The Destination Wedding Oscars — What’s Walking the Red Carpet this Year?

Hello Brides and Grooms!

I must admit it would be fun to show pictures of my clients and do a “best” and “worst” dressed list, but that would be tacky so I’ll refrain.  But I do want to talk this opportunity to talk about wedding party attire in the Caribbean.

I’ve talked about this stuff before but I’m tackling it from a different angle this time since it’s obvious to me that some of you haven’t read my earlier blogs on the subject! 🙂

Brides can wear whatever they want for their wedding day.  It can be as formal or casual as she wants.  Traditionally, the bride’s gown sets the tone for the attire for everybody else, but that’s not exactly true in the Caribbean.  At home, a cathedral length train on a designer silk wedding gown would indicate a black-tie event.  And let’s face it, that’s just plain cruel to do to your wedding party on a tropical island.  But a very formal wedding gown may mean that the groom has to wear a jacket (and maybe even a tie) for the ceremony, even if we dress the groomsmen in guayabera shirts.

Floor-length gowns with no train are much more manageable — especially if you have ideas about getting married on the beach.  They’re also cooler in a warm climate.  Remember, when we bustle up the back of your dress, it adds layers covering your legs.  And it gets hot down here ladies!  The real bottom line is that you can wear whatever you want on your wedding day.  And if I’m your wedding planner, I’ll be prepared to help you deal with the consequences (I’ve had to shoot a fan up the gown of more than one bride).

Try not to make your groom wear a jacket and tie unless he absolutely has to so that he doesn’t look like a pool boy instead of the groom.  There are lots of attractive tropical options for him — white linen pants, white linen shirts, light khaki tropical weight suits, Tommy Bahama shirts… the list goes on and on.  But dark jackets and neckties are a really bad idea.

I have one very nice bride who fell in love with the idea of dressing her groomsmen in seersucker suits.  So she ordered them and told the guys what they owed.  Groomsmen are not used to paying the kind of money that bridesmaids are for their day-of attire.  Most of them usually rent a tux (0r wear their own) or wear something else of the bride’s choosing that usually involves a navy blazer that every guy already owns.  When you see a wedding party with the groomsmen all dressed to match in a unique outfit, they’ve probably found someplace to rent them.  You can be assured that nobody spent more than $100 in that crew.

It’s okay to ask the groomsmen to all buy matching pants and shirts if you keep the total cost at a reasonable level.  I recommend you choose EXACTLY what you want them to wear and email them the link.  You can certainly get their pants sizes and order them yourself — but just be forewarned that you might not get paid back.  If you find some Docker’s you can stand on sale, order them and suck up the expense.  It’s not that much and you can rest easy knowing that nobody is going to define “khaki” in the same way you define “tan.”

Bridesmaids dresses are always a struggle to choose.  Sure, it’s easier if all of your bridesmaids are perfect size sixes, but usually that’s not the case in the real world.  J. Crew seems to be the 2008 favorite pick for my brides thus far — their bridesmaid dresses are so cute!  But I doubt they’ve got much selection if you’ve got any bigger girls in your wedding party.

I used to be an advocate of choosing the color at a dress shop and letting the girls choose which dress design they preferred on an individual basis.  But I recently saw a case where that did not turn out well at all.  The dresses were a blah color, but that wasn’t the problem.  The problem was the dramaticly different styles of the dresses.  It was a big wedding party and every single girl had a dress that was different from every other.  Some of them not-so-flattering.  It was distracting to watch the girls go down the aisle, first a t-back, then a strapless, then a tank style, then halter-neck, and finally another one that I cannot even describe but it had to be something the bridesmaid apparently did on her own after she’d brought the dress home from the shop.  It looked like she’d belted a designer trash bag around herself.  Not pretty.

So I’ve had to rethink this variety of style thing and I’ve come to the following conclusion:  it’s okay if you use discretion.  If you have a big wedding party, choose two or three styles for your girls to choose between, and choose styles with similar characteristics that will look good and blend together.  Don’t leave it wide open for them to make a huge fashion mistake at your wedding.  Once they’ve chosen, you’re stuck with it.

So what am I seeing on the “Destination Wedding Red Carpet” for 2008?  I’m seeing lots and lots of J. Crew.  Wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses.  Guayabera or Cubavera shirts in white or coordinating colors that match the girls.  I’m seeing Tommy Bahama shirts in fun patterns.  I’m seeing lots of hot sticky sweaty brides in heavy designer wedding gowns who wished they’d read my blogs before they bought their wedding dresses, and I’m seeing a few who suck it up and don’t complain because they’ve always wanted a princess dress and they got one, regardless of the cost in sweat.  And as always, there are a few young ladies who have had their dresses designed specifically for them.  You won’t see another one like it out there, but in some cases that’s a good thing :)!

I’ll blog again tomorrow after I go on the Vieques Humane Society’s Semi-Annual “Tour of Villas.”  I hear there are a few new properties on it that I can’t wait to see!

Happy wedding planning from Weddings in Vieques!


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