By Helen Ray
Modern weddings have come far from the traditional structure of the chapel, white dress and even vows.
Weddings come in all shapes and sizes from using exotic locations to applying themes including Harry Potter and Star Trek. Planning a not so traditional wedding means a lot of detail and precision to make sure the vision becomes a reality; and that includes figuring out the perfect outfits for the bride and groom.
We spoke to stylists in the area about where to start the decision process and what different ways a bride and groom can sport nontraditional outfits— while remaining trendy, classy and comfortable on their big day.
Discover a story
Kara Allen, who’s been a stylist and image consultant in the D.C area for 12 years, suggests beginning with an idea based on what story the couple wants to tell. For a romantic theme with a 19th century French influence, look into period pieces such as a corset or big chiffon details. If the couple is looking for a retro vibe then suspenders, high tops and full skirts can be a unique way to incorporate the theme into outfits.
Once a theme is figured out, the next step begins with the feet. Rhoda Wheeler, a NoVA and D.C. stylist for Urban Darling, believes footwear is an essential starting place for designing an outfit. There are multiple ways to sport different footwear that can be a functional, stylish or a personal decision of the bride and groom.
For a destination wedding on the beach, she suggests sandals and boat shoes for ultimate comfort and detail. Other shoe ideas include a favorite pair of sneakers, cowboy boots, loafers, a heel with a print or even rain boots. Find this adorable print Kate Spade shoe here.
Play with patterns
Using different patterns and fabrics is an easy way to create a unique look while still wearing traditional pieces or for a bold unconventional look. Wheeler suggests that men try a seer sucker suit; the look is unique and eye catching but also creates a sophisticated appearance.
Denim is another fun material to incorporate into a wedding, especially if the couple wants a rustic country look or if they just feel their best wearing a worn in pair of blue jeans. Some denim looks include: a chambray shirt with a black linen blazer and pants for a groom, incorporating denim with the bridesmaids and groomsmen with jeans, shirt dresses or jackets or using denim in colors such as black and white for a less dramatic denim look.
Long are the days where gowns need to hit the floor. High low dresses can be an exquisite detail that can add a fresh avant-garde look for a bride getting wed in a warmer month, on location or who wants a whimsical look. Another fun way to play with lengths is to incorporate a skirt. Full pleated skirts are elegant and beautiful, and when paired with a detailed top and strappy heel have all the glam of a dress.
Accenting with accessories
Many brides focus on the dress for the big day, but accessories should not be overlooked. Accessories can add the finishing details to a look that maybe a dress can’t provide. Allan suggests getting in tune with your inner Elizabeth Taylor and use looks inspired by the glamorous actress where the main outfit is simple but paired with dramatic accessories.
Statement necklaces, a floral headpiece and bold make up are great ideas for women. And for men the accessories can include retro looks like a bowler hat and suspenders or funky modern pieces such as bolo ties or sunglasses.
At the end of the day, the event is about the couple about to be married. They should feel happy, excited and most of all, comfortable in whatever they’re wearing. The outfits should resemble each person as an individual while also showing off the couple’s taste as one.