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The Wedding Attire

The Bride's Gown, the Bridesmaids' Dresses and the Groom and Ushers' Attire

The Bride's Gown
Before the late 15th century, brides used to just wear their best dress. Today, shopping for the perfect bridal wear is a long drawn out process which needs to be started early. The clothes set the tone for wedding and will be the most talked about and remembered aspects of the day. For brides, picking out her dress is one of the most important decisions she makes in her wedding planning. It's something she has probably been dreaming about for a long time. Even if you are on a strict budge, you can still have that princess feeling as you walk down the isle. You just may have to be a bit more creative in how you pull it off.

Shopping for a bridal gown should begin once the overall theme of the wedding has been decided upon. The style of the dress -- formal or informal -- and the season when the ceremony will be held -- summer or winter -- will set the tone that the bridesmaids.' Lighter weight fabrics and short sleeves are more appropriate for summer weddings, and evening weddings are generally more formal.

Where to you begin when selecting the wedding attire for your wedding party, not to mention yourself? Again it's all about researching your options. To get idea first of all about what you like, flip through some bridal magazines, and if you have the chance, go to a bridal fair. You can go to a regular bridal shop or if you're on a tight budget, see if there is a consignment shop in your area that carries "just once worn" wedding gowns. Also some department stores have gowns that you can buy right off the rack for much cheaper than an bridal store, but you selection is much more limited of course as it would be at a consignment shop. But you never know what you'll find, until you check it out. If time is on your side, you might check with boutiques in your area to see if the have "out of season" sales. Do you have a family member or good friend your size whose gown you could borrow or restore just for you? If money is no option, you can even have a custom gown made for you. Be sure to visit a number of shops to compare and always take a trusted friend (with good taste) along to help you who would give you an honest opinion.

Most people don't know about this, but if you're fortunate enough and the timing is right, you might be able to get a designer dress for a fraction of the cost. Designer Sampler Dresses are dresses created by the designer which brides-to-be try on in the boutiques. At eht end of the season, theses gowns ae usually sold for considerably less. If you have your heart set on a dress by your favorite designer, contact a designer boutique and ask if they are selling any of his or her sampler dresses.

One advantage of buying from a bridal store is that they such a huge selection, you can try one many styles before deciding what you want. Should it have long sleeves, lace, pearls, satin or a Queen Anne collar; It's exciting to imagine yourself in the many styles of wedding gowns available today.

The degree of formality, the season and the location of the ceremony will help you determine the kind of fabric, the length and style you choose. You and your fiancé should discuss your preferences before you select your dress. The way you dress sill influence his selection. Of course he doesn't need nearly as much time to select his attire. One you have decided on yours, he can take his lead from you.

If you are planning a very formal wedding, you'll want to consider a gown made of satin, lace, or peau de soie. It should be floor length, with a long train and veil. Gloves may be worn with a short-sleeved or sleeveless dress. A formal wedding suggests a chapel or sweep-train length gown, with a hem-length or fingertip-length veil. Gloves and a hat may be worn.

An elegant short dress or a simple floor-length dress without a train is appropriate for a semi-formal wedding with an elbow length or shorter veil. And a stree-length silk suit or jacketed dress is ideally suited for an informal wedding with a shorter veil or bridal type hat.

A bridal salon can be a great help in choosing the best design for you. Openly discuss your tastes, concerns and budget. In making your selection, remember that you want to accentuate your best features and to be comfortable. Make sure you will be comfortable sitting and, don't forget dancing! Call ahead because many require appointments.

You may fall in love with a certain style, but it's also important that it flatters your figure. Here are a few suggestions according to body type.

For short women (5'4" and under)

  • High neckline, empire waist
  • Short sleeves or sleeveless with long gloves
  • Floor or chapel length

For tall women (5'9" and over)

  • Drop waist, wide belt
  • Wrap-around trim or ruffles
  • Off-shoulder, low neckline, billowy sleeves

Average-sized women (5'5" - 5'8")

  • Almost anything
  • May want to look shorer or taller to accommodate the groom's height

Full figured women

  • High Waistline
  • Vertical lines such as an A-line dress
  • Avoid puffy sleeves, lots of fullness and clingy fabrics

Once you have made a decision, there are several things you want to make sure you have covered before you order.

  1. Find out the store's cancellation and exchange policy.
  2. Confirm (in writing) the price of the dress and the date of completion
  3. What is included in the price of the dress (i.e., veil, train, hoop, alterations)?
  4. How far in advance are fittings done and will that fit into your schedule
  5. How far in advance are the alterations done
  6. Do they offer layaway (if that is something you need)

One way to possibly save money is to buy the gown from the bridal salon and have someone else do the alterations. It would be advisable to price compare and make sure the person doing the alterations has altered wedding gowns before and comes with high recommendations.

Bridal Accessories

THE VEIL. The veil can fall to your shoulders, waist, the floor, or it can act as a train. A more formal wedding implies a longer veil. Shorter veils are preferred when the back of a gown has details you don't want to hide. The veil may be held in place by a tiara, pins concealed by fresh flowers, a cap or a circlet of pearls.

