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The Look: Wedding Trends in Gowns, Hair and Makeup

Every bride wants to look special on her wedding day, but today brides-to-be are opting for specific, unique touches that set them apart from other brides. Regional wedding experts have spotted these top trends that express each bride’s individuality.

photo by km photography

Trends in Gowns: Lace, Low Backs, Fit & Flare Silhouettes and Sweetheart Necklines

“Individualism is huge,” says Joshua Johnson, general manager of Cocoa Couture, Hershey ( “Brides want to show their character.”

“Dresses with open or low backs are very trendy right now,” Johnson said. “Appliqué and ruching add texture and design elements to the dress, and sheer backs can have a beautiful tattooed look.”

Janell Berte, couture bridal designer at Posh Bridal, Lancaster ( agrees. “Sheer lace backs and low backs are popular for the upcoming season,” Berte said.  “Brides tend to like a lower back. They are sexy in a more subtle way.”

Lace touches add a retro-classic style to a bridal gown.  “They give the bride a vintage-chic look,” Berte said.

Berte is featuring gowns with ivory lace, underlaid with pastel blush slips. “Lace slips are a stylish way to incorporate color into your wedding look,” Berte explains. “Lace is making a huge comeback.”

Another vintage-inspired look that is popular this season is the fit and flare dress, a la 1950s styles.

“The new fit and flare are not as fitted around the knee,” Barte says. “They are heavier than before and the flare is brought up.”

The sweetheart neckline remains the go-to look for most brides. “Sweetheart is huge,” Johnson said. “It’s hard to fit brides in a straight neckline.”


Trends in Hair: Veils, Natural Texture, Chignons & Braids

Lace is also making an appearance in the returning trend of veils. Veils have significant historic background in weddings, but have been eschewed in the past decade for elaborate headpieces or nothing at all. Once used to cover the face of the bride from her groom before being married as a symbol of purity, today they are worn as a fashion accessory to add beauty and elegance to the bride’s overall look.

“Veils are definitely in,” says Rosa Rosas, master stylist at Luxe Salon, Lancaster ( Lace-trimmed veils are now de rigueur, as are birdcage veils, which are short veils made of netting that extend just over the chin. They are attached to a small hat or a large hair ornament.  The modern way to wear this vintage look is cropped just under the eyes or swept asymmetrically across the face.

As far as bridal hairstyles are concerned, Rosas says that most brides prefer to stick with their natural hair texture. “Brides want to stay looking like themselves.”

She also sees a trend she calls “modern vintage,” with women choosing embellished headbands and chignon styles. Braids continue to be a hair trend, with many brides-to-be requesting them in their hairstyles.


Trends in Makeup: Bold Smoky Eyes & Retro Red Lips

Although bridal hair tends to be more natural, brides are becoming more courageous with their makeup. “Brides today are inspired by celebrity weddings,” says Carmina Cristina, international makeup artist, Harrisburg (

“Every bride is different. I always try to bring out natural beauty that every bride holds inside,” Cristina said.  Purples and metallics are flattering on most women and Cristina often creates a smoky eye, a technique that can be made with grays, purples and blacks.

The best way for brides to add a pop of color is with a red lip. This trend reflects the retro-tinged details that continue to be a part of modern weddings.

“The red lip is a huge trend that doesn’t appear to be going away,” Cristina said. “It looks great paired with a natural eye or even a smoky eye.”

Overall, brides are following tradition less. “Because brides are going out of the comfort zone, it makes it more fun for us,” Johnson said.

A bride can be “very sophisticated and traditional or soft and old-fashioned,” Berte added. “Every bride wants to be an individual.”

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