Who are you wearing to your wedding? This guide will help you decide.
This story first appeared in the spring/summer 2020 issue of Columbus Weddings, published in December 2019.
Any bridal boutique worth its salt will provide a polished, customer-focused experience along with a range of styles and price points. However, all those choices can make it tricky for a bride to narrow down which shops are the best fit for her needs. Even a sartorially savvy shopper might feel like a novice when it comes to bridal-specific silhouettes, sizing and designers.
Even if a bride-to-be has homed in on a particular designer or dress spotted online or in a magazine, it’s important to know that every boutique carries a finite and distinct, if overlapping, set of designers and dresses. Contacting local boutiques in advance to confirm they carry your desired styles can save valuable time. A reputable boutique should be able to provide honest, thorough answers to inquiries about stock, turnaround times, designers, trunk sales and general price points.
To help ease wedding planning stress, we’ve asked some of Central Ohio’s top bridal boutique owners and managers to share a little about the signature style of many of today’s popular wedding gown lines, what types of venues or weddings are (generally speaking) an ideal fit for each, and a few sure bets on where to find each locally. While this list isn’t comprehensive, it’s a good introduction to various design houses and local stockists.Like what you’re reading? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Signature style: “This line has a very classic, very sleek, timeless feel, while also being pretty modern,” says bridal manager Paige Skillman of Henri’s Bridal. Ashley Gammon, manager at Twirl Bridal, adds, “These are very clean, pretty and traditional fits and styles. A bride will be able to look at photos of herself wearing it 10 years from now with no regrets about the style she chose.”
Wedding aesthetic: Sleek, grand and classic, the line is perfect for a ballroom, the Columbus Museum of Art, the Ohio Statehouse or other upscale, modern venues.
Find it locally: Henri’s Bridal, Twirl Bridal
Signature style: Allure gowns offer a range of fresh takes on classic styles. “This line—there are actually several lines within the Allure brand—is pretty traditional, with modern twists. Many have some lace and a little sparkle,” Skillman says. “I will say, it’s probably the best in terms of overall fit of anything we have; Allure gowns offer a really great fit. That might mean less alterations, because they fit every body type very well.” One of Allure’s newest lines is Wilderly, which Gammon describes as “very boho, very on-trend, versus the more traditional Allure line.” Allure Women is the designer’s plus-size line, and Allure Modest features gowns with a little more coverage. The Mix + Match collection offers skirt and top separates for a more customizable look.
Wedding aesthetic: Skillman notes that Henri’s Allure customers wear them to everything from rustic to formal weddings. “It’s a pretty versatile line,” she adds. Wilderly’s light, breathable fabrics and delicate details would be perfect for daytime or outdoor weddings, from beach to barn.
Bridal collections: Allure Bridals, Allure Couture, Allure Romance, Madison James, Wilderly Bride, Allure Women, Mix + Match, Allure Modest
Find it locally: Henri’s Bridal (Bridal, Couture, Romance), Twirl Bridal (Bridal, Couture), Wendy’s Bridal (Bridal, Romance, Madison), Dublin Bridal (Bridal, Romance, Madison)
ESSENCE OF AUSTRALIA
Signature style: Gammon sums up Essence of Australia’s namesake line as “your on-trend Pinterest bride through and through; affordable and versatile, but with plenty of ‘wow factor.’” Essence sets and follows trends, without compromising quality and fit, with lightweight, stretchy, comfortable gowns.
Essence’s Stella York collection, the company’s most affordable (boasting designs for every size), shares the ease and comfort of higher-end lines, with pops of trendy details and drama, such as sheer and intricate illusion backs.
The Martina Liana collection is the company’s couture line, designed with intricate beading, exquisite hand detailing and delicate laces. “Martina Liana designs are beautiful, sought-after designs for both the fashion-forward and the more classic, traditional bride,” says Heather DiMasi, owner of White of Dublin. “Brides love Martina Liana’s fit and construction. Martina also customizes dresses to help a bride achieve her own unique and personal style.”
Wedding aesthetic: With multiple collections, versatile styles and price points, these collections can be suited for any wedding venue or vibe.
Bridal collections: Essense of Australia, Martina Liana, Stella York
Find it locally: White of Dublin (Martina), Twirl Bridal (Essence, Stella, Martina), Wendy’s Bridal (Essense, Stella)
EVE OF MILADY
Signature style: “This is a couture line with a really good fit, a really good silhouette to fit any body type,” says Skillman. “They have a lot of very intricate details; they are really beautiful.” The line is known for its intricate embroideries and laces; dramatic skirts and trains also are common.
