We are in the midst of wedding season. And my husband and I have been to four weddings within five weeks. Four blushing brides in four beautiful gowns, four proud grooms ogling their newly minted wife, four first kisses, first dances, cake cuttings, and drunken attendants. Despite the wedding formula though - the agenda that every pair of newlyweds has to check off before Donna Summer belts out 'Last Dance’ - remarkably, each wedding was quite different.
There were different venues, appetizers and signature cocktails; different crowds and different dance floor cultures; different layers of cake and different midnight snacks; and a springtime array of different, carefully selected dresses.
Every wedding attendee knows, around the time that the groom kisses his bride, and Mr. and Mrs. is-that-really-her-new-name walk up the aisle, you are released from a state of captive bridal attention, and informally granted permission to start scoping out the crowd. Who’s who, who’s gained weight, who’s wearing what, and please God no, who’s wearing the same dress as me. (Bitch.)
I knew that at some point all eyes would pass over me during these four weddings, so figuring out what to wear was a challenge.
Well, the first wedding was easy. As a bridesmaid, the work was done for me. I wore a long navy Amsale dress. Classic. The next three were more difficult. I picked a knee length ultramarine Trina Turk dress for the second wedding, a crimson Sue Wong for the third, and a jet-black, form fitting, Yoana Baraschi to the fourth. I’ve sported ruffles, asymmetry and cleavage. I was squeezed in and given ample room to breath. But despite having rationalized what did and didn’t work, I still feel like I could have done better – that I wasn’t completely pleased when the pictures popped up on Facebook the next day.
So in retrospect, I’ve put together some style tips for women on the wedding circuit.
- If you end up getting your period the night before the wedding, just resort to wearing a mumu. Basically, you won’t look good in any of your dresses.
- If you aren’t familiar with movement in your floor length dress, don’t drink and dance. You’ll end up on the ground, in the middle of a slow-moving dance floor, with all eyes of old folks on you.
- Unless you are really strapped in, strapless dresses honestly aren’t a good idea. You’ll be yanking it up like a pre-teen with no social grace all night.
- There is a cleavage cut-off point. A little bit is fine, but leave the red carpet cleavage for the celebs. Even though you’ve been working on your body, there’s only so much of it that people are comfortable looking at.
- Wear shoes that you can dance in – taking them off is so 1990.
- Most likely, your body has changed over the years. Which means even though your favorite dress from college might zip up, it doesn’t necessarily fit right.
- Ultimately it is about the bride. So when you catch yourself obsessing about you and your look for the night, have your date slap you back into focus. Suck up your dance floor downfall, constant dress maneuvering, cleavage mishap, and menstrual bloat, and do your part to make sure the bride is smiling all night long.