The Top Fall 2016/Spring 2017 Wedding Dress Trends

Wedding dresses, like all fashion, have trends. They evolve, grow, and mold over time. New forward colors, lots of tulle, collars and capes are so 2015, things of the past. These trends have given way to new looks. So, what are the looks that we will be seeing a lot of this fall 2016 and spring 2017 wedding season?


This trend isn’t particularly a new one; it has grown over the years and has moved from laser-cut florals to softer, wispier petals that have a romantic feel. These dainty appliques have become life-like with the help of beading, crystals and color. These delicate embellishments will satisfy your girly, imagined-since-childhood wedding dress dreams.


kw1652 floral

Kenneth Winston, Style 1652


One of our personal favorites, off-the-shoulder dresses is the perfect blend between a sleeved dress and a strapless gown. This classic, ultra-feminine neckline can be made soft or bold depending on the fabric and cut that you choose. Playful and sophisticated, off-the-shoulder gowns are giving strapless gowns some major competition.

ELLIS 11418 off shoulder

Ellis Bridals, Style 11418


Asymmetrical skirts are great for curvier brides. Adding it to an already great trend, a tiered skirt, you have the perfect pair. With asymmetrical tiered dresses, the skirt is the focal point instead of the figure. This shape will compliment your body and work with the incredible figure that you already have. Wear confidence on your wedding day in an asymmetrical tiered skirt wedding gown!


Eddy K, Style CT154


It is no secret that wedding dresses are taking more risks in these upcoming seasons than they have in the past. The illusion bodice gives the right amount of sexy without going overboard. Whether you choose a more modest illusion bodice or a more revealing one, this trend is so prominent, you’ll be sure to find one you love.


Eve of Milady, Style 1556


Regardless of whether or not your wedding is during the cooler months, long-sleeved gowns are the epitome of a feminine classic for all seasons. Long sleeves can be practical if your venue is outdoors during the fall or winter months and the soft, tender sleeve embellishments will compliment fresh fallen snow beautifully. Illusion style long sleeves can also be a great dress style during the warmer months if you choose a style that lets your skin breathe.

ellis 18023 slleves

Ellis Bridals, Style 18023


A less flashy version of the illusion bodice, cutouts only give a glimpse of skin in a subtle way. Show off your flirty side while still being modest with different size cutouts or play it safe by having cutouts covered in sheer fabric like shown in the photo below.  Sexy and sophisticated is possible. Cutouts are especially seen in waists to compliment them as well as giving the audience a chance to admire the feminine silhouette.


Eve of Milady, Style 4349


For the brides that don’t want to be flashy or out-there, the minimalistic trend is a modern spin on a timeless classic. Satin or silk are fabrics that are commonly seen used throughout this trend. Combined with intricate beading, lace, or crystal embellishments, brides will drop jaws in these dresses walking down the aisle.


Alvina Valenta, Style 9658


A trend that is certainly not for everyone, these are a little more daring. Plunging necklines that are trimmed in scallops or lace can soften the look, allowing it to be less risqué. This is a perfect look for the not so busty brides; you won’t spill out of your dress but still get the alluring and sophisticated look you’re going for.


Private Label by G – Ella Rosa, Style BE324

Whatever your style, the up and coming trends for this fall and next spring are sure to wow. Explore and try new styles, maybe you’ll surprise  yourself.

Meet our PARTNERS: Shell Island Resort

If your dream wedding involves being barefoot on the beach with the sand in between your toes, the Shell Island Resort is the ideal place for your wedding. They have a professional caterer and wedding coordinator which will save you the hassle of dealing with that on your big day! With a backdrop of breathtaking scenery and crashing waves, the Shell Island Resort is a perfect way to start your new life together.


Can you describe your business and series that you offer?

