Lisa Haynes and Denise Barkley reveal the latest luscious gowns.

You might associate falling in love and finding 'the one' with your husbandto- be, but the very same principles apply to your wedding dress.

Just as you need to kiss a few frogs in the dating world, the search for your dream frock can be a real journey. You’re looking for the right shape, the right shade and exactly the right amount of sparkles, feathers or flounce. We checked out the trends for 2013’s beautiful brides.

Fabrics to fall for

Satin, silk, tulle, taffeta – the bridal options are endless, but one fabric is still sending everyone wild: lace. The Duchess of Cambridge set the trend for full-on lace gowns, but it is also used to accentuate the latest styles.

Lace is being used in little sculpted shrugs – to give a hint of cover-up – through to strapless gowns and as detachable straps to complete top layers.

Meanwhile, edgier brides are loving laser-cut fabrics to create surface texture and 3D effects, also achieved with swirls of ribbons or fabric forming an entire skirt of flowers or petals.

Going back in time

Vintage is a hot look for 2013 brides, harking back to the 1930s and 1950s in particular. Think Audrey Hepburn for inspiration, with 1950s hallmark details such as nipped-in waists, bell skirts and crisp silhouettes.

Then there are slinky body-clinging dresses in slippery satins with clever fabric manipulation to form shape and accentuate curve on one hand, boat necklines and ballerina lengths on the other.

Shapely matters

Use your body as a guide to choosing a shape that will flatter as you make your grand entrance. Two major silhouettes are curveenhancing fishtails or retro ballgown styles.

Fishtails accentuate the classic hourglass figure and look fabulous in full lace, or very simply made in the finest silk duchess where the beauty of the gown is all in the fabric and cut.

Ballgowns are cut with a slightly lower waist, ensuring a flattering fit for all figures.  Damask, tulle and chiffon are desirable fabrics for this.


For brides who are short on time or cashflow, buying off-the-peg is the obvious option and, thankfully, the trusty high street is going from strength to strength.

Stores such as Coast, Monsoon, Phase Eight, Debenhams and Bhs have some lovely styles that are both stylish and cost-effective.

Increasingly, big bridal manufacturers are also introducing diffusion lines at accessible prices so brides can still get a killer cut and perfect fit, all within budget.

Bride on a budget

Do not break the bank so you can wear a fairytale designer gown for less than 24 hours. Elizabeth Catherine Myers, author of Pocket Wedding Planner, has these cost-cutting bridal shopping tips:

  • Wait for the sales in wedding dress shops to try to pick up a bargain.
  • Check the small ads in your local paper for a secondhand dress.
  • Check auction websites such as eBay to look for a secondhand dress. (But take care as the photo provided on the site and the final product may look very different.) Check the item description, read the feedback comments about the seller and ask any questions you have before bidding.
  • Research the types of fabric that suit the style of dress you like. The type of fabric you choose could have a big impact on the overall price of your dress.
  • Carefully consider the style of dress you would like. If you choose a style that requires a lot of fabric – for example, a dress with a long train or a full skirt, the price will increase.
  • Consider simple designs without embroidery. Machine work instead of hand beading can greatly reduce costs. A simple dress with simple accessories can look very stylish.
  • Asking a local dressmaker to copy a style of dress in a cutting-edge magazine could help save hundreds (and even thousands) of pounds.
  • Consider selling your dress after the wedding to recover some of the cost.