The search for the perfect wedding dress can be quite challenging for any bride-to-be, but the big question of what to wear on her special day looms large over many a modern bride who has for one reason or another chosen to marry later in life.
These may be second weddings, but more and more they are first time weddings for discerning women who have simply had fast moving career paths and other priorities, often not meeting their ideal partner until well into their 40s, 50s or even 60s and beyond.
By this time she will have her feet firmly on the ground and even the most introvert type will have nurtured that well earned level of inner confidence which comes from knowing yourself with age.
The mature bride is also generally no longer interested in the Cinderella fantasy that is so coveted by younger brides, and will instinctively know that her needs are not the same as those that a bride in her 20s may have.
The mood of both the wedding and dress is likely to be completely different as are her priorities, and she will mostly just want to be true to herself.
This will usually mean leaving the fairytale behind and opting for something that is entirely more sophisticated and elegant, befitting of the woman she has now become....a discerning bride who just wants to look and feel amazing on her wedding day.
So how do you do that?... and where do you start?
Here is the advice we would give based on many years of working with brides of all ages, during which we have come to better understand individual needs and in particular the challenges encountered by many older brides
KEEP IT SPECIAL ….don’t look like a guest at your own wedding.
It’s important to remember you have every bit as much right to look and feel fabulous on your wedding day as any younger bride.
It is a very special day for you regardless of whether you’ve been married before or not, so it’s your prerogative and totally understandable that you will want look and feel your very best, irrespective of age, shape or size.
Many mature brides make the mistake of worrying so much about appearing foolish or falling into the “mutton dressed as lamb” trap that they play it so safe they are almost indistinguishable from their guests and that’s a real shame.
Staying within a comfort zone is always the easy option but even if you lack a little confidence or don’t like being centre of attention, you will still want to be remembered as looking incredible on your wedding day, so take care not to throw the baby out with the bath water.
BE TRUE TO YOURSELF
Take care not to dress to other people’s expectations, except your fiance’s maybe! This day is about you expressing yourself in your way so take time to think about what’s right for you and how you really want to look and feel on your wedding day. If you feel you want to go with a more traditional bridal look there absolutely is no reason why you shouldn't, as long as it’s a style that really works for you and is age appropriate.
However, if you are happy to be getting married but feel reluctant to do the whole “bride” thing, then that is fine too as long as you remember it’s your special day and to keep it very special (see above!)
If you’re struggling to know how you want to express yourself you may find it helpful to think of words that best describe the way you want to look or feel. Maybe look at iconic women whose look you love and that best conjure up the mood you’re trying to create.
For example, if you are a Marilyn type extrovert, chances are you will want to create a dramatic mood with a statement dress that can be both bold and daring.
A strong silhouette and vibrant colours are a great way of doing this and if you have always wanted to wear a big theatrical or haute couture inspired gown then go for it. This is your chance to shine.
But if you have any concerns that your resplendent personality could push your look OTT you may want a second opinion from someone you can trust, who has good taste and that you know is on your side.
Alternatively, if you are more of a timeless classic type, you may prefer the understated elegance of Grace Kelly.
Simple clean lines define this look and whilst it may be easy enough to find dresses that create the right mood, the key here is to make sure you choose something that is beautifully cut, fitted to perfection and made from exquisite good quality fabrics.
If that all sounds costly, buy the best you can, have it altered to fit like a glove and remember that even the simplest of dresses can be lifted into another dimension by a few beautifully chosen pieces of jewellery and good quality accessories.
So, where does that leave you if you're somewhere in between…..Quietly quirky maybe? You may like classic Audrey Hepburn sophistication ….but delivered with a Tilda Swinton twist! Chances are, you will already have your own unique way of dressing that works for you and is your personal trademark and you should definitely embrace this on your wedding day.
Be sure to upgrade everything though to keep it really special and if you’re struggling to find something that is alternative enough for you, remember you can always make a memorable statement in other ways.
Interesting use of colour is always effective, so you may want to go really bold or use unusual offbeat tones and clever combinations. Also, consider mixing fabric types, prints and textures and of course, there is no need for you to stick with a dress if trousers or wacky separates are more your thing.
Finally...remember you can have a lot of fun with accessories. The best and boldest pieces you can afford will go a long long way.
But whichever way you decide to go, remember that knowing you can wear it with confidence is absolutely key to this look.
ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVES
More than anyone, you are probably best placed to know by now the colours, shapes and details that really work for you.
You will also, I’m sure, be very familiar with the parts of yourself that you love and are most happy to show off, so you can take this opportunity to make them center stage. Even if its just something as simple as the colour of you hair or eyes for example, you can go for a shade that brings out their beauty and as any colourist will tell you, this can be incredibly effective.
You may also want to consider a dress with some concealed corsetry to accentuate your curves. A perfectly fitted corset will support you throughout the day and can feel surprisingly comfortable. The chance to maximise or minimise your natural curves, as much or as little as you want, can reveal some surprising results.
Anything that draws attention to your best features will help you radiate your inner confidence and this is all important for your big day. Above all, remember, this is your opportunity to be as fabulous as you can possibly be.
Your perfect dress is out there and is worth the hunt, so don’t compromise or give up the search too early. Trust that when you’ve got it right you will know.
You will recognize that unmistakable feeling that comes from knowing with absolute certainty that what you're wearing looks amazing and is perfectly right for you ,and that is where your search ends.