Image via Jesus Peiro

It’s a misguided fashion myth that sleeves on a wedding gown need be reserved only for a Winter Bride. These days, bridal sleeves can and should be seen in all seasons, all weather conditions and across all the incredible bridal styles available to a contemporary bride.

Bridal sleeves can of course provide warmth and flattering coverage, but they can also be embraced as an opportunity to make a beautiful statement feature and modernise any look. This Spring we can expect bridal designers to showcase an exciting variety of sleeves in luxurious fabrics, varying lengths and shapes and with often intricate and stunning detail. The challenge? Finding the correct sleeve for you that will complement your shape and personality without compromising the style of the dress you have always dreamed of.

Here are 6 Stunning sleeve design trends to consider this Spring

Dreamy Tulle Sleeve

Whether it’s an homage to “80’s fashion” or a traditional Renaissance style, the stunning puff tulle sleeve is a modern-day winner! Any voluminous sleeve, whether constructed from chiffon, tulle or queen satin, is best suited to a slim-line silhouette such as a mermaid, trumpet, sheath or column style gown. The tulle sleeve will add romance and femininity to any look. The modern sheer sleeve is perfect for elegant garden or beach weddings as the transparency adds formality but allows for breathability during the warmer months.

Image via Elena Morar

The French Lace Sleeve
The classic French lace sleeve transcends all seasons. French Chantilly laces are absolutely stunning, but their intricate details and delicate nature definitely mean they give off a more traditional vibe. The beauty of a Spring wedding is there is usually a good balance of warmth and cool, making a longer sleeve totally appropriate. Expect to see wonderful marriages of modern geometric patterns and more romantic florals and lattice detailing in this Spring’s bridal designs.

Image via Amanda Wakele

Seamless Tailored Sleeve

The Duchess Of Sussex, Meghan Markle has definitely played a hand in bringing this stunning “less is more” look back with her custom Givenchy wedding dress. And a simple sleeve in a silk satin material might just be the perfect addition to your custom gown.

TIP: a ¾ length sleeve is the most flattering length for everyone as it creates the illusion of length. However, a full length sleeve looks beautiful and elegant when hemmed slightly above the wrist and paired with a simpler, non-embellished gown. Keep in mind that a long sleeve can draw attention to the hip area when your arms are by your side. To avoid this, add some embellishment and detail away from this area that will draw the eye elsewhere.

Image via Atelier Eme

The Polka Dot Edition

This year there has been a huge demand for embroidered tulles as bride’s are moving away from more traditional floral laces. Embroidered laces are extremely feminine and are available in a wide variety of contemporary styles and patterns, often featuring geometric lines with a romantic leaf pattern to add a delicate and feminine touch. You can also expect to see a lot of embroidered polka dots this Spring! We are just loving this modern twist on an old classic!

Image by Rime Arodaky

Extravagant Statement Sleeve

Fall/Winter 2019 was all about the statement sleeve and we absolutely loved it. And this trend is looking like it’s here to stay in Spring. Whether it be a unique voluminous shaped, flared or beaded, this is the perfect addition to any look. This stunning flared sleeve gown, pictured below, showcases the complimentary contrast between silk organza and a subtle hail spot tulle.

The layered neckline extends into a dramatic, but somehow still soft, bell sleeve, tying it back to the tailored fit and flare skirt. A statement sleeve doesn’t necessarily mean heavy embellishments. It could be as simple as a pure silk fabric, cut in a unique way to add a special, contemporary touch.

Image via Atelier Eme

Touch of 3D

Previously, 3D florals have been extremely popular with brides looking to add a texture and dimension, as have capes, veils and trains. However this Spring, we can expect to see a different take on the trend. Instead of laser cut fabric florals, designers are looking to more subtle and traditional methods of bringing texture into bridal designs.

The antique gold coloured thread, seen in the stunning gown pictured below, adds contrast against the ivory fabric and could easily be used to create a statement without having to over-embellish. If you’re wanting to achieve this same look, you could also opt for a fine tulle or georgette base, with a hand applied embroidered floral lace or beading.

Image via Phillipa Lepley

Ms Zebra Says: What a gorgeous array of dresses – and I must say, I personally love a sleeve! Thanks d’Italia for this wonderful look at Spring sleeve fashion!

About the author D’Italia: Bridal couture and custom made wedding dresses are a specialty of d’Italia. Whether you are looking for a vintage wedding dress stores in Melbourne, a lace wedding dress or any style at all – you are assured the exact bridal style you want, with custom-built corsetry to fit you perfectly, at a fraction of the cost of bridal-boutique gowns.

Polka Dot Dream Team...

The below wedding vendors made this magic happen and are an approved part of the Polka Dot Directory. Visit their portfolios to learn more and enquire about their services!

Source: SH Jewellery

For the average person, buying an engagement ring or wedding band is like taking the car to a mechanic; you know nothing about camshafts, spindles, push rods and pistons, so when the mechanic says he needs $3,000 to get the job done, you’ve little choice but to trust in his knowledge.

