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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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Wedding guest dresses: Appropriate outfits for every type of wedding

No guest likes to look out-of-place in a wedding setting. Hence, it is necessary that your outfit is suitable for the wedding style, is stylish and flatters you when you have to attend a wedding. Unfortunately, there is no standard dress code that works for every type of wedding. It is often necessary to change your choice according to the wedding style, location and time of year. This can make your dress selection confusing, and at times, even difficult.

However, you can quickly ascertain whether a certain style of dressing is appropriate for a wedding or not with some attention to details. Use the cues in the wedding invitation to find out more about the wedding. Also consider the weather at the time as a guide to choose your outfit for the occasion.

Let us quickly look at what the phrases on the invitation imply, in terms of what is appropriate to wear to a wedding.

Black Tie: This term denotes a formal event. Black-tie weddings are usually held in the evening. Ideal dress choices would be formal gowns, dressy suits or cocktail length dresses.

White Tie: Usually an extravagant affair with a formal vibe. A full-length dress is a must and your outfit should be stylish and chic.

Semi-formal: This can be anywhere between formal and casual. It is better to choose formal dresses just in case the wedding is more formal than casual.

Dressy casual: Another term that is often used to replace semi-formal. The same dress choices as above are suitable for such an event.

Casual: Simple affair with an informal vibe. Outdoor weddings and the like fit this style. Short and smart dress styles are ideal. You have plenty of options. Nonetheless, jeans, flip flops, T-shirts and casual attire elements are never a good choice, even if it is a casual wedding.

We now have a clear idea of what style of dressing to choose based on the invitation. Here are some do’s and don’ts that apply to all weddings, irrespective of this dress code. Keep these in mind to ensure that you will not be breaking any etiquette norms.

  • Avoid wearing white or black to weddings, unless it is absolutely necessary. Let the bride shine in her white gown, without your dress being a distraction. Although black isn’t often associated with happy events, it is fine to wear it to a wedding if you have limited options otherwise.
  • Choose your attire so it is suitable for the venue. This is very important especially if the wedding is held in a house of worship. For church weddings, avoid strapless and revealing styles. Cover up with an accessory like a stole or jacket for the ceremony.
  • When in doubt, play it safe by dressing in formal attire than sporting an informal dress choice.
  • Avoid any outfit that is vulgar, revealing or overly flashy. Also avoid cheap, artificial jewelry and accessories even if they are fashionable.
  • Never wear distressed clothing to a wedding. Although it may be trendy in mainstream fashion, torn and ripped clothing is never suitable for a wedding.

Let us now explore the different outfit options that are ideal for different wedding styles

Formal wedding 

If the event mentions black-tie or white tie, the wedding is a formal one.

Likely Venues: Formal weddings are usually held in banquet halls, country clubs and similar locations. It can also be held at historical and heritage sites like castles or museums. The wedding setting will be lavish. The wedding ceremony may be held at a house of worship, like a church.

Dress ideas: Aim to dress elegantly. Choose simple, but smart silhouettes in bold or dark colors for best effect. Formal floors-length gowns are appropriate. You can also choose cocktail or tea length dresses. Always try to choose dresses that flatter your body type. Dresses with crisp, clean lines look smart and flatter most body types. Pay attention to the neckline and sleeves to find one that enhances your best assets. All sleeve lengths are suitable for formal weddings. So, make a suitable choice based on the time of year. For contemporary wedding styles, modern dress styles with a color block feature or trendy prints are good.

Accessories, makeup and style: Statement accessories will amp up your style. Pair your outfit with metallic colors like gold, silver or gemstone jewelry. While wearing accessories, make sure that you balance your look with just the right number of pieces. Avoid wearing one of each piece as this can clutter up your overall look. Choose one or two statement pieces that complement your dress style. If your dress is relatively simple, add a belt or scarf. For more ideas on how to accessorize for a formal look, visit this article on the Leaf.  Dress up in red-carpet style with elaborate hairdos and bright shades of makeup that flatter your complexion and face shape for a dressy look.

