Wedding Protocol

Because of the social changes over the last two decades, a bride may not be sure what kind of gown is appropriate for her wedding. Can she wear a long gown when she's marrying for the first time at age 30 or 40? Is white appropriate for a second marriage? What should she wear if she's lived with her fiance before the marriage?

Here are some basic rules in bridal etiquette to help a prospective bride make her choice:
Any bride may wear a long, white gown. . .no matter how many times she's walked down the aisle and no matter what her age.

A bride should wear a veil and train only for her first marriage because they symbolically represent youth and innocence. An older, first-time bride or a second-time bride might select a wreath of flowers or a beautiful bridal hat in place of a billowy veil .

The bridesmaids and the mother of the bride never should wear a gown longer than the bride's.

Today, white and eggshell are the most popular color choices. However, many designers are adding a hint of pale pink, peach, blue or mauve to traditional white gowns.

Today's bride can have beautiful laces, taffetas, satins, velvets and organzas like her mother and grandmother wore, but the fabrics may be made of man-made fibers.

Because of advancements in technology, gowns made of rayon, acetate, nylon, polyester and spandex look and feel delicate and luxurious, yet they resist wrinkling during the ceremony, are easier to maintain and resist yellowing over the years.

Wedding gown styles range from extravagantly beaded designs to simply tailored wedding suits. Victorian styles continue to be the most popular because the high necklines and inset sleeves create flattering proportions.

However, some styles are more appropriate than others for various ages and situations. Off-the-shoulder ball gowns are a perfect look for the young, first-time bride. For the bride in her late 30's, a three-piece wedding suit is a comfortable and practical style.

A good choice for a bride in her mid-40's might be a strapless, floor length gown in flowing fabrics. The gown could be used again for formal occasions.

Bridesmaids also want gowns that they can wear for other occasions. In fact, the most common complaint among attendants is that they never can wear their gowns again.

Rely on your bridal shop consultant for help in selecting the perfect wedding ensemble. . .the one that best reflects your personal style and figure.