Most brides are spending between $1,200 and $1,500 for a dress at Diane’s Formal Affair in Jasper. Some are purchasing a second, shorter one to wear at the wedding reception as well.
The average number of bridesmaids in local wedding parties, which dropped from 10 to four during the recession, is also increasing.
“Weddings are getting back to normal,” Cheatham said.
The most popular dresses at Diane’s for 2012 weddings are ball gowns and ones that feature new fabrications with lace.
Elaborate, cathedral-length veils are also back in style.
“Brides are tired of being plain. They want something that’s beautiful,” Cheatham said.
At The Curiosity Shop in Jasper, brides are preferring headpieces rather than veils and picking out either colored or stone belts to add to their dresses.
One-shoulder wedding dresses, lacy sleeves and ruffled bottoms are also popular.
“Some people want something simple with not a lot of detail but fun,” said bridal consultant Stephanie Chappell.
The Curiosity Shop recently donated more than 300 bridal and prom dresses to the Salvation Army to make room for more inventory.
Salvation Army director Lona Courington said most of the local service center’s designer dresses are new, come in various sizes and range in price from $75 to $250.
She added that while the economy is rebounding, some brides are still sticking to a budget.
“If they can save $300 to $400 on their dress by buying it at a consignment or thrift store, they have that much more to put into the reception and the honeymoon and other things that usually get cut back,” Courington said.
Over half of the brides included in the sixth-annual “What’s on Brides’ Minds” survey from David’s Bridal, which was released earlier this month, said they cut their wedding costs in 2011.
However, they were less likely to pinch pennies on the reception venue, decor and alcohol than brides were in 2010.