The dress is one of the most important parts of your special day. Not only for the bride, but for the groom who can't wait to see the love of his life looking radiant, her parents seeing their daughter looking like a princess and the guests who will undoubtedly have speculated about the kind of dress the bride has chosen. With ever-changing trends and fashions, Leanne Whysall from Stately Brides, in Belper, talks us through 2013’s top five trends.

1. Lace
The go-to fabric this season, lace is ideal for brides looking for timeless style and if it's good enough for a Duchess, it's good enough for us! Whether you choose an entire gown made from this material or even just some well-placed accents, lace adds loads of texture and romance. It is subtle and feminine and ties in perfectly with the vintage theme which remains as popular as ever in 2013.

Stately Brides Stately Brides

2. Straps and sleeves
For several years strapless gowns have been de rigeur. But, this year, designers are experimenting with sleeves and straps – and brides of all shapes and sizes will rejoice.
Spaghetti straps, which allow you to wear a bra, can be thick, thin, one of each or even asymmetric, which creates a flaunty focal point on the shoulders.
We are also seeing detachable straps which, with the flick of a popper, can change the overall look of a dress from day to evening.
Short and capped sleeves will be popular this spring/summer and long sleeves (think Kate Middleton’s sheer lace) will be all the rage next autumn and winter.
An awful lot of brides are self-conscious about their arms and so this trend is perfect for them.

3. Illusion Detailing and cover-ups
Illusion necklines are demure yet potent—they can add sparkle and confidence to any style of dress. The illusion neckline is something of an on trend feature at the moment, they are fashion forward yet still stunning on a traditional gown, appropriately demure, yet hinting at being revealing. A refreshing alternative to the strapless gown, illusion necklines add a touch of drama to any dress. Cover-ups in general seem to be coming to the fore – whether that’s shrugs, boleros or sheer panels, it helps you feel more comfortable and less exposed.

4. White weddings
White has long been accepted as the traditional colour for the wedding dress, but wedding gowns are no longer the white colour that we are accustomed to. In recent years the majority of white dresses have actually been ivory – but very recently we have seen a move back towards pure white. There is a general perception that white can be very hard to wear, but on most skin tones the brightest, crispest white can look really fresh. We’ve seen a definite revival in white and I think it could well be back in a big way in 2013.

wedding gown, bridal dress The beautiful showroom

5. Evening dress
More and more brides are opting to wear two dresses on their big day: a traditional wedding gown for the ceremony and photographs, and a fun, flirty evening dress for the reception. This allows brides to wear something more formal during the daytime, which they might consider more appropriate for a church for example, and then they can be more stylish and slinky in the evening when it is time to get the party started.
We find a lot of brides who come to our sales decide to buy two gowns – because they are probably only paying the same as a full-price gown. Of course, Kate Middleton had two gowns and plenty of other celebrities have followed suit – Peaches Geldof for example had three different dresses for her big day.

To find out more about Stately Brides visit their website here.