Shabby chic reigns supreme again this wedding season – but don’t put in your bulk order for mason jars just yet. Brides across Canada are embracing the handmade, but with a welcome breath of sophistication. Vintage tea cups, wild roses, and art deco light fixtures elevate the hand-crafted shabby chic aesthetic, moving it out of the barn and into the (crystal-chandeliered) mainstream.
The Bridal Gown
Say goodbye to the heavy-boned corset and princess skirt. This year it’s all about ethereal elegance. Artistic draping offers a flattering silhouette for every figure, whether you prefer an elaborately beaded 40’s style drop waist or an over-the-shoulder Roman bodice and floor-skimming folds. These dresses are classic, graceful, and (believe it or not) comfortable. With most women choosing to wear their wedding dresses through the reception, this is a trend with more to recommend it than just aesthetics. Check out the new collections by Jenny Packham and Vera Wang for inspiration, or go with a genuine vintage evening dress for true old-world glamour. (Not cocktail! This year, it’s all about floor-length, and with good reason. Can you imagine Sophia Loren or Audrey with their knees showing?). Designer bridal gowns that are made in Canada are available for discerning brides that are perfect for the eco-conscious bride, too. (Featured Image: Courtesy Pure Magnolia, Vancouver, BC).
The Wedding Colours
“What are your colours?” is the first thing many brides are asked. After all, the palette sets the tone for the whole event. The refined romanticism that we’re seeing is carrying over into the colours as well, with many brides-to-be throwing over stark white for shades of ivory, lace-overlaid nudes, even pale blues and blushing pinks. (Think Gwyneth Wins an Oscar, with better tailoring.) Rather than selecting one or two shades though, many people are opting for a stylish spectrum, layering sapphire, ocean and glacier blues, or deep marsala pinks with shades of strawberry and petal. With all the decor and supply options, shopping by themed colour is a breeze.
This new colour trend is particularly welcome with regards to outfitting the wedding party. Bridesmaids, mothers-in-law, and flower girls are increasingly being outfitted in understated riffs on the bride’s own dress, in a range of shades designed to compliment both the bride herself (and it IS all about the bridal accessories)and the different women’s unique colouring and body types. A schlubby-looking bridesmaid is just as, if not more, distracting than someone who’s trying to outshine her ‘friend’. Plus (and this is huge), the ‘colour-spectrum’ concept solves the under-considered but persistent challenge of outfitting the groomsmen, without making them look like unwilling participants in a little girl’s tea party. Complimentary neckties (or cummerbunds, for black tie) can be selected in a more masculine shade so that the men compliment the bridal party, without looking like slightly sheepish Ken dolls.
Think English garden gone riot. Think Midsummer Night’s Dream. Flowers have the potential to be prohibitively expensive, but you can keep your budget under control by focusing on beautifully chaotic mixtures of garden roses, lady’s slippers, foxgloves and freesia. Chrysanthemums and hydrangeas add volume, and sprigs of fern and pussy willow break up the bouquets, giving them that just-gathered look. Voluminous centrepieces can be a problem, ending up on the floor as guests try to socialize, so why not go with hanging arrangements instead? You’ll end up with a wild elegance, especially if you play around with levels and opt for softly burning candles on the tables instead.
The Wedding Favours
Drop the sugared almonds, and put away the monogrammed cups. Wedding favour selection is where your personality really shines through so explore the world of DIY favour supplies. Need more? Flasks of homemade limoncello, handmade soaps scented with wildflowers, and delicate succulents potted in thrifty tea cups have all made favour-ite appearances this season. Rent a photo booth if you must – oversized sunglasses and funny hats still have their appeal – but why not hire a caricature artist instead? It’s not difficult to have your guests leave with a unique gift, and you won’t be stuck tying sheer ribbon around a hundred cellophane bags, every one of which is destined for the bin at the earliest opportunity.
The Hot Wedding Takeaway
Wedding day sophistication does not have to be sterile, and refined doesn’t mean boring. Don’t be afraid to aim for elegance – but make sure to let your personality shine through. Your friends and family are here to celebrate you! An attitude of casual grace will ensure that everyone feels pampered, but not afraid to cut loose.