Shell Island Resort is a lodging and event facility located on the North End of Wrightsville Beach. We provide one bedroom Oceanfront Suites in addition to our four ballrooms for any size wedding. Enjoy the luxury of having everything provided under one roof; this includes: in-house catering, on-site restaurant that provides room service, an indoor and outdoor pool with a Jacuzzi, complimentary parking, direct beach access, and many customizable wedding packages.


Why are you in the wedding industry?

Due to having an amazing location on Wrightsville Beach, Shell Island Resort is able to offer one of the only Oceanfront Ballrooms in North Carolina as well as many guest rooms available for event room blocks.

How long has your business been in the area?

Shell Island Resort opened in 1986.

What areas do you serve?

We receive brides from all over the United States. The majority of our brides are from other cities in North Carolina; typically they come from the northern states.

How many weddings per week does your business typically accommodate?

During our peak months (April-October) we do around four to five weddings per week. During our off season (November-March) we do about one to two weddings per week.


What do you recommend for couples who are just beginning the planning process?

Shop around; do your research. Have your questions written down to present to the venue once you look over their information.

What is your most popular option or package?

The Beachside Ceremony with the Ocean view Ballroom for the reception is our most popular option.

Is there a particular wedding that your business has participated in that has moved or inspired you?

Yes, my very first bride that I worked with when I first started! Her wedding was this past October and everyone involved in that wedding from both sides of the family were amazing. That planning process and wedding made me remember why I chose this career path in the first place.


Is there a particular instance in which your business’s participation prevented disaster or made the event particularly magical?

When Hurricane Joaquin was being predicted to come to the coast of North Carolina, we had four weddings planned for that weekend. All of the brides and their families were very nervous and were freaking out (for good reason). We reassured them that it would be okay and it would turn out great. We ended up not getting hit with the hurricane itself, but we were hit with flooding and a lot of rain. Even though three out of our four brides couldn’t have their beachside wedding, we moved their ceremonies inside and they told us they were even happier with how it turned out.

Do you have any advice for couples in the midst of planning?

Stay calm. Ask questions whenever you have them! Don’t be afraid to ask for help, whether it’s asking your event planner or even friends and family.


If someone is interested in hiring your business, what is the best way to contact you?

Email is always the best way. However, if people decide to call, we always have someone in the sales office from 9AM-5PM that customers can talk to!


The Wedding Dress That Made History

Princess Diana captured hearts as she was married to Charles, Prince of Wales at St. Paul’s Cathedral. With 2,500 guests, a crowd of 600,000 outside of the cathedral, and a television audience of 750 million, the wedding was indeed a spectacle.

Princess Di Blog 2

Love it or hate it, Princess Diana’s wedding dress is one that has made its mark on history. Let’s face it; the dress has its own Wikipedia page. It was large, extravagant, elegant, and detailed. Needless to say, the dress was an event in itself.

Engaged at 19 and married at 20, Princess Diana was clearly very young. And, like any other 20-year-old, still experimenting with her personal style and who she wanted to be. Her gown was far from a classic. However, her 1981 wedding influenced bridal fashions and trends for the next decade.

After the royal wedding, bridal fashions were characterized by cathedral trains, lace-edged frills, full-length veils, over-sized bouquets, and flowing sleeves that gathered at the wrist. We have Princess Diana to thank for that.

Princess Di Blog 3

She set the standard of gowns and created a new romantic ideal with the flattering cinched waist and over-the-top dramatic train. The dress designed by David Emanuel and his wife Elizabeth was kept a secret until the ceremony; Princess Diana even had a backup in case photos of her dress were leaked!

Her wedding dress was made with ivory silk taffeta and antique lace. It was hand embroidered with sequins and 10,000 (yes, you read that right) pearls. Although, the dress is most known for its jaw-dropping 25-foot-long train and large puffed sleeves. The Princess accented her veil with the “Spencer Tiara.” This Spencer family piece was made with an elaborate design of stylized flowers decorated with diamonds in a silver setting, pairing perfectly with the dress. It was everything that it should have been and more for a princess.

