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How to personalize your wedding dress for the big day 

From veils to heels, brides find ways to personalize their gowns

  "We are seeing brides embracing their own unique style and allowing their individual personalities to shine," says Melissa Estess, co-owner of The Bridal Boutique by MaeMe. "Many of our brides are steering away from the traditional, ballgown wedding, and more toward a ... rustic, vintage theme."

  Long sleeves and embellished back details are showing up in many collections this season, and wedding dresses are updated with straps, jackets and capelets. These additions provide diversity and wearability. "Chic toppers are a great way to meet a church requirement for coverage or to provide a second look once removed," says Amy Casbarian, owner of Wedding Belles.

  Plunging backs are popular. A backless dress can be covered by a jacket or a cape for the ceremony and exposed for a different look at the reception. Estess notices a growing interest in 1920s gowns and bohemian sheath dresses. These fun, festive styles lend themselves well to an outdoor garden wedding and the second line to follow.

  A classic bridal gown is always in style, and traditional still works with current wedding trends. "Our goal is to show them how to look timeless," Casbarian says. "We want our traditional brides to look classic without looking dated, and our fabulous designers make this effortless by updating classic styles with a twist on traditional fabrics and ever-so-slightly updated silhouettes for a more modern look that will never be regrettable."

  This season, playing with textures is prominent, with a growing number of lace selections adding depth and design elements. "In addition to the traditional Alencon laces, we are seeing more Chantilly and Guipure laces, and even a mixture of laces on one gown which creates a lovely dimension and texture," Casbarian says.

  A traditional silhouette is available in patterned fabrics such as embroidered silk organzas, birds' eye silk piques and Thai silk embroidered with metallic thread. Many brides are opting for headpieces, fascinators and accessories over the traditional veil, which can be found in beaded and lace varieties.

  Color is trending for 2015, and though there is still a strong market for traditional white, customers at The Bridal Boutique by MaeMe are buying the store's selection of non-white dresses. An unexpected element of color is a way to showcase personality and style. "This season, we incorporated several gowns in various shades of blue, blush, gold, silver and Champagne into our inventory and our brides are absolutely loving the options," Estess says. The range of color options allows a bride to select a hue that complements her complexion, along with a dress silhouette that flatters her body type.

  Shoes are a great way to add a pop of color. CeCe Colhoun curates the selection at CeCe Shoe and has the "something blue" tradition covered with blue suede Manolo Blahniks.   "The Lauratopri ankle-strap sandals with the chunky heel are great for outside weddings [because] the blushing bride will not be creating divots in the grass with her stiletto, or even worse, sinking into the dirt and ruining the heels," Colhoun says. "It is a shoe for a less formal bride and can be worn time and time again after the big day with countless ensembles."

  For the bride who wants to show some ankle, the Nicholas Kirkwood pearl-heeled double strap nude sandal is perfect. The luxe satin and understated femininity with the pearl coupled with the curved heel make it modern and unique.

  "To me, this is everything a 'new classic' wedding shoe should be," Colhoun says. "It is an understated showstopper."


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