Wedding Dress Checklist for Casual Indie Brides: 17 Questions for Boho Chicks
by Tina Boomerina (Christina Gregoire)
No matter how young you are, how old you are, or how many times you've been married before, you will be able to find the "perfect" bridal gown for your big day. However, the rules for wedding dresses have changed. You can go for a long, flowing, romantic, indie style with colorful flowers or a rocker-glam miniskirt ensemble with rhinestones. You can wear traditional white or or you can wear your favorite color. If you're thinking about going boho, I hope you'll follow this checklist to make sure your casual bridal outfit is the right thing for your wedding... and your unique lifestyle.
You don't need to pretend to be someone you're not. Trust me. I've tried that. It doesn't work.
Wedding Dresses for Boho Brides:
I’ve probably been a bride more times than you have, so you should answer the questions on my list before you walk down the aisle, the forest trail, or the sandy beach path. This article might help you come up with a unique wedding gown that you'll really love.
17 Questions for Casual Brides:
These first questions are for all brides, indie and traditional alike:
1. Do you love him?
2. Does he love you?
If the first two answers are not "yes"... stop reading and go away. If the answers are "yes"... remember that it doesn't really matter what you wear as long as you are happy.
All brides are beautiful. Wear whatever makes you happy. And, make sure the dress or pants or caftan you wear is comfortable. Ditto with the shoes. It's hard to have a good time at your own wedding if your clothes are too tight and your heels make you wobble.
I'm fairly sure you aced the first two questions, so let's move on to the next section.
Should You Wear a Casual Bridal Gown?
If your answers to any of the following questions are "no," check to see if there's an alternate question, or go to the bottom of the page to find another article written for second-time brides. Now, onward to the next questions:
3. Are you an indie, boho, rock-n-roll type of woman?
If you answered "no," and you're into tradition clothing and classically tailored styles, you can keep reading this article for the fun of it. It's difficult not to love an article written about weddings. Hey... weddings incorporate fashion and jewelry. What's not to love?
If you answered "yes," and you are an indie, boho, rocker type, why should you wear something that makes you feel like a Betty-Crocker, boring, cookie-cutter bride? My suggestion is to wear an elegantly simple dress, then glam it up with a few of your indie faves. Put your own stamp on your wedding ensemble.
4. If you have an alternative wedding dress (or some type of indie outfit) in mind, is it festive enough for this important occasion?
If you answered "no" or "I'm not sure," you might be able to make the outfit a bit more festive if you wear a bohemian floral wreath or some kind of sparkling circlet on your head. Can you think of an easy way to turn your average dress into the perfect dress? If not, save the dress for another occasion.
5. Do you live in jeans and/or other casual outfits?
If you answered "no," you need a vacation.
If you answered "yes," you might be more comfortable in a casual wedding outfit instead of the "trendiest" glamorous wedding look of the season. And, remember that casual does not always mean inexpensive. I'm not trying to get you into something ugly and chintzy. I'm trying to help you find a wedding outfit that's perfect for your personal style.
6. If you're getting married in the backyard or on the beach, and you want to cover your arms, have you considered wearing a kimono-style cover-up over white denim jeans or over a simple white dress?
Summery kimonos are fun, they cover your arms, and they're easy to fit. This groovy look might be the perfect solution.
7. If you're considering an alternative wedding dress, have you checked to see if people can see through the dress when the sun is behind you?
This tip is something I've learned from firsthand experience! Trust me on this. You do NOT want to spend the entire ceremony worrying if people can see your undies. So, if you're considering a non-wedding dress, I'm begging you to read the section called "Fabric for Wedding Dresses" in my other article: Wedding Dresses for Older Brides: Women Over 40 or 50.
If you're planning to wear a traditional wedding dress, the sheerness factor should not be a concern. "Real" wedding dresses are designed to cover your body correctly in every kind of light.
8. Have you considered wearing a white pantsuit or wedding outfit with pants?
If you NEVER wear skirts or dresses in real life, a white pantsuit is a great alternative to a wedding dress. If you're a bohemian rocker chick, you might consider wearing a tunic (or kimono) over white denim jeans or white wide-legged pajama pants.
9. If white (and ivory) make you look pale and washed out, have you looked at wedding dresses in your favorite color(s)?
White makes me look like a ghost. If I ever get remarried, I will wear some beautiful color like hot pink or dusky lavender.
Well, whatever color you wear, it should be a good color on you. If you know your dress will be white, remember that there are about a million different shades of "white"... well... off-white. Unless you must wear true white for religious reasons, give these other hues a try if stark white makes the bags under your eyes more noticeable:
- Ivory (yellow undertones)
- Champagne (darker yellow undertones)
- Soft White
- Whisper Pink
- Blush (pinkish)
- Antique White
- White with Pastel Appliques (or pastel embroidery)
There is no one color that is best for every bride. You have to look at each color next to your skin and teeth. You should never wear anything next to your face that's whiter than your teeth (including pearls). If the dress is low cut, it doesn't matter as much because the color is further away.
10. Would you look better in a floral dress with some color?
Flowered dresses are perfect for the bohemian flower-child in all of us. Flowers add more color and festiveness than a plain white gown, and there are tons of different ways to add flowers other than the standard floral-printed dress: flower appliques, tiny colored sequins, pastel embroideries, painted silk, and more.
Some floral dresses are elegant, upscale and extremely expensive, but it's also easy to find a simple floral sundress that looks just right in photos. (You should take some preview pics before deciding on any printed dress or caftan. Prints can look VERY different from a distance... especially in photos.)
