From Catwalk to Aisle: 10 Key Wedding Dress Trends for 2016

Hello friends! After a couple of crazy weeks including a last-minute rush trip to Joburg to sort out travel docs for a suuuuuper exciting trip I’m taking at the end of this month (details soon, I promise), I’m back on schedule and ready to serve up some seriously awesome daily inspiration. Let’s get this party started! Last October, there were a lot of reasons I wished I was at New York Bridal Fashion Week (Aisle Society launch party, yay!), and of course the beautiful dresses were top of the list. It’s always awesome to see how the Fall catwalk will affect bridal fashion in the coming year, and if these trends are anything to go by, you brideys are in for a treat. I think if there’s one look that was predominant, it’s what I think of as #modestnotmodest. Traditionally modest elements like sleeves and high necklines, but reinterpreted with lace and sheer panelling for a very sexy and very contemporary look. So let’s take a look at our top ten runway trends for 2016 – which will you be coveting for your own dream dress?

1. 3D Florals
We’re absolutely loving the way that lace has come alive with 3D floral appliques, and some of our gorgeous SBB brides have already rocked the look to amazing effect. This gorgeous trend is likely to resonate with many more designers and brides in the coming year.

Dresses: Lela Rose via Vogue (top) | Inbal Dror via Vogue (bottom left) | Angel Sanchez via The Knot (bottom right)

2. High Necklines
Very much part of that modestnotmodest thing I mentioned – Victorian-style high necklines were all the rage, but with a modern, romantic interpretation incorporating illusion lace in particular. So pretty!

Dresses: Alon Livne via Munaluchi Bride (top) | Ines Di Santo via The Knot (bottom left) | Allure Bridals via The Knot (bottom right)

3. Fluttery Sleeves
Sleeved wedding dresses are so hot at the moment, but up until now it’s been dainty cap sleeves and long lacy numbers. Now flouncy three quarter and bell sleeves are also having their moment, and they work beautifully with both the lace textures and boho looks that we’re already in love with.

Dresses: Claire Pettibone via The Knot (top) | Sottero and Midgley via The Knot (bottom left) | David’s Bridal via The Knot (bottom right)

4. Tiered Skirts
Spanish influence was all over the Fall 2016 catwalk, and my favourite element was the flamenco-like tiered skirts, whether full or more fitted. Paired with intricate, fitted bodices, these dresses are showstoppers indeed.

Dresses: Kenneth Pool via The Knot (top) | Ines Di Santo via The Knot (bottom left) | David’s Bridal via The Knot (bottom right)

5. Crop Tops
Bridal separates were one of my top picks for 2016 wedding trends, and the Fall 2016 runways showed the prettiest crop tops we’ve yet seen. Seriously, how gorgeous are all these? I particularly love the mix of textures, and the cheeky (but subtle) flash of skin. If you’ve got the abs, flaunt ’em!

Dresses: Pnina Tornai via The Knot (top) | Sottero and Midgley via The Knot (bottom left) | Hayley Paige via The Knot (bottom right)

6. Detachable Skirts
Here’s the other half of that bridal separates equation – beautiful, romantic, dreamy skirts that detach to show off slinky full length gowns or sassy short ones playing peekaboo beneath. Olivia Palermo pioneered this one, and it’s been a huge fave of ours ever since, but this is the season where it really comes of age.

Dresses: Monique Lhuillier via Vogue (top) | Sottero and Midgley via The Knot (bottom left) | Jim Hjelm via Style Me Pretty (bottom right)

7. Built-in Bling
Metallic detailing was a trend in last year’s roundup, but this season took bling to a whole new level, combining intricate beading with sheer panelling, and body jewellery which can be worn to glam up any dress.

Dresses: Marchesa via Vogue (top) | Hayley Paige via The Knot (bottom left) | Alon Livne via Munaluchi Bride (bottom right)

8. Sheer Beauty
The illusion lace trend just gets prettier and prettier, doesn’t it? Statement backs are still leaving us breathless, but now we have sheer panelling making waves in other spots too. Illusion waists were a lovely theme across many of the shows, as well as illusion lave sleeves, and illusion bodices. Lovely.

Dresses: Ines Di Santo via The Knot (top) | Inbal Dror via Vogue (bottom left) | Lela Rose via Vogue (bottom right)

9. Jumpsuits
Every now and again, a bridal designer throws a pair of trousers into their collection, but I’ve never seen it take like this season. Maybe that’s because of the general appeal of jumpsuits, which are so popular at the moment. The bridal versions are a whole ‘nother level, and perfect for an alternative bride.

Dresses: Pnina Tornai via The Knot (top) | Angel Sanchez via The Knot (bottom left) | Theia via The Knot (bottom right)

10. Floral prints
This was a follow-on to the spring runways, which were filled with the most beautiful floral prints. Definitely our favourite twist on the coloured wedding dress!

Dresses: Romona Keveza via The Knot (top) | Lazaro via Style Me Pretty (bottom left & right)