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Inspiration

25 Fabulous Wedding Dress Backs You Have to See

These backs are anything but boring.

By Caroline Cunningham

It is a fact of life that during your wedding, your guests will spend most of the ceremony staring at your back. That’s why you’ll want to give them something to look at, and these 25 wedding dresses that were shown during Bridal Fashion Week this April fit the bill. From amazing illusion panels that create a floating line of buttons to intricate lace patterns to daringly low cut to 3-D appliques, there's many ways to make an incredible back—here's a few we love.

Ready to start shopping for your own gown? Head to these local boutiques to find your dream dress.


1. Amazing floral applique.

Low back fit to flare crepe gown with crystal hand beading on back, “Brody” by Amsale.

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Gowns

How to Get a Designer Wedding Dress Without Breaking the Bank

Get the scoop on Borrowing Magnolia, the Rent the Runway of wedding gowns.

By Valeria Boucas Photograph via Shutterstock.

Can you imagine if you had to buy everything on your wedding day? Do you think you would ever use the linens, chairs, props, and drapes ever again? For most of you, the answer is no. Luckily, rental companies swooped in to solve our problems by giving us one less thing to stress about: the hefty price tags of purchasing new items. But one load that hasn't been lessened? The steep cost of buying a wedding dress that likely won't see the light of day again after you say "I do." Ashley Steele, Stephanie Olvey, and Cali Brutz teamed up to solve that very problem, and Borrowing Magnolia was born.

Launched in July 2014, the company allows you to either rent a previously owned wedding gown at up to 80 percent off retail or buy it at an extremely discounted rate. "So many aspects of the wedding industry have evolved to fit today's modern bride—except when it comes to wedding dresses," co-owner Ashley Steele told the Washingtonian. "We wanted to provide brides a way to wear their dream dress and showcase their style, all without breaking their budget or sacrificing the experience."

The concept, which takes a similar approach to Rent the Runway, is simple: Browse Borrowing Magnolia's inventory of more than 200 designer dresses, select three favorites, and pay $99 to have them shipped to your home (the money will go toward whatever dress you ultimately choose). Once you've picked a dress, you are responsible for returning it four days after your wedding, unless you decide to purchase it. You can expect various styles from top designers such as Claire Pettibone, Monique Lhuillier, Nicole Miller, Vera Wang, Rivini, and more. And if you're worried about the quality of the dress, don't be: Each gown is carefully inspected and handled with extreme care to make your experience feel just like new.

Find Valeria Boucas on Twitter at @valeriaboucas.

Gowns

Q&A With Designer Shoshanna Gruss

With a newly launched collection of bridal-inspired dresses, the designer behind Shoshanna shares her inspiration and her thoughts on bridesmaid trends.

By Irina Grechko All photographs courtesy of Shoshanna.
Shoshanna Gruss.

When it comes to party dresses, the label Shoshanna instantly comes to mind. Known for flirty silhouettes, bold colors, and unexpected patterns, the New York-based brand has become a go-to for bridal parties and brides-to-be. So it should come as no surprise that founder and creative director Shoshanna Gruss, who takes a special interest in the wedding world (the brand even has a dedicated wedding blog), launched a capsule collection of bridal-inspired dresses. Ranging from $295 to $395, the line features ten styles of white dresses, perfect for a casual beach or courthouse wedding, or for the events leading up to the big day. Read on to learn more about Gruss’s inspiration behind the collection, and shop the dresses online now.

Why did you decide to launch the collection?

I wanted to create a collection of dresses that catered to the casual bride. There are so many women out there who aren’t looking for a traditional wedding gown these days but deserve a gorgeous dress that complements their personal style. I also wanted to give brides-to-be options if they’re looking for a second dress to change into or even for the many wedding-related events leading up to the big day.

You take a special interest in the bridal world. Why is that?

The Shoshanna brand has always been a destination for bridesmaid dresses. We get so many requests for bridal parties, and I love when brides share their photos with me. It’s so flattering to know that my designs played a role in such an important day. It felt like a natural next step to cater to the bride as well as her bridal party, which is how the idea came about.

Tell us about the dresses. How do you envision brides wearing them? 