Diana on her Wedding Day

1981, St Paul’s Cathedral, London, England, UK — Diana on her Wedding Day — Image by © Quadrillion/CORBIS

Even though Princess Diana’s marriage to Charles, Prince of Wales formally ended after 15 years, the dress worn in the wedding of the decade will go down in history as one of the most iconic wedding dresses of all time.

Meet our PARTNERS: Michael Escobar Photography


LightningRod_0004He has won the Wedisson Award for best wedding photography and was granted Wedding Wire’s Couple’s Choice Award in 2016 – Michael Escobar Photography tells stories, captures moments, and creates art to help you remember your day.

What is your philosophy for your business?

There are a lot of things I’m trying to accomplish, but at the core of what I try to do as a wedding photographer is I hold to creating beautiful imagery that resonates with my clients, both the brides and the grooms, and raise the bar every time I shoot.

How did you get started?

The reality that is I owe all of my beginnings in the business to two people, Matt McGraw and Lisa Brown. I cannot say enough about either of them. If not for them, I have no idea what I would be doing right now. Before I met them, I was just like all these other kids I see with some interest in photography and they figure, “hey maybe I can start a business because I have a good camera.” They took me in, slapped me in the face with reality and groomed me to become an adult in the working world with a desire for excellence and discipline to continue working hard regardless of what’s going on around me.

Why did you choose to be a part of the wedding industry?

Is it ok to say the wedding industry chose me? Ha-ha. It’s a lot of things that work together that ultimately led to my choice to do this. Again I owe this to Matt and Lisa. But what keeps me here is seeing clients respond to my work. I love people and making beautiful things. That’s the bottom line.


What areas do you serve, are you willing to travel?

Most commonly I shoot within 50ish miles of Wilmington, because it’s where I live, but I’ve also shot in Charlotte, Raleigh Durham, Winston-Salem. I’m leaving for Peru in a couple weeks to photograph a couple and enjoy a vacation as well. I will go anywhere. I’ve traveled to Mexico a lot growing up to see family, so traveling is kind of a part of me. But right now I have my heart set on New Zealand. I just need to find someone getting married there🙂

How many weddings per week does your business typically accommodate?

We’ve take up to 2 or 3 in one weekend. I love shooting weddings back to back because it’s like I get deeper in the zone with each passing day. But I’ll also shoot weekday weddings when they happen.


What do you feel sets you apart from your competitors?

You’ll see similarities in my work when you compare it to my obvious influences, but at this point I’ve come to a style all my own. That can’t really be helped. I am a unique human being so I see the world differently than anyone else. That’s why I love photographers, because we all see the world differently. It makes it great for brides because they have a ton of choices. Well that could be a good or bad thing depending on how you look at it, as if brides need more things to overwhelm them in their wedding planning. As far as things I do intentionally to set myself apart. I fight to provide great customer service, and not just capture moments of people’s big days, but also create art in the midst of them. I see myself as an image maker first and then a photojournalist of sorts.

Is there a particular wedding that has moved or inspired you?

All of them. I cry at a few. I cry when human devotion is most evident and the wedding day becomes a climax of a history long spent fostering it and you can read the pages of that history in the couple’s nuanced interactions with each other and their friends and family. That’s the stuff right there.



Do you have any advice for couples in the midst of planning?

Your photographer (aside from your spouse) is the person you will be spending the most time with on your wedding day, and photos (including video) is the only thing you’re left with that you’ve paid for at the end of the day. Make sure you find a photographer who you resonate with not just their work, but with them as well.


What is the greatest piece of advice you have ever received (not just necessarily in regards to marriage or weddings) and why has it stuck with you?

“Why?” always ask the why? Not why is something happening, but why do you do what you’re doing, why are you making that decision, why are you spending your time doing that. All of your decisions are made long before you are faced with them, because we make decisions according to our core values. When we are faced with a difficult decision, and we take time before going one way or the other it’s because we’re spending time measuring the decision against our own values. If you know yourself, and know what you’ve chosen to value and why, your decisions in life regardless of the size of them will become not easier, but more transparent.


