Wedding Dress Trends 2012

by | Fashion Wisdom, Wisdom


Laura of "For Her and For Him"

Gown by Jim Hjelm

If you’re planning to get married in 2012, you’re most likely already looking for that perfect dress. If you want to make sure you’re a stylish and fashion-forward bride, but aren’t sure where to start, then this article is for you. To help you decide what looks might work best for your wedding in the new year, I’ve complied a list of the hottest trends as seen on the designer catwalks for Spring 2012, and predicted the style features that are going to be must-haves for the 2012 bride. There are glimmers of other, smaller trends that appeared at the Spring 2012 designer bridal shows – such as polka dots, and sleeves of all shapes and sizes – but I’ve brought together a selection of the main (and my favorite!) wedding dress trends for 2012, to get you started on your quest.


Lace has always been a favorite of those who favor tradition, and want to achieve a classic and graceful look. It has been thrust into the fashion spotlight once more, thanks to Kate Middleton and the gown she wore for her recent wedding to Prince William. Designers have jumped on the trend, and are approaching lace in all kinds of chic and creative ways – producing gowns that offer fresh and modern updates to traditional lace gowns. Classic and vintage looks are reinvented with an energetic twist for 2012, and the result is utterly chic and beautifully romantic. Vera Wang has, as always, created some perfectly crafted lace gowns with delicate details to die for; while Monique Lhillier has created the perfect response to Kate Middleton’s lace-sleeved dress perfect for any modern day princess!

Gowns Clockwise: Marina K Couture; Vera WangMonique Lhuillier


Color has been becoming a more and more popular choice amongst brides for quite some time now. It is no longer thought strange to choose a gown in a color other than white (though bright orange might be pushing it a bit!), and this is reflected by the abundance of colored gowns seen on the designer catwalks for spring 2012. Romantic, soft and whimsical – my favorites were the gowns in blush, silver, and shades of green and grey. Take a look at Vera Wang’s collection to see a range of stunning colored gowns, or check out Monique Lhuillier’s perfect blush creations. There are plenty of faint hints and hues to choose from, if you’re still feeling a bit color-shy!

Top Row: Vera Wang; Monique Lhuillier; Photography by Signe Vilstrup for Vanity Fair Italy

Middle Row: Tim Walker Photography

Bottom Row: Vera Wang

Two-Tiered Skirts

The catwalks have been flooded with a mixture of short, kicky peplums; and longer, more exaggerated 2-tier skirts. The second tier has varied greatly in size, but in all designs, the two tiers have been very distinct. This creates a chic and dramatic silhouette, and a style with heaps of character and style. The top tier can be cleverly used to camouflage wider hips, and add striking shape and interest to a floor length gown. My favorite 2-tier skirt gowns included designs by Christos and Isaac Mizrahi (as pictured below).

From left to right: Christos, Anna Maier – Ulla Maija, Isaac Mizrahi

Illusion Necklines

An illusion neckline is a sheer layer of fabric that covers a section of the skin that would otherwise be exposed if you wore a strapless dress. The sheer fabric is delicate, and often embellished with beads, jewels, embroidery or lace. It’s the perfect choice if you’re bored of looking at strapless gowns, but feel that full on sleeves would be too heavy or offer too much coverage. An illusion neckline looks elegant, romantic, and makes sure your dress doesn’t fall down on the dance floor! Some of my favorites were from Carolina Herrera and Marchesa, whose dazzling and romantic illusion necklines were the epitome of bridal femininity.

Left to right: Caroline Herrera, Marchesa

Horsehair Trim

Horsehair is often used on the underskirt of a gown to create a clean shape and crisp hemline. With the trend of turning dresses inside-out already firmly in place, designers have been realizing this in new and exciting forms – most noticeably, by exposing the underlying horsehair fabric at either the hemline, or in the form of a dramatic bow or sash on the bodice. The horsehair creates such incredible volume – you’ll be sure to turn heads on your special day. It is both frothy and romantic; and modern and fashion-forward – the perfect combination for impressing your guests!

Left to right: Vera Wang, Rivini

Extreme Texture

Yep, for 2012 expect lashings and lashings of luxurious texture. Tulle, lace, ruffles, layers, feathers and 3D flowers combine to create spectacular 3D gowns that just beg to be touched. The fantastically exuberant ruffled skirts look like thousands of petals tumbling down around you, and create such a striking and romantic look. Extreme texture like this can really transport you to another world, and create lasting memories for your special day. If you’re feeling daring and like things a bit quirky, try a gown with a full-feathered skirt – the feathers create the most beautiful movement as they float and bounce as you move. Take inspiration from rose petals and luscious folds of sugar frosting.

Gowns by Monique Lhuillier

Embroidered Florals

Inspired by the beauty of nature, and the blossoming spring garden, designers have been covering their gowns with fresh bursts of embroidered flowers. Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrera are at the forefront of the trend, with stunning creations that range from subtle and delicate floral touches, to full on floral patterns in black or brown. Perfect if you’re having a spring or summer wedding, this trend would look stunning as part of an outdoor, garden wedding. I can almost smell the fresh spring air, and soft cherry blossom!

Gowns top: Carolina Herrera, Oscar de la Renta,

Gowns bottom: Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera,

I don’t know about you, but with all these gorgeous details and textures, I’m feeling pretty inspired! And so I shall leave it at this for now – plenty of inspiration and eye candy for you to ponder over – and report back with other new wedding dress trends for 2012, as they arise.

Ms Gingham says: Loving the extreme texture and the gorgeous colours! I can’t wait to see what all our beautiful brides will be wearing in 2012.

About For Her and For Him: We believe that life’s special moments should be celebrated in style and made perfect down to the very last detail – without costing the earth or causing a lot of stress! We specialize in high quality products at fabulously reasonable prices. We’re here to provide you with gorgeous party dresses, elegant wedding dresses, dazzling accessories and much much more, helping you look and feel your absolute best.

  • amie says:
    December 1, 2011 at 3:25 am

    oh no, I am going to be one untrendy bride. I’m not into any of these trends, except maybe (and it’s a huge maybe) the texture.

    • Polka Dot Bride says:
      December 2, 2011 at 2:05 pm

      I agree with Ms G Amie- we’ve never focused heavily on trends because weddings are such a personal thing. I do think it’s helpful though to see them every now and then – there’s a reason things work and appeal to masses and it’s interesting!

      As for being an untrendy bride all that matters is what YOU feel like in your gown!

  • Ms Gingham says:
    December 1, 2011 at 11:12 am

    I think that’s the beauty of fashion nowadays, you really can and should wear what suits you, both in figure and personality. These trends are a great starting point but by no means should you feel that you must follow them. I think there’s nothing wrong and everything right with being yourself. xx

  • Wedding Weekly News, Friday Roundup | Polka Dot Bride says:
    December 5, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    […] Polka Dot GroomLara Luz gives us some great tips on choosing your photographer on Polka Dot WisdomLaura explores wedding dress trends for 2012 on Polka Dot Wisdom – such beautiful dresses – let’s all sigh wistfully now…..Considering a […]

  • Sterling Marchal says:
    April 15, 2012 at 8:16 am

    was about to stop searching when I ultimately found your site! THX !



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