GONE are the days when the second time bride known as the “encore bride” has to settle for scaled down wedding ceremonies with fewer guests.

With over 45% percent of all weddings today involving one or both partners who have been married before, it’s difficult to tell from the attire whether the modern bride is marrying for the first or umpteenth time. In fact, the modern bride who is lucky enough to find love again is trampling on the old traditions. Now their wedding is based on their taste and their budget. With the motto being: “This is the last time, and it’s got to be the best.”

The “encore bride” is in a different place than when she had her first wedding. They are confident, they have more money to spend, and they know what they want. Their focus is on “simple elegance”. They hire the best wedding photographers and seek out the most amazing wedding venues.

Whether it is your first, second or third wedding the focal point is still the wedding dress. These brides are seeking dresses that are tailored rather than poufy – a sexy, sophisticated look with the emphasis on quality fabrics.

Today’s trends in bridal gowns are all about you. Your second wedding gown should reflect your personal style, your fashion sense and what kind of wedding you want to have.

When shopping for that perfect dress it helps to know your body type so you can choose the gown that highlights your best features and downplays the areas you wish you could forget.

Here are some of the latest fashion trends to help get you started

Trains are fine, but keep them simple, again matching the formality and style of the wedding.

Show some skin: At this year’s runway shows, many designers decided to go bare. Creations featured mostly strapless gowns that place the emphasis on the bodice: gently weaved, beaded, or simple with demure jeweled straps.

Body-Conscious: Designers are very body conscious these days, with shape taking precedence. This is good news for any bride: most of these dresses have a slimming effect. The ever-popular A-line (also known as princess) is a long cut that draws the eye downwards, and often has a built-in train. This does not mean that designers have abandoned the classic traditional gowns…the skirts still float but the cut is meant to flatter the body.

Embroidery and Lace: These two mainstays of bridal fashion never go out of style, and let’s not forget beading. Today’s bride wants the opulence in beadwork with many designers choosing crystals over glass beads.

Color: This component of a gown has never been so popular. Brides are actually thinking outside the box these days choosing jewel tone gowns in gold, silver, and a variety of pearl tones. However, second time brides still are confident enough to wear white, after all “white symbolizes commitment and faithfulness” so why not!

Where to Look: Magazines are the traditional way a bride begins her gown search, but why not look for a gown online? Most designers now have WebPages, and a collection of name gowns can be found on a number of websites. And if you’re wondering, “Will the gown of my dreams fit me right?” there’s help to be found on a multitude of websites which determine your body type and then suggest the dress type that is best for your figure.

Finally Hit the Runways! The latest fashions needn’t remain a trade secret. Bridal shows, which feature live runway presentations of the current trends and designers, are an excellent way to view a variety of gowns.

A wedding is a celebration of love so indulge and take your time finding that perfect gown. The number one comment I receive from second time brides is…”this is definitely it, I’m not getting married again”.

by Gail Young

Photo by SkySight Photography of Pittsburgh