same and I enjoying seeing how each bride personalises their look.

Alma Jay. Picture / Fred Sung.

ALMA WONG, ALMA JAY

What sets your wedding dresses apart from others?
Our style is based on the classic style but with bit of on edge, which is more fashion-forward. It’s a combination of classical elements from bygone years with a contemporary edge to fit the modern bride’s elegance and sophisticated style.

What are the key trends for wedding dresses?
Colour: Creamy neutrals with soft and subtle shades of blush, almond and duck egg. This adds another dimension onto a wedding gown and makes it very soft and romantic.
Silhouette and length: Chic separates with detachable overskirts for the best of both worlds.
Fabric: Lace and 3D flower details.

Do fashion trends affect bridal trends?
The basic style doesn’t change much, but definitely fashion trends do follow though to bridal trends. Crop tops and open backs have been one of the popular fashion trends. The bridal industry has incorporated this trend in gowns in a sexy and sweet sheer style.

What about bridal accessory trends?
Fresh flower crowns are loved by many brides at the moment and they are a romantic, feminine and whimsical alternative to the traditional bridal veil.

How have dress trends changed in recent years?
Celebrity and royalty have always had a big influence in the industry. Since the royal wedding in April 2011, Kate Middleton’s gown style became very popular. She brought the sleeves back to strapless gowns. Before her, about 90 per cent of bridal gowns were strapless. But in recent years, designers are working on a variety of necklines with sleeves and that has developed into illusion necklines and backs.

How early should a bride start looking for her gown?
I recommend about six to eight months before the wedding, just so the bride has everything in order. We work in partnership with every bride to develop a wedding dress that highlights the unique features of each beautiful bride.

What do you always ask a bride when she is looking for the perfect gown?
I always ask the brides if they have any personal preference in style and also about the theme of the wedding so we are able to understand the bride and help to plan the overall look. The style of the gown and the colour palette will reflect the wedding style. When all the elements and styles flow together, it makes the vision of the day even more romantic and stylish.

What piece of advice do you always pass on to your customers?
Be true to yourself. Know what you want and then have it your way — not everyone else’s way,

What do you love most about designing wedding dresses?
Designing bridal gowns is not like creating a masterpiece to sell, or a great outfit. This is creating the precious memento of someone’s special day to treasure forever. And as a designer, being able to share that moment is what I love and what I am passionate about.

What was your own wedding dress like? Do you still have it?
Yes, I still have my dress. My dress didn’t get finished until the day before my wedding, as I had to finish all my brides’ gowns first before I went away for the honeymoon. The gown had a fitted Alencon lace bodice with a low back and soft organza skirt. It was 10 years ago that I wore it, but I still love it.

Natalie Chan. Picture / Supplied.

NATALIE CHAN

What are the key trends for wedding dresses?
I have always been a huge advocate of coloured wedding dresses, and just love working with a palette of butterscotch, blush pink, and dove grey.

Floor-skimming is an enduring length in bridal wear, but more recently I love hi-low and waltz hems where brides can make a statement with their footwear.

Silhouettes with brides don’t vary too much; I am seeing a lot of fitted bodices with flowing and voluminous skirts. There has been a huge revival in the popularity of lace at the moment which I am relishing; we are quite spoilt for choice with lace selection in our local textile industry from classic to modern to dainty and bold designs.

Do fashion trends affect bridal trends?
Very much so. I have seen this in micro-trends such as hi-low hems, sheer skirts, crop tops, and bridal separates.

How have dress trends changed in recent years?
With the rise of rustic weddings and a variety of different types of venues opening up all over the country (no longer confined to churches and formal function venues), many brides are opting for a more relaxed style in their gowns.

What do you always ask a bride when she is looking for the perfect gown?
“How do you envision yourself on the day?” I would liken the guests’ first view of the bride’s gown to the opening act of a show you are watching. It has to be captivating and to speak volumes of who the bride is as a person. With this in mind the bridal gown needs to be an absolute show-stopper.

What piece of advice do you always pass on to your customers?
On a practical note, I believe comfort is an important factor to consider. Many brides forget that they are going to be wearing their gown for at least seven hours and that’s a long time to be uncomfortable!

What was your own wedding dress like? Do you still have it?
I designed for myself a dress with a fitted beaded lace bodice.The skirt featured layer upon layer of textured tulle (there was about 50m altogether!), in my hair I had an abundance of ivory silk flowers. And yes, they are displayed lovingly in my wardrobe at home.

KERRY SMITH, PRIMROSE AND FINCH

What are the key trends for wedding dresses?
What we are seeing at the moment is that brides are going for an eclectic mix of simplicity mixed with beading. We are also finding some brides have a strong leaning towards separates.

What about bridal accessory trends?
With accessories we are seeing a comeback for traditional bridal veils, along with elegant but simple footwear. There is increased interest in intricate headpieces.

How have dress trends changed in recent years?
The Kate Middleton lace influence of 2011 is fading out, with brides moving towards simple designs. Demand for strapless dresses has decreased over the past few years.

How early should a bride start looking for her gown?
We always recommend you start looking for your dream dress around 12 months before the wedding date to a enjoy a relaxed experience in the build-up to the the big day.

What do you ask a bride when she is looking for the perfect gown?
A holistic approach is always required, taking into account factors such as venue, body shape and overall fashion style.

What piece of advice do you always pass on to your customers?
We always tell brides to “choose the dress you want, not the dress others tell you to buy”.

What was your own wedding dress like? Do you still have it?
My own dress was an intricate mix of fine lace and chiffon. A separate bodice and skirt completed the overall look — this is a key feature of many styles today I still have it, preserved carefully for use by future generations.

Share this:
New Zealand Herald

New Zealand Herald

Subscribe to E-Newsletter