Camouflage and old lace

A bride who wears camouflage isn’t necessarily hiding from her dear.

Rather, camouflage is a recent national trend in weddings, and Minot, given the area’s strong hunting tradition, is no exception.

Mary Keller, owner of Mary Me Bridal in Minot, said her shop recently stocked camouflage wear after customers requested it. Mary Me Bridal carries five styles of the camouflage vests for men, along with camouflage tuxedos. Requests for the men’s items started a couple of years ago, while requests for the camouflage dresses began popping up in the past year, Keller said.

Nationally, the demand has overwhelmed suppliers, who are behind on their orders, she said.

“Duck Dynasty has obviously driven some trends,” she said.

Mary Me Bridal offers three patterns in the camouflage dress, which can be purchased for bridesmaids or, with some modifications for a train, can become a wedding dress.

For brides who don’t want to go quite that far, the camouflage garter is an option, said Debbie Harris, owner of Fiancee in Minot.

Even brides with more traditional tastes are indicating that they are ready for a change.

“This year they made a drastic turn lace, lace and more lace,” said Harris, who last saw such an interest in lace 30 years ago when she opened her business.

Keller also calls lace the biggest trend this year.

“I don’t know if we can credit it to Kate Middleton with her lace shoulder-covered dress. That didn’t exist a couple of years ago. Now there’s every variation,” she said.

A bride who’s not into lace might prefer feathers.

“We have dresses where the whole entire bottom is feathers. They are gorgeous,” Harris said.

North Dakota is moving closer to the cutting edge when it comes to trends.

“I used to be a year or two behind,” Keller said. “Now we are seeing the look that’s very much on target with what’s trending. That’s what we are seeing at market. Instead of buying it next year, we are buying it this year.”

Exposure to fashion trends has heightened, thanks to the Internet. Brides who used to browse magazines now check out Pinterest, an image-sharing website. Keller said her store follows Pinterest to stay up to speed because brides will come in with their Pinterest photos in hand.

“We are finding that they are coming in now with a much clearer all-around vision,” Keller said. “We try to take that and make it work within her budget.”

Harris sees the same Pinterest fervor bringing far-flung fashion to Minot with the click of a mouse. Wedding trends typically start in Europe, said Harris, who makes an annual buying trip to Spain.

So what’s in? Destination weddings, larger bridal parties, chiffon dresses, bridesmaid dresses with pockets, embellished belts, sleeves, contrasting colored shoes, vintage-looking bridal gowns, low-back gowns and necklaces that hang down the back, short and full veils or long cathedral veils, often with beadwork or embroidery.

For men, it’s tailored tuxedos and slim-fitted, gray or silver suits with narrow lapels and narrow ties. Both Harris and Keller are more likely to sell suits rather than rent them to male members of the bridal party, who plan to get future wears out of them.

Mother’s dresses are more likely to be knee-length, sleeveless and classic, suitable for wearing to other events, Keller said. The dresses are in contrast to the more matronly long dress with jacket that used to be popular, she said.

Harris said that candy buffets at receptions have grown so popular that her store now includes the loan of the glass jars with candy purchases so couples don’t have to invest in containers. The lighted buffets aren’t just eye-catching but also allow wedding guests to dispense their own favors from a selection of candies in wedding colors.

Color trends this year are mint green, pool blue and deep purples, Keller said. However, Harris said some brides are putting not just themselves but bridesmaids in ivory.

The holiday season is a prime time for engagements, and Knowles Jewelry in Minot is seeing its own trends. Young couples prefer white gold and a round diamond rather than the variety of shapes that had been popular, said owner Al Torrington. Particularly popular is the single diamond inset among tiny diamonds.

Torrington said couples often come in together to pick out the engagement ring, but men still occasionally come in alone to buy a ring as a surprise.

“Some come in with the best friend of the bride-to-be to give a feminine opinion,” he said.

Harris said the bridal business is busy year-round, but her biggest wedding months are August and September.

“We see more weddings going into October and November,” Keller said. “This is the busiest we have ever been at this time of year.”

Keller attributes the longer season to tighter venue availability. Fortunately for couples facing venue challenges, weddings in backyards or at the lake also are trendy now.