Styles for: The Outdoor Bride

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Updated: 3/04/2004 9:51 am

You've been dreaming of getting married outdoors since the first time you took in the magnificent scent of fresh-cut flowers. Now you've decided to roll the dice and start praying to Mother Nature. All you need is the perfect al fresco attire. Below, some tips for looking splendid in the grass.

When selecting a gown for your garden party, keep in mind that certain fabrics and sleeve lengths will keep you cool, while others will heat things up. In general, late spring and summer brides should avoid heavy materials like brocade and velvet. Even seemingly light sleeve fabrics like illusion can heat up the arms and chest under the hot sun. Opt instead for airy cap sleeves, tank style or strapless gowns. And don't forget the sunscreen!

If your dress is simple but you want it to reflect your love of the outdoors, have your seamstress attach a few scattered silk dragonflies, roses, or lilies (found at craft stores). Or choose one of the season's butterfly-embellished gowns (Manale's Duchess gown is a stunning version) or one adorned with floral lace or hand-rolled rose blooms.

On a gusty day, a long train may twist in the wind, sweeping up debris from the ground. If you're not aiming for a breezy look, choose a tea-length dress or an ankle-length version that just skims the floor. If you have your heart set on a train, select one that bustles, and be sure to hook it up right after the ceremony to avoid dirt and grass stains.

Prepare for unseasonably cool weather by draping yourself in a beautiful shawl of silk organza. For a dramatic entrance, wear a rich-looking cape, or keep goosebumps at bay by slipping into a whisper-soft pashmina -- great for bridesmaids, too.

Top off the nature theme by crowning yourself with fresh flowers or a flowery tiara. Or adorn your tresses with a whimical creation like Gerard Yosca's single butterfly headband or dragonfly hairpin. Beware of the wind, though -- especially if you plan to wear a veil. Make sure it -- and your headpiece -- are securely attached to your head.

Dainty silver silk shantung flats from Kate Spade, strappy open-toe floral leather sandals from Manale, and clear vinyl open-toed mules from Stuart Weitzman are all good outdoor wedding shoe options. Sexy as they may be, those Manolo Blahnik t-straps might turn out to be real sticks in the mud. If you're exchanging vows on the beach, you might want to toss the shoes altogether. Kick things up a notch by painting your toes a pale shade of blue to match the ocean instead.

-- Hollee Actman Becker -


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