Elegance as a concept, just like beauty, is very subjective: depending on the uses and traditions of different people and communities you may find totally diverse styles for clothing and accessories. Needless to say that a bride in Catania wearing a traditional Japanese nuptial gown will inevitably look ridiculous! The sacred rituals, the ceremony, the reception and exclusive celebrations are felt, in most Countries, as the time to look your best. Looking at Italian and foreign catwalks, or even better the most famous movie scenes, you can easily spot the biggest differences between Italian and American dress code and style at weddings.
Starting with the bridesmaids, hardly ever present in Italian weddings, but always there in American ones. Maids of honor usually wear gowns that match the bride’s, often light colors reflecting the white of the bride’s gown, something unheard of in Italy where all the bright shimmering is reserved to the bride, in spite of the alternatives offered by fashion designers. Although Giuliana Parabiago, the director of the Italian version of Vogue Sposa, has recently listed the “do nots” for weddings, among which sexy dresses, in America there is a new trend called “bridesmaids mooning”: what better way for the bridesmaids to wish the couple a happy marriage than to pose for the photographer with their backside in full view?
Some rules seem to be commonly recognized, though habits and uses are often far from being common. In Italy we are still struggling to separate the idea of elegant clothes from the obligatory color black, which sometimes results in weddings held during the afternoon or in the winter looking more like funerals… Women tend to overdo the long dresses even when the reception is in the daytime or summer, when you would rather see knee-length dresses.
On the other hand you will often come across some younger guests wearing dresses that show definitely too much. Fortunately, pastel voiles or satin fabrics in darker colors (blue, maroon, green) are becoming more and more popular in ceremony shops.
Hats, typically British, are quite popular in the US, less so in Italy where largely decorated headbands are favored.
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