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12 Top tips to help you plan the perfect outdoor summer wedding

Outdoor weddings have unique charm! The natural setting is romantic, colorful, refreshing and relaxed. Nonetheless, an outdoor venue also presents its unique set of challenges. Unlike indoor venues, the variable factors are more in this setting. Hence, planning a wedding in the outdoors isn’t always easy.

The good news is that despite the possible pitfalls, you can still have a beautiful outdoor wedding when you plan it right. Our team will help you with this task with the following list of tips. This will definitely help you plan your strategy well and host a splendid outdoor wedding that will linger in everyone’s memories.

1.Research the pros and cons of different venues to make your decision

Your outdoor venue can be a beach, a garden, a resort or even your own backyard. Each of these venues have their own perks and pitfalls. Consider these factors seriously before you decide on the venue you want for your special day. Let us look at some of the common outdoor wedding venues and the challenges they present.

Beach: A beach is romantic and fun. However, it is also windy, sandy and with uneven terrain. You will have to limit your hairstyle, makeup and dress choice to what works in this unique venue. You will also have to rent everything for the wedding and pay extra to set up stage. It will also be necessary to secure different items without toppling over or flying away.

Lakeside: These venues are usually calmer than seashores, and yet promising in terms of beauty. However, lake sides are prone to bugs and have damp and dirty soil. They can become unexpectedly windy. You may have to prepare your party to wear bug spray and keep food covered to avoid unexpected disasters.

Winery: Unparalleled beauty, serenity and greenery mark this lovely wedding venue. However, there may be restrictions on custom plans. Many wineries restrict taking booze from outside, and your guests will have to make do with their produce at the bar. It can also become hot and humid in summer.

Park:Very casual and relaxed, this ambiance is well-suited for informal wedding styles. The cons of this venue is that you may have unwelcome onlookers who oversee your wedding. Also, there may be time restrictions. So, you may have to end your party early.

Backyard: Having a backyard wedding is often tougher than you think. You can of course save a lot of money, since you needn’t book a venue. Nevertheless, you will have to hire the décor and seats. Limited number of washroom facilities can be a problem. You will also have to take local rules and regulations into consideration when your house is in a residential locality.

If you still are unsure of which venue you ought to choose, here is some help to make your decision on the Huff Post 

2.Irrespective of the venue, you must have plenty of shade or arrange for tents to keep guests comfortable

It is no fun being seated in a sunny area, especially when it is warm. Make sure your venue has a shaded space where your guests can relax without any harsh sunlight. Summer weddings can often get tiring, especially if there is no breeze. So, arrange for fans around the perimeter of the tents to keep your guests cool and relaxed. Also consider printing your wedding program on fans to work double. Or gift pretty decorative hand fans as your wedding favors and your guests can use them to stay cool.

3.Ensure there are plenty of drinks to stay hydrated

In the warm outdoors, your guests will naturally feel thirsty. Provide plenty of beverages and water stations to quench their thirst. Set it up at different locations throughout the venue, so your guests can simply head over to the nearest spot and refresh themselves. Arrange for a variety of non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages. Flavored water, fresh juices and mocktails, fizzy drinks and local produce can all be highlighted in your wedding venue. For a stunning list of summer cocktails to stock your bar, visit this post on the Brides website

4.Pick sturdy floral décor or arrange them outdoors just before the function

Flowers, especially the delicate varieties, do not tolerate heat well. So, take special care when planning your floral décor, bridal and bridesmaids bouquets. Pick sturdy flowers that do not wilt quickly. Preferably pick what is in season, as these flowers tolerate natural weather conditions better. Have your floral décor set up just before guests arrive, so they look fresh during the ceremony and reception. You can also add fruits and berries to the arrangement for a tropical, summery feel. Other decorative items like candles and embellished figurines are good options for centerpieces and decor items, since they are unaffected by heat.

5.Have everything held down in place

When the wedding is outdoors, you have no control over how windy it can get. The last thing you want is for things to be blown away and the entire scene to look chaotic. Keep this factor in mind when planning the arrangements. Ensure everything stays put by weighing it down with suitable items. Use ribbons or rocks to secure items like place cards and wedding programs in its place. Also keep the table cloth and runner fresh by taping them down so they do not fly with with the wind.

6.Plan your menu wisely

Exercise caution when planning the menu for an outdoor wedding. Heat will quickly spoil food, and you do not want to be responsible for making your guests sick. Catering outdoors also presents unique challenges. Frozen desserts like ice cream are not practical, as they will melt in the heat. Since you cannot control the temperature, it is wise to choose fail-safe food options. Your catering team should be able to confidently handle and distribute the items on the menu on time. Here are some tips to help you plan the food menu right.

