Monday, September 30, 2013

WW#5 Modest Autumn

Hello everyone! I am very excited about this weekly wedding theme! Why? Well, first of all, it celebrates autumn, which is truly my favorite season (and getting near my wedding anniversary!), and secondly, it was very much an invigorating challenge.  I chose a modest theme because I wanted to do something that was quite different for me and I was inspired by the number of conservative people I know who are recently engaged.  Now, modesty means different things to different people so I'm not claiming that this post is a definitive, catch-all style guide for modesty.  My ideas of modesty are rather general; covered from the shoulders to below the knees. To some people this may be more modest and to others it is definitely less modest. I know some people think modest dress means absolutely nothing form-fitting, and some people also believe that contrasting buttons or seams are immodest.  Hopefully this post fits a happy medium and will give you plenty of ideas that can be modified to your own tastes and views of modesty.

This is going to make the post a little bit longer than usual, but I want to start out with some tips on what NOT to look for in modest wedding apparel.  It is in no way my intention to offend anyone with this section; I just want to show that there are plenty of stylish, beautiful modest wedding dresses out there and that you don't have to settle for a plain, boring, short-sleeved satin A-line dress.  Some people may think that a very plain wedding dress is fine because it allows the bride's natural beauty to shine, but that clearly isn't always the case.  This type of dress is hardly flattering on anyone because of where the bodice and skirt meet.  Instead of framing the bride's face, the high, unadorned neckline actually detracts from her beauty, and the plain sleeves make it look no better than wearing a plain white Hanes tshirt with  matching white skirt.  Understandably, some religions find this style of dress to be the only appropriate wedding apparel for a bride, so I am not criticizing brides whose case that may be. However, if you have a choice and are not convicted by your religious beliefs to wear this type of old-order Mennonite looking dress, then you have a world of gorgeous and flattering modest options available! One last word here, if this is the type of dress you want, don't be afraid to dress it up a little bit. Add a decorative belt, sash, or pin! Also, lace looks beautiful on almost any style of dress so consider using it instead of satin, or as an overlay.

First of all, depending on how modest you want your dress to be, you can choose from several sleeve and neckline variations. One way to combine visual interest and modesty is to choose a dress with an embellished neckline. I personally like the illusion neckline trend, and it can be very modest if the illusion material has spaced lace or appliques. You can also look for dresses that have lace or scalloped edges; a scoop neck dress with lace edging is super stylish currently! Cap sleeves, flutter sleeves, and longer length sleeves are all good options to personalize your modest look according to your personal style.
Modest Neckline Options
Now, onto the fun stuff- a beautiful modest autumn wedding!
For this wedding, I chose to go with a lacy 1/2-3/4 sleeve dress.  As I stated before, there are plenty of modest sleeve options but I thought that a longer sleeved dress would be seasonally appropriate as the weather in September and October can be chilly (as I learned the hard way when I about froze doing pictures outside at my late October wedding).  As a side note, I completely sympathize with brides who are trying to find a modest dress that fits their comfort level.  It took me a very long time to find the right dress(es) for this post based on what look I wanted. I knew I wanted a dress with sleeves, but I also wanted to avoid the overdone Kate Middleton dress style. Additionally, it is apparently now popular to pair 3/4 sleeves with knee-length dresses now, and fit and flare dresses are also popular; neither look is something I would be comfortable wearing and neither of which I wanted to use in this wedding.  I eventually found two dresses to use; one is a fit and flare but I really like how it looks, and the other has a looser fit.  I chose to include a second dress option because some brides may feel that the form-fitting look of a fit and flare style is not modest. 
Modest Satin and Lace
Justin Alexander Signature






















*A note about the second dress: This dress is sold on Etsy and I personally would be hesitant to buy this dress because you have absolutely no guarantee that it will be of acceptable quality. I am including it because I like how it looks, but this should not be taken as an endorsement of the dress itself or the seller of the dress. 

To keep the bride's overall look simple and elegant, and in order to not overshadow such a gorgeous dress, I chose to pair the dress with simple peep-toe low heels and a long veil with no other hair adornments. Delicate jewelry and  natural, radiant, dewy makeup completes the look.  The bride's bouquet would be shades of cream, orange, red, and yellow, to reflect the changing colors of the leaves on the trees.  These colors would also really pop against the background of the bridesmaids' green dresses.  

Finding a stylish and attractive bridesmaid dress was even more difficult than finding the bride's dress.  Part of this is my fault because I had a set style and color in mind (yes, this goes against my #1 wedding planning rule of flexibility, oops!)  I wanted the main colors to be green and gold to reflect the bounty of the harvest season, with accents of fall's reds and oranges.  I was looking for a mossy or olive green bridesmaid dress but could not find any to my satisfaction.  Finally, I found this simple yet sophisticated dark green dress listed as a mother-of-the-bride dress.  It wasn't exactly what I was looking for, but dressed up with a soft gold sash it would be perfect! Add nude or gold low pumps and the bridesmaids perfectly complement the bride. 

Wedding S'mores Bar

Finally, I imagine that the setting of the wedding itself would be someplace woodsy and charming.  If not performed in a church, perhaps the ceremony would take place outdoors in a woodland clearing in front of a small cabin.  The reception could be either in a lodge or covered pavilion, or just outdoors in the same clearing with tables set up underneath a large awning.  Live music is a must have to set the mood for both ceremony and reception.  Instead of a full dinner being served, there would be a wide array of hors d'oeuvres to encourage guests to mingle.  Along with the traditional wedding cake, dessert would be a s'mores bar offering many varieties of chocolate and specialty marshmallows. I know some people choose to have a firepit to roast marshmallows during an outdoor reception, but I prefer small sterno flames to avoid guests having to deal with their clothes smelling like wood smoke.  

Hopefully you all enjoyed this little foray into modest wedding planning as much as I did.  For more inspiration, please visit my Pinterest board Modest Autumn Wedding! Also, I'm running out of ideas for new themes so please leave a comment with what you want me to cover next. Happy wedding planning <3