Destination Wedding Style GuideWeddings are getting wilder: More marriages now take place in the open air, with some nuptials seaside-casual, and others glamming up rural landscape. We’ve gathered the best bridal gowns, bridesmaid dresses and guest attire for sunny ceremonies.
Warmer months are prime time for the marriage inclined, with many couples choosing to take the plunge in the welcoming weather of the great outdoors. Marriage vows exchanged at a tropical island resort, surrounded by a field of wildflowers out in the country, or even in your own beloved backyard add a touch of rugged romance to the proceedings. For the bride, bridal party and guests it means choosing attire and accessories that hit the right grace notes of ease and elegance.
For The Bride: Sunshine of Your Love
When taking vows under forested boughs, along the shore or in a cozy backyard, gowns and accessories emphasizing natural beauty make the most of summer surroundings. Gorgeous and breezy short chiffon frocks rock, as do longer Grecian shapes replete with exquisite (yet somehow still outdoor-casual) draping, leg-baring starlet styles featuring trendy side slits, and sleekly glowing satin column dresses. Veer more boho-retro in wedding gowns of cotton muslin or linen blends that charm with lace trim, netting overlays, antique-look embroidery or rosette cascades. Necklines go bare for the season, with strapless, corset, sweetheart and halter cuts defining the décolletage. A hot gown trend that keeps brides cool? Beautiful backless designs.
Outdoor aisles call for the right footwear. For relaxed beach "I do"s, barefoot bridal sandals are like jewelry for the feet, white wedge flip-flops work with the most casual nuptials, and since bejeweled and faux-floral-bedecked flat sandals are so trendy, there are scads to choose from for the big day. Outdoor summer weddings aren't a good venue for heavy baubles or big veils, so choose delicate, understated jewelry sets in marine or nature motifs, and feather-weight hair accessories like crystal-rich headbands or small fascinators.
For The Bridesmaids: It's Only Natural
This year's most in-style bridesmaid dress silhouette also happens to be something so summer-ready: The short and flirty cocktail style flatters myriad figures and also happens to be wear-again versatile. Easy, breezy fabrics (think: chiffon, georgette, faille) get girlfriends through the ceremony and on to dancing under the stars with ease. Surfside ceremonies are sometimes the most low-key of all, so less pricey materials such as jersey will work, but choose matte jersey in a bright bold color so the dresses don't look too laid-back. Another fabric available in matte finishes, satin, graces slightly fancier frocks sporting empire waists, babydoll cuts and other airy shapes.
Sweet and sexy sandals are a shoe-in for outdoor summertime marriages, and all the styles we suggest for the bride can work for her bridesmaids, too. Just steer clear of white or ivory shades, and try not to outdo the bride with bling. We do recommend wedge or platform sandals when the heel is high: These shapes are much easier to balance on than their stiletto cousins. Sparkly hair combs and clips, or fancy ponytail fasteners, keep hair up and out of beautifully beaming faces.