Non-traditional wedding looks bring the wow factor to summer nuptials

theGRIO REPORT - From bold colors to dramatic cuts, many brides are looking to stand out as they take that walk down the aisle...

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

Recently, wedding looks for Spring and Summer 2013 have taken more of a non-traditional route. From bold colors to dramatic cuts, many brides are choosing innovative designs in order to stand out as they take that walk down the aisle, and celebrate their unions.

TheGrio spoke with the president and CEO of Mary Chatman about this year’s hottest looks for brides, their bridal parties, invitation designs and more. Since 1998, has been a premier online resource for brides of color. This year, the site made the 2013 Top 100 Wedding Blog list of popular destinations on

Chatman shared Black Bride’s Top 7 Wedding Trends for 2013 in an email to theGrio. Some of these looks may surprise you.

theGrio: What are some fresh bridal trends that your team at are seeing? 

Mary Chatman: Wedding gowns with a vintage vibe will more than likely always be in style for the quintessential bride who simply adores this chic look. Perhaps you can’t really call it a trend; however, this year we are seeing more vintage-themed weddings and engagement photo shoots than ever.  Looks from the time of the Harlem Renaissance and old Hollywood glam, such as finger waves, red lips, and long gloves, are back.

What are some of the most popular color schemes you are seeing this season for weddings? 

Mint: Mint was the hottest trend during the 2012 wedding season, and it is definitely spilling over into 2013. It is fresh, chic — and yes this color has a hint of a vintage vibe to it. Combining mint and gold is harmonious, and although emerald green was announced as Pantone’s 2013 Color of the Year, mint has been dominating the wedding industry like a great song dominates the pop charts.

OmbreBy definition ombre is a shaded or graduated use of a tone. You can see this color trend everywhere from graduated hair color to the same treatment given to wedding cakes, and gorgeous couture wedding gowns. While it is very modern and dramatic, ombre is becoming an increasing hot use of color, while not being a color itself.

Neutrals: Neutral color palettes are also popular this year. Uses of blush, taupe, soft gray and pale yellow are also proving inspirational for many brides.

Are there any styles that are very popular today for gowns? 

Trends for Brides: Brides are doing it their way and skipping traditions like wearing white or off white gowns. They are opting for more uses of color like pastel shades of pink, mint and blue for their dresses. It’s no longer unusual to see a bride in a red, or even a black wedding gown. Bold beading, lace, ruffles and jeweled necklines with plunging backs and cap sleeves were hot on the runway at New York Bridal Fashion Week last month.

Trends for Bridesmaids: The abstract bridesmaid dress trend is back and hotter than ever! Brides are mixing it up by selecting the varied use of color and style for their bridesmaid’s dresses. This means that many brides are choosing not to have their bridesmaids wear the exact same dress, but rather similar looks based on a theme or dress shape. Various shades of coral, peach, orange and yellow, for an example, for dresses made of the same fabric and cut, may be used when mixing it up.

Are there any exciting, new trends in centerpieces, decorations, invitations or decor?

Trends for Invitations: It’s no surprise that classic vintage-themed invites are captivating guest with embellishments such as opulent ornaments, silk ribbons, and beautiful broaches. Foil stamping and metallics are also favorites.  Calligraphy and scrollwork will never go out of style when it comes to the invite, and also continue to be trends. For the uber-contemporary bride, vibrant color with an emphasis on typography, such as trendy Calligraphy Fonts, is huge.

Trends for Flowers: Imagine an English garden filled with peonies, tulips, garden roses and succulents, and using those hearty and lovely plants to beautify your ceremony. Beautiful mixed bouquets with lots of streaming ribbons, with peonies front and center, are a must this year for brides. Interestingly, bouquets filled with gems and lots of bling are also a favorite. Lush flowers and succulents are hugely popular for reception centerpieces and the overall floral choices for weddings, from groomsmen’s boutonnières to lavish tablescapes.

Trends for Cakes: The wedding cake is truly the focal point at a reception party, with the exception of the bride and groom. Wedding cakes have truly evolved, and can be real works of art that seem too pretty to cut into, let alone eat! Ombre (of course) is this year’s hottest color trend for wedding cakes. For 2013, you will certainly see a lot more use of Fondant (an icing-like substance used to sculpt forms on cakes) to make ruffles and frills that truly wow guests and make for gorgeous photography.

The cake truly mirrors the personality of the bride and groom, so designs can range from flashy and flamboyant, to pretty and sweet with bright colors and flowers. The classic bride who is more demure is opting for pale pastel colors for her cake this year.

Getting inspiration for fall

These trends for 2013 are both fresh and inventive, while being reminiscent and nostalgic. Whether making a statement with boldly-colored dresses for herself and her bridal party, or filling a room with dramatic flowers, brides are finding new and unique ways to make their special day one to remember. Now you will know what to look for when you attend summer weddings, or you can consider these great ideas for a wedding you are planning for the fall.

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