Fortunately, finding a trustworthy jeweller when you can’t tell a diamond from a diamanté is relatively easy when you know what to look for. Here are 7 red flags to avoid to ensure you’re not overwhelmed by sparkly jargon and silky-smooth salespeople.

Source: SH Jewellery

Bad Client Reviews

Before even leaving the house or buying an engagement ring online, refer to third-party platforms like Facebook and Google to browse client reviews. Testimonials on jewellers’ websites are curated to feature only the best, but independent sites can paint a very different picture once you scratch the 5-star surface.

Use discretion when reading negative reviews, however. Consider the circumstances and whether the customer’s complaint is reasonable, then read the jeweller’s response. Does the jeweller accept responsibility and attempt to rectify the situation? Or do they consistently ignore poor reviews, deny responsibility and shift blame to the customer? If so, congratulations, you’ve found your first red flag!

Lousy Warranties 

Product warranties reveal a lot about a business. A strong warranty says to customers, “We’re so confident in the quality and craftsmanship of our rings that the chances of you returning for repairs during the warranty period are slim to none.” 

If they’ve been in business for a while, they’ve tried and tested their product warranties against the quality of their engagement rings and wedding bands, and know that their products stand the test of time. So what’s a lousy warranty? Anything under 10 years for precious metals handcrafted by an experienced Master Jeweller and you’ve found another big red flag – superior skill and quality make a 10-year warranty a very achievable promise.

  Source: SH Jewellery

Lack of Industry Memberships & Certification 

If a jeweller holds memberships to credible industry bodies, these documents will be proudly displayed in-store and on their website. As an absolute minimum, diamonds should be GIA-certified, laser-inscribed with a serial number and sold with matching certification. If not, this is a no-deal red flag.

Reputable Australian jewellers also have memberships with the Jewellers’ Association of Australia and the Gemmological Association of Australia, holding them accountable to strict codes of conduct around quality and ethics.

No industry memberships or GIA certification? This is an entire bunting of big red flags.

Poor Aftercare Service

If a jeweller doesn’t offer complimentary lifetime aftercare, including unlimited free jewellery inspections and free ring clean up to six times per year, they’re not serious about maintaining an ongoing relationship with you.

They either don’t realise your engagement ring or wedding band is a walking advertisement for their brand, or they’re not willing to wear the negligible cost of cleaning your ring, when you’ve already invested thousands of dollars in their business.

If a jeweller doesn’t offer a complimentary lifetime inspection service to identify structural issues that should be fixed to avoid further preventable damage, or they’re not willing to clean your ring at least six times a year, they’re waving red flags in your face. Because the jeweller down the road probably does.

And a free cleaning kit to maintain the brilliance of your ring at home between visits? This is a standard inclusion – not an up-sell.

Source: SH Jewellery

Fixed Pricing

Now before you go bartering Bali market-style, beware negotiating diamond sales like you might other wedding vendors. If a salesperson is willing to drop tens to hundreds of dollars off a diamond just to make a sale, it’s a good indication it was overpriced to begin with, and they’re more concerned with making a quick sale than sending you home with a personality-matched ring you truly love for all the right reasons.

This red flag refers specifically to a price-match guarantee. Experienced jewellers with membership to the National Council of Jewellery Valuers are highly skilled experts trained in pricing diamonds and fine jewellery, so you can be confident you’re getting the best price for the quality of diamond you’re purchasing.

If, however, in the highly unlikely event that another jeweller (as a result of bulk-buying or tighter supply chains) is able to offer a cheaper price for a GIA-certified diamond of comparable carat, colour, clarity, cut, fluorescence, polish, symmetry, table % and depth %, then a respectable jeweller will honour this price for the diamond they’re selling.

If a jeweller isn’t confident enough in their pricing to offer a price-match guarantee (because they consistently and deliberately inflate their prices), consider this a red flag. You may not be getting the best possible price on your wedding bands.

Source: SH Jewellery

Chain Retailers

There’s nothing wrong with buying engagement rings or wedding bands from chain store retailers; if they weren’t reputable operators, they would have gone out of business long ago. Something to consider with multi-store retailers, however, is mass production. With a store in every capital city and a spate of shops in every state, the chances of someone else having your engagement ring within a small radius is relatively high.

Choosing an independent jeweller, on the other hand, means you’re not only supporting a family-owned business, but you’re also far less likely to run into someone on the street with the exact same ring.

If uniqueness and quality are important to you, choose an independent jeweller with an exclusive range that’s designed in-house from the ground up using diamonds consistently 3-4 grades higher than industry standards and 7-8 grades higher than chain stores.

No Refund or Exchange When Buying Online

Expecting a customer to be 100% satisfied with a product they’ve never seen, touched or worn is unrealistic, and expecting them to accept what they’re given without refund or exchange is plain unfair.