  • Avoid serving cheeses, sea food and meat in the open. These items should be served and consumed quickly to avoid spoilage.
  • Use dairy products like cream sparingly in your dishes. Not only do these spoil quickly, their consistency may also be unpredictable when kept outdoors for a while.
  • Ensure all the dishes are covered once they are kept outdoors. Leaving any of them open is an invitation for bugs, ants and flies to attack.

7.Help your guests stay cool and safe

Make sure the site is visually inspected prior to the ceremony, to ensure it is clean and there are no insects or flies in the area. Since you can never be too careful, have some bug spray ready in case someone needs it during the day. In case your guests forget to wear sunscreen, it is a good idea to have that available as well. You do not want anyone falling ill at your wedding, or enduring sun burn. Simply place bottles of sunscreen in baskets at the venue, if your guests will be spending a long time outdoors. Also, make sure that you do not pick metallic chairs for the seating. This can get pretty warm and you do not want your guests to suffer on account of it.

8.Have an indoor location for them to chill in, if necessary

Not everyone can continuously tolerate a hot outdoor setting for a long time. So, your guests will appreciate a chance to relax in an indoor area, if it gets too hot. This is especially true if there are pregnant women or older guests in your party. This can be a smaller hall or lobby area that they can access. If your venue doesn’t have such a provision, consider hiring an A/C unit to or large portable fan for them to sit around and relax, if they find the heat too stifling.

9.Have a back-up plan

Unlike an indoor venue, you can never rule out natural emergencies that can affect your plans. It could be something as big as a hurricane, a torrential downpour or even a small shower. Prepare for such conditions with an alternate plan. It is best if there is an indoor location to move into in such situations. If the weather forecast on the day of your wedding isn’t promising, make your call early and move the ceremony indoors rather than risk your guests getting drenched. The staff at your wedding should also be able to quickly move your wedding tables and other decor items into the secured area, should the need arise. Always arrange for umbrellas or raincoats for your guests, should it suddenly rain. Even it is just a drizzle, your guests shouldn’t have to wait till they dry off. So, arrange for fluffy towels in the restrooms it showers.

10.Find out about licenses, permits and rules for outdoor events prior to the wedding

When planning your wedding, you should  aspects into examine the licenses and permits for the location. There may be a time limit imposed on the use of outdoor venues. Ensure your party winds up before this timeline. Also check with the local authorities on whether you need a permit or license to hold a wedding at your chosen venue. If your venue is in a residential locality, there may be regulations on sound, parking and trash dumping. Make sure you are aware of all these restrictions and do not break any rules on your wedding day.

11.Use plenty of signage all over the venue

At outdoor venues, guests may find it confusing to find their way from one point to another. Save them the trouble by implementing plenty of direction signs all over the venue. Print them and set it up at different positions. Or simply do them in chalkboard and push the boards into the ground or hang them on trees. Use plenty of signs to direct guests to rest rooms and trash cans. You can also rent carpets to separate off the areas of the wedding from the rest of the area.

12.Make the most of seasonal fare

Every area will have its own refreshing produce, and this is what you should indulge in at your wedding. From the décor to the menu, flowers and gifts, let the season dictate your choice. Use fresh potted plants for your natural décor and even consider them for your wedding favors. Include seasonal produce in your salads, dressings, sauces and juices and your guests will love the taste. Use fresh fruits and flowers in your wedding cake and keep it simple for best results. Decorate with seasonal berries, flowers and fruits to create striking masterpieces that will tolerate the weather and look fresh all day long. Embrace the quality of the season, and your outdoor wedding will be a huge hit with your guests.

Summer weddings also give brides the perfect opportunity to explore a wide range of options in wedding fashion. From short wedding dresses to light, airy fabric choices, there are plenty of options available at Best for Bride for outdoor weddings. Here are just a few to inspire you with.

6867 Mori Lee

 

6861 Mori Lee

 

8191 Mori Lee

8177 Mori Lee

So, tell us which of these styles will you be embracing at your wedding? To take a closer look at these gowns as well as to explore more of our summer wedding dress collections, visit our bridal dress gallery at Best for Bride.

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Do’s and Don’ts for beach-bound brides

You are one lucky lady if your nuptials are to be at a beach. Whether it is at a faraway exotic locale or a tropical beach closer to home, this is easily one of the best wedding venues there is. Romance permeates the air, as nature forms a beautiful canvas for your wedding. Your guests will enjoy the holiday experience, even as they frolic and have fun in the sand and sea.

