Monday, April 25, 2011

Wedding Dresses For True Fashion Lovers

Fashion is a fickle thing. Styles come and go over the years. But one particular tradition has helped create an enormous industry in the United States. Even as the total number of marriages continues to fall, the revenues for the bridal industry have hit a record high. How is this possible? Because wedding costs have doubled over the past twenty years!

About two million American couples get married each year. The average cost of a traditional wedding ceremony is around $25,000. Not surprisingly, more and more couples are choosing unconventional ceremonies. The outdoor wedding, for instance, can save couples thousands of dollars.

Why is the modern wedding so expensive? It all started in 1840. That was the year Queen Victoria married Prince Albert in an elaborate royal wedding that set the tone for future generations. Instead of simple ceremonies, Western brides fell in love with the pomp and pageantry of the so-called white wedding.

White weddings were and continue to be elaborate affairs that involve designer dresses, exotic flowers and expensive decorations. They are typically all-day events that include a ceremony in a church and a reception in a fancy restaurant. The price-tag for the average contemporary white wedding is fast approaching $30,000.

As wedding costs continue to rise, couples are exploring other options. The beach and the backyard wedding are incredibly popular these days. One item that brides-to-be refuse to compromise on, however, is the wedding dress. They spend over one thousand dollars on wedding gowns, even if they agree to a more casual ceremony.

Bridal warehouses have helped bring down the cost a bit, but most brides-to-be refuse to walk down the aisle in anything less than their ideal dress. This is something the average man cannot possibly comprehend. Sexual stereotypes aside, most women invest an incredible amount of energy in finding the perfect dress. In fact, they generally start shopping for their bridal gown a full year before their big day.

Color

The latest trend in wedding day fashion for the bride is the shift away from white. No, brides arent wearing blue or red. But they are eschewing pure white shades, since they do not compliment most skin tones. Off-white colors like champagne and ivory have grown increasingly popular in recent years. Pure white is still the top shade, but it certainly isnt the only one available at local bridal boutiques or salons.

Length

The classic white wedding gown was an elaborate, floor-length number with a heavy train. But because more and more ceremonies are being held outdoors these days, the most popular dresses do not sweep the floor. Tea length and ballerina length gowns are now more commonplace than full-length gowns. These dresses have hemlines that fall around the ankles.

Material

Heavy brocade wedding gowns look great coming down the aisle, but they are difficult to dance in. Not only do they weigh ten to fifteen pounds with a train, but they also dont breathe well, which is why many traditional brides buy a second, lighter gown to wear at the reception. The average price of these reception gowns is around five hundred dollars. Purchasing a shorter, lighter bridal gown can eliminate the need for a second dress.

Heavy materials like satin, silk and velvet are common for traditional gowns. As we mentioned, these materials are most assuredly eye-catching, but they do not breathe well. Lightweight fabrics like china silk and douppioni are far more comfortable. They can be worn the entire day.

Accessories

The two most expensive and indispensible accessories for the bride-to-be are her shoes and her veil. Elaborate veils are quite common for indoor ceremonies. But for more casual, outdoor affairs during the summer months, shorter veils are de rigueur. The most popular short veil is called the blusher. It is a lightweight accessory that touches the shoulders and can be swept back by a stiff breeze. For indoor ceremonies, the flyaway veil is a multi-layered veil that also touches the shoulders. It is a bit more elaborate than the blusher, without being uncomfortable or obtrusive.

Shorter dresses give brides-to-be the option of adding a few interesting accessories. A high hemline, for instance, can be decorated with beads, lace or embroidery. This is an easy and inexpensive way to spice up a somewhat plain or pedestrian outdoor wedding gown.

Another fashion accessory that is quite popular with younger brides is leg wear. Beach brides often wear white fishnet stockings when they stroll down the sandy aisle. Many also choose to go barefoot and bear-legged. It all comes down to personal taste and style preferences.

Strapless

While it is still considered risqu for traditional brides to wear strapless gowns in church, unconventional brides wear them all the time. Outdoor ceremonies in the grass or on the sand during the summer months generally call for shorter, strapless numbers.

Finding the right wedding gown takes patience and time. The bride-to-be should start shopping for a dress at least nine months ahead of her big day. Take some time to find your perfect wedding dress now.

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