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The Tradition of Non-traditional Bridal Wear

San Francisco is where romance can bloom to ever after. Brides will have no shortage in finding something to wear because there are a handful of select designers headquartered in our city to help make these moments memorable.

Walk up the pink steps off Maiden Lane and past the glass door and you'll find the talent behind Ristarose, Lynn Rosenzweig and Ivana Ristic who create timeless couture wedding gowns. "San Francisco is a completely different market from the rest of the country," Lynn said. Brides do not follow trends and instead independently choose designs that lean towards non-traditional, classic looks. San Francisco brides tend to prefer the extreme minimalist look which means less embellishment and more simplicity. Lynn finds that some brides are even wary of veils.

Ristarose gowns are cut in luxurious fabrics such as four-ply silk crepe, silk organza or silk chiffon. There is also a special fabric that Lynn describes as "liquid silk" which is a heavy silk that shines like liquid mercury. Their gowns range from sleek silhouettes to A-line in white, natural or ivory. The prices range from $2,500 to $4,000 and can be found at Ginger's Bridal Salon.

Mark your calendars for April 16th, the day Ginger's will have an incredible sample sale that will offer not only unique gowns from Ristarose, but also other noted designers such as Watters & Watters.

Charsa Designs, found by local resident Charlene Scheil, focuses on bridesmaid dresses. Like many wedding designs, you may literally find a dress already named after you or your bridesmaid. There's "Theresa", a silk dupioni strapless, A-line dress set in hot pink and cinched with an ivory bow. Each dress is inspired by real people in her life and thus each name embodies a unique style which ranges in fabric, color, neckline and cut.

For this season, bridesmaids' dresses promise strong contrasting colors such as cinnamon and hot pink. Lengths hover at tea length or just below the knee. Details are elegant such as a simple sash or a ruffled hem. They are non-traditional dresses that fit not only a wedding but also a cocktail party. Charsa Designs start at $275 and are available at Bella Bridesmaids.

Bridget Brown, the owner and founder of Bella Bridesmaids, notes that many brides are marrying in their 30's and thus, often have bridesmaids in the same age range. These women want to make an investment in a dress that can be used in other social occasions and not just for a wedding.

Bridget finds that many San Francisco women opt for non-traditional dresses such as flamingo pink, garnet and corals. Popular lengths are tea length for easy movement and organza is a favorite especially for wedding parties held in Napa. The independent spirit of San Francisco is evident in parties where bridesmaids wear the same color and fabric but in different styles, Bridget notes.

In a city where differences are encouraged and celebrated, it seems that whether you are the bride or bridesmaid, the non-traditional look seems to be our tradition.