Nonetheless, planning a beach wedding has its own set of challenges. You have to account for various factors that are not present in other venues. The warm and humid environment can cause a fair share of makeup, hair and dress issues for beach brides. Fortunately, you can look gorgeous and plan a successful wedding day with a few helpful tips.

Here is our list of Do’s and Don’ts for the different things you should keep in mind when you are a beach-bound bride.

DO consider the weather at the time of your wedding

The weather at a beach isn’t warm and humid all-year around. Beach weather can also be dry, windy, with showers at various times of the year. Depending on the destination you pick, it is a good idea to do some research on the weather that will be present at the time of your wedding. If the beach will be windy, adjust your outfit, makeup and hairstyle to suit the weather. Consider accessorizing with a stole, wrap or jacket if it gets too cold. Also pick a hairstyle that keeps hair away from your face, and the wind won’t be a problem.

DON’T forget to choose the right fabric

Traditional wedding dress fabrics like organza and silk aren’t the best choices for beach weddings. They can weigh you down, show sweat and become shabby in the sand at a beach. So, it is wise to stay away from these types of fabrics. Instead, choose light and airy fabrics like chiffon for your wedding dress. These blend in beautifully with the setting, are comfortable to wear and convenient to carry. Other fabrics to consider are voile, organza and tulle. For more information on wedding dress fabrics, take a look at this article on the Brides website. Also make sure that the fabric doesn’t wrinkle easily. Your dress will be put through a lot of wear and tear. So, avoid fabrics like cotton and linen that wrinkle easily.

DO pick the right silhouette

The dress silhouette you choose has a huge impact on your overall bridal look. The right silhouette will flatter your best features and help you look gorgeous. When your wedding is at the beach, don’t let the location limit your choices. If you start your search early, you will have time to find a dress that looks great on you while being right for the beach. So, start by identifying the best silhouettes for your body type. Then find a dress that fits the bill. For help on identifying the best wedding dress silhouettes for your body type, visit this article on the Huff Post website. 

DON’T overlook the importance of picking the right white

One of the biggest advantages of an outdoor venue is that your photographer can make the most of natural lighting. This is a wonderful thing. However, it also means that your dress may look different in this light from how you would expect it to look in artificial lighting. Consider this aspect when choosing the shade of white. Eliminate any likely issues by simply ensuring that the dress looks good in natural light, prior to the purchase. Make sure that you pick the right white for your complexion, so it flatters your skin tone. Here is some information on this subject at the Knot website, that may come in handy. 

DO keep the skirt simple

Trust me when I say that it is no fun walking around in a dress that drags in the sand. Intricate details in the hemline and train can easily attract dirt and have sand stuck to it. This can be difficult to clean afterwards. So, keep the skirt of your dress simple and avoid such problems. It will be easier to move around in a light, airy skirt. Additionally, it will also look fresh and clean throughout the day, when the skirt of your dress is simple. If you must have an embellished wedding gown, choose a dress with details in the bodice and waistline for best results.

DON’T forget to look out for the sun

Since your wedding is in the outdoors, it is natural that you will spend hours in the sun. So don’t forget to protect yourself well. Use adequate amount of a broad spectrum sunscreen on all exposed parts of your body, to stay sun-safe. Pick makeup with sun protection for best results. Also account for the effect of the sun when you choose the colors of your makeup. The natural light will emphasize pinks and corals. So, pick them judiciously to sport a natural look. It is best to keep the makeup light, and just emphasize your features for the best result.

DON’T forget about issues associated with transporting your dress

Unless your venue is near to where you stay, you will have to travel with your wedding dress. It isn’t easy to transport a gown that is heavy, has intricate embellishments or is prone to wrinkling. Such factors can damage your dress. So, pick a dress that travels well and you can eliminate likely issues. We suggest that you choose from collections that are specifically tailored for destination weddings. Such gowns will be easy to pack, transport and restore to original condition with minimum effort once you reach the destination.

DON’T overlook the importance of your accessories

 

Most beach brides opt for simple wedding dresses for their beach weddings. However, this doesn’t mean they have to compromise on their bridal look because of the simplicity of the dress. The right choice of accessories will help you look gorgeous. Pick colored gemstone jewelry for a pop of color. Or indulge in extra bling to sparkle on your special day. The best part of choosing jewelry with sparkling stones is that they reflect the natural light and look stunning in the venue you chose. You can also go with pearl, coral or rustic natural stones for an earthy vibe.