An engagement ring or wedding band is a lifelong investment of a highly personal nature. If a customer can’t make it in-store to try on the product and experience its fire and brilliance, it’s only fair to allow them the opportunity to exchange their ring, or have their money refunded.

As a standard, 30 days to exchange or refund online purchases allows customers ample time to trial the ring and return it in its original condition and packaging. If an online jeweller doesn’t offer a fair and realistic exchange or refund for online purchases, you’ve found another red flag. Unless of course, you’re prepared to invest hundreds or thousands of dollars in buying a ring online that may not be what you imagined when it arrives.

Source: SH Jeweller

Avoid the Red Flags

If you’re in the market for engagement rings or wedding bands and want a non-commissioned Jewellery & Diamond Specialist who doesn’t raise red flags, start perusing online reviews and use the criteria outlined above to eliminate the jewellers who aren’t worthy of your hard-earned wedding dollars.

About the author SH Jewellery: As an independent jeweller, the SH Jewellery collection is exclusive to our brand, allowing us full creative freedom over the look and feel of our engagement rings and wedding bands. All our rings are designed in-house at our Springvale showroom, combining decades of design history with modern influences from across the globe.

Polka Dot Dream Team...

The below wedding vendors made this magic happen and are an approved part of the Polka Dot Directory. Visit their portfolios to learn more and enquire about their services!

Gown by Dessy via Bridesmaids Only

Florals are making a real comeback in the world of weddings, especially when it comes to prints for bridesmaid dresses and dresses worn by the mother of the bride/groom. The designers have noticed and have delivered some amazing fresh dresses. If you are looking for ideas, inspiration and tips for dressing your bridesmaids or the mother of the bride/groom in stunning florals for your wedding, consider the following ideas:

For Bridesmaids

There are a lot of creative ways you can incorporate floral dresses into your bridesmaid’s looks! Thankfully, this amount of creativity gives you a lot of leeway when it comes to colours, dress styles, and the overall aesthetic of the bridesmaid’s dresses.

Let’s take a closer look at three key things to keep in mind when choosing floral dresses for bridesmaids.

1. Consider the season.

Gown by Tania Olsen via Bridesmaids Only

It’s important to keep the season in mind when choosing the look of the floral dresses. For instance, in the Spring and Summer, lighter and brighter flowers are the best option. We are loving the Blush Garden Collection and for the beach wedding you can not go wrong with the Tania Olsen Floral Infinity.

If you’re having a wedding in Autumn, opt for more subdued colours and for Winter, look for deeper, richer florals that match the winter season. Jenny Yoo has the perfect designs for these seasons. You don’t necessarily need to stick to “in season” flowers, but trying to match the colour scheme to the season will complement the day.

Gown by Dessy via Bridesmaids Only

Gowns by Jenny Yoo via Bridesmaids Only 

2. Keep bouquets on the simple side.

When you have your bridesmaids wearing florals, you will want to make sure your bouquets are on the simpler side. If you have lavish bouquets, the combination of the floral dresses and lavish flowers will simply be too much on the eyes. Keeping it simple would be to have a bouquet of the same flower and in tones of ivory or a very natural flower.

3. Strike a good balance.

It’s important not to overdo it with the florals, and you should strive to strike a balance between floral prints and the rest of the wedding. For example, if your bridesmaid dresses have floral prints, try not to use prints for your other wedding décor. You could also consider having your maid of honour and/or mother of the bride in a solid print if you have your bridesmaids in florals—or vice versa. With your bridesmaids in solid colours and your maid of honour in florals it will make the maid of honour stand out in the bridal party. There are some great mix and match options and you can talk to our team to help create the perfect blend of florals and complementary tones for you.

Image by Danielle Lewis via Bridesmaids Only 

For Mother of the Bride

One of the great things about mother of the bride and groom dresses is that they aren’t as limited or restrictive as bridesmaid’s dresses, so you can choose a dress that the mother of the bride loves without having to worry about buying 5 matching dresses and corresponding accessories. We have a floral collection available that suits day or night, fresh or bold. Our team can also help with making sure your mother feels confident and comfortable.

MOB Gowns by Adrienne Partel via Bridesmaids Only

For mother of the bride, keep the same principles as the bridesmaid’s dresses in mind. Stick to seasonal florals, make sure that any floral accessories (such as floral pins or hair accessories) are simple and make sure that the mother of the bride dress is balanced with the rest of the bridal party. Since mother of the bride dresses tend to be longer, keep this in mind when choosing busy prints. When it comes to styling your bridesmaids or mother of the bride in florals, keep the above tips in mind and your wedding will be as beautiful as a flower garden!

Ms Zebra Says: We all love a bit of floral within weddings. These designs are great to complement any wedding style!

Tessa is the new owner of Bridesmaids Only. After spending 12 years mainly focused on the mens side, she was super excited to take on the bridesmaids and is determined to bring a more relaxed, fresh and fun vibe to the industry. Creating new designs with her amazing team that make everybody feel confident and comfortable no matter their shape or size.