11. Can you go barefoot in your bridal outfit without tripping over the fabric?
If you can't go barefoot in your outfit, maybe you should hem your dress or pants a tiny bit so you can kick off your shoes if the mood strikes. What if you want to dance on the beach? What if you want to do the limbo at the reception? You can always put your shoes back on... right?
12. Are your shoes comfortable? This is so important, I want to remind you again.
If your shoes are not comfortable, break them in or send them back. I am NOT kidding! Try soft suede (fringed?) moccassins or flat embellished sandals from a good, well-known designer. You want to have a good time at your own wedding... and that's impossible when you're getting blisters. (Personally, I like the idea of a barefoot boho bride... so give that some thought.)
13. Do you own accessories that have meaning to you or make you feel extra special?
Most brides try to be totally generic when it comes to their bridal outfit. Bash! Humbug! Boring! If you have a cool ethnic necklace that reminds you of your trip to Asia or Australia or Argentina or Afghanistan or Albania (or is something from a faraway place you would love to visit), why not see if that necklace looks good with your dress? If you really love the necklace, buy the dress to "go" with the necklace.
If you're older or very pale, is there a way to add color or brightness to your face with colored beads or pearls or fresh flowers? Or... if you have a dear friend who makes her own jewelry, wear one of her necklaces (or her long dangling earrings) to make you feel warm and happy on your special day.
If you're going to wear jewelry, find something that has MEANING to you - or your fiance - or your family.
14. Would Betsey Johnson or Iris Apfel approve of your outfit?
If you don't know who those women are, you're too young to understand some of what I've written. Look up Iris Apfel for inspiration.
15. Does your bridal outfit look good on you?
Yes, this sounds silly and obvious. I know it does. I also know that I've gone in wedding shops with a few pages from bridal magazines and asked to try on something similar.
The gowns from the magazines didn't look horrible on me. They were all right. I could have worn them without looking stupid. But... they were wrong for me.
So... I want to say it again: Don't wear a wedding dress just because it looks good in a magazine or on a celebrity you love. We all look good in different things, but we all look AMAZING in different things, too. Experiment. Don't wear the dress your best friend likes. Don't settle. If you already have a dress and it just feels "so so" on you, make it amazing with accessories or something.
16. Does your ensemble fit your lifestyle and your mood?
I want your outfit to be something that screams "YOU"... Sally, Melissa, Dora, Jennifer, Elizabeth, Kay, Paula... whoever you are. Think about what you like to do in your spare time. Think about what you really love.
- If you're into Western music and country things, wear cowboy boots and a white Stetson. And, ride in on a white horse with a silver saddle.
- If you love classic rock, wear a pair of white thigh boots over white jeans and top it off with an elaborately embellished kimono and wild hair.
- If your family came from Poland, look at photos of Polish folk outfits and incorporate a few parts of your ancestry.
- If you're obsessed with historical fiction and romantic things from the Renaissance or Medieval periods, watch TV series like The Tudors, The Borgias, or Game of Thrones and copy a few small things (hair, cut of dress, colors) that you like.
In general, I don't want you to overdo any kind of "theme" (even if you're spending a lot of money), because it's SO easy for your wedding to become corny and "canned". Just add a little touch from what you love. And, remember that you're throwing a party. You are not staging a movie. If you like The Great Gatsby, a tiny smidge of art deco goes a long ways. And, I don't want to see you dancing with a live asp if you've always wanted to be Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra. You know what I mean....
17. Do you like hats?
If your bridal ensemble seems blah, maybe a wedding hat will solve your problem. Hats always work for me... but I have a lot of different hats to choose from. Check out the chapeaus at Louise Green. They are expensive, but they're worth the money AND a lot of people ARE going to see you on Facebook. (No, I don't get paid for saying I love any of these products.)
Extra Credit. Would Tina Boomerina approve of your wedding outfit?
I love anything that's a bit different. Do you really want to look like everyone else? Wouldn't you like to be memorable? If you're a striking beauty, maybe it doesn't matter what you wear. If you're an average chick, why not see what kinds of unpredictable styles make you look better than the average bride?
If you can afford a $20,000 wedding gown, have something amazing made just for you. If you are a normal bride with a realistic budget, you have a ton of choices: regular wedding dresses, designer wedding dresses, any dress in any color that makes you feel like a princess, or a pair of white jeans and an embroidered white top from Pakistan or Mexico. Personally, I don't care if you wear your pajamas... just get married. So few women marry these days. I find it sad. It feels all wrong to me.
Anyway... the most important thing to remember is that IT'S YOUR PARTY. No one really cares what the neighbors think. No one cares what your mother thinks. We just want you to have a happy life... and a fun celebration.
More Articles for Second Weddings:
Cruise Wedding Dresses: Casual Destination Gowns (This includes info about transporting your dress.)
Photo Credits: Prshots.com.
- Main Photo: Brigitte Bardot wedding dress at LaRedoute.
- Casual Wedding Dress for Elegant Brides: Brigitte Bardot at LaRedoute.
- Cover Your Arms With a Beach Kimono: Accessorize, Accessorize, Monsoon.
- Some Brides Wear Pantsuits and Trouser Outfits: LaRedoute, East, M&Co.
- Casual Dresses in Pastel Colors: Monsoon, Monsoon beach dress, Wallis, Monsoon.
- Floral Maxi Dresses: Monsoon, Monsoon, M&Co.
- Boho Wedding Accessories: Miss Selfridge, Accessorize, East.
What do you think of this article? Do you have any more ideas to add to this list?