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Five Outfits for the Bride

Wedding season has kicked off with a royal bang! You may have heard about that little ceremony across the pond. For most brides, the dress you’ll wear as you walk down the aisle has been decided months out from your big day, but don’t forget the events surrounding your journey to ‘I do.’

Engagement party, bridal shower, rehearsal dinner—all of these occasions will also shine a spotlight on you, so even if you’re not inclined to fancy dress-up, you do want to put together polished and flattering looks for each. Here’s a checklist of additional outfits a bride should plan.

Engagement Party. In general, you’ll want to err on the side of dressing up, rather than dressing down, for all wedding-related events. You’re the star of the show, so most eyes will be on you, as will most pictures and selfies that proliferate on social media. For the engagement party, this is a chance for you and your fiancée to present a united front and set the tone for the type of wedding you’ll be planning. So, go ahead and coordinate your looks. This could be as simple as wearing similar colors, or as elaborate as shopping together for outfits to wear specifically for wedding-adjacent occasions. Of course, at your engagement gathering, it is usually early days, and you may not have even set a date for your wedding, let alone a style or theme. You can still set the tone for how formal, or informal, your festivities will be.

Bridal Shower. Your shower is the time to go super-feminine and romantic. But, this doesn’t mean you have to wear a dress. Feel free to switch things up with a matching skirt set, a jumpsuit, or tailored trousers with a frou-frou blouse. If your shower is on the informal side, say an outdoor picnic, then dress appropriately for the venue and occasion. Switch out a frilly dress for a simple shift and strappy heels for walkable wedges. Just remember, if you do wear a dress that goes above the knees, try to be sure and sit like a lady as you sit and open gifts.

Bachelorette Party. Your last night on the town as a single lady is an ideal time to really let loose with your style. Go as glam and skimpy as you feel comfortable. However, try to keep it somewhat classy. Sure, there are novelty accessories associated with bachelorette parties, but the raunchier versions of these props have been on the decline as of late. True, you may have no control over what party favors your bridesmaids will distribute, but you can always drop some not-so-subtle hints of what you’re comfortable and not comfortable having as part of the celebration. If you are going for a low-key gathering, say hitting the campsite as opposed to the club, then, by all means, keep it casual and just focus on having fun.

Rehearsal Dinner. The night before your big day is an ideal time to wear white if you haven’t done so already. But, stay away from anything that could be a wedding dress “stand-in,” like a white maxi dress or an LWD (little white dress) with lots of embroidery. For a fancier affair, go with a smart cocktail dress in white, off-white, or black & white. For a casual dinner, opt for a white or blush sundress. If you’re also setting up for your reception, bring along “work clothes” and change before dinner.

Post-Wedding Brunch. You’ve made it through the main event, so for the morning after go easy on yourself and keep it comfortable. Of course, comfort does not equal sloppy. No matter how tempted/tired you may be, do not show up to open gifts and eat eggs in flip-flops and PJs. Do wear flats and a looser silhouette, like ballet flats with silky joggers and a sweater, or sandals and a throw-on-and-go knit dress, or jeans, boots, and a tunic. This last event doesn’t really call for high-style, so just dress as you normally would.

No matter what you end up wearing, the important thing is that you’re starting the next chapter in your life with a person you love, respect, and value. So, congratulations to all the couples out there with upcoming nuptials! You may not receive as much attention as Harry and Meghan, but here’s to a happy and healthy life together!

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