More and more couples every year are opting to get married abroad, maybe it's something to do with the unpredictable weather we've come to know in the uk or the fact that by tying the knot whilst away allows some couples to have the dream honeymoon they always wanted as they can forgo some of the costs involved in a wedding in the uk. Whichever is the case, a destination wedding should not mean that a bride should have to compromise on their wedding dress as now more than ever there are so many options open to a destination bride.
The most important thing to remember when choosing the perfect dress for your wedding abroad is the practicalities involved. I once saw a bride in the Caribbean about to go down to the beach to say her vows, completely wilting under the weight of her huge dress in the blistering heat with make up running down her face. I felt so sorry for her and couldn't help thinking that if she had just been a little more practical it would have been a more magical experience for her (and more comfortable). A really big dress is not the best idea - not just because it is less wearable abroad but also you have to get it there and there can be real restrictions about the size dress you can take on a plane (only some airlines allow you to hang your dress in their first class wardrobe - others keep you to a small carry on box). Another practical consideration is how appropriate the style is to the venue you have chosen. Check out our guide below on matching the right style to your location.
For beach weddings or exotic locations I recommend soft floating dresses. Always try to pick silk fabrics rather than heavier synthetic satins for hot climates as natural fibres allow your skin to breathe and will not make you perspire as much. Opt for gowns without long trains to get sandy or grass stained and styles that will suit sandals or bare feet rather than heels which will get stuck in the sand. Light chiffons and organzas look wonderful in a beach setting as do soft, light laces for a more natural look. Be open to a short dress - these can look fabulous and make you feel completely comfortable and able to dip your toes in the sea for your wedding pics. Beach weddings are often the hottest locations so be prepared to be practical and forgo any heavy fabrics and consider stretch linings and soft construction instead of boning and corsets. Take a look at our Platinum Bay collection for perfect beach dresses.
For capital city weddings such as Paris and New York look for chic and contemporary designs. We always recommend these brides looking at fun 1950's styles wedding dresses as they look so wonderful against cityscapes in the wedding pictures (black and white pictures with an urban backdrop can look so retro cool). If a vintage venue has been chosen a Great Gatsby styled 1920's dress can look fabulous. If it's a colder time of the year (New York in particular can be freezing) take a look at wraps, bolero jackets and capes - there are some wonderful winter accessories available. Simpler and contemporary styles look the best for urban weddings so try to avoid over fussy styling. Check out the modern styling of some of the designs in our Into The Limelight collection.
For romantic locations such as weddings at the Italian Lakes or a French chateau for example we always say for brides to look at soft dresses with romantic detailing such as floral lace or traditional bodice shapes. It's for these destinations that brides usually want the big dresses, but to make it easier to pack - check if the big dress you want can have petticoat layers removed or opt for soft instead of firm petticoats for a lighter skirt shape and less weight. Consider other colour palettes rather than the traditional ivory as we've found that blush, pale gold and platinum gowns tend to look amazing against a sweeping landscape. For our most romantic designs see our Under a Tuscan Sun collection.
There are some amazing and very glamorous places in the world to get married. We've seen brides this year who are traveling to the the French Rivera, Venice and Monte Carlo - these locations all call for dresses with the wow factor! This might be either a fabulous silhouette, a feature train or sparking detail. Its best to look for a gown which is a bit out of the ordinary and has a sophisticated feel as well as some extra detailing to lend itself to the cultured surroundings. Try to find a dress with patterned fabric or think about adding a cape or bolero for added style. Some of the gowns I designed for our Into the Limelight collection were especially for glamorous destinations.
In the wilderness
Some couples are going the extra mile for their weddings and opting for more unusual destinations such as rustic ranches in the USA or ceremonies in woodlands in a bid to get back to nature. Its important for this style wedding to just not be too formal. Instead fresh styling and boho relaxed design is the way to go. Look for soft deconstructed design and boleros in light, retro laces to give a natural and less formal look. For plenty of options for a wedding with a backdrop in the wilderness take a look at our brand new Wild at Heart collection.
Other tips to consider:
* Asking your venue to e-mail you pictures of real weddings in the location. See what other brides chose to wear in your venue and compare which ones you think looked great with ones that you think did not fit in so well. You may be surprised sometimes by what looked best.
* Show pictures of your wedding location to your chosen bridal boutique - they will be able to offer valuable advice about the best dress in store for your destination.
* Once you have chosen your dress - finally my advice would be to invest in a good quality wedding dress travel box with acid free tissue paper to ensure the dress is well protected and arrives in as good a condition as possible. Also enquire if your hotel has a steaming service to put your mind at rest that your dress will look fabulous on the day.
Most of all - enjoy your wedding abroad (with more chance of guaranteed sunshine than the uk can offer!)
Image credit : all shot on location with New Pixels Photography