DO use waterproof makeup

Waterproof makeup is an absolute must for your beach wedding. It will stay on despite the heat and keep your look fresh. Although you will have to touch-up your makeup at regular intervals throughout the day, waterproof makeup reduces the frequency of this task. It is very important to use waterproof eyeliner, mascara and eye shadow. This will help your eye makeup stay on, even if you shed copious tears of joy. Choose colors like brown, navy and olive instead of black in your eye colors, for a sun-kissed effect.

DO remember that humidity will affect your locks

Hair and humidity don’t always go together. Beaches have high humidity levels, and this can affect how frizzy your hair becomes. Keep this factor in mind when you plan your wedding day hairstyle. If your hair tends to frizz up when the air is moist, keep your hairstyle simple and collected. This will help you look fresh throughout the day. If your tresses aren’t affected by humid environments, feel free to choose any hairstyle that you desire. Avoid too many styling products that will weigh your hair down, as these can ruin your look. A sleek and polished hairstyle may also look out of place in the cool, relaxed environment of a beach. Consider these factors when choosing your hairdo for the day.

DON’T pick the wrong footwear

The uneven nature of the sand and turf at a beach make heels totally unsuitable for the occasion. Even if you have a wooden or cemented walkway for the ceremony, you will be walking in the sand at some time of the day. So, ditch the heels and go barefoot. Adorn your feet with the choicest accessories, like anklets, to dress your feet in style. Or step up your style with bridal flip flops or stylish sandals customized for the occasion.

DON’T overdo the tan

Sun-kissed brides look wonderful. Nonetheless, tan with caution. It is easy to go overboard and this can ruin all your makeup plans. Fake tanning lotions and spray-on tans are a big mistake when your wedding is at the beach. These take on a garish orange hue in pictures, and can make you look funny. So, if you must tan, do it in the safe and recommended way. Build up the faux glow by using the right products and obtaining the color gradually. For a detailed account of the ideal options to consider when your wedding is around the corner, visit this article on the Knot website. 

DO remember to stay hydrated

The salty air in the beach environment can affect your skin texture. So moisturize well before you set out for the beach. It is equally important to stay hydrated on the inside too. Refresh yourself by sipping on water and other liquids throughout your stay at the venue. This will keep your skin looking fresh and compensate for the loss of moisture in the salty environment. If you have oily skin, it is likely that you will find it excessively oily in the natural environment. Make use of the blotting paper in your emergency kit to avoid this. More on what you should pack into this day-of emergency kit is available in this previous post.

DO choose the right flowers

If flowers are a priority in your décor, make sure you pick the right blooms. Unlike other venues, the beach environment doesn’t favor all flowers. You will have to consider the heat and direct sunlight that will affect their life span. Discard the idea of any thin, fragile flowers that wilt quickly. You need hardy blossoms that hold their shape and last fresh for longer. Good choices are orchids and chrysanthemums. Incorporate flowers that can tolerate the environmental condition into your décor and accessories. The other option is to go for artificial flowers made from fabric or paper.

DON’T skip a beautiful head accessory

Your hairstyle and headpiece are the crowning glory of your bridal look. In your attempt to look cool and casual, don’t overlook the importance of picking the right hair accessories to complete your look. Whether it is a nature inspired floral crown, a glittering tiara or a simple head band, make sure you explore your options and pick the one that is right for your setting. And if you love veils, don’t hesitate to wear one for your wedding day. The ideal veil for this setting is one with with a lace trim. The trim will add weight to the veil and help it stay in place, even when the weather is windy.

Although planning a wedding on the beach can seem like a lot of work, it is beautiful when you do it right. Just think of how apt the symbolism of nature is to your marriage. As the sun and the ocean join each other in blissful harmony at your beautiful venue, so do you and your partner come together to celebrate life as husband and wife.

Best for Bride is the perfect place to find your dream dress for a romantic beach wedding. From lightweight chiffon gowns to airy voile dresses and sexy mermaid gowns, we have a vast array of options for you to choose from. Visit us in-store or head over to our online gallery today to see what you love. And book your appointment today, so we can help you choose the dress of your dreams.

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A guide to choosing a wedding dress for an informal wedding

Aren’t you too excited with the idea of dressing up in a classic ball gown, with immaculate makeup and a hairstyle with every strand held in place, on your wedding day?

If you answered yes, it is likely that a formal wedding is not for you. Brides with an, easy-going personality cannot always relate to a formal wedding. This is because everything is bound by rules and expectations at formal weddings. A casual wedding theme at an exciting venue would perhaps appeal better. In this case, you have the flexibility of making and bending the rules. Not only is this more fun, it will be more memorable when planned properly.

Brides who have their heart set on an informal wedding do not usually want traditional gowns. If this doesn’t reflect the fun and bubbly element of your personality, there is no rule that requires you to wear it. Instead, there are plenty of dresses that are better suited for an informal wedding. This is what you should look at.

