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We asked Tracy DiNunzio, a wedding expert and the founder of recycledbride.com, the world's largest wedding marketplace, for her insights into the top trends for nuptials this season.
1. Modest wedding gowns
Strapless and skin-baring gowns are being replaced by a more refined wedding day look. Bridal fashion is seeing a return to modesty.
"The season's hottest dress styles feature covered shoulders and lots of lace," says DiNunzio. Many 2012 brides will also opt for what she refers to as an "illusion neckline," which looks like a strapless gown but has a lace or sheer overlay or capelet on top.
"Sporting sleeves gives brides more flexibility to change up their wedding-day look," says DiNunzio. "I love when brides sport a strapless gown with a lace bolero and formal updo for the ceremony, and then shed the sleeves and let their hair down for a sexy reception look."
2. Alternative wedding flowers
Since traditional flowers are expensive and will likely wilt before the honeymoon even begins, brides are choosing creative alternatives to traditional arrangements, says DiNunzio. Some options include brooch bouquets (sparkly bouquets made of brooches and other pieces of costume jewelry), succulent centrepieces and paper flowers made from the pages of romance novels.
"Sustainable decorations like these are not only more affordable, they also last forever as treasured mementos or home decor," says DiNunzio.
3. High-tech nuptials
This is the year that weddings go digital. Just like rest of our lives, technology is taking over the wedding scene, says DiNunzio.
"From digital invitations to DIY videography, there are countless ways to incorporate new digital tools into classic wedding traditions," she explains. "This year we'll see tons of wedding-based Facebook pages where guests and bridal parties can connect, and faraway guests will attend the big day virtually via the iPad."
Page 1 of 2 -- From sapphire engagement rings to traditional wedding cakes, check out four more great wedding trends on page 2.
4. Wedding fascinators
Brides are fascinated with fascinators, this year's must-have wedding accessory, says DiNunzio. If you're having trouble picturing this trendy accent, a fascinator is a headpiece or hair accessory made from lace, fabric flowers, feathers or jewels.
"Fascinators are meant to be bold and fun and make a statement. They work best when paired with a simple wedding dress," she explains. If you're looking for a chic alternative to a tiara or veil, a fascinator offers a stylish and elegant option.
5. Off-white gowns
Say goodbye to traditional wedding white this year. Blush-coloured wedding gowns are poised for popularity, replacing ivory as the dress colour of choice for fashion-forward brides.
"Blush tones are flattering on all skin tones, and are modern and very elegant. The colour is just different enough to make a statement without deviating too far from the classic white wedding gown," DiNunzio explains.
Brides who choose blush-hued gowns should consider a colour scheme to match, featuring blooms and decorations in peach and mauve, she advises.
6. Traditional wedding cakes
Cakes are making a comeback in 2012. "For several years we've seen cupcake towers and dessert tables steal the sweets spotlight at weddings. But this year is all about the classic, traditional wedding cake," says DiNunzio. "Multi-tiered, extravagant cakes in shades of white, ivory and blush will take the stage at weddings."
She also adds that brides will choose cake decorations and embellishments that complement their dresses and accessories, such as lace, bows, pearls and sparkly jewels.
7. Sapphire engagement ring
Brides saying "I do" this year want something blue and sparkly: Sapphires. "The traditional diamond engagement ring is being out-sparkled by sapphires in deep blue hues," says DiNunzio. "Taking cues from Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, brides are loving big sapphire centre stones, often complemented by diamonds on the band. Vintage and antique sapphire rings are the most popular choice for their timeless elegance."
Pair a sapphire stone with a diamond or sapphire-encrusted wedding band, and stick to platinum or white gold to keep this look on-trend, she advises.
Planning a wedding can seem overwhelming, but being armed with some of the latest trends can help you put together a meaningful event that will wow your guests and give you and your spouse a day to cherish.
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Plan the most beautiful wedding you can imagine with expert tips and helpful advice from our special wedding planning guide.