The freshest trend in bridesmaid fashion is to let each lady show off her individual style, says Andrea Wasserman, Nordstrom’s national bridal director. Sure, steer the group toward dresses that are the same or similar color and fabric, but encourage the gals to pick silhouettes that flatter their body type. You might even let bridesmaids select from within a color palette—shades of blue, for example, or all pastels. Many modern brides are encouraging the maid of honor to stand out in a coordinating print.
Hail the Veil
From cascading cathedral veils to sassy fascinators, Zerlinda Lochtie, owner of bridal boutique From the Gown Up, has seen every headpiece trend imaginable but says these three styles are hot right now: Birdcage Made with Russian or French netting that has a large, open weave, these wrap-around veils frame the eyes or the face and are often decorated with feathers or flowers. The look goes well with vintage themes and knee-length or short dresses. Elbow-length The current twist on this classic A-line look is a modernized rhinestone or appliqué lace-trimmed hem. Look up Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s bride, Priscilla Chan, for a sweet but stately example. Chapel-length This 90-inch dramatic and traditional option needs no embellishments. The current mode is to go with a single, cut-edge layer and let the length speak for itself.
When it comes to dressing up your flower girl, the tradition of selecting a mini version of your own gown is outdated. Instead, suggests Lochtie, aim for a mini princess or ballerina look complete with ballet flats. “Color is really big. Tulle is huge—the bigger, the better. Little girls love that.” For informal events, consider a sundress with salt-water sandals.
Pins & Needles
The most common wedding gown alterations include taking in the bodice and hemming the skirt, says Beverly Hunnicutt of Beverly Hunnicutt Studio. “I usually recommend that brides come in two or three months before the wedding,” she notes. “Some people need two or three fittings.”
What Lies Beneath
Although white and ivory lingerie is always popular for brides, today anything goes, says Ashley Mitchell of Nancy Meyer. More women choose to wear something unexpected; perhaps their partner’s favorite color or a tone from the wedding palette. Bustiers are great options for strapless or low-back gowns, and for women who need more support. You might also consider asking your alterations specialist to integrate support into the dress and then go for luxurious panties.
Rather than outfitting the groomsmen in matching ties and pocket squares, says Kay Smith-Blum, co-owner of Butch Blum, it’s much more fun to mix and match with prints and patterns. Bright colors are the current trend: think fuchsias, chartreuse greens, and oranges. Vibrant socks and squares give each guy an individual look. Consider suits in khaki, cream, and navy—even, or especially, if the groom’s is black.
Sugar on Top
Local designers Tes de Luna and Sarah Furstenberg of Crinoline & Tweed share instructions for making a headband with silk flowers and netting. Materials > At least three silk flowers to separate > Vintage millinery leaves or flower stamens > Feathers, sequins, beads, or buttons > Stretch elastic for headband > Veil netting > Needle and thread ■ Shop for a variety of silk flowers in a range of sizes at Jo-Ann Fabric, Michaels, or Nancy’s Sewing Basket. Deconstruct the faux flowers, separating the layers and reorganizing them by size. Lay the elastic band flat on your work surface. With the right side facing you, begin to lay out the leaves, flower petals, feathers, and other adornment. Carefully stitch your items to the topside of the elastic. Next, cut an arc of netting about 11 inches wide and seven inches high. Gather the netting into loose pleats about every two inches and sew loose, long stitches to the backside of your elastic with your flowers at the center point. Carefully trim the excess netting off the top edge of the elastic on the backside. Machine-stitch the end pieces of the elastic together, leaving a half-inch seam.
Which menswear option is the right fit for your fête? Try these tips from Mario’s senior men’s buyer Simon Chan on for size: Formal Either a notch- or peak-lapel black tuxedo with a spread collar and French cuff tuxedo shirt, solid-color necktie, white pocket square, and tuxedo shoe. The Rat Pack had it figured out long ago. Semiformal Keep it simple: a well-made suit in black, dark navy, or charcoal. Pair it with a shirt and tie that complement the bride’s color story, and don’t forget the pocket square. Brown dress shoes complete the look. Casual Wool, cotton, or cotton-linen suits in light gray or tan, khaki, or brighter blues, plus a colorful shirt and no tie!
Nikki Zesch, assistant manager and bridal consultant at A Princess Bride Couture, offers these practical tips for a smooth dress search:
Don’t bring the whole crew along. The fewer opinions you get, the clearer you can be.
Don’t bank on your body changing too much. It’s much easier to take in side seams than to try to let out what little fabric is available on a gown that is too small.
Some full-service salons provide bras, slips, and heels, so call ahead to see what they offer if you haven’t found your ideal lingerie or shoes yet.
Makeup and lipstick can rub off onto gowns, so go natural. And nix the fussy ’do; hair clips can snag on hooks. Do bring a hair tie so you can envision how your hair will look when it’s up—if that’s something you’re considering.
Be open-minded. More often than not, the gown you least expected ends up being The One. Oftentimes, the gown finds you.
Happily Ever After
You may think your gown made it through the wedding unscathed, but Michael Erstad, owner of Ballard’s National Drycleaners, says a UV light will bring out spots and stains the naked eye can’t see. To wit: Champagne and white wine dry clear but oxidize later and show up over time as dark, mysterious brown or orange spots. Erstad’s company uses eco-friendly cleaning solutions and puts their customers’ dresses in custom-made, acid-free wedding chests specifically designed for archival storage. While dresses can often be cleaned successfully after a couple of years have passed, it’s better to bring them in as soon as possible. Some cleaners will even pick up the gown the morning after the wedding.