Alicia's Bridal talks wedding trends

^ Owner Pam Reed (above) has worked at Alicia's for more than 30 years.

Photos and text by Kara Spencer.   

​Trends are always coming back around, and wedding wear is no exception. Pacific Coast Weddings caught up with Pam Reed, owner of Bellingham-based Alicia’s Bridal and The Formal House to discuss which styles are in and which ones are out for the 2018 year.
Alicia’s Bridal is home to hundreds of wedding dresses made by top designers. The store is also perfect for the groom to be, stocked with over 4,000 tuxedos that can be fitted and out the door in an hour. With over 30 years of experience, Reed shares the latest trends, and her advice for brides shopping for their big day.
Dress Shopping
Reed’s advice:

  • Bring two to three of your closest friends and family. Too many opinions can make it difficult. “Think of someone who understands that it is all about the bride, and not them.”
  • Keep an open mind and try on different styles. The majority of the time, a bride chooses a dress completely different than what she had in mind.
  • Start small. Start with five dresses to avoid getting overwhelmed.
  • Have fun. It is about feeling beautiful and celebrating your day. “Come in and have fun, we don't mind if you hate some of the dresses,” Reed says.
Trends: The Bride 
If you are looking for a pure white gown, you might have some trouble. Snow-white gowns are now hard to find, Reed said. In fact, there is only one true white gown in Alicia’s Bridal, and that's because more brides are going after ivory and sand-colored dresses. A real white doesn’t compliment many skin tones, Reed said, and that is why they have become less popular in past years.
A perfect fit and comfort appear to be themes for 2018. Beyond color, designs are changing to adhere to more bodies and being crafted with more forgiving, comfortable fabrics. She loves watching a bride’s reaction after putting on the flexible fabric, Reed said. “The best thing is that wedding dresses have gotten more stretch,” Reed said. “It is like yoga pants in a dress.”
The fabric is as comfortable as it is complementing; the spandex-material under the dress makes it more approachable for a variety of body types.
There is no doubt that the low-back from years past is still a trend – but now, that back is covered in an almost perfectly-transparent netting. The benefit of the illusion is that it pulls the front of the dress to make for a better overall fit, while still giving an “amazing” low back, Reed said. English net can also be found on many of the newer dresses, and offers a softer, more romantic feel than tulle, Reed said.

This year, sleeves aren’t getting the cold shoulder. The off the shoulder look has  slightly changed the strictly strapless style from years past, and long sleeves are still staying strong, Reed said.
Accessories are no longer strictly silver, and have been joined by gold and rose gold. Headpieces are transforming, too. Gold-plated floral headbands and hair vines take a new, elegant spin on the floral crown.
This year, it is all about details, Reed said. Dresses are more intricate than ever, being adorned with beading, lace, layers, texture or sheer netting. But don't worry – you're likely not paying more. Dress prices haven't spiked and are expected to be stay about the same this year, Reed said.
Trends: The Wedding Party
The next go-to color can’t be pinned down, and that's because brides are getting more creative. Pinterest has certainly changed things throughout the years, Reed said. With all of the inspiration, brides are finding more complex color schemes and specific shades. Although Pinterest can be a great tool for finding color palettes, she advises brides to keep an open mind, since finding an exact color from online can be difficult to find in the store.
These days, brides have been choosing upwards of three different colors for gowns, florals and accents. Merlot, navy, eggplant and softer pastels have been some of the more common colors, Reed said.

Her main advice for a bride-to-be in search of her colors? “Surround yourself with the color that complements you best and coordinate with the groom.”
The groom and bride should share a similar look, she noted. If a groom is wearing suspenders and the bride is wearing a ball gown, their aesthetic can look too different. “Follow the formality of the bride,” Reed said. Reed’s easy fix is to add a jacket on top of the suspender look, and take it off later in the night, when the formal photos and ceremony is over.
But her biggest advice for grooms is quite simple — “Listen to the bride!” 
Alicia’s Bridal & The Formal House is located at 1400 N State Street, open 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m. throughout the week, and closed on Wednesdays and Sundays. Brides can request an appointment in person, online or by phone at 360/733-2563. ​​​