August 3, 2009

Mark's Tips for Outdoor Weddings

Wedding of Amory and Sean in the Bahamas
While most assume an outdoor or destination wedding to be a casual affair, today’s brides are proving them wrong. Many brides are finding new and unique locales to host their nuptials ranging from remote, private beaches to grand European villas. The choices are endless.

One thing all brides who choose an outdoor or seasonal wedding share is a sense of adventure and usually a naturalistic love of the outdoors. These brides all feel that the perfect spot to say I Do is not in the family church, but by sunset in Bali or on a mountaintop in Vermont. The fashion for these types of weddings can be as diverse as the locations. From working with bride’s in my Atelier, I have found the following locations to be the most popular: a beach or tropical resort, a ski resort or Mt. Lodge, in wine country or a summer mountain or farm setting, or a European location at a castle or villa.

1. For a beach or tropical wedding, which is the most popular spot for outdoor weddings, the bride is whimsical and free spirited. She may choose a more formal free flowing gown of organza or chiffon, or she may go more casual and adorn a short dress or ethnic inspired sarong. These looks are great to accessorize with organic beachy elements such as seashells, tropical flowers and pearls. Designers such as Angel Sanchez, Le Spose di Gio and Monique Lhuillier, create some spectacular tropical looks.

2. For a ski resort or Mt. Lodge the bride is normally athletic or a nature goddess. The gown is usually substantial due to the climate and may have sleeves or be paired with a coat. Satins, brocades, velvets and tulle lend themselves beautifully for this style of gown. This is also the perfect occasion to add fur trim or a grand opera style coat. My favorite designers for these looks are Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, Anne Barge and Rivini.

3. Wine country or perhaps Vermont in the Summer, is a favorite of New York City brides who want to escape a city wedding. These weddings tend not to be as lavish, but focus on specific details: wonderful wines and food, beautiful nature settings. While they may not be grand in scale, they still can be very chic. The wedding gown styles favored at these affairs are more tailored, cleaner but still sophisticated. Fabrics such as satins, silk mikado and silk gazar provide great structure combined with luxury detail. New stretch chiffons, like those offered by Italian designer Spose di Gio, are the perfect understated combination of structure and style. Other
designers who offer great intellectual or 'organic couture' looks are Lela Rose and Jenny Lee.

4. If you choose a European villa or castle for your wedding, you’re in good company. These locales call for the grandest of dresses. Whether grand in a traditional sense or modern and edgy, these girls and their gowns will get noticed. Opulent duchess satins can be beaded or embroidered to create the perfect, dramatic gown. Lace is perfect in an old world setting invoking images of royalty. Oscar de la Renta, Peter Langner, Anne Barge and Monique Lhuillier all design fabulous diva dresses.

Wherever you may chose to host your wedding, remember to pick a gown that flatters the location, the season and your personality.


Photos of Amory and Sean by Jake McBride for Christian Oth Studio
Gown by Monique Lhuillier.

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