TORONTO - Blushing brides? Make that brides in blush.
Coloured bridal gowns aren't an entirely new style phenomenon. But from recent celebrity weddings to spring 2013 designer runways, fresh creations for the walk down the aisle are emerging in shades beyond traditional white, ivory and cream.
Last fall, actresses Anne Hathaway and Jessica Biel each donned designer wedding dresses incorporating pink, a year after Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon said her "I do's" in a blush-coloured gown. No Doubt's Gwen Stefani was well ahead of the coloured-dress curve when she wore her famed Galliano gown dip-dyed in hot pink for her 2002 nuptials.
Future brides aspiring to be pretty in pink will have their share of options to sift through in 2013, whether it's a subtle touch of pale pastel or a more colourful creation drenched in the rosy hue.
RELATED: Top 13 Wedding Trends for 2013
1. A Return To Formality
"It's a move towards sophistication," says Alyssa Brown of Alison Events in San Francisco, the planners behind Seth Rogen's recent nuptials. "For example, we're planning an outdoor event right now, but there's crystal on the table, and gold silverware and chargers," Alyssa explains. "And black tie is playing a huge role right now. It's full-length gowns for everybody!" <em>Photo Credit: Sara Kathleen</em>
2. Neutral Color Palettes
"I see grey and taupe with pops of black," says Alyssa. Tara Guérard of Soirée in Charleston predicts that layers of blush will be big. Candles always have a major presence at weddings, but this year, look for them in showstopping chandeliers. "I like to incorporate chandeliers into my wedding design, especially in tents," says Ivy Robinson of Ivy Robinson Weddings and Events in Charlotte, North Carolina. <em>Photo Credit: Jessie Leake Photography courtesy of Alison Events; Flowers by Brown Paper Design</em>
3. The Wild-Card Trend of the Year
Camping! It started with <a href="http://www.bridalguide.com/blogs/bridal-buzz/matthew-mcconaughey-is-married " target="_hplink">Matthew McConaughey's star-studded wedding</a>, and now brides are loving the idea of a grown-up summer camp -- hence the new term, "glamping." Imagine ultra-luxe safari-style tents with heat, electricity and high-end linens. If the idea of overnight guests doesn't work for you, some brides are using the tents as part of the reception. "You can have a tent with books and bourbon," suggests Alyssa. "Or a kids' tent." <em>Photo Credit: Moss Isaac</em>
4. The Flower of the Year
Soft, lush, romantic, the peony is the <a href="http://www.bridalguide.com/planning/david-tuteras-weddings/seasonal-floral-chart" target="_hplink">most-requested wedding flower</a> for two years running now, according to Sayles Livingston of Sayles Livingston Design in Newport, Rhode Island. But with the bloom available for only two months out of the year, brides need a backup. Sayles recommends the garden rose, which has the same delicate petal feeling but is much more readily available. <em>Photo Credit: Thayer Allyson Gowdy; courtesy Alison Events</br > Flowers by Brown Paper Design</em>
5. Garlands Galore
2013's brides swoon for garlands -- garlands with ribbon, garlands with paper, garlands hung from chandeliers. "We just did a wedding with one long center table and a garland of peonies and hydrangea running the full length of the table. It was 48 feet of full flower," Sayles says. <em>Photo Credit: Corlis Gray Photography</em>
6. Gleaming Invitations
The invitation look of the year? Foil stamping -- glints of metallic gold, silver and bronzes stamped directly on the invitation. Imagine your names shining in silver against an illustration of the Brooklyn Bridge, or calligraphy scrollwork made modern in gold. "It adds a very fun pop without being too glitzy," says Melinda Morris of Lion in the Sun in Brooklyn, NY. <em>Photo Credit: Bella Figura</em>
7. The Catering Trend of the Year
“A major trend is to do plated dinners now,” says Elizabeth Creasey of Los Angeles-based Whoa Nelly! Catering, the go-to foodies for Hollywood A-listers. “We’re getting more requests for gold silverware, something more sophisticated.” <em>Photo Credit: Watson Studios</em>
8. Spotlighting Your Culinary Heritage