Each dress in the bridal-inspired collection is a shade of white, each with a different look and feel. You will find dresses with coral beads around the neckline, perfect for a beach wedding. You can also find a more formal, fit-and-flare dress that can be worn as a second dress to the reception. The ivory lace options are perfect for a bridal shower or even an engagement party. 

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Gowns

BHLDN Launches New Summer Collection (Photos)

Ethereal and romantic, these dresses are made for destination weddings.

By Jordan Muto Waterfall dress, $850. Onyx gown, $1,800. All photographs courtesy of BHLDN.

Not surprisingly, we are loving what BLHDN, Anthropologie’s trendy and vintage-inspired label, is up to again this season. Showcasing ethereal and airy looks, the summer collection, which launched earlier this week, has us dreaming of beach nuptials and destination weddings with effortlessly flowy dresses, elegant gowns with delicate lace detailing, and flirty sheaths with subtle hints of sparkle. Ranging from $350 to $2,400, BHLDN’s summer line is great for bohemian and free-spirited brides who just want to kick off their heels and walk down the aisle barefoot. Scroll down to get a taste of the romantic looks, and shop the collection online.

Elsa gown, $1,495, with tulle skirt, $595, and Vivienne gown, $1,800.

Nuptia dress, $500, and Gardenia dress, $350.

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Wedding News

Bridal News: Gilt Wedding Event Launches Today

Shop designer wedding dresses, accessories, and gifts up to 60 percent off.

By Irina Grechko Photograph courtesy of Gilt Groupe.

Attention, brides-to-be: If you dreamed about wearing a designer wedding dress but could never swing the price tag, today might be your lucky day. Just in time for peak wedding season, the savvy sample-sale e-tailer Gilt is launching its biannual bridal event, at noon Friday, featuring major discounts on all things bridal. Think wedding gowns from designers including Oscar de la Renta, Valentino, and Marchesa; bridesmaid dresses from Twobirds and Erin Fetherston; accessories from Kenneth Jay Lane, Judith Leiber, and René Caovilla; and wedding gifts from Schott Zwiesel—all at up to 60 percent off retail.

In addition to bridal steals and deals, this season Gilt has teamed up with Abby Larson of Style Me Pretty, who has curated a sale of some her favorite wedding essentials for brides and shared her tips for planning your dream nuptials.

Don’t wait too long to stock up on all your wedding must-haves—Gilt’s wedding is one of the most anticipated bridal sales, and the best items sell out quickly.

Gowns

Q&A: Bridal Designer Johanna Johnson

Just in time for the trunk show at Hitched, we caught up with the Australian designer to talk about this season’s prettiest wedding trends.

By Irina Grechko All photographs courtesy of Johanna Johnson.

For brides looking to channel old Hollywood glam on their big day, Johanna Johnson is a go-to for her minimalist silhouettes, ultra-luxe fabrics, and stunning embellishments. The Australian couture and bridal designer has quickly made a splash stateside with celebrities on the red carpet (Pink, Chrissy Teigen, and Maria Menounos are just some of the celebs who wore the designer this award season) and fashion-forward brides alike since opening a studio in New York last year.

Before the brand's trunk show at Georgetown's Hitched on March 21 and 22, we caught up with Johnson, who shared the inspiration behind her latest collection and revealed this season’s hottest bridal trends.

How would you describe a Johanna Johnson bride?

Individual, independent, lover of luxury, fashion, and fine dressing.

How are your bridal designs different from other wedding designers’ work?

The quality and make of our gowns stands alone. The fabrics, weight, stone work, hand-beading, and hand-finishing, along with my ‘old world’ approach to the DNA of our design, are what set us aside.

What’s your favorite part about designing wedding gowns?

The pure joy, excitement, and emotion our clients experience with choosing their gown.

What was the inspiration behind your latest collection?

The architecture of Art Deco, specifically my “muse”—New York City.

Do you have a favorite gown of the ones that will be on display at the Hitched trunk show this weekend?

The Garbo gown [photo above] embodies everything modern-day bridal should be—”less is more,” elegant, embellished, and old Hollywood glamour.

What are some of the bridal trends that you are seeing this wedding season?

