Wedding TRENDS 2013

Key designers ushered in a new wave of au courant styles for Spring 2013, from brilliant bursts of color to fashion-conscious silhouettes to gowns that let their tops down—sort of.

Trend: Color
More painterly than ever, many designers splashed their dresses this season with bold strokes of color, including smoldering reds, heavenly blues, and—of course—requisite bridal blushes. "You don't have to wear a white dress anymore," says Brides Fashion Director Rachel Leonard, "but it still has to look like a wedding dress. The trick is to find a color that's flattering to your skin tone, and not everyone looks great in white."

Trend: Portrait Backs
 Last season's sexy backs returned for Spring 2013 with a more demure, romantic attention to delicate embroideries, lace frames, and peekaboo keyholes. "You're not wearing a two-dimensional dress—people are looking at you from every angle," says Leonard. "Sheer backs with embroideries and appliques are sexy, but still modest. I love that look."

Trend: Peplums
Borrowing a popular silhouette from the couture runways, waist-defining peplums injected wedding gowns with a dose of haute style using both structured and softly draped shapes. "Peplums were huge," Leonard says. "It's fascinating how that really picked up this season. It's a high-fashion look that's sexy and graphic."

Trend: Lace Nouveau
Duchess Kate's royal wedding gown proved its influence after almost every collection this season showed some variation on lace—albeit unlike anything your grandmother would have worn. This graphic, floral fabric felt fresher than ever, re-worked into sexy silhouettes with a dash of tradition. "There's something about lace that pushes back on the technology-driven society we live it," Leonard notes. "It's soft. It's romantic. It takes us away."

Trend: Transformers
With more brides than ever calling for second party dresses, designers answered that demand with convertible styles that use removable skirts, trains, and capes to create a distinct reception look. "Think about how heavy your dress is going to be walking down the aisle, because some women really want to be able to move and run around later," says Leonard. "What we're seeing now is something for the ceremony and something for the reception that you can buy all at once. It works as an outfit that you peel away."

Best of 2013 wedding dresses:

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