"We do a lot of it in the <a href="http://www.bridalguide.com/blogs/bridal-buzz/hottest-cocktail-hour-trends" target="_hplink">cocktail hour</a>: little banh mi (mini French baguette) sliders for Vietnamese brides or braised brisket sliders for a Jewish wedding," says Elizabeth Creasey of Los Angeles-based Whoa Nelly! Catering. <em>Photo Credit: Jen Phillips</em>
9. The Entrée of the Year
Pork! Beth loves to surprise guests with a main course that veers away from more expected beef offerings. "We braise pork shoulder until it's really tender, then slice and grill it with black-beans, citrus-pickled onion, and avocado salsa." Brides are demanding unexpected, fun, and above all, <a href="http://www.bridalguide.com/planning/wedding-reception/catering-guide" target="_hplink">restaurant-quality food</a>. <em>Photo Credit: Ashton Events/Dave Lapham</em>
10. The Liquor of the Year
"Tequila," says Olivier Cheng of New York's Olivier Cheng Catering and Events. <em>Photo Credit: Joielala Photographie</em>
11. Eye-Popping Cakes
The <a href="http://www.bridalguide.com/blogs/bridal-buzz/unique-wedding-cakes" target="_hplink">cake style</a> that dominates right now is clean and modern with just one amazing pop of embellishment such as a bow, monogram or flower. The other major look takes the opposite tack, using eye-popping color or all-over appliqués. And finally, a traditional idea has come around again: Brides are loving cakes that mimic wedding-dress details like lace. <em>Photo Credit: Cake Power</em>
12. A Customized Music Experience
Remember when you'd only hear Motown, '80s tunes and hits off the pop charts at weddings? That won't be the case in 2013 says Rob Principe of Scratch Weddings, one of the country's top DJ services. "They want <a href="http://www.bridalguide.com/blogs/bridal-buzz/music-monday-indie-electronica" target="_hplink">electronic dance music</a>, then Bruno Mars, Mumford & Sons, sexy Brazilian house or bossa nova," Rob says. And don't be surprised if you see live musicians that play along with the DJ. "At the cocktail hour, you can have a percussionist and the DJ together -- like having live music embroider the DJ's 1,000-song playlist," Rob explains.
13. Trend of the Year: Going Green and DIY
Brides are planning green weddings in greater numbers than ever. Kate Harrison of Green Bride Guide says the easiest way to go green is with your favors and invitations. Look for recycled, plantable, or tree-free papers, or even sustainably harvested wood-veneers on which to print your invites. <em>Photo Credit: GreenBrideGuide.com</em>
"I just think that it is all inspired by the idea of the blushing bride, and that pink just seems to be a beautiful natural transition of that," said Victoria Rucks, district manager for David's Bridal Canada. "It's really (a colour) that flatters a lot of skin tones as well."
Alison McGill, editor-in-chief of Weddingbells magazine, said the recent coloured-dress trend is one that has been designer driven.
She started to see a style shift with respect to gowns and colour with Vera Wang's all-black collection for fall 2012. The New York designer's bridal collection for spring 2013 showcased various tones of red. In the case of both lines, the dresses are also available in white, McGill noted.
Fashion legend Oscar de la Renta and New York-based Canadian designer Romona Keveza also showed bridal creations for spring 2013 including hues like red and blue.
"I think it's designers presenting brides with different options because brides want to be able to have something really unique for their wedding day, and having colour in your dress certainly is a very impactful way (to do so)," said McGill.
Beyond dresses in bolder hues, silhouettes and dress styles for brides are also getting a fashion reboot.
"The same silhouette has been popular for so long and that's the sort of princess ballgown strapless style with the big skirt, lots of volume," said McGill. "I think we were long overdue for a bit of a switchup with styles."
Among the options:
Illusion neckline: The sheer overlay at the top of the dress connects to the bodice offering a see-through effect and a "beautiful finish."
"It shows a hint of skin while still keeping it modest," said Rucks.
Fanciful backs: From keyhole cut-outs to cascading, flowing ribbons, McGill said a notable trend emerging is the attention to detail on the backs of wedding dresses.