HEADPIECE. If you choose a headpiece, your face shape, headpiece, your face shape, hairstyle and dress will influence the design you choose. If you plan to have your hair done for the wedding, have your stylist practice with your headpiece before your wedding day.

WEDDING SHOES. The key word here is comfort. A pump with a medium or low heel offers support for hours of standing. If the pumps are silk or satin, they can be dyed to match your dress, or lace can be added. Bridesmaids' shoes should be dyed at the same time to prevent variations, if you select pumps that need to be dyed. In order to help keep their expense down, would be to pick simple styles in colors that the for bridesmaids probably already heave, such as black pumps or white slippers. When height isn't a concern, some brides wear ballet slippers. You'll want to buy these way in advance and wear them around the house to break them and and make sure they will not cause you any reason for concern.

STOCKINGS. Nice hosiery in sheer beige, champagne or white will go nicely with your gown. Since the stockings will be seen when your new husband removes your garter, you might consider a lace or pattern stocking. Some companies make hose especially for brides.

GLOVES. Long gloves can be worn with a formal, sleeveless dress and short gloves with a less formal gown or ¾ -length sleeve. Some gloves are designed with a "cutaway" finger so that the ring can be put on your finger during the ceremony. If your gloves do not have this feature, wear your engagement ring under the glove on your right hand so the wedding ring can be placed over the glove on your left hand.

JEWELRY. Keep it simple. A short string of pearls, a pearl pendant and pearl or diamond earrings are elegant choices. If you don't own any of this jewelry, here's another chance to wear "something borrowed." Pearls and diamonds, set in silver, or gold are the most common selections for the bride's jewelry. The most important thing is that it coordinates with the dress and that you feel good wearing it. Does it set your face aglow?

The Bridesmaids

Unless the costs of the bridesmaids' dresses and shoes are coming out of the bridal budget, not all of the bridesmaids are going to appreciate spending a lot of money for a dress that they will likely only wear once. Also, dresses that are too formal are less likely to be worn again than styles that can be worn for a romantic dinner, to a party, or to another wedding. Despite overwhelming anecdotal evidence that bridesmaid dresses rarely get worn twice, it's at least nice to leave the possibility open. Try to keep this in mind. They will love you if you can find something that will work for your wedding but is not so unusual that they can't wear it again.

To be sensitive to the bridesmaids' concerns, try to pick a style that looks good on everyone. Get their input. Stay away from styles such as two-piece outfits or suits that cut the body in half, sleeveless dresses, or body-hugging styles. If the selected color is available in slightly different styles in the same fabric, the future bride may let her bridesmaids chose the style more flattering for their body types.

Also, pick colors that look good on everyone. For example, orange on a redhead won't be flattering. Colors such as blue and green are recommended. Also, check with the photographer to make sure the bridal party's colors photograph well against the backdrop where photos will be taken. Stay away from styles that are too trendy; instead, opt for styles that have a longer lifespan. That will help to insure that they can be worn again.

A different or darker color in the same style as the bridesmaids' dresses is usually selected for the maid or matron of honor. The dress and bouquet may be the reverse colors of the colors selected for the bridesmaids. The flower girl's outfit should be appropriate for her age and coordinate with the bridesmaids' gowns in color and fabric.

Buying from a bridal shop: Allow some time for this process. Each bridesmaid must be individually measured before the order is placed, and then you should expect to wait about three to five months for the dresses to arrive. Plan on an extra two to three weeks for any alterations.

Take a browse through the local mall: Chain stores, such as Macy's, Filene's, or Ann Taylor, often carry gowns appropriate for a wedding. The dresses may be less expensive than custom-made gowns, and the bridal party can skip the fittings. This is a plus if some of the bridesmaids live far away. The bridesmaids can stop by the store near them with the dress-code number and pick up their size. If the dress is not in stock, often stores will order the dress from another location. However, make sure everyone keeps her receipts until everyone has her dress.

The Groom and Groomsmen

Traditionally, the men wear a black tuxedo or tails in the evening and a stroller coat or cutaway jacket with striped pants for weddings before 6 o'clock. However, these guidelines fave relaxed quite a bit in recent years.

Unlike the bride, who has to shop early, the groom can start looking for his outfit two to three months before the wedding. Again, the first question is how formal the affair is. Is this a tuxedo event, or will a casual suit do? Night weddings require more formal dress than morning ceremonies.

When shopping for the outfits of the groom and the other men in the ceremony, bringing swatches of material from the bridal gown and from the bridesmaids' dresses will help coordinate the party. If the gown is ivory, the groom and the ushers should wear ivory shirts. The material from the bridesmaids' dresses can be coordinated with accessories from the groom's outfit, such as the vest, cummerbund, or tie.

Dark colors - black, dark gray or navy - are commonly worn at evening or winter weddings. Suits in white or ivory are most appropriate at summer afternoon weddings. The ushers and the ring bearer may wear the same attire as the groom, or something similar.

It's important to comparison shop because price and quality vary from one store to the next. As always, a recommendation from a fried is your safest choice. If you have someone coming in from out of town, they should have someone from a tuxedo rental shop take all the necessary measurements and send hem to you so you can be sure to have the right fit.

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