Most women dream of walking down the aisle in a white wedding gown. But, over the last few years, an increasing number of them have been dreaming in color — they're following couture trends and saying "I do" to designs in shades of gold and blush.
"Like white or ivory, it's slowly becoming a staple," observes Rachel Vitalone, assistant manager of Demetrios in Lyndhurst, citing that about 20 percent of her brides are looking for a splash of color.
Some are second-time brides who don't feel comfortable wearing white or want a more sophisticated look. Others planning a first wedding are participating in a larger trend in which couples are progressively more creative in choosing everything from locations and flowers to food and dÃ©cor items.
"It's been changing, the way brides look at dresses and the standards that they thought they had to meet," Vitalone explains. "They're seeing that you can do whatever you want, and you're still the bride."
Patrice Catan, vice president of bridal events and project development at Catan Fashions in Strongsville, estimates that 11 percent of her customers are buying colored gowns or dresses featuring a colored embellishment.
Some of Catan's most-requested styles feature a plain or beaded ivory lace over a light blush or very muted gold lining that showcases the overlay's intricate pattern. Dresses with a gold accent of some sort are more popular than a solid counterpart in either shade. The Lazaro brand, Catan notes, has distinguished itself by producing ball gowns embroidered in gold.
But Vitalone points out that solid golds, especially champagnes, sell in her shop. "We have a couple that are actually a satin-gold color that are drop-dead gorgeous," she says. "They've gotten a lot of attention from [brides]." She adds that solid blushes in sheer fabrics such as organza have a following, particularly among women marrying in warm-weather outdoor settings, such as a garden or beach.
"Because it's not as traditional, sometimes [women] feel a little more open to trying some different options," she says.
Catan says some women are looking for a platinum gown or a dress accented in red, blue or black, perhaps with a sash. One of Brides by Demetrios' options has a strapless white or ivory bodice overlaid in black lace and a skirt finished in tiers of black and white or ivory tulle.
"We've also had a few calls for a totally black wedding gown," Catan says. "But I'd say the percentage there is about 1 percent."
Bigger than colored bridal gowns, in fact, is colored footwear. "Everything is about the shoes [brides] are wearing, not as much the dress, believe it or not," Catan shares. Many of her customers are wearing satin shoes dyed turquoise, purple, fuchsia — whatever they desire — with their white or ivory gowns. The color doesn't necessarily match that of the bridesmaids' dresses or, for that matter, any hue in the wedding palette.
"The shoes stand on their own merit," she says.
At Brides by Demetrios, Vitalone reports that women are trying on dresses with a brightly colored or lavishly jeweled shoe that they've already purchased for the event. One bride preparing for a barn wedding showed up with a pair of brown-and-teal cowboy boots. For those who splurge on a pair of Jimmy Choos or Christian Louboutins, Catan says, the price of those modern-day Cinderella slippers can exceed the cost of the gown.
"They get a pair a shoes that they're in love with and would never get for themselves to wear walking down the street or to work," Vitalone details. "But on their wedding day, it's a little more special. They can really strut their stuff and show who they are."