By Real Simple
Updated January 23, 2008
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| Credit: Abigail Seymour Photography

5. Are there any pretty alternatives to traditional wedding dresses?

Yes, plenty. If you vastly prefer the clothing you see in regular stores to what’s in bridal salons, then that’s where you should shop for your wedding-day attire. Some popular options:

  • A skirt suit in a light color, which is a sophisticated look that flatters most body types. (Make sure that the cut is very feminine, so you look like a bride, not a CEO.)
  • A two-piece skirt-and-top combination, especially if it is made from a silky fabric or has beading.
  • Baby-doll and tube-style dresses in any color are cute and playful for more casual affairs.
  • When in doubt, a stunning black number never fails.


6. Is there any way I can incorporate parts of a family gown into my dress?

Odds are, you probably don’t want to wear your great-grandmother’s dress down the aisle as is. But, luckily, there are other ways to bask in the sentimental value of an inherited gown. Try these tips:

  • If the basic structure appeals to you, have a seamstress shorten or lengthen the dress, removing or adding features as you see fit.
  • Harvest lace from an old gown to create your veil or an overlay, or have the lace made into a rosette on your dress. The material can also be turned into the base for your bouquet, used for a sash that you can wear around your waist, or appliquéd onto the bodice of your gown.
  • If the styles are too different to blend, you should consider taking both dresses to a quilt maker after the wedding and asking her to combine them into an heirloom that you can pass down.