What to Wear for Your Destination Wedding

For an entire week not one bride that came into Carine’s Bridal Atelier on Wisconsin Avenue in Washington, D.C., was getting married in the area.

Owner, Carine Halabi said that, instead, they planned destination weddings in far away locations like the Caribbean, Europe, and Hawaii.

Conde Nast Bridal Media’s 2006 American Wedding Survey reported that the number of destination weddings has grown 400 percent in the last decade and they now comprise 16 percent of all U.S. weddings.

Although destination weddings have advantages such as costing up to $20,000 less than a traditional wedding, Halabi said that a couple must consider where they plan to marry when choosing attire.

“You have to know where you’re getting married to get the dress you want to wear,” Halabi said. “For destination weddings, most brides want a fabric that flows and plays with the weather and air around them.”

Breezy not Beaded Gowns

Lightweight, breezy dresses made of fabrics such as tulle, organza, and chiffon are breathable and travel well, but brides can still be comfortable in a ball gown if the material is not heavy, according to Halabi. “Brides don’t have to do the slinky dress, but they have to be sure it isn’t heavily beaded,” Halabi said.

Designer Vivian Dessy Diamond of the Dessey Group worked with Sandals Resorts to develop a line of sleek, modern destination wedding dresses made of free flowing fabrics such as stretch charmeuse, lace, and matte satin with small sweep trains. The dresses are available in sizes 0 to 28 with a retail price of $499, below the average wedding dress cost of $1,000.

Suits and Shorts for Grooms

For the groom, Vanessa Mason, founder and senior designer at Layne Corban, said that the traditional dark tuxedos for formal weddings can be confining in outdoor destination weddings.

“Men are opting for linen and two piece suits for comfort at beach weddings,” Mason said.

Alternatives to the dark suit or tuxedo include a white dinner jacket with black tuxedo pants or shorts, a non-pleated tuxedo shirt and patterned cummerbund and tie.

Designer Stephen Geoffrey offers informal tuxedos for destination weddings that feature two-button, single breasted styling with a non-vented back and coordinating pleated trousers. Corban said that destination weddings have become popular because it gives the bride and groom comfortable settings and clothing.

“A lot of couples are getting away from the older, traditional wedding,” Corban said. “The attire allows them to have some freedom and flexibility during the service and reception.”