20 Best Wedding Dresses of 2017

Gorgeous gowns are one of the things I have come to love most about my job and year after year I’m stunned by the sheer beauty of our brides and their choices in bridal fashion, whether classic or daring. Each one comes with its own story, of how it came to be THE dress, and like finding a partner, finding the perfect dress can be a struggle. But every one of our brides tells us when you know, you know! The evidence is clear for all to see, and in between all the exciting talents emerging in the SA bridal fashion scene right now, it is SO hard to pick! But pick we did, with special reference to the dresses that YOU loved on social media in 2017. Each one of these is as special and unique as the woman who wears it, a reflection of the many hours of care that goes into creating a bridal masterpiece. That’s the hard work and talent of the designers we’re honouring here. But slaying it IN your dress? Well ladies, that’s all you.

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20 Elegant Minimalist Wedding Dresses

Magnolia Minimalist Wedding Dress by Lilu Bridal

Some brides are all about extra-ness – enchanting embellishment, beautiful bling, statement lace, or frothy tulle skirts that wouldn’t look out of place at an embassy ball. But for some brides, less is more. Think clean lines, ’90s-style silhouettes, and minimal embellishment. For a sophisticated minimalist bride, it’s all about gorgeous fabrics, stunning cuts, and fresh, pared-back styling, and designers are LOVING the look right now. So if you’re planning a modern minimalist wedding or just want to rock elegantly simple chic on your big day, I have the perfect roundup of gowns, which also happen to be fairly minimalist on the ol’ pocketbook – forget high end designers; every one of these beauties comes from either Etsy or the high street! Links in bold denote affiliate links. The cost to you remains the same, but SBB may receive a commission for any sales made.

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Timeless Elegance Bridal Inspiration

We’re ending our wedding week off with some bridal inspiration! And whether you’re the kind of gal who wants to walk down the aisle like it’s a red carpet and you’re a Hollywood siren, or rock a more classic, understated vibe, you’ll find some ideas for both bridal fashion and hair & makeup here! Set in the old world elegance of Nantes Estate and photographed by Samantha Jackson Photography, this shoot all about timeless glamour!

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Wedding Veils for the Fine Art Bride

Lace Mantilla Veil by Sibo Designs (Image: Brumley & Wells)

The other day we rounded up some GORGEOUS fine art wedding dresses from Etsy, but I’m not done yet with the pretty, oh no. Because a fine art bride also wants to rock a beautiful veil. And why wouldn”t she? Veils are quintessentially romantic and feminine, they look incredible on film (especially those with extra length or lace detailing) and they can also add a bit of vintage flair, whether that’s a touch of Art Deco glamour or a swish of old European grace. But don’t just take it from me. Dive into these 20 spectacular beauties, and you’re sure to agree! Links in bold denote affiliate links. The cost to you remains the same, but SBB may receive a commission for any sales made.

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20 Wedding Dresses for a Fine Art Bride

Ophelia Gown by Hannah Tikkanen (Image: Simply Sweet Photography by Nomo Akisawa)

This morning we’re focusing on one of my favourite elements of a fine art wedding – the dreamiest gowns you can imagine! Because of course, you want to look like a masterpiece on your wedding day! So what IS a wedding dress for a fine art bride, exactly? Well, it’s less a specific look than a feeling: ethereal, hand crafted, unique, with beautiful fabrics and intricate details. It’s definitely not your standard wedding salon ivory ballgown, and often it isn’t white or ivory at all – colour is definitely part of the equation. Above all, a fine art dress photographs beautifully, which is another reason why you’ll often see dreamy rivers of tulle in fine art inspiration shoots. But where to find these one-off beauties? Well, there are some local designers who lean in this direction, but you could also take the leap and look to the artisan dressmakers on Etsy, which is what I have rounded up here today. Get ready for full scale swoonage. This might be our prettiest dress roundup EVER. Links in bold denote affiliate links. The cost to you remains the same, but SBB may receive a commission for any sales made.

