Going to town on the wedding gown

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 22 July, 2011, 12:00am


Those of you who, like me, have spent the past two months either dodging or attending various weddings will realise with some relief that the season is drawing to a close. And with two high-profile celebrity weddings, both Kates, in not too distant memory, we can all learn a few lessons about the dos and don'ts of wedding attire on your big day.

When you're the bride - or bridezilla - the pressure is definitely on. This year has been one in which weddings are very much in the fashion spotlight. In the case of Catherine Middleton's royal nuptials to Prince William, her classic Alexander McQueen by Sarah Burton gown was a roaring success, drawing comparisons to that of the late Princess Grace of Monaco. High fashion princess Kate Moss chose a gorgeous lacey boho creation by good friend and shamed designer John Galliano and achieved the desired ethereal effect.

The most recent wedding I attended took place in a beautiful hillside monastery in glamourous Portofino, Italy. The bride, a jewellery designer from New York, wore a strapless cream number, a voluminous skirt with stylishly layered frothy tulle featuring a bow around the back and diamante belt embellishments that emphasised her tiny waist. Not many women can get away with such a demanding dress, but luckily this one was gorgeous with a perfect 10 figure.

Another schoolmate had her wedding closer to Hong Kong, in Bali, at a cliffside villa at Ulawatu, and wore a one-shouldered floral motif on her white number - nipped gently at the waist with a softly draped chiffon skirt. Notably, her husband was also fashionably attired in a slim, cream-coloured, Mandarin-collared suit. This bride also looked beautiful - not surprising since her career in Hong Kong, before training as a doctor in London, was modelling. Sometimes life is not fair.

I felt quite lucky to be spared any major disasters. Even the bridesmaids' dresses were modestly and tastefully executed. And those friends whose weddings I experienced through Facebook albums seemed to have it sorted. From a white and floral print Vivienne Westwood creation to a figure-skimming traditional Thai one-shoulder silk outfit - it was chic styles all round.

Where is the weekly bitchy commentary, you might ask. Well, I'm loath to disappoint my readers, so I have saved it for the end.

In my hotel in Portofino, while sipping an afternoon aperitivo, I watched a couple rehearsing for their big day. They walked down a picturesque stairway that had a stunning seaview. Framed by lush, swaying trees and magenta bougainvillea, it was a setting worthy of a Federico Fellini muse. Why the groom opted for an oversized dark-grey top hat and tails in the Italian midday sun was beyond me.

To make matters worse, the bride's starched satin gown was buttoned right up to her neck and wrists, with hundreds of individual satin buttons running down her back and arms. Thankfully (or maybe not), she had a bit of breathing space in front with a gaping, cut-out cleavage. Think the shape featured on manga costumes.

Many brides get so caught up in their childhood imagination of 'that dress' that they forget to consider anything else, such as context. And yes, if it were up to me, I would have dragged her by the hair to the nearest Vera Wang but, alas, the God complex works only in my head.