For our clientele, no matter the style of gown, it’s all about “adornments” that can be worn again and cherished as heirloom pieces. Our wide range of accessories allows our brides to style their look individual to their personality.

And now, the quick-fire round:

Veil or statement headpiece?

Wear the headpiece over the veil, then remove the veil and rock the headpiece on its own.

Floor-length or short gown?

Floor-length.

Feathers or embroidery?

Embroidery.

White, cream/ivory, or color for gown?

“Vintage” ivory.

Statement neckline or statement necklace?

Statement neckline.

V-neck or cap sleeves?

Both!

To attend the Johanna Johnson trunk show on March 21 and 22, make an appointment by calling Hitched Salon at 202-333-6162 or e-mailing info@hitchedsalon.com.

Gowns

Boho Bride Alert: Looks We Love From Mara Hoffman (Photos)

These gowns were made for a breezy beachside wedding.

By Irina Grechko

If you are the type of bride who dreams of exchanging vows by the shore, with the sound of waves crashing in the not-too-far-off distance, Mara Hoffman’s bridal designs are just for you. Better known for her colorful apparel and bold swimwear, the New York-based designer launched a wedding collection late last year after famously designing a dress for the nuptials of jewelry designer Pamela Love, whose look is very much bohemian romantic. Hoffman’s line features four breezy gowns, a sassy bustier-skirt set, and two honeymoon-appropriate swimsuits—perfect for brides who wish to forgo veils for flower garlands and nix the heels for bare feet. Bonus: wallet-friendly prices ranging from $1,000 to $,1,700 per gown. Scroll down for photos of the dreamy looks.

Lakshmi embroidered gown, $1,100; Lakshmi embroidered veil, $480; Gaia lattice gown, $1,666.
More photos here

Wedding News

Zac Posen Debuts Wedding Collection for David’s Bridal (Photos)

The line features affordable and plus-size bridal gowns.

By Irina Grechko

Fans of fashion know Zac Posen is a major name—and brides who dream about wearing one of his creations on their wedding day can now do so for a fraction of the cost. The celebrity-beloved designer (Rihanna, Coco Rocha, Lena Dunham, and Christina Hendricks are just some of his famous fans) has teamed up with David’s Bridal to launch Truly Zac Posen, a line of affordable and ultra-feminine wedding gowns.

The collection echoes the details of the showstopping evening looks that have become the designer’s red-carpet calling card. The seven styles include satin fit-and-flare gowns and ball gowns of tulle and lace, all with prices ranging from $850 to $1,350. The line boasts a large selection of regular and plus sizes, five bridesmaid dress designs, and an edited selection of bridal accessories and jewelry. Scroll down for photos of the collection, and shop the entire line through David’s Bridal.

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Gowns

Dresses We Love From Vera Wang’s Fall 2014 Collection (Photos)

Pink is all the rage this wedding season.

By Irina Grechko

From Anne Hathaway to Jessica Biel to Kaley Cuoco, celebrities have been all about the pink wedding gown trend recently. But you don’t need to be a Hollywood name to pull off a nontraditional, blush-hued dress. Take Vera Wang’s all-pink fall collection: From delicate blush to notice-me coral, the designer covered all shades of the pink spectrum in mermaid, slim, and princess styles with intricate draping and floral details. Scroll down for photos of our favorite looks.

Petal:

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Gowns

A Look Inside the New Issue of Washingtonian Bride & Groom (Photos)

Check out the gorgeous gowns featured in “Road Trip Down the Aisle.”

By Irina Grechko

The winter/spring issue of Washingtonian Bride & Groom is now on newsstands. From the hottest bridal trends to the best items to put on your registry, plus ten of the prettiest local real weddings, the issue is filled with information and inspiration to help plan your big day. One of our favorite parts of putting together each issue is always the gown fashion shoot, a two-day extravaganza of tulle, lace, organza, jewels, and some of the most beautiful wedding dresses of the season. The latest feature is inspired by a country road trip, and was shot primarily at the Baltimore Agricultural Center in Cockeysville, Maryland. The results are so effortlessly beautiful you’d never guess that our crew battled pouring rain, cold, and uncooperative lighting to bring this story to life. For a look at the remarkable photographs and the stunning wedding gowns, scroll down.

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