(7) Wedding dresses: Brides on the beach

Tying the knot in an exotic location will allow you to dazzle in one of the stunning, new, softer-look wedding dresses.
By Hilary Alexander, Fashion Director

Sparkling waters, golden sands, brilliant (and guaranteed) sunshine – and an absolute minimum of guests! It is hard to imagine a more romantic setting, or one further removed from the hubble-bubble of close to 500 guests at Hampton Court swigging at a dwindling supply of champagne.

The beach or hot destination wedding continues to be a celebrity choice, as well as a chiconomic option when money is tight.

The Brazilian supermodel, Gisele Bundchen, and her footballer beau, Tom Hardy, chose the Virgin Islands for their wedding in April. The same month, Denise Van Outen and Lee Mears were married in The Seychelles. Heidi Klum and Seal renewed their vows in Malibu in May, four years after their original wedding in the seaside paradise of Mexico’s Puerto Vallarta, while Gary Lineker and Danielle Bux stole away to Portofino on the Italian Riviera for their secret September wedding.

According to a survey carried out recently by You & Your Wedding magazine, 15% of weddings these days happen abroad, with the Caribbean the favourite setting, ahead of Italy in second place.

“Here in Britain we have a sense of romance about sunshine, we’re in love with the sun and beach weddings are absolutely fantastic,” says Colette Harris, editor of You & Your Wedding. “You can have a small number of friends and close family, not a huge guest list; your dress can be less traditional; and the honeymoon is included”.

The 21st century beach wedding, however, is a far cry from the assembly-line approach of the 1990’s.

Wedding dresses: Brides on the beach

“Girls now realise that it’s possible to create a stunning bespoke wedding, instead of being one of twenty couples getting married on a beach, one after the other with the same flowers, witnesses and ceremony like the all-inclusive packages of ten years ago,” says Bryony Toogood, fashion editor of Condé Nast Brides UK. “It’s now much easier to organise a beautiful, tailor-made wedding on a beach, on a cliff, by a lake, in a forest, in a villa – pretty much anywhere you wish in the world.”

Wedding dresses, too, have changed and now take more inspiration from ready-to-wear catwalk trends. Softer looks with Grecian draping and ‘boudoir’ fabrics such as chiffon are key for 2010 and are also more suited to hot destination weddings, quite apart from being easier to pack than a huge meringue. Leading high street brands, including Monsoon and Phase Eight, for example, have added bridal collections at extremely accessible prices, leaving more money available for flights to your sun-drenched location.

BEACH BRIDE RULE-BOOK

DO

* Make sure you know the legal requirements before you book your wedding

* Try and wear natural fabrics

* Take the advice of a local florist who knows which flowers last best in the heat

* Use a sun-cream and SPF make-up/skincare so you look sun-kissed rather than scorched in your wedding photos

* Choose an alcohol-free fragrance to avoid a sunlight reaction

* Use a deodorant you know and trust

* Have shine blotters handy

* Think about a pretty parasol

DON’T

* Even attempt six-inch stilettoes

 

* Try and recreate the big church wedding on the sands, work with what the resort, beach or island has to offer

* Go barefoot without a perfect pedicure

Designer Wedding Show

• Prospective brides will find inspiration for the perfect wedding, and pretty much everything they need except the groom, at the forthcoming Designer Wedding Show , 9th-11th October, Battersea Park, London. Four fashion shows a day will feature the latest collections of all the top bridal labels including Valentino, Elie Saab, Pronovias, the Paris-based Delphine Manivet, who opens her London branch in November, Bruce Oldfield, Suzanne Neville, and Temperley London, who are also offering Telegraph readers the chance to win a wedding dress worth up to £5,000. We also have 100 free tickets for the Designer Wedding Show to give away. Follow the link on our fashion home page for competition details

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