Best Dressed

Martha Stewart Weddings, Spring 2000

Have you ever seen a bride walk down the aisle in a pair of pants? Probably not. On this important day, even the most modern brides and grooms find themselves in classic ensembles not so different from those worn by their counterparts generations ago.

That's because when choosing wedding clothes, couples are guided not only by fashion, romance, and fantasy, but also by tradition and a dose of decorum befitting the event. Wedding etiquette makes wardrobe suggestions based on the time of day and the level of formality.

The former is clear enough: A daytime celebration is one held before 6 p.m., while an evening wedding is held after 6 or begins a bit before and continues well into the night. The question of formality is less straightforward; it is not a single detail that gives a wedding its style, but all of the elements combined. Everything from the invitations, which give the guests their wardrobe cues, to the bouquet the bride tosses at the end of the event should feel similar in spirit.

For example, an evening event in an ornate, grand ballroom with a seated multi-course dinner and an orchestra calls for equally impressive attire: for the groom, full dress or white tie; for the bride, perhaps a satin gown with a voluminous skirt and long veil. For an afternoon wedding outdoors with pots of wildflowers, food fresh off the grill, and a lively bluegrass band, a smart suit for him and white pique sundress for her would be charming. In between, there are countless variation -- and a single perfect scenario for each bride and groom.

Formal
Semiformal
For the Bride
For the Groom
Informal

 



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