Meet our BRIDES: Megan

Wedding Date: June 4, 2016

0136 Megan and Ken  The Story Creative-2

Photographer: The Story Creative

Planning and Design: Salt Marsh Events

Venue: Kenan Chapel at Landfall

Reception: The City Club of Wilmington

Florist: Julia’s Florist

Cake Baker: Pink Baking Co.

Rentals: Party Suppliers

DJ: El Jaye Johnson

Bride’s Gown: The Wedding Dress Shoppe, Designer: Pronovias

Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade

Groom’s and Groomsmen Attire: Jos A. Bank, Designer: Vera Wang

Lighting: High Performance Lighting

Hair and Makeup: Beauty Bar Boutique

Videographer: KVN Media

0246 Megan and Ken  The Story Creative

An Ohio native, Megan moved to North Carolina two days after graduating college. The charm and culture of the south drew her in, like it always does, and she didn’t look back. Without surprise, she fell in love with a southerner, her now husband, Ken. Since their story began in Wilmington, it was without question that they would have their wedding here as well.

0214 Megan and Ken  The Story Creative

They wanted to incorporate as many southern details and traditions as possible. For example, she designed their centerpieces with burlap vases, had an “I Do BBQ” instead of a traditional bridal shower with all the fixins’ (yes, that includes green beans and macaroni and cheese!!), and their guestbook was a wooden sign outlined as the state of North Carolina with a pink heart over Wilmington. Being a North Carolina native and having a love for doughnuts, the Groom’s cake was a tower of Krispy Kreme doughnuts, ironically on National Doughnut Day!

0268 Megan and Ken  The Story Creative (1)

Wilmington has that small-town southern charm and ocean views – they knew their guests would fall in love with it just like they had years ago.

Kaity: How did you and your husband meet?

Megan: When I moved from Charlotte to Wilmington, I moved right above Ken in the apartment complex we were living in at the time. The first time I saw him, I knew he was the one. It took a few friendly interactions before he asked me out and we have been inseparable ever since!

Kaity: How did he propose?

Megan: We spend a lot of time running, riding our bikes, and hanging out around Wrightsville Beach. One day, we rode our bikes down to Wrightsville Beach at Access 9, which is the same place he first told me he loved me, and Ken asked me to spend the rest of my life with him.

Kaity:  Where did you get the ideas for your wedding, what inspired your day?

Megan: I began collecting ideas and inspiration over 15 years ago when I worked for a catering and banquet center where I was given the opportunity to work hundreds of wedding receptions and events. Being able to see many different venues, color schemes, and details of countless weddings gave me inspiration for my own wedding.

0162 Megan and Ken  The Story Creative-2

Kaity: What was the most memorable part?

Megan: A few weeks prior to our wedding, Ken snuck away to a recording studio and recorded a song he wrote just for us. When it came to our first dance, I was so surprised as were our guests. I don’t think there was a dry eye! Ken has always played the guitar but this truly blew me away! Later in the night, he brought out his guitar and him and his groomsmen serenaded me with a live version.

Kaity: Tell me about your wedding dress mishap.

Megan: I thought I had found the perfect dress. It needed alterations so I took it in somewhere and found out less than two weeks prior to my wedding that it wasn’t going to be ready. Panicked, I called The Wedding Dress Shoppe and asked them to help me! I went in on a Tuesday with my soon to be mother-in-law the week before my wedding and I found a dress! The women were so helpful and turned an experience that started off stressful into truly one of my favorite moments of my wedding – finding my dress! It needed alterations and The Wedding Dress Shoppe still had it done in time for my wedding…and it fit perfectly!

0339 Megan and Ken  The Story Creative

I always wanted a big bow on the back of my dress and when I told The Wedding Dress Shoppe, they made it happen! I will always remember that one of the women told me she hand-made the satin bow for my dress.

