Pink has entered into a committed relationship with wedding gowns.
Blushing bridal gowns marched down the aisle as far back as 2002 — an eternity in the annals of celebrity marriage and fashion trends — when Gwen Stefani married Gavin Rossdale wearing a John Galliano for Christian Dior gown.
It wasn't particularly shocking for a free spirit like Stefani to add a shock of pink.
What is surprising is that blush-colored gowns, which can lean to pink, peach or taupe, have continued their march down the aisle. Last fall Jessica Biel wore a light pink Giambattista Valli Haute Couture gown to wed Justin Timberlake, and Anne Hathaway wore a custom Valentino gown with a pink train to marry Adam Shulman.
Beyond Hollywood, the reception was even warmer than David's Bridal anticipated when it featured a blush-colored gown from the White by Vera Wang collection on the cover of a catalog last season.
"Vera really wanted to get color into the line for David's. So we thought, we'll put it out there, but we're not sure if our customer is ready to accept that," said Dan Rentillo, vice president of design for David's Bridal. "It sold much better than we expected. Customers really responded, and it beat projections."
Blush and nude tones have become another neutral in apparel and accessories as a whole.
"When something is trending in fashion, it has a natural segue into bridal," Rentillo said.
Blush colors sometimes appeal to brides who have been married previously, he said. In 2011, Reese Witherspoon wore a pink custom Monique Lhuillier gown for her second wedding.
Blush tones also suit a variety of silhouettes (from ball gowns to columns), settings (churches to beaches) and groomsmen's attire (black, gray, navy, chocolate brown, taupe).
Bridal designer Ines Di Santo included two blush-colored gowns, the Candide and the Liberta, in her spring/summer 2013 collection (inesdisanto.com).
"Pink provides the bride with a nontraditional option and an opportunity to work a color theme throughout the wedding," Di Santo said. "It's flattering to many skin tones and hair colors. Who doesn't look pretty in pink?"
Some bridal gowns pick up flickers of pink via embellishments. Blake Lively wore a Marchesa dress with rose-gold embroidery for her September wedding to Ryan Reynolds. BHLDN, the bridal brand for Anthropologie, is carrying an exclusive Badgley Mischka Cyprium gown with rose-colored paillettes on a curve-hugging silhouette ($1,000).
Blushes, soft pinks and nudes are currently the most requested colors not only for bridesmaid gowns at BHLDN's Chicago store (8 E. Walton St., 312-573-2573, bhldn.com), but also for brides who want a simple silhouette with a touch of whimsy. Store manager Faymi Winters cites BHLDN's "Niceties" dress in blush ($350) as popular for both brides and bridesmaids.
"Don't be afraid to reverse the expectation," Winters suggested. "Try having your bridesmaids wear ivory or champagne tones while you are a bride in blush."
Thinking PINK: Do's and don'ts
•DO pick a blush tone that flatters your complexion; blush can resemble a peachy-pink ballet slipper or carry an oyster or taupe cast, said BHLDN's Faymi Winters. "Fair-skinned ladies tend to look best in cooler hues while those with a darker complexion can pull off warmer tones."
•DO think about the season. A pink bridal gown is a natural for spring and summer. But it can work in fall or winter when wines or plums are part of the wedding palette, Dan Rentillo of David's Bridal said.
•DON'T rule out other fresh bridal gown details, such as an illusion or sheer neckline, peplums around the waist, and touches of metallic, particularly gold, in the form of appliques or embroideries.
•DON'T walk down the aisle to "Here Comes the Bride" (all dressed in white).