It’s not all strapless and short skirts for warm weather bridal gowns. While those are options, particularly for location weddings on a beach, what’s important is not only glamour but comfort.
Summer gowns may be simpler, without as much satin or silk trailing behind, so to glam them up this season consider embellishing them with sparkly belts or statement jewelry. The weight of the fabric is important, think tulle or lace. No need to strip a gown of its sophistication and splendor, just add an illusion neckline or dramatic back. Off-the-shoulder styles used to be popular until many brides realized it was a little difficult to raise their arms; this is why strapless will always reign supreme. Color, in fresh new shades like pale blue or green, are interesting options.
Consider lace sleeves, short or long. “All of my companies have accessory sleeves,” says Donna Saber, owner of Here Comes the Bride in Somers Point. “The bride gets the regular dress and the manufacturer has sleeves that match the gown. We order the sleeve separately then the seamstress just attaches it. It really expands the options for them rather than having to search out dresses with sleeves. It’s been an evolving trend. We can also customize all sleeves as with appliques and beading.”
Alfred Angelo (Elsa, style 251): From Disney Fairy Tale Bridal, the Elsa is a softly flared sheath gown with dramatic beading and an elegant Watteau train, a single sheer panel attached to the upper back that sweeps to the floor. The sweetheart neckline can be embellished with a sleeve option. Available in ivory/silver, white/silver and ice crystal (pale blue). Under $1400, at Here Comes the Bride, 272 New Road, Acme/Kmart Plaza, Somers Point, 609-926-0999, www.herecomesthebridenj.com.
Alfred Angelo (style 2520): An elegant fit-and-flare strapless soft satin gown with beaded sweetheart neckline and a fully draped silhouette. The flared skirt is finished with a chapel length train. Includes a sleeve option. Available in ivory/metallic, white/metallic. Under $1400, at Here Comes the Bride..
WTOO by Watters (Francine): Vintage inspired, this sleeveless Alencon lace and tulle slim fit-and-flare wedding dress offers a sense of sophistication for any bride. Features a dramatic lace hem, plunging illusion back neckline and covered buttons. Puddle train. Available in ivory, champagne. $1,235, at Dress to Impress - Bridal & Formal Boutique, 199 New Rd., Central Square, Linwood, 609-653-4444, www.dress2impress.us.
Val Stefani (Anja): Embroidered lace appliques with Swarovski crystals adorn the halter neckline and bodice of this mermaid silhouette with a sumptuous skirt. The open back radiates sophistication with buttons and loops along the zipper. Available in ivory/gold, ivory and white. $2,685, at Dress to Impress - Bridal & Formal Boutique.
Mori Lee (style 5305): A high batteau neckline of Alencon lace flows into a fitted dropped bodice on this lovely fit-and-flare gown. Detailed scalloped lace overlays the full hemline with Tiffany length train (6’). The gorgeous low illusion and lace back is accented with covered buttons. Available in ivory and white. $999, at Rienzi Bridal Salon, 745 E. Landis Ave., Vineland, 856-692-4060, www.rienzibridalsalon.com.
Mori Lee (style 5303):Romantic lace illusion shoulders and a pronounced sweetheart neckline top a structured Alencon lace bodice and trumpet skirt on this gown with a lovely A-line silhouette. A removable crystal-beaded accent belt sits atop the natural waist. Open keyhole back. Available in ivory and white. About $990 at Rienzi Bridal Salon.
Kitty Chen Couture (Ariana): A mermaid silhouette is covered with beaded floral appliques that flow down a tulle skirt. The reverse is equally dramatic with criss cross straps and a low illusion back. Available in champagne, ivory and white. At Wedding Belles Boutique, 1205 Tilton Rd., Centerpoint Plaza, Northfield, 609-241-0134, www.weddingbellesboutique.com. Call store for pricing.
Aire Barcelona (Anand): This soft, romantic dress flows into a modified ballgown skirt with layers of organza. An amazing lace illusion neckline of guipure, a heavy lace with embroidered motifs, carries into the fitted bodice. Available in a natural color. At Wedding Belles Boutique, 1205 Tilton Rd., Centerpoint Plaza, Northfield, 609-241-0134, www.weddingbellesboutique.com. Call store for pricing.
Essence of Australia (#D1865): The perfect Hollywood glam gown, this timeless designer fit-and-flare wedding dress is made from the finest lace over rich dolce satin and features diamante-adorned shoulder straps, a sexy low back and an elegant chapel train. The back of this wedding dress zips up under sparkling crystal buttons. Available in white, ivory, ivory/oyster, ivory/pewter. $1,930.at Tesi Bridal & Formal, 201 Tilton Road, Northfield, 609-646-9900, www.tesibridal.com.
David Tutera (#114276): AVenise lace, organza and tulle mermaid silhouette with lace cap sleeves and deep Queen Anne neckline. The Venise lace bodice has an exaggerated dropped asymmetrical waistline; a lace back bodice has covered button closures. A full dramatic ruffled tiered organza and tulle skirt spills into a chapel length train. Available in white, ivory, ivory/tea rose. $1,750 at Tesi Bridal & Formal.