As one of the top wedding destinations in the country, Charleston has a predictably strong bridal retail community. Some of the city’s top shops and designers presented at the Bridal Couture Show Saturday morning, displaying dresses both classic and completely modern.

The Style Lounge was impressively transformed into an intimate, boutique-y space, with chandeliers and crystals hanging above the short runway, a nice seating area from Gathering Floral & Event Design, and a bar with creative morning drinks like an elderflower champagne cocktail and a bloody mary with jalapeno and basil-infused vodka. Pops of champagne corks and music from CSO members set the tone before the show. This bride-to-be was in heaven.

White of Daniel Island kicked off the show, then presented another set after the intermission. While some questionable ribbon headbands in the first show rubbed us the wrong way, the second show took our breath away — Elvis provided the soundtrack to the models sporting short and long gowns inspired by the luxury and spontaneity of Las Vegas.

Belle Couture presented lots of vintage-inspired gowns in body-conscious shapes, and Bella Vista paired the dresses with pops of Tiffany blue and bling. Maddison Row/Bella Bridesmaid had some cheaper-looking dresses and experimented with color — a yellow wedding dress? Don’t mind if I do. Local designer LulaKate got a huge response with her line of classic and fashion-forward gowns in gorgeous fabrics. The models all wore hot-pink Barbie heels — we love the colorful shoes trend.

The star of Saturday however was Carol Hannah Whitfield. She debuted her bridal line to an ecstatic crowd of fans. We thought the show started a little iffy, with bridesmaid dresses made from a jersey-like fabric. The draping and flower/petal detailing were beautifully done, but the fabric just seemed too casual. But several looks in the gowns took a turn for the luxe with fine fabrics and incredible structure paired with soft details. After the show, Carol Hannah came out to thunderous applause and hugged her family in the front row. To see all of the photos from the front row, check out our Flickr page.

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