Key Wedding Dress Trends for 2017

Hello friends! As usual, January has been craaaazy, and I didn’t get to post this yesterday, so we’re going to have a jam packed Friday! Let’s get this party started. Last week we looked at all the top trends in weddings for 2017 and today we’re focusing in on bridal fashion because boy, there’s a lot of pretty stuff going on right now! Ever since these designs made their way down the catwalks at New York Bridal Fashion Week in October, I’ve been sighing over my personal faves, and watching to see where the trends are for this year. And as always, what’s new is often an evolution of what’s already established, so you’ll see some familiar shapes coming to the fore, but there’s also lots of cool new stuff to influence your own wedding dress dreams. As I mentioned in my trend report, this year it is ALL about the shoulders, whether that’s off-shoulder, shoulder detailing, or capes. And I have to say, I’ve never loved this neckline more. Add in details like bows, feathers and every kind of sleeve you can imagine, as well as beautiful textures and fabrics, and you have one pretty season!


Bell, bishop, billow… sleeve variations were all the rage at NYBFW. The last couple of years have seen lace sleeves really come into their own (thanks Princess Kate), and I’m delighted to see designers riffing off this and playing with soft new shapes, whether they’re lacy, solid or barely there sheer.

Dresses: Hayley Paige via The Knot (top) | Marchesa via Vogue (bottom left) | Theia via The Knot (bottom right)


Oh hello, pretty! Today’s off the shoulder gowns are not the ones your aunt wore at her wedding in the early ’90s. From classic Bardot lines to off the shoulder illusion detailing, to casually slung loops, each one of these gowns is the perfect amount of pretty and sexy.

Dresses: Reem Acra via Vogue (top) | Marchesa via Vogue (bottom left) | Berta via The Knot (bottom right)


Bare shoulders aren’t the only way to go. If off-the-shoulder isn’t your neckline but you still want to draw attention to those shoulders, there were plenty of options for you. Womenswear over the last year has been super fond of the cold shoulder, and that’s finally translated into bridal (really just a variation of off-the-shoulder, but with the bonus of straps), or how about lace or feather detailing, or gorgeously structured shoulders that bring to mind a touch of the Renaissance?

Dresses: Inbal Dror via Vogue (top) | Theia via The Knot (bottom left) | Anne Barge via Vogue (bottom right)


Welcome back, bows! Not that you ever really went anywhere, but this year the catwalks were particularly inventive with this feminine little detail. From Reem Acra’s barely there bows on a full tulle skirt, to dramatic shoulder bows, and everything in between, this was one motif that had all the designers having a go.

Dresses: Reem Acra via The Knot (top) |  Watters via The Knot (bottom left) | Sachin & Babi via Vogue (bottom right)


Have cape, will slay. Wedding capes are totally over the top dramatic, and I LOVE them. And these days, they’re not limited to winter brides, since light (even transparent) capes were all over the place in New York. I love how you get some of the effects of a long veil with these, but with a more modern twist. Plus, I really just want to wear a cape because Supergirl!

Dresses: Berta via The Knot (top) | Rivini via The Knot (bottom left) | Monique Lhuillier via Vogue (bottom right)


There was lots of really beautiful detailing on the catwalks this season, from folksy embroidery to pearl embellishments, to head to toe beaded texture. But I particularly loved the way that metallic embroidery and lace was a feature in so many designers’ collections – it’s the perfect way to have sparkle and a more classic gown at the same time.

Dresses: Mark Zunino via The Knot (top) | Naeem Khan via Vogue (bottom left) | Watters via The Knot (bottom right)


As a child of the ’90s, I feel like I’ve done all the choker wearing I ever need to do, and I am not loving the current accessory trend, but that’s just me. Choker necklines? Another whole story. Such a pretty way to do high neck modesty with a great bit serving of gorgeous glam.

Dresses: Inbal Dror via Vogue (top) | Pronovias via The Knot (bottom left) | Mark Zunino via The Knot (bottom right)


Ballet is, like, so hot right now. Not the bright blush ballet pink of a few years ago, but more subtle nods to the ballet, along with a whole range of pinky nudes. In fashion, ballet inspired details include acres of soft tulle paired with tight strappy corset tops, demure hi-low skirts with plenty of movement, and (swoon!) ballet shoe inspired lace-up backs.

Dresses: Inbal Dror via Wedding Inspirasi (top) | Inbal Dror via Vogue (bottom left) | Marchesa via Vogue (bottom right)


Feathers are another pretty ballet allusion, and they were all over the place this season. But this isn’t the structured feathers that adorn a ballerina’s bodice – designers were rather opting for wispy feathers on skirts, sleeves and shoulders.

Dresses: Rivini via The Knot (top) | Inbal Dror via Vogue (bottom left) | Pronovias via The Knot (bottom right)


Finally, in contrast to all of the detail and texture of the other trends, I loved that so many collections also included one or two gowns that went the other way completely, focusing rather on clean lines, classic silhouettes, and soft, solid fabrics. A return to simplicity is never a bad thing, especially when the results are this beautiful.

Dresses: Rivini via The Knot (top) | Theia via The Knot (bottom left) | Lela Rose via Vogue (bottom right)