MOST BRIDES KNOW INSTINCTIVELY what their "bridal style" should be, whether it's romantic or country or sophisticated or ethnic. And most realize that flowers and lace are the elements that will help create that style. Beyond that, most brides are at a loss to be more specific. How helpful it might be, then, to know what the florist means when he suggests stephanotis for the bridal bouquet. And how useful to have a guide to the kinds of lace that are available in the modern world, where traditional names for lace have taken on new definitions. Here then is a pictorial guide to the lace and flowers that can make your gown and wedding bouquet reflect your very own bridal style.

JAN. 13, 20 AND 27: Silk and Satin Bridals and Formals, 3500 East-West Highway, Hyattsville. Informal modeling beginning at 7:30 p.m. Free. For reservations, call 559-7500.

JAN. 16: Garfinckels, Willard Intercontinental Hotel Ballroom, 1401 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. 11 a.m. to noon. Free. For reservations, call 626-3464.

JAN. 16 AND 17: Bridal Showplace, Holiday Inn Bethesda, 8120 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda. Three-hour presentations, including a fashion show, bridal seminars and exhibits, begin at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. each day. Fashions from Marian Bridal Shop and Gingiss Formalwear. Fee: $6. For reservations, call WED-DING.

JAN. 21 AND 22: Claire Dratch, 7615 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda. Frank Masandrea trunk show. Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Free. For more information, call 656-8000.

JAN. 23 AND 24: Washington Weddings, Sheraton Hotel and Exhibition Center, 8500 Annapolis Rd., New Carrollton. Hours: noon to 6 p.m. with shows at 1 and 4 p.m. Fashion shows will feature clothing from Royal Formal & Bridal and Masters Tuxedo and Bridal Shop. More than 70 companies will exhibit their wedding products. Tickets $4 in advance, $5 at the door. For reservations, call 864-0874.

JAN. 24: Lady Hamilton, Loews L'Enfant Plaza Hotel Ballroom, 480 L'Enfant Plaza East SW. Doors open at noon, fashion show at 2 p.m. Fee: $5. For reservations, call Loews L'Enfant Plaza, 484-1000. Ask for the catering department.

JAN. 30: Bloomingdale's Bridal Fair, Tysons Corner store (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.) and White Flint store (2 to 5 p.m.). Yetta Fisher Gruen, head of The Washington Post's Bridal Desk, will speak. Vendors from the china, glass, silver and housewares department also will be on hand. Free. Call 556-4519 for Tysons reservations; 984-4519 for White Flint.

FEB. 6: JC Penney, Fair Oaks Mall. Informal modeling in the mall, 1:30 p.m. Free. For information, call 385-1500.

FEB. 7 AND 8: Main Event and the Valentino Bridal and Formal Shoppe, at Potomac Mills, Woodbridge. Informal modeling Feb. 7 at 6 p.m.; Feb. 8, 4 p.m. Free. For more information, call 971-4700 or 690-6870.

FEB. 12, 13 AND 14: Great Gatsby, 218 N. Lee St., Alexandria. Jessica McClintock trunk show Feb. 12 and 13 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Feb. 14, 1 to 5 p.m. Free. For more information, call 683-0094.

Bride's calendar:

SIX MONTHS TO A YEAR BEFORE

Buy an etiquette book or wedding planner and start reading.

Decide what kind of wedding you want (small/large? indoor/outdoor? summer/winter?) and approximately how much it will cost. Discuss the budget with your parents, fiance' and his parents if they will be helping out with the costs. A good etiquette book or wedding planner can tell you who traditionally pays for what.

Choose and reserve wedding and reception sites. Keep in mind that many popular sites are booked a year in advance during the peak bridal season (June, for example).

Arrange a meeting with a member of the clergy, justice of the peace or judge to discuss ceremony and any religious counseling.

Choose and order dress and headpiece. If you have a favorite strand of pearls, earrings or other memento, take it along while shopping.

Select and register china, silver, etc.

Choose attendants.

Begin guest list (your fiance' plus both sets of parents should start on theirs, too).

Start planning your honeymoon.

THREE MONTHS BEFORE

Have guest list completed.

Order wedding invitations and announcements. These can be addressed and stamped ahead of time.

Order wedding rings and arrange for engraving if desired.

Choose and order bridesmaids' dresses.

Check with your local newspaper for its announcement procedures.

Select photographer.

Refine plans with caterer, organist, florist, etc.

Finalize honeymoon plans.

ONE MONTH BEFORE

Mail invitations.

Arrange for newspaper announcement.

Select gifts for attendants.

Buy wedding gift for groom.

Have final dress fitting (some brides prefer to do this closer to the actual wedding day). Be sure to take along the shoes you will be wearing.

Discuss rehearsal dinner with fiance' and his parents.

TWO WEEKS BEFORE

Get marriage license.

Make appointment with hairdresser.

ONE WEEK BEFORE

Finish addressing announcements. These are mailed on the day of the wedding.

Give caterer final guest count.

Check final details with florist, caterer, photographer, etc.

Write thank-you notes for any gifts received.