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Jardin de Dentelle by Jessica Notelo & Elli-Nicole

It’s Fashion Friday, and this week I’m super excited to be able to share this bridal inspiration, featuring the new collection from one of my favourite up-and-coming SA designers, Elli-Nicole! If you’re not yet familiar with this homegrown haute brand (which extends to both gowns and shoes) – well, you’re in for a treat! Because not only are Elli-Nicole’s shoes BEYOND, but the Elli-Nicole dresses are utterly, breathtakingly fit for a queen too. So basically, bridal heaven. In this lovely lookbook, photographer Jessica Notelo has captured all those incredible textural details – 3D petal bodices, a scattering of pearls like tiny seeds, a lattice of lace. She calls it Jardin de Dentelle, which means ‘Garden of Lace’ in French – and well, that pretty much says it all! So let’s take a stroll down this particularly lovely garden path, shall we?

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20 Fairytale Princess Wedding Gowns

Jordan Lined Tulle Bridal Skirt by Rebecca Schoneveld

Since this is the month of fairytale inspiration on SBB, I couldn’t let it go by without talking ballgowns! Because when you think of a princess bride, the classic ballgown silhouette is immediately what comes to mind. And yes, some of you might think this is a bit tooooo much dress for you (although hell, if not on your wedding day, when?) but many brides who were initially considering something simpler have ended up with a ‘meringue’ because they were seduced by the magic gorgeous-making powers of this silhouette. With their fitted bodice, flared waistline and full skirt, they’re incredibly flattering to most body types. Ready to be a princess bride yourself? We’ve rounded up 20 of the loveliest Etsy gowns to inspire you!  Links in bold denote affiliate links. The cost to you remains the same, but SBB may receive a commission for any sales made.

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Twilight Ocean Bridal Inspiration

It’s been a week of pretty here on SBB, and we’re ending it off the same way – although pretty doesn’t seem enough of a word for this bridal inspiration from Anandi Photography, which just stopped me in my tracks. It’s full of movement and wild beauty, and the way that the incredible Simoné Couture gown interacts with the backdrop of the Strand beach at twilight is something almost… otherworldly. I’ll let these gorgeous pics can speak for themselves!

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Sposabella Boutique Tour

It’s a sunny afternoon when I drive up to The White House in Morningside, Durban, a little oasis for brides, bustling with wedding-related businesses. My destination is Sposabella Bridal Gowns, an exclusive bridal boutique, and I find it at one end of the corridor – its light, modern showroom awash in sunshine and smiles from owner Gayle Erasmus and her team. From behind a mirrorball desk, they welcome guests like old friends. But the real star of the show is, of course, the dresses. With elegant silhouettes of lace, tulle and sparkle lining the shelves and draped on a host of mannequins, it’s hard not to get a little giddy, and I imagine many real brides do. And that’s where the Sposabella team comes in again, with their reassuring presence and extensive knowledge of what brides want (and need!). The boutique is home to the Enzoani Beautiful range, which is even more gorgeous in person than on screen, and for KZN brides, Sposabella is the perfect place to spend an afternoon trying on gowns and undoubtedly falling in love with ‘The One’. I asked Gayle a few questions about what makes her salon unique, and Michigan Behn was on hand to take these lovely images.

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Mulberry & Mauve Bridal Inspiration

Hold on tight, beauties, because your afternoon is about to get a whole lot prettier! When photographer Nelani van Zyl sent over this shoot, I couldn’t decide which part I was most excited about. The sweet watercolour stationery? The covetable table decor? The marble cake? How about the flowers – that oversize bouquet that has me dreaming of spring fields? Or how about the drop-dead-gorgeous Cindy Bam wedding gowns, or the ‘Pin this for later’ updos? And let’s not forget Nelani’s images or (and I think after all, this may just be my favourite) the Jacoba bridesmaid dresses in a range of purple and berry hues. It’s all so lovely – dive on in and find your favourite!

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