Casual Wedding type

Although almost any outfit is deemed fit for a casual wedding, it is best to plan your dress based on the actual location where it is held. Let us look at the popular choices and what goes for each of them.

Venue: Beach

Dress Ideas: Dress in a bright summer frock or tea-length dress that looks like it belongs in the setting. Don’t hesitate to experiment with bold tropical prints and fluttering dress styles. Choose light, breathable fabrics like chiffon and cotton for comfort. It isn’t advisable to wear silk or satin in this environment, since they show sweat and can ruin your look. Avoid floor-length dresses that will pick up sand and be difficult to walk in. Off-the-shoulder necklines, strapless dresses and spaghetti strap tops are all good. Separates and mix and match skirts and tops are also good choices for beach weddings.

Accessories, hair and makeup: Choose simple accessories that work well with the outfit you choose. Avoid metallic and flashy jewelry. Opt for flats or wedges for footwear that is practical in the sand. Avoid flip-flops and sneakers since they look too casual. Embellished sandals look good and work great in the sandy beach. Keep the makeup simple and opt for neutral shades for a natural look. Avoid heavy eye makeup as it may spread in the humid environment. Pick a hairstyle that keeps hair off your face. When at the beach, your hair can fly a lot and obscure your face in photos. So, pick a bun or hairdo that keeps the hair tucked away and this won’t be a problem.

Venue: Farm or garden

Dress Ideas: Being outdoor venues, consider comfort when choosing your outfit. As with a beach venue, pick breathable fabrics like cotton or chiffon. The dress hemline shouldn’t extend beyond floor length. Shorter hemlines will make navigation on the uneven terrain easy. Match your outfit to the setting with the choice of colors, accessories and dressing style. Both printed and plain dress styles are suitable. Dresses with floral prints or in lace look good in farm and garden venues. For outdoor venues, sleeveless and strapless necklines are comfortable. You can also pair the dress with a removable accessory like a jacket or stole, for when the evening gets chilly.

Accessories, hair and makeup: Keep your look simple and uncluttered. Avoid accessories that are too heavy. Instead choose small pieces that complement your dress style and colors. A casual wedding is the right occasion to wear bright and big accessories. Flats or kitten heels are suitable footwear. If you wish to truly stand out, consider pairing your dress with boots. Choose waterproof makeup and aim for a simple, natural look that will look good in the natural ambiance of the setting. Simple, fun hairstyles and hair accessories like flowers will add a beautiful finishing touch to your overall look.

Venue: Indoor venue like loft or restaurant

Dress Ideas: It is a good idea to choose a fancy dress if you are unsure of the venue, or if it is more likely to be held indoors. Wear a smart dress or separates that you would wear to a restaurant or to a dinner with your colleagues. Short, flirty dresses, cocktail dresses or tea-length gowns are also fine, as don’t look formal. Keep the look interesting by choosing colors that flatter your complexion.

Accessories, hair and makeup: Aim to look as though you have put in an effort to look good. For an indoor venue and an event in the evening, pick makeup colors that will look bright in the pictures. If you use nude or natural makeup, you may have a washed-out look. Choose colors that not only complement your complexion, but also go well with your dress colors. Balance the details in your dress with the suitable choice of accessories. If your dress has intricate and statement details, avoid too many accessories that clash with it. Alternately, wear bold, bright jewelry if your dress is relatively simple. Pick a hairstyle that will hold throughout the length of the event.

Venue: Country-style or vintage

Dress Ideas: The relaxed ambiance and natural setting of a country-style wedding or a vintage wedding is best complemented by relaxed silhouettes. Simple, but pretty dress details look good too. A-line dresses, sheath silhouettes and fit and flare gowns look and feel comfortable. Lace is a classic favorite for weddings at such venues. You can choose between all-over lace dresses or dresses with lace trims on the neckline, sleeves or hemline. Go for embroidery, sequins or retro-elements and style details that match the setting. Also mix and match tops and skirts for a unique effect. There are plenty of vintage-inspired wedding dress styles in the market today. Find one that flatters your body type and looks perfect in such a setting, if you choose. For ideas on what would work, take a look at this article on the Bustle. 

