THE BLOG
10/27/2011 08:22 pm ET Updated Dec 27, 2011

Who Says Your Wedding Dress Has To Be Plain White?

I faced facts a long time ago: I'm never going to be a fashion designer. Whatever that special something amazing is that the greats like Yves Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, and Coco Chanel have, I just don't got it.

But I still love fashion. It inspires the things I wear and the things I display in my home as well as all of my work as a wedding and event designer.

Of course my love extends to wedding and bridal fashion, too. I've been designing weddings for over thirty years, so I've worked with a lot of brides. Designers have to know their clients, and, for me, that means knowing what trends my brides are excited about. What are the patterns, cuts, materials and embellishments they can't get enough of? Because if a bride loves a certain detail on her wedding dress, she'll probably love it, or something similar, in her bouquets and table centerpieces and even on her invitations.

Naturally, I try and follow New York Bridal Fashion Week as closely as I can, and this last week I've fallen in love with so many of the fall 2012 designs. The new gowns are just that, gowns. They're big and beautiful with lots of texture and color. Simplicity is out, and I couldn't be happier!

I love that Vera Wang didn't shy away from drama. Her models walked the runway in beige, grey and even black dresses. But not one of them wore a white gown! Personally, I loved her grey and beige dresses with lace overlay and tulle the most. They're elegant and sophisticated without feeling familiar.

Vera wasn't the only designer who added some color to the catwalk, though. Pink was everywhere: JLM Couture, Anna Maier, Reem Acra, Anne Barge, Alfred Angelo and Ines Di Santo all showed off beautiful pink and blush-colored gowns.

As a designer I absolutely love color. Color makes weddings and every other special event feel more alive. Unfortunately, some brides are hesitant about incorporating too much color into their wedding day style and decor. But I'm hoping these colorful new wedding dresses will make them reconsider. After all, if you love color in your every day life, there's no reason you shouldn't have lots of color on your wedding day, too.

It was Reem Acra's collection, though, that truly spoke right to my heart; the new dresses are rich with embellishments! The gowns feature intricate beading, feathers, flowers, embroidered bodices, illusion sleeves and big, elaborate skirts. This collection doesn't take itself too seriously -- every dress feels whimsical and fun but also glamorous.

What I love most about these two trends -- color and embellishments -- is how easy they are to replicate. So although Vera Wang and Reem Acra, for example, are fabulous, you don't have to wear one of their gowns to get the look.

And if you love color but also love the idea of wearing that big white gown, you can do both! Consider asking your seamstress to sew your favorite colorful fabric to your wedding dress' crinoline petticoat; as you walk down the aisle everyone will catch glimpses of your favorite color beneath your long white gown. You could also sew a bright, colorful border to the outer edge of your dress. Or, attach a bright bow with long ribbons to your waist so that strips of color cascade down the back of your dress.

The same is true for embellishments. Feathers and fabric flowers, especially, are inexpensive and easy to work with; it only takes a few well-placed feathers to make a big statement.

I always ask my brides to show me their wedding dress; it's a great way for me to get an immediate sense of their style and how they envision their wedding day. If a bride's dress has some intricate beading, hints of color, bows, flowers, feathers, ribbons or unique textures, I try to incorporate a similar look and feel into my designs.

But you don't have to be a designer to pull this off.

Think about adding a few of these complementary details to your wedding invitation suite. What about a sparkly border, or using card stock that has a subtle shimmer? Or, use a wax seal on your envelopes in the shape of a feather, bow or the flower pattern on your wedding dress.

I love using these details in my table linens, too. If your wedding dress or wedding color palette features shades of pink, for example, look for linens with a soft pink sheen. If you're wearing a ribbon belt, think about adding a matching ribbon edge to your linens or the back of your reception chairs.

And if you're making your own bouquet, wrap your flowers in a matching ribbon or bow. You can even tuck sparkly beads or feathers between the greenery and flowers in your bouquet for a bit of unexpected glamour. For many more ways to incorporate feathers into your wedding day style check out my last post.