Destination wedding dress collections usually feature bold and at times, even daring wedding dress styles. These are good choices for an informal wedding. If not these, you may even find an attractive dress in an evening dress collection. So, look there instead of the traditional wedding dress aisles.

So, how do you go about shopping for your dress when your wedding is different from the rest? Here are some tips from our bridal consultants to help you with this.

1.Identify the venue first

The dress styles that are suitable for an informal backyard wedding will not be good for a wedding on the beach. So, the venue is an important factor to consider when planning your bridal look. Informal wedding venues include beaches and resorts, gardens, backyards and restaurants. Your wedding dress should be appropriate for the venue as well as comfortable for the weather. Always start your shopping only after you finalize the location of your wedding.

2.Do your research in advance

Just because you won’t pick a traditional wedding dress, you shouldn’t skip your dress research. Informal dresses come in different styles. From bridal pant suits to tea-length dresses and loose sheaths, you have a variety of options. Unless you know what to wear, dress shopping can drag on and leave you confused and overwhelmed. So, plan your look first. Have an idea of the dress styles that you want to try on. Then find a shop that caters to your needs.

3.Fix your budget

An informal wedding gown can also be expensive. Nonetheless, you should be able to find dresses  in different price ranges. Calculate the maximum amount that you can spend on your dress. This will give you a reference point to base your search on. Also include the cost for alterations and accessories when calculating the price. These are additional expenses that you will incur when shopping for your wedding dress.

4.Be flexible

You may have to think out of the box and be open to looking at more than just bridal dresses to find a dress of your choice. Since your search is for something unusual, it may not be as easy as shopping for a regular wedding gown. So, be prepared to search in other departments to find what you want.

5.Don’t settle for what is available

Like I mentioned earlier, it isn’t always easy to find a dress that satisfies your preferences for an informal theme. Fortunately, you can always customize an available dress if it isn’t exactly your taste. Explore the possibility of having a dress dyed if everything but the color isn’t right. Or you can even have the dress tailored. This gives you the opportunity to plan your look to even the smallest detail. If you can find a talented seamstress, this is a practical and easy solution to your need.

6.Get alterations done

A dress doesn’t look right unless it drapes correctly and fits perfectly. So, you should alter your dress to your measurements once you purchase it. If the boutique where you shop doesn’t provide this service, look for a seamstress who has the experience to work with dress styles like yours. It can take anywhere between 3 weeks to 3 months to complete alterations, depending on the complexity of the dress. Make sure you do your shopping early so you have enough time for it and don’t incur rush charges.

7.Choose the right accessories

You can dress up or down with the right choice of accessories. Accessories can help you create the look you want. So, choose jewelry, shoes and other accessories that enhance your look. You can mix and match dress styles and accessories to look modern, vintage, classic or boho-chic. Also, think out of the box and try on accessories like birdcage veils, flower crowns and vintage jewelry to find your unique style statement. Also experiment with color to add a pop of personality to your outfit.

Now, let us look at some of the dresses suitable for informal-style weddings. All these dresses belong to our dress collection at Best for Bride. Enjoy your tour!

Style: Tea length dress with lace appliques

With dainty lace appliques in the bodice this dress is very attractive. Lace appliques are also present in the lower half of the satin and net skirt. The waistline is defined by a pleated waistband, which clearly emphasizes the smallest part of the bride’s waist. The dress also has a gentle sweetheart bodice and layered skirt, which exude a youthful charm. The exquisite lace details in the dress make it just right for a garden wedding.

Style: Casual style with High-low hemline skirt

Very simple with delightful, uncluttered details. The simplicity of this dress adds to its appeal, giving it a casual vibe. The bodice features an empire waistline. It is embellished with intricate lace details till here. Soft layers of net flow from the waist to floor length. There are pretty lace appliques in the lower half of the skirt. The tonal strapless bodice features spaghetti straps that support and act as an interesting detail in this area. The high-low hemline makes this dress just right for an informal wedding style.

Style: Fun and flirty A-line dress with hi-low  hemline

 

This dress is bound to take years off age off the bride who wears it. With a lace-bordered hi-low hemline, the dress is casual but fun. Soft scintillating straps support the lace-embellished sweetheart bodice. A crystal-studded waistband defines the natural waistline. This little detail adds a touch of pizzazz to the beautiful dress in white. Exquisite details like the hemline, waistband and pretty lace appliques will ensure the bride in it stands out from the rest of the crowd.