Kaity: What are your plans as newlyweds?

Megan: We are looking forward to spending time together with our daughter, settling in our home, and enjoying life together!

0193 Megan and Ken  The Story Creative

Congratulations Ken and Megan, we wish you both the most happiness!


Meet our PARTNERS: Lightbloom Photography

Lightbloom Photog4

Allison Eding, the owner and photographer of Lightbloom photography, is making the big move from Toledo, Ohio all the way to our sweet little town of Wilmington! With a background in Fine Arts, she will make a great addition to the selection of Wedding photographers here in ILM!

Kaity: What is your philosophy for your business?
Allison: I photograph light, art, laughter, and love. I provide my clients with high quality work and service with a smile.

K: How did you get started?
A: Photography has always been a part of my life, since I was a little girl and won my first camera at a fishing derby in Ohio. I studied film photography in college and loved every second of it. I started up Lightbloom with one of my best friends, Emma, almost four years ago now. We had both been working as assistants for wedding photographers in the area after we graduated college and realized one day that it would be really cool to do it on our own. After getting to know the business for a couple years, we started up Lightbloom, had a blast for a few summers, and then Emma decided to pursue her graphic design career and left me to take the business wherever I wanted. So I’m packing up the company and heading to Wilmington in October and I couldn’t be more excited!

K: Why did you choose to be a part of the wedding industry?
A: Being in the wedding industry was never part of my original plan. I graduated with a Fine Arts degree, hoping to take photos of whatever I pleased and get paid for it. But, surprise, that only works if you’re Ansel Adams! I got hired by an incredibly talented photographer after I finished school, where I worked part time as her assistant, shooting weddings and helping her edit, carrying bags and light testing. I did that for two summers and realized that weddings are a BLAST. Sure, they’re very high stress situations sometimes, but it’s still just hanging out with a bride and groom on the happiest day of their lives. I always say that photographing a wedding is like having a back stage pass to the show. It’s fun to be behind the scenes and see it all play out!

Lightbloom Photog 3

K: What areas do you serve, are you willing to travel?
A: I started in Ohio, which has a lot of my heart in it. So I’m still willing to travel back a handful of times a year and do some weddings there, but Wilmington will be my number one from now on. But, I LOVE TO TRAVEL! Through photography, I’ve been able to shoot weddings all over the place (yes, even Jamaica), and I’d love to continue to take pictures all around the world.

K: How many weddings per week does your business typically accommodate?
A: The most I’ve ever done is two weddings in one weekend – and it’s TOUGH! In the industry, we always joke about our “wedding hangovers” that we get. So in my opinion, focusing on one wedding per week is the best option. It’s a lot of work before, during, and after the big day, so when you’re booked seven Saturday’s in a row, throwing in a couple random Friday or Sunday weddings just make it that much harder on us.

K: What do you feel sets you apart from your competitors?
A: I think that my photo style is different than a lot of other photographers. I’m not the typical work-from-a-list, copy-from-Pinterest type of shooter. When I’m working, I look for very unique moments that I think a lot of other people don’t notice. I’d rather spend all day taking completely candid photos than posing everyone. I like things that are natural and real, and not forced. When I give direction to my subject, I prefer small subtle cues, instead of having them pose like it’s the senior prom. I like to shoot through trees and flowers and make my subjects a part of their surroundings, almost like a painting. A photograph is just as much about the background as it is about the subject. Since I originally started photographing in film, I edit my digital images to look that way, too. I’d shoot a wedding in all film if it was more reliable. Or Polaroids, those are my real favorites. Somebody hire me to do a Polaroid wedding!!!

Lightbloom Photog2

K: Is there a particular wedding that has moved or inspired you?
A: Definitely! You learn a lot about a couple based on the way they treat each other during photos. I’m always particularly inspired by the couples who have so much love for each other, it completely fills up the room. I love hearing their story and learning more about them before the wedding, because then it’s so much more personal on the day of. I’m also kind of a sucker for first dances. Typically, by that time of day, they’ve finished all their posing and smiling and big scary events like walking down an aisle, and they’re finally able to relax and take in what this day really meant to them: they did it! Just watch their faces during this moment, you’ll feel it too.