Accessories, hair and makeup: Simple hairstyles like buns, ponytails or braided hairstyles complement the dress types mentioned above. Keep the accessories simple. A string of pearls or a pendant looks good. Pair it with a bracelet or dangling earrings. Studs are also appropriate. For a vintage wedding, consider silver or gold colored accessories. Oversize bracelets or watches, elegant necklaces and earrings are good choices. For vintage theme weddings, try to wear a hairstyle with braids or use a hair accessory that is from that timeline. If the venue is indoors, pair your outfit with colorful footwear that complements your outfit choice.

Finally, let us take a look at three important rules to keep in mind when choosing your outfit. Remember that this applies to any type of wedding, and can also be extended to any other occasion that you have to dress up for.

1.Always choose the right fit: However expensive or beautiful a dress is, all is lost unless it fits you well. Dresses that flatter your figure and are altered to your exact measurements will help you look smart. So, always make sure that the dress you buy is the right size. Further, have it altered to fit you exactly. A good seamstress can alter a dress to your exact measurements in just one fitting session. Do this and you will look much better when you wear the dress.

2.Elegant and classy is always in: If you are unsure of what to wear to a wedding, always go for an elegant and classy choice. Elegant, simple dress silhouettes and details fit into almost any setting. Choose the color, fabric and design so it is suitable for the weather at the time, the venue and what flatters you.

3.Stick to your style and taste: Irrespective of the style of the wedding, always make sure that you pick a dress that reflects your personality and style. Make sure your dress choice matches your age and is an extension of your everyday style.

To take a closer look at all the dresses featured here and also to see more of our collection of evening dresses and dresses for special occasions, head over to the Best for Bride website by clicking here. This is your one-stop destination for everything related to wedding fashion.

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A guide to choosing the right attire for different types of weddings

Weddings may be formal or casual, and how you dress for a particular wedding should be based on this factor. It wouldn’t be appropriate to wear a formal evening gown to a casual beach wedding, or a pair of flip flops to a black-tie wedding. These are very obvious dress-etiquette rules, but it doesn’t always have to be so straightforward.

What you choose to wear should match the tone for the event. The general guidelines are not to wear white or black, never turn up in a pair of jeans, your dress shouldn’t be shabby nor should you look unkempt. Let us now look at what type of dressing would be appropriate for different types of weddings that you may be attending in the future.

Casual weddings

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These weddings are usually held at an informal venue, say a beach or a garden. Most daytime weddings are casual events. Though it says casual, you shouldn’t dress for it like you would when you go camping with friends. Make sure that your choice of attire is cheerful, but elegant. Women would look good in pretty dresses, printed skirts or trousers and a nice blouse. Men can wear casual pants with a cotton shirt. Though the wedding is casual, you shouldn’t wear jeans (especially the worn out variety). Also choose appropriate footwear that matches your ensemble. Make it look as though you took some effort to dress up.

Semi-formal

This is a tough choice, as it is difficult to draw the line between what is semi-formal and what is formal or informal. You can opt for dressy, but not too formal, or choose a formal attire with simple details. For example, a knee-length dress in satin or chiffon would be fine, but not a full length evening gown. You could also wear well-tailored trousers with a printed or silk top. Match your accessories to your outfit, but keep them simple. Men can choose their tuxedo in a dark or light color, as either would be appropriate.

Formal weddings

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You will clearly recognize a formal wedding from the tone of the invitation and the venue where it will be held. This is the occasion to show off your expensive full-length evening gown with the elegant accessories you chose to go with it. Embellishments and prints are fine, as long as they are classic and add sophistication to the dress. Pair it with matching heels and you are all set. Men are expected to be dressed in a tux, a crisp shirt and a matching tie.

Black tie weddings

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This is often confused with formal weddings, as the dress code is pretty similar. Take a cue from the name, and sport a black tie and wear a tux as well as a vest. Women can choose formal gowns and add accessories that are classic and elegant.

Whether you have to attend casual or formal weddings, and whether the wedding is in summer or winter, we at Best for Bride, have all the right choices for you to pick from. Visit our selection of evening gowns today and make your pick.