Style:Colored wedding dress with simple details

Here is another dress with all the essential elements for a casual wedding. The ruched bodice and pleated skirt have no fussy embellishments, but is very charming. The simple floral detail on the slim waistband complements the simplicity of the dress. This gown is easy to manage in the outdoors, and the pale pink color creates a vintage effect.

 

Style: Floor-length gown with illusion back details

This is a stunning beauty from the Mori Lee bridal collection. The 6836 dress is of floor-length, where the details are concentrated in the embellished bodice. With a V-neckline and beaded satin belt, the dress has bridal charm. However, it doesn’t overwhelm with details. The gathered A-line skirt is universally flattering, which makes it suitable for brides of most body types. It also features an amazing illusion back. This dress would be beautiful for a non-traditional wedding in the warmer months.

 

Style:Spaghetti straps on sheath style wedding dress

If your dream dress is one that drapes closely and shows off your natural curves effectively, here is a dress that satisfies your taste. The 6815 Mori Lee dress has an asymmetrically draped bodice in lush crepe. The criss-cross detail in the sweetheart bodice is complimented by thin spaghetti straps. The sheath silhouette courses to full length, gently defining the natural curves and creating a sexy effect. The dress is perfect for a destination wedding. It can be chosen for both indoor and outdoor venues.

Style: Pink beauty for the bride who loves color

Let your love for color reflect in your wedding dress choice. This Sans Pareil gown in soft pink is a picture of magnificence, and yet entirely non-traditional. From the fit-and-flare silhouette to the color, there are many unusual elements in this beautiful dress. The scintillating threads of crystal along the length of the gown create a spectacular effect. Equally bewitching is the low-cut open back detail and the deep-dip illusion V-neckline. This is a bold choice for a bride, but one that will stay in your guests memories for long.

 

Style:Sexy illusion neckline on non-traditional dress silhouette

You will be remembered as a glamorous bride, when you choose this amazing Sophia Tolli gown as your bridal dress. The plunging illusion V-neckline has embellishments that add an air of intrigue. The ruched bodice extends into shoulder straps and is gathered at the natural waistline. The skirt has wispy layers that flutter in the breeze, so it resembles drifting clouds. The artistic touch of crystal details in the neckline and decolletage are what makes this dress unique. It is a dress that is just right for a beach wedding.

Style: Black and white wedding dress

Be a bride with a difference when you add a touch of black to your wedding day outfit. This dress from the Jasmine designer bridal collection has a trumpet silhouette. From the strapless neckline, the dress follows the natural curves all the way up to the thighs. From here, it opens out into a layered misty skirt. The entire bodice has a ruched criss-cross effect for textural finesse. However, the signature element has to be the black lace appliques that adorn the length of the bodice along the sides. It extends from the bust all the way to the dropped waist, and has a pronounced effect. Classic and sophisticated, yet unusual, this is a dress for the bride who wants to stand out from the rest.

Now you’ve seen our favorite informal bridal dress picks from our wedding dress collection. One of the other places you should look at, is our bridesmaids collection. There are some real beauties in there that will easily pass off as wedding dresses.

One of our customers, Julie Santos is an example of how bridesmaids dresses can work as a wedding dress. Her pick was a bridesmaid dress from our Jasmine collection. Julie, who was married on the beach, says this was the perfect dress for her big day, and many of her guests couldn’t even believe that the dress she wore wasn’t from a wedding dress collection. Pictures of Julie on her wedding day are available here. 

So, you now know that there are plenty of options in informal wedding dresses. Plus, designers are now on a spree to bring out more and more unexpected dress styles that fit into the wedding dress category.

To see all the dresses featured in this post up-close and also search for more options, check out our bridal dress gallery. And don’t forget to tell us which of these dresses you would choose to wear to your celebration. Or do you have another dress in mind? Do share your comments and ideas in our comments section below.

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How to match your bridesmaids dresses to your wedding style and venue

If you thought to choose the perfect wedding gown was a big challenge, wait till you start looking for your bridesmaids dresses!

Apart from your personal preferences, there are many other factors to consider. The dresses you choose should not only look good on the women who wear it, but they should also be suitable for the wedding theme.

In my previous post, we looked at how to choose wedding dresses for different wedding venues. Although not easy, it is possible to identify whether a dress is suitable for a wedding venue. Making the right pick is important. Unless the dress you choose matches the venue, you will not look like you belong. Meanwhile, it is equally important that this choice reflects your personality and personal style.

Once you make this decision, the next challenge is to choose bridesmaids dresses. These dresses should complement your wedding dress. After all, your bridesmaids contribute to the visual scenery at your wedding. Their outfits, hair, and makeup will make a difference to the impact of your wedding. Hence this task requires few hours of research and planning.

