Your Wedding Fashion Questions Answered
Clothing plays a huge role in weddings, from the wedding dress to the groom's tux and everything in between. There are shoes to slip into, ties to fasten, and guests, party, and staff who may or may not need some wardrobe advice. From proper veil cleaning instructions to how to dress your bridesmaids, we answer all of your wedding fashion queries.
Do I need a wedding day purse?
The truth is you may not need a purse at all; if you're not driving, you likely won't need your license, and you probably won't need any cash. You might not even need your keys—and if you do, perhaps your groom or your parents can hold them for you during the wedding. But if you do decide to bring a bag, make it a little one—and pack only the essentials!
How can I find someone to clean and preserve my gown?
Ask some questions before you entrust anyone with the cleaning. How long has the company been in business? How many gowns does it handle? (Ten or so a week is a good number.) Ask what process will be used and why they believe it is best for your dress. Will they test the solution before they start? Will they reinforce seams and guarantee trimmings won't be destroyed? The answers should be detailed and convincing.
Should I buy a sample sale wedding dress?
Great bargains can be had at sample sales, but keep in mind that there will be trade-offs along with the savings. Choice will be limited, both as far as the styles and the sizes available—many designers' samples come in 6 or 8 only. And since the gowns may have been tried on by many women, they might need cleaning or repair.
Perhaps the most enticing thing about a sample gown beyond the price? You'll walk out with your dress.
How do I care for my engagement ring?
Considering your engagement ring's sentimental—and monetary—value, you'll want to make sure it lasts a lifetime (if not several). First, insure the ring: Add a jewelry rider to your homeowner's or renter's insurance, or take out a separate policy with a specialty insurer like Jewelers Mutual. Familiarize yourself with the fine print; some policies will cover theft but not "mysterious disappearance" and others may not reimburse repair costs, says Donna Syverson, director of personal lines marketing at Jewelers Mutual.
How do I clean a vintage veil?
Examine the veil closely. If it's fragile or brittle, or you have any doubt about whether it will stand up to hand-washing, take it to a pro. Specialists can test it (something you can't do at home) to see if it can safely be restored. Inspect the trim, too. A wide satin band, for example, might wrinkle if cleaned at home; outsource the job if that's the case.
Next, inspect the fabric. Whether it's tulle, illusion netting, or lace, see how we suggest on hand-washing your veil at home.
What should the mother of the groom wear?
Because the mother of the groom isn't part of the bridal party, she should avoid choosing a dress in the same color as the bridesmaids' attire, the mother of the bride's dress, or the wedding gown. Instead, she should pick a shade that both flatters her and won't clash with the other women's clothing in the photographs. The hour and formality of the wedding (not necessarily the style of the bride's gown) should influence your mother-in-law-to-be's final choice.
What is a fascinator?
Bigger than a barrette, a fascinator is a hair accessory that's worn to the side and is often made of feathers, flowers, or wisps of fabric. The fun, fanciful ornament is often embellished with crystals, beads, or loops of ribbon, and attaches via a comb or headband; some have a small, stiff, flat base that can be secured with bobby pins.
A delicate fascinator can be surprisingly versatile: It's especially striking when worn with a sleek updo, and romantic on soft waves—try it with the hair swept to one side and the hairpiece placed on the other. If you're pairing one with a veil, choose a birdcage style (nose or chin length) made of wide French netting and place the piece on top.
Can I wear a veil if I have glasses?
Yes, you can still wear a veil! The key is to find something that's not too busy in the front. A cut veil is a simple and elegant choice, says designer Toni Federici. It has no edging and easily tucks behind your shoulders.
As for wearing your glasses for the photos, there are some tricks to minimizing the glare from the flash. Ask your photographer to snap a few shots angled slightly from above; for head-on shots, tilt the bows of your glasses up a bit so the lenses are angled subtly downward.
How do I dress my bridesmaids?
If you visualize all of your attendants in the exact same dress, A-lines look great on just about everyone, says senior associate fashion editor Carrie Goldberg. That said, she recommends loosening the reins a bit by outfitting the group in a color you love, but letting each person choose her cut. The easiest option: pick a brand that offers several silhouettes in the same shdes and fabrics (J.Crew, for example, offers 13 versions of navy silk-chiffon gowns).
Not particular about fabric? Give your girls even more freedom by supplying them with swatches to take shopping for their own dresses, so they all end up with the right shade of blush, mint, gray, or whatever you fancy. Either way, each of your besties gets the style that makes her feel, well, best. And check out all the different ways to match, or mismatch your bridesmaids outfits, here.
Should we pick out our wedding bands together, and how do we get started?
Most couples shop together at least two months before their celebration and find the process to be a fun part of planning. Make sure you have your engagement ring on hand (literally!) to ensure it works with your band. (For instance, while white gold and platinum look similar, they are not identical. It's generally best to stick with one type of metal.) Some couples like to select matching bands—or at least coordinating ones— but this isn't necessary.
Who pays? The two of you can split the price down the middle, or make the buy even more sentimental by paying for each other's rings. And one more tip: Opt for insurance (try jewelersmutual.com).
Ask Us Your Questions
Still flummoxed on something fashion-related? E-mail us your conundrum. We're here to help.
How can we ask our vendors to dress nicely (for example, not in jeans) for the event?
Typically, the pros choose all black or functional, professional clothing (in keeping with the occasion), so your request won't be coming out of left field. "Some vendors go so far as to spell out attire in their contracts," says Courtney Spencer of Merriment Events in Richmond, Virginia. Still, it's easiest to express—and set—expectations at booking. "Many venues have a dress code," adds Spencer. "Refer vendors to it to take the pressure off you." Or simply say, "The dress code will be formal, and we'd like our vendors to follow suit." If you've already signed on the dotted line, confirm getups when you talk through final details, about one month before the "I do"s.