Wedding aesthetic: Think glamorous—from upscale outdoor weddings at a botanical garden to a formal, ballroom-style affair.
Bridal collections: Couture, Boutique, Amalia Carrara
Find it locally: Henri’s Bridal
Signature style: “Lahav is a high-end couture designer out of Israel who is known for unique, sleek, sophisticated, sexy elegance,” DiMasi says. “This line is always on the cutting edge of fashion.” You’ll see a lot of sheer details in the Galia collections, which are more sexy than sweet. Many styles push the fashion envelope in the best way. “If a bride wants to know what will be trending in bridal fashion, she need only look to Galia Lahav to see the forecast,” says DiMasi.
Wedding aesthetic: Sophisticated and on-trend, such as a chic, Downtown rooftop celebration.
Bridal collections: Galia Lahav, GALA by Galia Lahav
Find it locally: White of Dublin
MORILEE BY MADELINE GARDNER
Signature style: Morilee is a recognizable brand known for soft, often traditionally feminine classics. “This line has great name recognition and is very traditional,” says Skillman. “Usually these are very lacy, or have lace detailing, and are precisely what you envision when you think about a classic wedding gown.” Gammon agrees that lace is a Morilee staple, adding, “This line tends to evolve with what brides are asking for each season, so right now that means clean crepe with lace and some styles with sleeves.”
Wedding aesthetic: Morilee’s traditional silhouettes and details make it a great fit for religious weddings, rustic barns, and outdoor or daytime events, versus a bold, edgy or overtly sexy vibe.
Bridal collections: Morilee, Blu, Voyagé, AF Couture, Julietta
Find it locally: Henri’s Bridal (Morilee, AF Couture), Wendy’s Bridal (Morilee, Blu, Voyagé, Julietta)
Signature style: Pronovias’ style is sensual and dramatic, as one might expect from a company based in Barcelona, Spain. Despite the glamour of the often deep-plunging necklines and form-fitting cuts, this line still maintains a fresh and elegant look. “An unmistakable aesthetic that is classic and inviting. Clean, crisp crepes, lovely Spanish lace and sometimes a hint of sparkle,” says DiMasi. “Pronovias wedding dresses are sought after all over the world.”
Wedding aesthetic: Sleek, sophisticated city or destination weddings are a great fit for Pronovias’ bold feel.
Bridal collections: Pronovias, Atelier Pronovias, Pronovias Privée, Mix & Dream
Find it locally: White of Dublin (Pronovias, Privée), B. Loved Bridal Boutique (Atelier Pronovias)
Signature style: Skillman describes Sottero’s style as romantic and even a little boho, with plenty of lace, beading and detailing. Sottero’s vast line and three collections have something for everyone.
Wedding aesthetic: Sottero gowns are at home from the altar to forest path to the dancefloor. Daytime, outdoor and trendy rustic weddings are a good match.
Bridal collections: Maggie Sottero, Sottero and Midgley, Rebecca Ingram
Find it locally: Henri’s Bridal (Maggie), Wendy’s Bridal (Maggie, Rebecca)
Signature style: “Tutera is a celebrity wedding planner and designer, as well as a television personality known best for the show My Fair Wedding,” says DiMasi. “David has created a new, custom, couture collection that will be [locally] available only at White of Dublin in January 2020. Brides have already begun to call to request them. David has used the most luxurious fabrics and paid personal attention to every detail.”
Wedding aesthetic: These unique yet approachable couture designs are sure to please discerning customers from Hollywood royalty to upscale “Queen for a Day” brides.
Find it locally: White of Dublin
No matter what venue you’ve chosen or which designers’ styles make you swoon, boutique experts urge brides to keep an open mind, even as they begin to narrow the field. “We always try to stress that it’s more about the silhouette than the designer specifically,” says Skillman. “Many designers will likely have a great dress that can fit your criteria.”
Adds DiMasi, “We have seen a trend toward independence when it comes to a bride’s wedding dress and her venue. At one point a bride wanted to buy a dress that ‘fit’ her venue. Now, a bride’s dress and her venue exist independently, yet come together in the most unique and wonderful ways. Brides will wear a sexy glamorous dress at a barn wedding, and it’s divine! So, the best advice is to say yes to the dress of your dreams. It will come together beautifully!”