In today’s post, the fashion team at Best for Bride will tell you how to do it right. We will look at different wedding venues and wedding styles and explore appropriate bridesmaid dress styles for each of them. The accompanying pictures will give you a good idea of what we mean. I suggest that you use them as inspiration to plan your own wedding party look. So, let’s get started!

Formal wedding in a Church or house of worship

Church weddings are old-fashioned and definitely traditional. Most brides choose timeless, classic dress styles for these weddings. Veils, tiaras, and long trains are signature elements at a traditional church wedding.

Take cues from your own attire to choose a suitable style for your bridesmaids dresses. Aim for simplicity, but make sure their outfits reflect sophistication. Stay away from short hemlines or other revealing dress styles. These will look out of place in the setting. Structured silhouettes and classic dress styles are ideal.

Style suggestions: Full-length gowns in structured silhouettes look grand in traditional settings. Or go for a hemline that ends at the knee or below. Traditional cuts like the A-line, fit and flare or styles with a fitted bodice look stunning. Single solid colors are recommended. Fabrics like satin and chiffon are suitable. Considering the nature of the wedding, it is a good idea to pick classy accessories. Aim for a feminine, polished look with tasteful accessories, classic make-up, and traditional hairstyles.

This is the Mori Lee 121 Beaded Lace dress with cap-sleeves and illusion neckline is sophisticated with a fit and flare silhouette and satin waistband.

The 6740 A-line crepe gown from After Six bridesmaids collection is simple and uncluttered, but elegant. The classic neckline and sleeves render it suitable for a traditional wedding.

Ballroom wedding

A ballroom wedding is a formal affair, one that has a luxurious ambiance. Most brides make their choice between a modern, stylish silhouette and a traditional dress style like the ball gown for such weddings. Either way, the idea is to stand out from the rest of the crowd. Bridesmaids dresses in timeless, classic colors that flow to full-length will effectively complement your look.

Style Suggestions: Full-length gowns are an ideal bridesmaid dress style if your wedding is a formal affair. For a modern theme, choose dress details like off-the-shoulder or halter necklines. These features create a signature look and will stand out.

Chiffon is a fabric to consider, as it is comfortable to wear as well as dance in. You can also look for dresses with signature motifs in the bodice, or with features like ruffles or embellishments for a dressy look. Pay attention to the neckline and draping, as it can make a huge difference to the final result. Soft flowing solid colored gown packs a punch and will stand out in any setting.

The 6726 full-length A-line bridesmaid dress from After Six collection is glamorous and stylish, and thus perfect for a ballroom wedding. The soft tulle fabric makes the drape impeccable, and the scintillating silver bodice is dressy.

Elegant and attractive, the Mori Lee 141 chiffon full-length gown features an off-the-shoulder neckline detail. Additionally, thin spaghetti straps support the bodice.

Rustic wedding venues like barns

Characterized by the intimacy and casual nature of the venue and décor, these weddings continue to be a huge hit. The warm and cozy venue has a relaxed and laid-back effect. This is easily carried through when you choose lace bridal gowns and vintage-inspired dress styles. It is suggested to choose a relaxed dress silhouette to match the ambiance and formality of the event.

It isn’t too difficult to find bridesmaids dresses that are suitable for this type of venue. Take inspiration from vintage styles and also consider how practical a dress will be for the venue you have chosen.

Style suggestions: If you have chosen a lace wedding dress, why not put your girls in lace too? The textures will have a cohesive effect. You can vary the length and neckline from your gown, so the dresses aren’t too similar.

Although long gowns are fine, dresses with shorter hemlines that end at knee-length are better suited. You can also choose dresses in sturdy fabrics with lace accents in the bodice or skirt. These will be simple, but good-looking. Allow each bridesmaid to choose a suitable neckline from strapless to fully-covered. Not only will this have a mix and match effect, but it will also look elegant. Mix different colors from the same color family for a more interesting effect.

The Jasmine B173010 is a romantic dress with the criss-cross empire-waist bodice. The lace details in the dress and the embellished shoulder straps add textural finesse.

The 31034 from the Mori Lee collection features all-over lace and a stunning strapless bodice. With a short hemline and uncluttered look, the dress is suitable for a barn wedding or other rustic style affair.

Beach wedding

A beach wedding is casual and relaxed. Brides usually opt for unconventional choices when their wedding venue is a beach. You may be looking at soft, flowing gowns in light, breathable fabric for your own wedding dress. After all, this is both pretty and practical in the natural ambiance. It is also sensible to avoid a train and keep the hemline short for your own dress.

