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The 10 Biggest Bridal Trends for Spring 2016

Pants are in, including bridal overalls.
Backstage at the Monique Lhuillier spring 2016 bridal show. Photo: Greg Kessler

Backstage at the Monique Lhuillier spring 2016 bridal show. Photo: Greg Kessler

There's a good chance you already have a packed schedule of summer nuptials to attend as real life wedding season is upon us. But the bridal fashion world has already fast forwarded to next wedding season -- spring 2016 -- on the runways as Bridal Fashion Week just wrapped up in New York. While wedding style might not change all that drastically from season to season, there still are noteworthy trends, details and fun updates to take a peek at and get a jump on right now, especially if you're in the midst of planning your own big day. 

Besides, who doesn't love looking at beautiful wedding dresses? (Unless you have a heart of stone, just saying.) So scroll through for the 10 biggest trends for spring 2016, from the sexed up take on Kate Middleton's long sleeves to 3-D embellishments to what is quite possibly our favorite: pants.


Well, sort of. "I think you are seeing a little bit more traditional," Pamella Roland said at her presentation -- pointing out the preponderance of long sleeves on the bridal week runways for spring. "I think Kate Middleton really started that with the lace." Although, the extra material doesn't necessarily mean chaste. Gossamer sheer, naked-looking illusion sleeves allowed for the semblance of full-coverage, while accents like lace, sparkly sequins, intricate beading and embroidery can add visual interest.


"We really felt like the girls really want to show off their bodies at the moment, so I think you'll see quite a lot of low back and illusion backs," said Keren Craig at the very grand Marchesa presentation at the St. Regis. While the ultra-low back carried over from last season, exposure reached new levels with (sometimes) tasteful cut-outs, illusion panels and peekaboo lace.

This concept was taken to an extreme by Galia Lahav with her Cher-reminiscent neck-to-toe sheer backed gown (with strategic butt coverage). The second the model turned around on the runway, show-goers gasped and immediately whipped out their smartphones for a pic. 


Maybe it's the "Outlander" craze crossed with the return of the '90s, but body-contouring, corset-topped ball-gowns and slinky Courtney Love-meets-Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy slip dresses are hot for spring and summer weddings. Of course, details like extra lace, delicate appliqués and a little sparkle kept dresses from looking too lingerie-esque. 

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Considering the low sexy back, it's not a complete shocker that bridal wear is taking an adventurous plunge, so to speak, with jaw-droppingly low necklines, too. But what goes down must go up, too, right? For counter-effect, the bridal gown neckline also reached new heights with lacy and tulle-ruffled mock-turtleneck collars. Some designers even managed to make both high and low necklines work together all in one dress.


Carrying over from the fashion week runways, the 3-D effect is taking over bridal, but with nuptials-appropriate motifs, like an ivory landscape of dreamy florals or whimsical butterflies fluttering on layers of silk tulle. The more adventurous bride might be drawn to Angel Sanchez's futuristic, but still very bridal frost garden-y shoulder detail. Not sure how comfy that would be for the father-daughter dance, but it looks oh-so-cool.


Blame Jenna Lyons -- remember how she wore the most sublime feathered J. Crew collection ball gown skirt to Solange's wedding? -- because fluttery feathers are another way to make a bridal statement next season. Designers fully covered traditional ball-gown skirting or accented their dresses in feathers for extra dimension and fun. Vera Wang thought outside the box with a Lyons-esque cascading ball-gown skirt, but paired it with a bandeau crop top and showed it in all black for a wedding look you can definitely wear again.


While last season's soft pastels (and icy Queen Elsa blue) are still going strong for spring '16, a wash of pretty watercolors offer another non-white option for the season. Just make sure your bouquet doesn't clash with the dress.


The overlay is basically the sartorial hybrid of the princess-y ball gown and the minimalist column. You have that extra layer of tulle, lace or organza to give the dress a ball gown feel, but with the slimming effect of a streamlined column or slinky slip silhouette underneath -- it's the bridal version of having your cake and eating it too.


Every collection had its little white dress (some littler than others), which brides can wear for a city hall type wedding or as a second (or third or fourth) look for the rehearsal dinner, the reception or whatever they think requires an outfit change. Hey, Peter Copping sent not one, but four little white dresses (not counting the literally little flower girl ones) down the runway for Oscar de la Renta.


There's just something about wearing a pair of well-tailored trousers that gives a bride that extra swagger -- which is totally appropriate for a walk down the aisle. The white tuxedo suit can be just as chic, formal and impactful as a ball gown (if not more so), and some designers got even more creative with the silhouette. Angel Sanchez offered a strapless chiffon-topped jumpsuit and a metallic lace one, while Houghton went full Coachella with delicate French Guipure lace overalls.