Finding the perfect wedding dress—the one you're unequivocal about saying yes to, just as TLC taught you—is an exhilarating journey. But, admittedly, it's also challenging, an overwhelming endeavor of sifting through a sea of taffeta and tulle, debating between silhouettes and hemlines, all while trying to stay true to you. To help streamline the wedding planning process (and hopefully assist in checking off at least one of your pre-"I do" to-dos), Marie Claire spoke with bridal experts and designers about the leading wedding dress trends of 2023 to simplify your hunt.
Ahead, the textiles, silhouettes, and details that define this year's bridal market, from dreamy and dainty lace to modular, two-in-one gowns. However, as you peruse the below bridal trends, Christina Wettstein of the bridal sales showroom Coterie White wants you to remember this one paramount perspective: "My biggest advice is don’t try to be someone you’re not on your wedding day. Select a gown that makes you feel beautiful, surround yourself with people you love, and the rest will fall into place."
In short, the best wedding dress is one that speaks to you, reflects your personal preferences, and, put simply, makes you happy. However, if you're open to some guiding inspiration or perhaps just need a starting point, keep scrolling for this year's wedding dress trends that will put you ahead of the curve.
"There is an ode to a more traditional bride. We’re seeing a lot of beading, beautiful novelty fabrics, luscious satins, and rich 3D embroidery," shares Wettstein of the sensual details that have "increased traction in the last two seasons."
Bridal designer Nadia Manjarrez echoes the bridal expert, saying, "ultra-feminine details will play a big role this year, with traditional materials such as lace and tulle" being the defining textiles. To wit, Marcelo Gaia of the womenswear brand Mirror Palais tells Marie Claire that he called on familiar sartorial cues of romance—satin, corsetry, dainty ruffles, and more—when designing his debut bridal collection. "My inspiration is, as always, romance mixed with classic shapes," the designer shares, specifically referencing the Plunging Back Cowl Dress, which he's seen "many brides chose as the dress for their ceremonies."
Beaucoup de Bows
In keeping with 2023's full-femme theme, bows are another defining trend of the year (both within the bridal space and across the gamut of fashion). "We are obsessed with bow details," Jeanette Madsen and Thora Valdimars, Co-Creative Directors of ROTATE Birger Christensen, share over email. "These can be subtle and classic or big and flirtatious, and we have played with this theme throughout ROTATE's new bridal collection, featuring oversized bows at the back of dresses and sash waistbands." Either bold and oversized or dainty and demure, consider a gown that boasts one (or two or more) of the tied-up detail.
It's your big day, and you should take up as much space as your attention-loving heart desires. "Some of my clients are asking for more taffetas and larger skirts, which means voluminous ballgowns will be making a comeback," Manjarrez shares. Wettstein substantiates the bridal designer's observation of a growing interest in operatically oversized gowns: "In terms of silhouettes, we are seeing a reemergence of Basque waists, which are incredibly flattering, and spacious box pleats."
"Brides have a huge array of options in 2023 [and are] more open to trying new shapes, colors, and textures in their dresses, which allows us as designers to step out of the box and experiment in fun new ways," details Manjarrez. She credits this experimental mindset amongst brides for driving the wedding dress trend of modularity. "Our brides continue to look for transformable looks, which pushes me to engineer smart ways to give her multiple looks within one dress," she explains.
Wettstein of Coterie White echoes Manjarrez on convertible wedding looks becoming increasingly popular. "We have seen many removable long sleeves on gowns that provide a more versatile look," she explains, adding that many brides also call on opera-length gloves to create a similar effect.
If you've always longed to shimmer and shine while walking down the aisle, consider this your sign to go full-tilt disco ball. Madsen and Valdimars certainly co-sign the idea, saying a high-shine wedding gown is ideal for the bride "willing to shake it up and try something a little bolder and sexier." All-ivory sequins, pops of metallic detailing, or crystal embroidery—pick your shiny poison.
"A trend that continues to gain traction is the second look," says Kimberly Marcoux, the co-creator of Coterie White. "Brides love the LWD (Little White Dress), where they can have a look with personality for their wedding day vibe. We are seeing lots of ostrich feathers, scattered pearls, and beading." Plus, the bridal expert points out, an additional after-ceremony look is an ideal, double-the-drama moment for those who fell in love with multiple dresses while shopping: "If a bride is between two vastly different dresses when buying her wedding gown, this can be a fun way to incorporate whatever look she chose not to go with!"
Emma Childs is the Style Editor at Marie Claire, where she researches up-and-coming trends, curates shopping guides, and gushes about the must-buy items she can't stop thinking about. She previously wrote for TZR, Editorialist, Elite Daily, and Mission Magazine and studied Fashion Studies and New Media at Fordham University. When she's not writing up fashion deep-dives or finding the season's best pieces, you'll find her fiddling around in Photoshop and perusing HBO Max for the next show to base her personality on (currently, it's "Succession").
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