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The ‘I do’ dress

LAURA A. BALL
eagle county correspondent

Just like finding Mr. Right, a bride knows when she’s found the wedding dress of her dreams.

“I think today’s bride really knows what she wants,” said Anita Holland of Priscilla of Boston, a bridal shop in Cherry Creek in Denver. “They’re very specific, and they’re making their own choices rather than bringing a whole entourage of their mother, sisters and friends with them.”

Holland, who specializes in helping brides find their dream gowns, advises each bride to close her eyes and envision what she’s always pictured her wedding dress to look like.

When Meg Lindstrom of Avon closes her eyes, she sees a classic, elegant gown with a low back and a halter or V-neck top that flows effortlessly to the ground. Lindstrom, who got engaged in September, began searching for a gown right away, but she has yet to find “the dress.”

“Everything is strapless or princessy,” Lindstrom said. “I’m 31 and I don’t want to look like I’m 16 going to the prom. I want something sophisticated and elegant and classic, not with a lot of lace and rhinestones and beading.”

Lindstrom, who shopped in Cherry Creek and in her hometown of St. Louis, still has plenty of time. She plans to be married in Vail this fall. Since it is not unusual for a dress order to take about three to six months it’s important to give yourself plenty of time to shop for the right one.

“The most exciting thing besides the man and the ring is the bridal gown,” Holland said. “It sets the tone for the whole day.”

The location, time of year and time of day are factors in determining the dress, especially when it comes to fabric. Priscilla of Boston, a full-service wedding dress boutique, caters to many destination weddings in places like Hawaii, Mexico and Fiji. For destination weddings, Holland suggests a sheath style with flowy chiffon or a silk charmeuse, which are gaining popularity for warm-weather ceremonies. Wedding dress fabrics in general are becoming lighter ” mostly for the comfort of the bride.

When it came time for Cassie Pence of Eagle-Vail to choose her dress for a fall wedding in Beaver Creek, she couldn’t decide between a light linen sheath or a lace over satin gown.

“A piece of advice another bride gave me was that you’re not going to find your perfect dress, either because of how much it is or because you’re not comfortable in something so fancy,” she said. “If you think you’re going to find the perfect dress, you may never stop looking. The most important thing is that it matches the location and that it fits well.”

Pence decided on a romantic mermaid-style dress she found at Bridal Reflections, a store that specializes in discounted designer dresses in Michigan City, Ind. The mermaid cut accentuates her waist, and because it flares just below the knee it makes her petite frame look longer, Pence said she learned.

Body type dictates the style of dress. A good dress accentuates the bride’s best features. If a woman is self-conscious about her bust ” large or small ” the dress should be cut higher and highlight anything from a long neck to pretty arms.

Someone with a boyish figure and no curves looks fabulous in an A-line dress or a gown with an empire waist. If you have curves or wide hips, a ball gown works beautifully. If you don’t like your arms, cap sleeves can be sewn on to many dresses. Caplets are really popular this season, as are jackets, coats, shrugs and even pashminas with a pop of color.

The good news is that adjustments can be made to almost any dress. Even fabric of the dress can even be changed in many instances. You can add sparkly straps to a strapless gown or a permanent bustle to the back of a dress without a train to make it your own.

Detailing is probably the biggest trend in wedding dresses. Everything is hand-beaded, hand-embroidered and lace-appliqued. If the dress is plain, brides are attaching vintage brooches that have been in the family for a long time. Big, matching wedding jewelry has been replaced by large chandelier earrings and a simple bracelet.

Color is slowly finding its way into bridal fashions with many dresses featuring pink sashes, subtle green iridescent crystals or bold red embroidered flowers. Instead of the typical white shoe, more daring brides wear silver slippers or an elegant jeweled shoe.

“Who knows, your something blue might just be your shoes,” Holland said.

The most important job of your dress is that it makes you feel like the most beautiful woman in the world.

“Crying is a good sign,” Holland said. “You know you’ve found your wedding dress when you start crying.”


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