Saturday got off to an early start, at least by the fashion world’s standards, with the 2011 Charleston Fashion Week Spring Bridal Show at 10:30 AM. This year the event, having outgrown the smaller tent it was in last year, was held in the main tent with all the other shows. The tent was transformed from a utilitarian abode into a light and airy venue with paper chandeliers, flowers and butterflies adorning its peaks and corners. Charleston Virtuosi, a string trio, welcomed guests with classical standards, setting an idyllic ambience for the event. The inner perimeter was dotted with booths for every bride’s need – jewelry, sweets, makeup and even stationary from vendors like Dee Ruel Jewelry & Paper Artist, Stella & Dot jewelry, Sugar Bakeshop, Mac & Murphy: A Charleston Paper Company and Gathering Floral + Event Design, the presenting sponsor.
After the complimentary cocktail hour featuring mimosas, eager brides and beaming mothers and grandmothers took their seats and were welcomed by editor of Charleston Weddings magazine Melissa Bigner. YoYo Designs, featured at Charleston’s White on Daniel Island boutique, started things off with traditional but laid back dresses and 2 adorable flower girls. Designer Alena Fede continued the Southern charm with her Charleston Wedding Dress by Alena Fede line, showcasing elegant ruffles and dramatic floral headpieces. Modern Trousseau rounded out the first half with sunglasses-clad models echoing Audrey Hepburn’s classic sophistication.
After the break, where guests could refill their drinks, taste more treats and freshen up their makeup at Cos Bar, Belle Couture Bridal & Kira Elizabeth Designs got the wedding bells ringing again. They sent trendy grey dresses with sculptural details down the runway, along with Grecian-inspired bridesmaid dresses. White on Daniel Island showed their other brands next, with overtly feminine and flowy dresses with 70s silhouettes making an appearance. Maddison Row & Bella Bridesmaid finished off the boutique shows, with exquisitely detailed long and short gowns, and even an elegant black bridal gown from Charleston’s own Carol Hannah Whitfield. At the close of their show, a newly brunette Carol Hannah stepped out on the runway to take a bow with her black-clad model. Heidi Elnora showed her collection last, as the Featured Designer for the bridal presentation. Elnora, a Project Runway alum like Carol Hannah, showed simple silhouettes with romantic details like ruffled straps and embroidered skirts and floral branch headpieces.
While the Spring Bridal Show was aimed at hopeful brides and brides-to-be, anyone who enjoys women’s fashion would have loved the event. It featured fun music, beautiful clothes and each guest walked away with a reusable tote from TheKnot.com, filled with goodies from local vendors. With Charleston being the #2 wedding destination in the country, the trends seen here can influence the rest of the country. Carolina brides are lucky to have such a resource right in their backyards.