Autumn weddings are set amidst a glorious season; as the poet Emily Dickenson put it, “A little this side of the snow / And that side of the Haze.” This not-too-hot and not-too-cold, but “just right” time of year opens a wide range of wedding gown options for the autumn bride. The best wedding dresses for outdoor and garden weddings work in concert with the season and the setting. Put nature first, and then add the trendy touches.
Fortunately, when it comes to gown fabrics, some of the fall trends for 2011 adapt beautifully to outdoor settings. Natural fibers and natural fiber blends offer the breathability that is comfortable across a span of weather conditions. The popularity of silk this year fits that requirement very well. Designers have also used sheer organza and tulle as they favored airy ethereal styles this fall. These light and airy looks have a freshness that goes well with garden and outdoor ceremonies.
Another trend that is favoring autumn brides who have chosen garden venues, is that heavy beading has given way to a greater uses of floral appliqués. This design element is a perfect nod to the botany of nature, and it is less fussy to wear.
Ball gown styles have made a comeback in 2011. While the cathedral trains on some of the gowns would only act as drag harrow to be pulled through the dirt at some outdoor locations, the fuller skirts can still be worn in well-manicured formal gardens and parks. At the other end of the hemline spectrum, knee-length, cocktail, and even mini-skirt hemlines have been shown at this year’s bridal shows. Choose any length that is flattering and comfortable.
Autumn brides may wish to reconsider the traditional stark white dress. Fall colors blend well with off-white, ivory, champagne and warm candlelight whites. If the attendants’ attire and the flowers are chosen from the warm side of the palette, their colors will enhance a creamy white bridal dress. Realize that at a bright, sunlit daytime wedding, a slightly mellowed white, will generate less glare and allow the details of the gown to stand out. Again, the colors of natural fibers, such as unbleached silk, can often be the perfect complement to an outdoor wedding.
Many of the wedding dresses being featured for this fall are strapless and bare-shouldered. This may be fine for early September weddings, but in some regions, and especially for late autumn weddings, long sleeves or cap sleeves with an elegant wrap may make standing through the ceremony more comfortable. The advantage of selecting a coordinating stole or bolero is that it can be removed or added as the weather dictates.
Hats and veils need special consideration for outdoor weddings; they should complement the wedding dress. Long, sheer veils can be caught by the wind and cause the dreaded ‘wardrobe malfunction’ on windy days. Many brides choose to skip the veil and go with a tiara or floral hairpiece instead. On the other hand, a broad brimmed hat that is firmly anchored with a decorative hatpin does wonders at deflecting the flying insects that often come uninvited to garden weddings.
Any bride would do well to remember to include undergarments and shoes in her dress budget. In the shoe category, the trendy stilettos abandon the practicalities of garden weddings. Uneven pavement, or no paving at all, is a fact of outdoor weddings. If extra height is desired, a stylish platform shoe is usually a better option.
The best dresses for celebrating an autumn wedding will harmonize with the joy of the season.
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