K: Is there a particular time where your participation has prevented disaster or made the event particularly magical?
A: I wouldn’t say I’m a disaster preventer. But I will say that after doing this for so many years, I’ve gotten used to playing every role I need to. I’ve been the event coordinator, I’ve been the one to guard the rings, I’ve been the girl who gets your drinks, I almost ALWAYS end up being the one who pins the boutonnieres on the guys. But mostly, I like to think of myself as the comedic relief😉 I like to make situations calm and comfortable during high stress, or if something’s missing, or the groom is late to the ceremony (yes, that has happened). I think a little positivity can go a long way.

K: Do you have any advice for couples in the midst of planning?
A: Don’t. Wait. Until. The. Last. Minute. Weddings are a lot of work and they are expensive! I’ve watched brides plan weddings in only four months and while it’s doable, it’s also a little crazy! Taking the time to plan a wedding is so wise for a lot of reasons. You’re able to get every detail you’ve been dreaming about since you were 10 years old, and you’re also able to spread out the payments a lot longer. Pick your budget but don’t be afraid to spend a little more on the things that are most important to you. Ask your photographer questions at any point! We do this ALL the time, we can help! And we’re slightly obnoxious and totally want to give you all of our awesome opinions.

K: What is the greatest piece of advice you have ever received and why has it stuck with you?
A: It’s as simple as this: follow your dreams. In relationships and in life. Everything is possible if you work hard enough for it. I’m a firm believer in that. And to travel as much and as often as you can.

Lightbloom photog 5

Wedding Gown Preservation


Photo by J. Scheer & Co, The Art of Preservation

You’ve spent countless hours roaming in and out of bridal shops, trying on numerous gowns, and then you finally find the one. Your dream dress: the dress you’ll walk down the aisle in, the dress your mom and dad will give you away in, the dress you’ll say “I do” in. And then before you know it, your wedding day will be over and you’ll be left with this beautiful dress and nowhere to put it. Isn’t it only fair to give your dress the happily-ever-after that it deserves as well?

That is why at The Wedding Dress Shoppe, we offer the service of wedding gown preservations through The Wedding Gown Preservation Co. They are a trusted company who has been doing wedding gown preservations for over 100 years, so we send your dress to them because we believe that your dress is iconic to you. It’s an everlasting memory of your day. Whether you want to save it for your daughter on her wedding day or another family member in the future, preserving your gown is the best way to maintain it’s original color, fabric, and shape. Whatever the reason, your dress is a treasure that you will want to hold on to.

Wedding dress preservation is a special cleaning and packaging technique that ensures that your wedding dress retains its beauty for years to come. However, it is extremely important that you do not procrastinate on the preservation process!

Your dress may have visible stains from food, makeup, or even dirt on the hemline that you will want cleaned. However, there may be many stains that have dried clear and may fool you into thinking your dress is clean. These stains will oxidize over time (react chemically with oxygen) and turn brown which will cause them to be much more difficult to remove later. Even your body perspiration from the heat of the day or dancing your heart out on the dance floor may cause the lining of the dress to turn brittle over time. Needless to say, your dress needs to be cleaned and preserved to keep it in the pristine condition that it’s in on the day of your wedding!

Keeping your gown in it’s plastic gown bag is about the worst thing that you can do to your dress. In the plastic bag, plastic fumes are emitted which will cause your lovely gown to yellow. Even if you take the initiative to get your dress cleaned, it’s imperative that you don’t put it back into the dry-cleaner’s plastic garment bag.

The Wedding Dress Shoppe provides a preservation service so that you can keep your gown in its original condition. Stop in today to get information on how you can keep your gown looking beautiful for a lifetime.