Use your own dress choice as the guide to finding bridesmaids dresses that go well with this theme. The last thing you want on your hands is a bridesmaid who trips and falls. So, long hemlines are definitely off the list. Keep it short and smart, and it will be functional.

Fun and flirty styles are ideal for beach bridesmaids. The weather will most likely be hot and humid. So, choose fabrics that do not show sweat and are comfortable in the heat. Experiment with soft, fluttering fabrics that look right in the natural environment. Go with bright, tropical colors or neutral shades to make them stand out. Muted colors can look washed out and too subtle in the natural background. So, avoid them.

If it is a destination wedding, don’t forget to pick dresses that travel well. Low-maintenance dresses that do not wrinkle easily are the best. It should be possible to easily press the dresses to look perfect, as your bridesmaids will have to transport their dresses on a flight. Find more tips on how to plan a destination wedding in this previous article.

Style suggestions: Both loosely draped and fitted silhouettes are equally suitable. A-line dress styles are the other popular choice. Mix and match necklines to make the overall effect more fun. Strapless, halter, one-shoulder, and sleeveless styles are usually perfect for the occasion. Dresses with soft ruffles and loose pleats add interesting texture.

Heavy embellishments will look out of place. Keep the accessories including jewelry and bouquets small. Bright floral bouquets in small sizes are usually beautiful in these settings. Choose flat heels or pumps that make it easy to walk over the uneven terrain.

Casual and light, the B173001 bridesmaid dress from the Jasmine collection is perfect for a beach wedding. The halter-style neckline is an extension of the draped chiffon bodice, and it adds to the overall casual nature.

Stylish and sexy, the Mori Lee 31043 is a smart, but practical dress for a beach wedding. The single shoulder-strap detail and criss-cross bodice add more charm to the dress.

Garden wedding

A garden wedding is the epitome of romance. With lush greenery in the natural background, little décor is needed to make it more attractive. The natural outdoors makes the entire mood light, fun, and relaxed. However, being an outdoor venue, there are more constraints than choosing dresses for indoor venues. Unless the wedding is in early spring, it can be warm and humid. Breathable fabrics are ideal in this scenario. Go with romantic, feminine patterns for the dress to be suitable for the natural vibe at this venue.

Style suggestions: Lace increases the feminine appeal of a dress, and is suitable for a garden wedding. Dresses with shorter hemlines are also very beautiful. Soft, flowy fabric with few embellishments look beautiful and attractive.

Keep the colors simple and soft, with pastels and other muted colors for a charming and elegant effect. Choose dresses that show off just enough skin to be feminine, but not provocative. Mix and match different necklines from strapless to cap-sleeves, so your bridesmaids can all pick styles that suit them best.

Perfect for spring, the Alfred Sung D724CP is a beautiful sateen twill dress with bright floral prints in the skirt. Set against a stark white bodice, the dress is representative of spring itself.

In an A-line silhouette with a strapless neckline, the 113 tulle Mori Lee bridesmaid dress is just right for an outdoor garden wedding.

City Hall Wedding

We haven’t seen brides with too many bridesmaids when they plan their wedding is at City Hall. Nevertheless, for the few that will be in the bridal party, you have to find a suitable, smart, and chic attire that makes them look special. The occasion is formal. So, a full-length gown or a cocktail dress that is well-tailored and structured would look good.

Style Suggestions: Always choose dresses with the definite structure for your bridesmaids. If you will be wearing a full-length wedding gown, go with long gowns with uncluttered embellishments for your bridesmaids. Equally suitable are dresses that end below knee-length and have a definite shape. Go with formal styles to keep it appropriate. Dresses with sleeves look good. Similarly, experiment with necklines that are stylish-but modest. Keep the accessories, hair, and makeup simple and uncluttered. Stay away from too much bling, as this can work against the look you want.

Smart and uncluttered, the color block feature of the 2956 from the Dessy Bridesmaid collection is a dress that is good for a City Hall wedding.

The Mori Lee 31042 features a sleeveless V-neckline with the criss-cross bodice, pleated skirt and zipper back.

While this guide will help you obtain a general idea of what should work at your wedding, remember that these are not the only options to explore. When choosing your bridesmaids dresses, do your research and shopping with an open mind. This will improve your chances of finding exactly what you want your favorite girls to wear on your special day.

At Best for Bride, we have an impressive range of bridesmaids dresses from world-class designer collections. Most dresses come in a whole range of colors, making it easy for you to find the dress you want. Start your research early, narrow down your choices, and consult your bridesmaids before you make your final decision. The earlier you get on with this task, the more time you will have to make a wise choice. Click on this link to go to our page of bridesmaids dress collections.