Not every bride wants to wear a white gown on her wedding day. It has been, over the past several years, a rising trend for brides to choose nonwhite wedding gowns.
According to Shane McMurray, lead researcher at the bridal industry statistics company The Wedding Report, here's how the most popular colors of wedding gowns stack up in popularity:
--Rose/pink/mauve: 14.3 percent.
--Silver/gold/copper: 6.2 percent.
--Blush blue: 5.9 percent.
--Red: 2 percent.
--Blush yellow: 1.3 percent.
--Blush purple: 0.9 percent.
--Other shade: 4.2 percent, which may include the trend of watercolor-painted gowns -- an artistic option for the bride who is so inclined.
Notice that those numbers don't add up to 100 percent, as 65 percent of brides still prefer white gowns. But a number of brides are choosing tan or Champagne-colored dresses, providing a more flattering dress for a bride's skin tone than stark white while still appearing more traditional.
Although not recorded in the survey, blush gray is making news as a popular and neutral bridal gown color, as it allows the bride's shade of dress to complement bridesmaids' gowns, which are now often in shades of gray and slate.
Bright, patterned gowns may not have achieved widespread popularity, but there are always artistic brides out there who love the idea. Florals and other delicate motifs -- such as cherries -- adorn the dresses of brides who really want to depart from the traditional white dress.
So, why have we witnessed this trend toward colorful and/or patterned dresses in recent years? The bride's reasons may include the following:
--Wanting something different that's more in tune with her alternative preferences.
--Finding a gown that looks more flattering against her skin tone than white.
--Preferring a gown for her second (or third or fourth) wedding that's completely different than the white gown she dutifully wore for her first wedding.
--Wanting to choose from the wide array of gorgeous gowns that today's designers are presenting in blush, bold and metallic choices.
Jennette Kruszka, director of marketing and public relations for acclaimed gown shop Kleinfeld Bridal, says that each year, she sees gowns in color in the Bridal Fashion Week runway shows, with blush, metallic and blush-blue dresses leading the trend and high in demand.
What else might be driving the trend for wedding dresses in color? For some brides, the bridesmaid-dress rack delivers less-expensive options in fabulous styles. With lovely, wispy fabrics and creatively twisted, one-shoulder sleeves, these gowns can fit a bride's personal sense of style better than the collections of white gowns she has tried on at so many shops. This expansion of where brides can shop for budget-friendly dresses has played into the rise of gowns in color.
We're also seeing more brides wanting to wear their mothers' or grandmothers' wedding gowns as a family homage, but the original gowns may be faded or stained -- something a great alterations company can solve by dyeing the dress a different color. The heirloom dress becomes wearable once more.
And for the bride who wants a traditional white dress but would like to incorporate pops of color, other alterations are a great option: Colorful hand-sewn beading, sequins, crystals and appliques add a unique touch. Accessories, jewelry and shoes can complement these shades for a colorful wedding-day look.
Sharon Naylor is the author of "The Bride's Guide to Freebies" and three dozen additional wedding books.