By Oscar De las salas, August 2018 Issue.
You have asked for their hand in marriage, and the love of your life said yes! Or perhaps you were the one who said yes. Either way, congratulations to both of you. With that one word, you are on your way …
So, what’s next? Time to start the very long to-do list to prepare for your big day. Having experienced this with my now-husband not too long ago, I know how daunting this list can be (find out more about Oscar’s wedding at phoenix.outvoices.us/phoenix-couple-says-i-do). I’m no wedding planner, but I’d recommend starting with few of these key items:
- Select the date and the venue for the ceremony, plus the reception (if you are having one).
- Hire a wedding or event coordinator, if you choose. They will help you assess who else you’ll need to hire.
- Schedule some time to sit with your family, your spouse-to-be, your BLGBTQF (Best LGBTQ Friend) or your BLGBTQA (Best LGBTQ Ally) to figure out the type of wedding you’d like, the desired flow of your reception, the colors for the event and other details that will get you started.
- Generate a budget, this will influence several of the key points above in addition to determining how many guests you’d like to invite.
Since this list could go on for pages and pages, I’ll skip to my chief area of expertise: some more specific guidelines to follow when selecting your #OOTD (outfit of the day) for the big day.
When it comes to selecting your wedding ensemble, perhaps the most important decision you’ll make (once you’ve selected your wedding date) is regarding the type of material you’ll wear. Our Sonoran Desert summer lasts almost six months, and even in shorts and tank tops, it’s impossible to beat the heat. The last thing you want is to be unnecessarily sweating on your special day. So, general rule is to be aware of a fabric’s thread count per inch, which ranges from very heavy to very light.
If you are considering a suit or a tuxedo, I would suggest pairing a classic Egyptian cotton shirt with a very light wool pant and jacket. If your budget allows, consider a blended material – these vary from wool-silk to wool-silk-linen – which are much more comfortable. With a good thread mix, the fabric could be very, very light and comfortable while maintaining a slim, modern silhouette.
If you really want to be comfortable, pure linen is the way to go, but be aware of the wrinkling effect that will occur over the time frame of your wedding and reception.
If you decide on a wedding gown, my personal suggestion is to select from materials that are light and have a smidgen of romance. Remember that most gowns are designed with mixed materials and have several layers, so picking the right material and choosing the right volume of layers is key.
Most dress shops and designers will be able to help with this, and also make sure your dress is appropriate for the season, as far as layers are concerned. Some materials have tremendous sheer (lace, tulle, organza, chiffon) and need a higher number of layers or solid backing to avoid showing too much skin. My suggestion is to start with the ones I consider the most comfortable, like silk or charmeuse as a base and go from there.
Your Personal Palette
Another decision you’ll be faced with, which can mean the difference between a fabulous fun party or a fabulous formal event, is color choice.
Keep in mind that solid colors will always speak to serious matters (especially if they are dark and have no sheen). In contrast, loud and bright colors set the tone for a bright, energetic celebration.
Don’t be afraid to be bold or locale appropriate when it comes to color. I distinctly remember seeing pictures of a couple who picked a sorbet yellow color as part of their garments for their Palms Springs wedding, and they looked fabulous, darling!
And, when it comes to daytime vs. nighttime color choices, my best suggestion is this: unless it’s a winter wonderland or a white party, light colors are for daytime.
Now that we have some guidelines on the way the seasons and colors can convey your intended theme or sentiment, let’s get into additional options for styling your big-day ensemble. This is where you can go entirely off-script, get loud, play with color, present an incredibly entertaining look (or complimentary looks) all by simply being unafraid to add your personal touch. Think of events you’ve attended where attire contributed to making the celebrations fun, uplifting and unique – or, conversely, affected the mood to reflect a more serious affair. Whichever way you choose to take your wedding day is perfectly appropriate, as long as it’s what you want. Just remember, the flavor is in the subtle touches.
In case of a masculine look for a wedding, I always opt for a dark fitted suit to start. Of course, the most infallible elegant option – for any season – is a formal tuxedo. Then add a light tie in spring or summer or dark tie in fall or winter. Still, consider this just the base of your look and don’t be afraid to vary colors, shapes, create contrasting colors and add some bling-bling from there. This is where two grooms can really explore ways to complement one another, regardless of how formal their suits or tuxedos are.
For the feminine wedding look, you can never go wrong with white. Of course, the white wedding gown is the most traditional look and there is a historic reason for the white gown (which would take too long to address here). But, from white as a base, don’t be afraid to navigate to light colors – from pearl, to arctic white, to even soft pink – but keep your selection soft and light.
If you’re looking to buck tradition in favor of a bold statement, do not feel confined by white. A friend of mine, who just married in San Francisco, wore a beautiful strapless, fitted mermaid silhouette fish tail ALL BLACK wedding gown … during day time! A combination of both would make for an unforgettable selection in the case of two brides going for contrasting, but complimentary gowns.
Fit for a King, or Queen
Since fitting and tailoring is the key to your final look, it’s essential that you find an expert on this matter. Someone with expertise will ensure that your garments are perfect for you, and not look like they are on loan. It’s not enough to find the perfect attire for this special occasion – go the extra mile to make sure you feel confident in the way it fits.
This is especially useful if you’re considering shopping for any of your garments online, in vintage stores (don’t write this idea off entirely, you never know what you’ll find). And, if you are shopping online, visit your tailor or seamstress to get your overall, specific dimensions and sizes before your purchase. This will allow you to shop with confidence.
If, for any reason, you think finding a tailor or seamstress is a step worth skipping, I offer this: Even if it’s “good enough” for the ceremony and/or reception, just think of your photos. No one wants ill-fitted wedding attire to steal the show in a photoshoot you won’t have the opportunity to recreate. Trust me on this one.
When it comes to wedding footwear, always think comfort. Always! To help you achieve this, don’t be shy about wearing your wedding shoes a week or two before your big day, so you are able to “train” them. This is a trick that rarely gets talked about, and while it might seem minor, it is important, as you will be wearing them for a long period of a time. A “test drive” to your wedding shoes/heels will ensure that you are not wincing in pain while saying “I Do” or leaving the dance floor earlier than intended.
Then, prepare your shoes for this important day by giving them a good clean, shine, buff, change the sole (if needed) and make sure the design elements are in place.
These overall basics will give you a general idea of what to look for when you start to find the garments you are about to wear for your special day. Whatever your decision is, remember that love is what brought you to this moment, so enjoy your step into lifetime happiness with the one.