Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Finding the Perfect Destination Wedding Gown

Ah, the Caribbean. The perfect setting for romance. Imagine getting married with the sun setting over the Caribbean Sea, the warm Caribbean breeze caressing your hair, the sand tickling your toes...

Wait a second. Sea? Breeze? Sand??? How in the world is this supposed to make for a perfect destination wedding setting? You are, after all, getting MARRIED! This means a wedding dress!

Yes, the wedding dress. It is the most important article of clothing that a woman will ever buy in her life. However, when planning a destination wedding, the wedding dress is sometimes an afterthought. The bride is so focused on finding the perfect location for her wedding, rates for all of her guests, who is going to come and who isn't, planning the ceremony from afar and more, that she doesn't realize that she needs to find a wedding dress appropriate for her location and ceremony site.

Traditional wedding gowns with long trains and a lot of material may cause a bride a lot of grief. Yes, they are beautiful. Yes, they make for great photographs. Unfortunately, they are extremely heavy. All of that material and a tropical climate don't mix all that well. Plus, a long train means dragging on the sand if that is the ceremony location. It's hot. It's uncomfortable. It is not the way a bride should feel on her wedding day.

When choosing a wedding gown for a destination wedding, go with something comfortable. Comfortable doesn't necessarily mean loose or frumpy-- It is a personal choice for every bride.

The material is very important when choosing a wedding dress for a destination wedding in a tropical location. Find a material that breathes, such as chiffon or cotton. Stay away from silk, as it will show any signs of perspiration. Satin or satin blends are also nice choices for wedding dress material, as satin breathes and flows. Steer clear of polyester and polyester blends. They are quite heavy and tend to cling to any dampness. Think lightweight, regardless of what style dress you choose.
The most common type of bodice for a destination wedding gown is sleevelss. This meant that there is either a tank top, wide straps or spaghetti straps. An open back with a halter bodice is also a wise choice, as it is very cool (temperature-wise, that is) as well as very attractive. A strapless bodice can be uncomfortable, as it is very snug in the bust area. However, the lack of material over the arms and neck can mean a cooler upper body. Sleeves can be too hot, unless they are cap sleeves. Beading on the bodice is nice as well, as long as it isn't so heavy that it weighs you down.

There are so many different types of skirts to choose from when it comes to a destination wedding. The A-Line and Ballerina skirt styles aren't very popular, due to the vast amount of material used to make them. The warm air stays under the skirt, thus causing the legs to perspire. Mermaid and sheath dresses aren't very popular, either, because they are often difficult to walk in-- especially on the beach. A straight skirt with a slit is the most common and a slip skirt are the most common skirts for a tropical destination wedding, as they are the most comfortable and easiest to move around in.

When thinking of a wedding gown, people often envision a long train trailing the bride as she walks down the aisle. Unfortunately, long trains are often not conducive to destination weddings-- especially those on the beach. First and foremost, they are incredibly difficult to transport to the destination. Unless the resort has an on-site dry cleaner that can press the dress, you will most likely end up with a wrinkled gown. If the wedding ceremony is on the beach, the train will drag on the sand. However, dresses with trains are still a "must" for some brides - regardless of the trouble to get their dress in pristine condition for the wedding. If you have always dreamed of a wedding with a long train, definitely go with a lightweight material. Floor-length gowns are not a popular choice because of the drag factor as well. Destination wedding brides often opt for ankle-length or T-length gowns, which leave room for movement while also keeping the wedding gown look. Brides interested in a more non-traditional approach to their wedding dress can opt for a short skirt or a skirt that is short in the front and longer in the back.

Destination weddings leave the most room for color choices in a wedding dress. Of course, white and variations thereof are always appropriate for any bride in any setting. However, since a destination wedding is more of a non-traditional wedding, non-tradidional colors and even prints are absolutely appropriate. Pinks and oranges are very popular among destination wedding brides, as are pale blues and purples.

The beauty of the destination wedding lies in the setting, which the bride and groom have so carefully chosen. The ceremony should be arranged to highlight the love shared between the bride and the groom. The wedding dress showcases the bride's beauty, but an understated dress for a destination wedding allows for the setting to enhance the bride's beauty even more. Believe it or not, when you finally find THE dress, you will know as soon as you try it on.

Candice Cain is the owner of the Candy Cain Travel Co. She is a Certified Sandals Specialist and a Destination Wedding Expert. Please feel free to email her for help with your destination wedding! Special thanks to Jennifer and Lazaro for sharing their wedding photos, as well as the other brides and grooms that allowed me to use their photos for the purpose of this article!