Dressing the Bride and Groom | Weddings | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine
Dressing the Bride and Groom
Hillary Harvey

The Attire

Have you heard of “The Kate Effect?” It’s a bridal industry expression that was coined after the recent royal wedding and is making a huge impact on what brides are wearing down the aisle. Sleeves are becoming fashionable once again! Beloved Twilight star Bella Swans’s long-sleeved sheath dress and Lauren Bush’s high-necked, long-sleeved gown have also brought a more modest style of dress into bridal magazines and blogs. Gladys Portalatin, owner of The Bridal Cottage in Kingston says, “Not only have we seen resurgence in long sleeves since the royal wedding, we have an order for an exact replica of Kate’s dress on order right now.” She goes on to say, “People have always wanted sleeves and our store works with a specific manufacture that can alter any gown to add them.”

The reception dress is also gaining popularity among brides, giving them the chance to flaunt a sexier, shorter and often, more comfortable style of dress for the reception. It’s their time to shine, so it’s the perfect opportunity for a wardrobe change. Portalatin says, “We have brides who enjoy the ability to change into the reception dress and carry styles in the store where the skirt can transform from longer to shorter for a different look.” She also mentions, “Some of our brides actually buy two reception dresses. One for the majority of the reception and one dress for when they leave the wedding.” That “Going Away” dresses that Portalatin references is a throwback to our grandparent’s generation and is making a comeback among brides today.
click to enlarge Dressing the Bride and Groom
Hillary Harvey

As we all know, fashions come and go, and because a style is trending does not mean that it’s necessarily right for you. Elizabeth Morrison, of Pomona says, “I’ve found that the dress style that looks best on me is either a full A-line or a ball gown with a sweetheart neckline. I also prefer a lace-up back. It’s the signature design of wedding dress designer, Maggie Sottero.” Morrison plans to shop at Letitia’s Bridals in Monsey, one of the premier carriers of the Maggie Sottero line of gowns.

Be it a long-sleeve dress with sleeves, a ball gown, or perhaps a vintage tea-length style; finding the perfect wedding dress is one of the most important details of wedding planning. So important, in fact, that it’s often one of the first items to be checked off your wedding to-do list. Heather Graham, co-owner of Chamonix bridal salon in Rhinebeck recommends ordering your dress one year in advance. Her advice is, “You book the venue first, and that determines the style of your dress you’ll choose, which can take up to eight months to order. This leaves time for alterations, which adds another month to six weeks.”

For the gents, the classic black, single-breasted tux remains the formal wear of choice. Peter Esposito, owner of Esposito’s Tux Shop in Kingston, says, “When you’re purchasing a tuxedo, you’d not want to buy anything else but the classic.” At his full-service shop they’re seeing the grooms and his wedding party experiment with color, and it’s often in the accessories. It’s not uncommon for the wedding party to wear a different color of tie or vest than the groom. Esposito says, “We recommend that the groom is set apart (even subtly) from the wedding party. The vest or even boutonnière is one way to do it, but the groom can also rent a higher-end tux that still complements the rest of the group.”

Bridal Accessories

click to enlarge Dressing the Bride and Groom
Hillary Harvey
When it comes to accessories, many brides choose to wear a veil. The options are vast, and styles can accommodate the most traditional to funkiest of bride; from the birdcage to a cathedral. Portalatin says, “The trend in veils now is very simple so that the dress shows through.” She also points out how fascinators have become in vogue and are made with feathers and Swarovski crystals to be worn with or without a veil. Lita Alaimo, owner of Reginella, a bridal salon in Montgomery, says, “Cathedral length veils are more in demand than ever.” Perhaps this is also the “Kate Effect” taking place.

The expression, “It’s all in the details” could not hold more truth than when purchasing accessories to accompany your wedding attire. Often, these items are purchased as the wedding gift for the soon-to-be bride or groom to gift to each other and are later passed down to future generations. Cuff links often come engraved and jewelry in a hue of blue. Morrison says that since she’s having a formal Saturday night wedding, her fiancé will be wearing a tux and, of course, a pair of cufflinks to accompanying his attire. She plans to purchase him a pair for the wedding day and will be engraving them for the special occasion.

Beauty and (yes) Manscaping

From perfectly coifed hair, manicured and monthly facials, the bridal beauty industry is booming and now extends to the male population. Leah Brady, hair designer at Allure Salon and Spa in Rhinebeck says that, “The Hollywood glam look, like Veronica Lake, is making a comeback.” She says that brides are now coming in for soft waves and chignons. “Darker lips, like reds and burgundy are big, with a softer eye. We’re seeing less of the smoky eye and nude lip combo that was popular last year,” Brady says.
click to enlarge Dressing the Bride and Groom
Hillary Harvey
Bride-to-be Freyja touching up make-up at West Park Winery in 2007.

Men are also more focused on spiffing themselves up for the big day. Brady mentions that, “The guys tend to take better care of their hair and skin before the wedding and even come in for facials.” And speaking of facials; it’s recommend that they’re done in advance. Beth Rango, owner of Soul Therapy Spa in Fishkill, New York, recommends getting a facial no earlier than a week before the wedding to avoid reactions or breakouts. She says, “I’d also recommend massages for relaxation, especially as the wedding gets closer.” Soul Therapy is popular for their nail services. “Not only can the bride and their wedding party come in to have their nails done together to look nice for the rehearsal dinner and the wedding day,” Rango says, “but it’s fun for the group too.” The salon serves food and beverages and makes it a party for the girls for the ultimate bridal bonding experience.

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