Posted by Azure on April 10th, 2009
About Bride Chic
White wedding dress with tulle skirt and flower detail; Ivory strapless wedding dress with bow detai

Wouldn't going straight from a wedding ceremony to the bash of your life be a radical transition? Few brides can do this without making some changes. Generally the most common adjustments are from head and hemline. After the ceremony, a bride usually removes the longest layer of veil or doffs it entirely save the headpiece. The train that looked so awesome on the walk down the aisle is bustled for dancing and moving about. Lately brides are taking time out between ceremony and reception, getting into another dress altogether—typically something “After fiveish” that’s sexy as well as comfy.

Because you're asking, “How can I dress proper for my ceremony and still be chic and relaxed for my reception?” some designers are offering interchangable looks in their collections. Think of interchangables as ensembles that work one way for going down the aisle and removed or readjusted come reception. For example: you may want a formal look for your ceremony and see yourself in a skirt swathed in layers of organza falling into a chapel train. But for your reception you want something totally different: a strapless sheath—something you might wear to a cocktail party. So go ahead and wear that sheath for your ceremony, only wear it under a detachable organza over skirt. The layers of skirt fasten to a belt and easily unhook for the reception. If you are into a more covered up look for your ceremony, how about a chiffon or all over lace dress? It could button down or tie in front when you wear it over that sheath. This gives a gossmer feminine look and is removed after the ceremony.

But suppose you like the idea of one gown—something all one piece with tiers of ruffles that fall into a sweep train. Think about this: The bottom ruffle could be secured with Velcro or hooks, then removed—and presto!—your train is gone and you have a cocktail dress.

If you’re not such a romantic go for a more tailored look. Yes, you can still go with the sheath idea and your overdress—the one you wear down the aisle—might look more like a full-length Princess-style coat or 3/4 length jacket. Or imagine something with one button at the waist and part of the dress underneath showing; ideal for winter weddings in heavier fabrics like Peau de Soie and Brocade. Once you decide an interchangable wedding ensemble is for you, begin your search. I wouldn't be concerned if a clear picture of gown and fabric doesn’t happen right off. First step when perusing the latest magazines and going online is keeping an open mind. If you see two entirely different looks you want, imagine how they’d look together. Would the skirt work as an overdress? Or could that shorter sheath be worn under a long wrap of tulle skirt? Don’t despair when you see two entirely different styles. A ball gown and evening gown may be as diverse as you can get; but with a little ingenuity, they might work together.

Okay, let’s say you find a reception dress you like. Clip the page or bookmark it. See something else that might go with it? Sketch out the combination. The more research you do, the more likely the gown will evolve in your head. And once it gels, start shopping. 1.)Visit a Salon. Your consultant will know which designers offer interchangeable looks. You may find you’re able to order a simple evening gown and have that wrap dress you want to wear over it made. Did you know some bridal salons employ in house dressmakers? Yes, not only for alterations but for special custom touches brides put on the gowns they order. Those who don’t often have referrals. 2.)Check Out the Possibility of Going Custom. Custom designers (like moi) will work with you from start to finished creation; they have skill dealing with fine fabrics and the expertise to help you achieve exactly what you want. 3.)Go Vintage. If you can get hold of an actual dress from the 30s-40s era when slip/dress combinations were so popular, you might have a good investment as well as chic bridal ensemble. 4.)Never Overlook Department Stores and Specialty Boutiques. Even though boutiques don’t as a rule carry bridal, the awesome dresses they do have can sometimes be special ordered in white or ivory. Some work closely with up and coming specialty designers. With a little imagination and the help of professionals, you might be able to put some stunning looks together. Photo 1:

These gowns are fitted sheath designs under hook-on/off overskirts that change around the look come reception time! left: Gown with tulle skirt by Amy-Jo Tatum

right: Gown with taffeta skirt by Oscar de la Renta Photo 2: left: Full length A-line gown under lace jacket by Deuralde right: A-line dress with organza overcoat by Jesús Peiró Photo 3:

Coat and dress ensemble by Yolan Chris

Full length and knee length a-line wedding dresses; one with lace jacket, one with organza overcoat

Beautiful off-white, knee-length wedding dress and coat perfect for transition from ceremony to rece

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