The fashionable wedding: Tips for brides, bridesmaids and even the groom on how to up the style ante on your big day

Photography by johnhope14/Flickr
Photography by johnhope14/Flickr

With summer wedding season well underway, the not-so-little sartorial dilemma of what to wear on one of life’s most momentous occasions probably has a bride or two stressing. While our Style Panel has already found solutions for unique wedding-guest styling, brides, grooms and bridesmaids need not worry – we have some modern styling tips from Soha Lavin of Vancouver-based Countdown Events, one of the country’s leading wedding and event planning firms, on how to give traditional wedding style a shake-up. Instead of opting for the same-old, same-old, set your wedding style apart with one of her tips!

See how you can give your wedding style a twist! »

Photography by johnhope14/Flickr

Though the old strapless-white-gown-and-veil combo is undeniably bridal, it’s been done so many times that it’s beginning to feel a bit been-there-done-that. Unsurprisingly, we have fictional fashion icon Carrie Bradshaw to thank for revamping the tired bridal get-up.

“For me the bold accessory shift began after the Sex and the City movie came out and [Carrie] donned that very large colourful feather piece on her head – this gave brides permission to experiment with more fashionable accessories instead of staying with the safe bridal options,” Lavin said, adding that many brides have been injecting colour into their looks through sashes, shoes or belts as well.

For more adventurous brides, make like Cynthia Nixon, another SATC alum, who wed her partner earlier this year in a stunning chartreuse Caroline Herrera creation. Vera Wang also recently unveiled a collection of black and red dresses, not to mention style-crush Sofia Coppola tied the knot in a delicate lavender Azzedine Alaïa dress last year. From blush tones to striking red, colourful dresses have never seemed like a more appealing option to traditional white.

Brides who want to stay traditional for their ceremony can also opt for a farewell gown for their reception that allows them to better express their personality, Lavin said. Short, metallic-hued cocktail dresses have been especially popular this year.

Photography by marina guimarães/Flickr

It’s about time we finally did away with all the tacky bridesmaid dresses that have given the style such a bad rep. Unless every single bridesmaid is the exact same shape, height and colouring, it can be tricky (i.e. nearly impossible) to somehow find one dress style that will do each bridesmaid justice.

Fortunately for today’s bridesmaid, there are plenty of options. Many brides opt for sets of colours (for example, lavender, rose and mint) instead of a single hue, allowing their bridesmaids to pick a dress colour that best suits the individual. Keeping to several shades still gives the wedding party a cohesive look, and it’s also a handy way of tying in the whole wedding colour palette. In a similar vein, many brides suggest several style options, meaning each bridesmaid can pick a cut that best suits her figure.

Convertible dresses are also another great option for bridesmaids: retailers like Two Birds Bridesmaids offer customizable wrap dresses that can be styled in everything from a Grecian back twist to a sweetheart ruched neckline. The step-by-step selection process allows custom adjustments length and colour as well.

“Another surprising trend is white bridesmaid dresses!” Lavin added. “For so long that was definitely an unthinkable option but after a few years of seeing black bridesmaid dresses we are now seeing white bridesmaid gowns.”

Photography by johnhope14/Flickr

Though the style spotlight is mostly centered on the bride during, their male counterparts are definitely an important part of the overall sartorial picture too.

Lavin said the general look for grooms is still quite traditional, but that many style-inclined guys are starting to play around with tailoring (opting for skinny tuxes rather than traditional cuts) or exploring punchier details like colourful socks, bow ties or pocket squares. These little touches are also the perfect way for the groom to tie in one of the hues from the wedding party’s colour palette. Custom suspenders, cuff links and the like are other great ways for grooms to set their look apart from the sea of black and white tuxes.

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