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Wedding Dresses and Formal Wedding Attire
My fiancé and I both have large families: therefore, our wedding party is also going to be quite large. We each will have five attendants, a flower girl, ring bearer, two junior bridesmaids and two junior ushers! It is going to be an afternoon wedding in December in Pittsburgh, PA. We don’t want things to be too elaborate. It is in a church, so it can not be too casual, either. What would be the proper way for everyone to dress?
You will be having a semi-formal daytime wedding. Traditionally, the bride should wear a long white dress. A short veil and gloves are optional. The fabric should go along with the season. You don’t want to wear a lace or chiffon dress in the middle of winter! Some good choices would be satin, brocade, velvet, or taffeta.
The bridesmaids’ dresses should be of the same formality as the bride’s dress. The material should complement the bride’s dress, as well. Check with your officiant to see if your ceremony site has any restrictions. Do the dresses need a high neckline? Do the arms need to be covered? Generally, the Maid of Honors’ dress is different from that of the bridesmaids, or she carries flowers of a different color. If the dresses are full length, the hemline should be short enough so they don’t trip on any steps. If the dresses are short be sure everyone wears the same colored panty hose! Usually the attendant’s shoes are the same type and color, although they don’t have to be exactly the same style. The bride may choose whatever headdresses or hair pieces she would like her attendants to wear, however, she should not tell them how to wear their hair.
The flower girl is usually dressed in a white ballet length dress or in a gown similar to that of the bridesmaids, in a style that is becoming to a child. She can wear a wreath of artificial flowers on her head or no headdress at all. She also carries a small bouquet or basket of flowers. It is no longer necessary for her to strew these before the bride. The junior bridesmaids’ dresses should be exactly like the bridesmaids, sometimes of a different color, or the flowers they carry may be a different color. The mothers of the bride and groom should try not to wear the same color as the bride or bridesmaids, nor should both mothers wear the same color. They should dress according to the elaborateness of the wedding. Long dresses and skirts are considered appropriate for any wedding from noon on.
The groom, his attendants, the brides’ father, and the junior ushers should all be dressed very much alike. For a winter semi-formal wedding the proper attire would be a black (dark color) cutaway or sack coat, a gray waistcoat (a lighter colored vest), stiff white shirt with a stiff fold down collar, bowtie or dress ascot tie, and black, smooth-toe shoes. A boutonniere is worn on the left lapel of their coats. The groom wears a flower which is also included in his brides’ bouquet.
The groomsmen wear a boutonniere made to complement the grooms’, but with a different flower. The ring bearer, if very small, should wear a white jacket and pants with white socks and white shoes. If he is a little older, he should wear the darker attire with black shoes. The bridegrooms’ father may choose to wear the same attire as the brides’ father, however, having no official part in the ceremony he may choose to wear a dark suit if he is more comfortable.
These are just basic guidelines for a traditional wedding. Remember, there are also many nontraditional choices. Think of the many ways you can blend the old traditions with the new, the simplicity with the glamour! The end result? The wedding you’ve had only in your dreams, about to come true!