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Bridal Style Over 50: Elegant, Confident and Radiant

Bridal Style Over 50: Elegant, Confident and Radiant
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Schoneveld Bridal: Photo by David Nicolas

By Naakai Addy

For many, the decision to get married over fifty is the result of having finally found someone with whom a legally binding commitment is desirable. For others, marriage in middle age is a second go at everlasting love. For others still, it is a matter of companionship after a loss. No matter the reason, don’t listen to anyone who insists that brides over a certain age are morally obligated to make it as low-key and un-celebratory an affair as possible. Here are some tips on selecting timeless, chic and unforgettable wedding styles.

Before you fall down the rabbit hole of bridal magazines, take a deep breath and consider your style priorities. From an aesthetic perspective, your wedding is an excuse to showcase the most stunning version of yourself. As designer Rebecca Schoneveld puts it, “Your wedding attire should reflect your style- don’t wear something that doesn’t make you feel like your best self, even if the dress itself is very pretty.” At her Brooklyn atelier, Schoneveld (http://www.rebeccaschoneveld.com/) hand-crafts wedding gowns with soft fabrics that are as enjoyable to wear as they are to look at. A wedding dress should be comfortable to move in, dance in and hopefully eat cake in, so Schoneveld suggests ditching the heavy Cinderella get-up for a gown that is “elegant, sexy, and totally flattering”.

Schoneveld Bridal - photo by Amber Gress

Schoneveld Bridal – photo by Amber Gress

If you’re shopping for your dress at a retailer such as David’s Bridal but don’t want your bridal style to look mass-produced, select a classic silhouette and add your personality through the embellishments. “Try a dress shape that is more subtle – an a-line or a sheath, and nothing above the knee,” advises New York-based fashion designer Caity Booton. “Then, if you want to go all out on the embroidery, sparkle, or color (do I hear blush pink anyone?) it’s free game.” One of the benefits of being an older and wiser bride is that you can make the style choices that are authentic to you without caving to pressure from older family members with strong opinions about the significance of dress colors.

Schoneveld Bridal: photo by David Nicolas

Schoneveld Bridal: photo by David Nicolas

Brides who prefer casual or non-traditional options have a lot of creative license when it comes to wedding wear. As long as the style flatters your body, whether you wear a gown, a shift, a pantsuit or a jumpsuit isn’t so important. Your wedding is definitely the moment to invest in quality tailoring, so before you write off any style because it isn’t “perfect”, remember that alterations are possible. Even if you find a style that seems perfect on the first try, it’s still worthwhile to have a trusted tailor’s number handy just in case the fit isn’t quite the same two days before the wedding as it was six months prior.

Schoneveld Bridal: photo by David Nicolas

Schoneveld Bridal: photo by David Nicolas

Once you’ve decided on a wedding style, it’s time to buy the dress. While you’re welcome to spend lavishly on a dress, the chicest bridal styles aren’t necessarily the most expensive. Take a look at Bride.com’s list of Wedding Dresses under $1,000 (http://bit.ly/1bOOcez) for a sense of the many options available to brides on a budget. Wedding gowns are typically more costly than other gowns, but it is possible to avoid or diminish that bridal surcharge. One route is to buy or rent a beautiful gown that fits your wedding, but isn’t necessarily sold in the bridal section. This is particularly feasible if you gravitate toward knee or tea-length dress. If you do want a full gown that is affordable but feels tailor-made to you, look to an option such as Rebecca Schoneveld’s Custom Collection, which enables brides to mix and match their gown’s features from a variety of options. Other retailers and designers that offer a similar custom option include Tulle and Chantilly, Adoring Dress and Wedding Dress Fantasy.

Whether you order the dress online or buy in-store, make sure to try it on with the heel height you plan to wear for the wedding so that you can test the length. It’s not a bad idea to play around with hairstyles at that point, either, as you don’t want to be panicking with twenty pins and a can of hairspray on the day of. Once you’ve invested in a dress, select accessories that complement it and avoid those that compete with it. Beautiful earrings are a must, but bold statement necklaces can take away from an delicately embroidered neckline.

Ultimately, the most important aspect of your wedding day is the union with your significant other. Everything else is just decoration, so don’t let it stress you out. Wear an outfit that makes you feel confident, happy and excited for the ceremony!

**Many thanks to Rebecca Schoneveld and Caity Booton for the quotes. Photos are courtesy of Rebecca Schoneveld Design Studio and were taken by David Nicolas and Amber Gress.

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