The Spring 2012 collections have begun with bridal. After sifting through all the looks–from wedding day heavyweights like Vera Wang, Monique Lhullier and Oscar de la Renta–we’ve come up with a few of our favorites and categorized them according to mood: classic, romantic, modern.

By which we mean:

Gowns labeled “classic” are exactly that: traditional bridal shapes like mermaid and bell, usually sleeveless (or with small cap sleeves), a demure neckline and not too much embellishment in terms of shapes and details. For brides who love a timeless look: no fuss, to the point, more often than not simple white lace.

Gowns labeled “romantic” are similar to “classic,” though more ornately detailed and textured. Here we see a lot of striking, unusual detailing on less-traditional silhouettes. Think an asymmetrical cascade of ruffles or swirls of flowers along the bodice. For ‘fairy tale’ weddings and brides attached to that sense of being a princess.

Gowns labeled “modern” are those that buck tradition: unexpected shapes, shortened hemlines, sleek fabrics. Think armor-like beading on the bodice and (especially) gowns that aren’t plain old white. It takes a certain woman to pull them off, but when they work, they’re unforgettable.