"You look beautiful, but why you wanna go and get married lookin' like a fish?" These were the last words my aunt heard before she walked down the aisle. With that horrifying phrase leaving the flower girl's mouth, my aunt thought, "A fish? This dress is modern and gorgeous! It's 1987 and fashion is so strong that this will definitely become a new classic, she'll see when she grows up."

28 years and three daughters later, there is a slim chance my aunt will ever see that dress worn again. Now the outfit quietly hangs in the closet as a strong momento to the ’80s. My aunt, along with many other women, now have mixed feelings about their gowns. Sure it looked great at the time, in fact it was the epitome of style, but now people giggle when they see the wedding pictures.

That can sting. 

Of course looking and feeling beautiful is a bride's priority on their wedding day, and she should wear anything that makes her feel that way. But it can be tricky for modern brides who want a gown that showcases their personality yet remains classic. Avoiding trends like a high-low skirt and cut outs are a start, but here are some tips on how to not compensate your style and modernity when searching for your elusive frock.

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Image via Marcella La Boutique

Color Control

Away with the idea that a bride must wear all white. Color allows brides to stand out and express their unique style. Strong colors like red and black are different, but due to the length of the dress the bride risks looking like she is going to prom. Dresses in shades of sorbet were popular on the Spring 2016 Bridal runway and are a great alternative to strong colors. Peach and blush are great starting colors, but to be extraordinary try a baby blue wedding dress at Marcella's La Boutique

Light on the Lace

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Image via Luly Yang

Lace remains a popular fabric for the occasion. As usual, the textile dominated Vera Wang's runway. However, lace is a difficult and expensive material that needs to be done just right to create an elegant look. Try on a dress with touches of lace. The small textured details won't overwhelm the dress. Local dress designer Luly Yang's Mon Amour dress, pictured right, is a perfect example of a sophisticated dress with small patches of lace.

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Image via Cicada

Short and Sweet

Brides who like a nontraditional look can revel in the various choices of short length wedding dresses. Since the custom is to have length, a shorter hem gives lots of options because it can range from tea length to mini skirt. That's why it appeared on Oscar de la Renta's runway multiple times. Those who want to lend a little leg should be weary though; these dresses can look like the bride is an attendee and not the guest of honor. To prevent this, stick with shades of white, cream, and ivory with a classic cut. Avoid a full skirt, which can make the look err on "sweet 16." Seattle's Cicada Bridal Shop has a whole collection dedicated to the short look and offers lots of different styles.

Beauty in Asymmetry

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Image via Dress Theory

Every designer made an asymmetric wedding for their collection this year. When it is not too extravagant, asymmetry can create originality along with a classic charm. Instead of covering up in the front and back, try a dress that exposes the back. Dresses that frame the back are popular right now, but might not hold up in the style department over the coming years. Try a dress with an exposed back, but with a light layer of lace, like the one pictured to the right, or just one with an open back. Another way to create asymmetry is in the skirt of the dress. This skirt on a J. Mendel dress, creates enough intrigue that the eye is not bored with the design despite its classic look. For more asymmetrical dresses visit The Dress Theory  (call to for an appointment).

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