Rucks said the illusion effect seen in necklines, along with bow details, are among the stylish embellishments being showcased on the backs of bridal gowns this year.
Sleeves: It's been nearly two years since the Duchess of Cambridge wowed many with her luxurious lace bridal gown, and the embrace of sleeved dresses into the wedding wear fold remains strong.
"People are looking to add three-quarter length or full-length sleeves to a lot of existing gowns," said Rucks, noting brides can also pair their dress with small jackets to strike a similar effect.
Vintage: Some designers are reviving retro looks from fashion's glam eras for the modern bride.
"We're definitely seeing that '50s, '60s vibe with the tea length cut to the hemline, crinoline to give it the poodle skirt kind of a feel," said Rucks.
For brides seeking retro-inspired accessories to accent their wedding day ensemble, Rucks said there's everything from beaded purses to lush lace covered platform heels and even fascinator-style headpieces channelling the 1920s esthetic.
In need an elegant touch to cap off your wedding day wardobe? Rucks suggested opting to incorporate gloves into the look. "Whether it's wrist-length or up the elbow, satin gloves ... bring the whole picture together."
The selection of more saturated shades is also extending towards other members of the bridal party.
Rucks said a hot pink hue dubbed Begonia along with Horizon, a shade of cobalt blue, are among the new tones for bridesmaids in 2013. Pale shades of blue and green are alternatives for those with an affinity for softer, pastel hues, she noted.
"There are brides who still want a pop of colour on their wedding day," said McGill, who recently interviewed a bride who had her bridesmaids wear coral for the wedding.
Overall, McGill said bridesmaid dresses are becoming increasingly simplified in style.
"I think people want their girls to be in dresses that they feel good in they look great in that are somewhat classic," she said, pointing to the emergence of styles in shades like navy, black and white.
"You're not seeing a ton of volume, you're not seeing a lot of gowns. It's more of a cocktail length that you're seeing for bridesmaids."
There are myriad dress options with both subtle and more overt embellishments, with Rucks pointing to one style which featured a halter neckline, beading along an empire waistline, and a high-low hemline.
MOTHER OF THE BRIDE
When it comes to helping outfit mothers for weddings, Terrie Tibbetts said there's one constant — there is no constant.
"We have mothers that come in and want to be seen, want to be noticed. We have other mothers that walk in and just want to wear beige and blend in with the woodwork," said Tibbetts, who co-owns T. Carolyn Fashions in Houston with her mother, Barbara.
"Really, it's on a sliding scale. Every mother is different and you just have to read each mother."
The shop has had some 100,000 dress sales since opening its doors more than two decades ago, and specializes in formal wear for mothers of the bride and groom.
Both Tibbetts and the boutique will be showcased on the small screen in the new series "Mother of the Bride," which premieres with back-to-back episodes Jan. 4 at 9 p.m. ET on Slice.
Tibbetts offers her suggestions for moms wanting to look stylish for their child's walk down the aisle.
Colour: Tibbetts said there are neutral colours that can shine when paired with beading, crystals or "a little bit of iridescence," but she is a big fan of mature women opting for jewel tones and bold hues.
"Teal looks great, photographs well, especially next to black tuxes."
Styles: While gowns have ruled the last several years, Tibbetts said short dresses are starting to make a resurgence. She said knee-length or longer tea length skirts are both great options, especially for destination weddings.
That said, she loves the juxtaposition of soft-fitted bodices with full skirts as well as dresses mixing and layering fabrics, like metallic lace with iridescent tafetta.
For women who may be a bit more modest or seeking a bit more coverage, Tibbetts said they are able to modify certain dress styles which may be more revealing, such as ordering extra fabric to craft sleeves.
While necklines are "all over the place," she is a big proponent of both one-shouldered gowns and asymmetrical necklines.
"If a woman is more self-conscious about wanting to cover up, maybe her upper body or her arms, an asymmetrical neckline would absolutely be the way to go,"she said.
"It will elongate the torso and give great curves to the bodice, and it's just so flattering on."