• Wedding Bouquets and Boutonnieres
  • Creative Etiquette Solutions

Wedding Bouquets and Boutonnieres

Dear Didi,

Our daughter’s big day is coming up and we’re wondering about wedding bouquets, boutonnieres, and corsages. How to choose them and how to distribute them? Do we take them to the church? Do the bridesmaids and groomsmen pick them up from us on the way to the church?

What colors should the boutonnieres be, or what color should they not be?

The bouquets are white, with shades of blues and pinks.

Likewise, who beside the bride, bridesmaids and mother of the bride and groom’s mother carry bouquets or wear corsages, and what colors should they be?

–MOB, Westport, CT

Dear MOB,

Let's talk about the hours leading up to the ceremony and wedding bouquets and boutonnieres. Having the formal photos of the families and the bridal party taken ahead of time, prior to the ceremony, is popular for practical reasons. Because you want everyone participating in the photo taking, looking their best and not disheveled before they've had something to drink. Choosing a picturesque location along the route between the house of worship and the reception is ideal. It can even be outside the church, or on the grounds of the reception venue. After the reception begins swinging, nobody will want to be responsible for rounding up the bridal party for formal shots. Least of all the mother of the bride. Corralling the wedding party into formal photos after the ceremony, and before the reception, can be problematic and tiresome. When everyone is driving in different vehicles to the reception, there can be holdups delaying the arrival of the wedding couple at the wedding. For instance if they stop at a location along the way for the formal photos, it is easy to forget guests are waiting at the reception. The bridesmaids gather around the bride ceremonially in her home or hotel room to "dress" the bride and check one another's hair and makeup over ice tea and tea sandwiches.  The groom meets his groomsmen and ushers at the church ahead of time where their boutonnière is either inserted into the buttonhole of their lapel or secured with a pin. The mother of the bride arrives at the church at about that time to supervise and she is the last person in the bridal party to be escorted to her seat. As the saying goes, the mother of the bride "shuts" the church door. Boutonnière is the French word for buttonhole. Traditionally they were worn by men for special occasions, less often now except at weddings and funerals to distinguish, members of the wedding party from the the guests. If a guest needs information, he looks for a groomsman or usher wearing a white, red, or blue cornflower in the button hole of his jacket's right lapel above the handkerchief pocket. A green flower is worn to declare homosexuality. Making  sure a long straight pin is included with the boutonnière is helpful. Pushing the pin from inside the jacket out and in again tightly will secure the flowers calyx to the jacket. It goes without saying that any male guest can wear his own style of boutonnière. The ones you'll be providing (or the groom will be responsible for) are for: the groom, his father, his best man, his groomsmen and his ushers, as well as for the bride's father. Grandparents and uncles are optional, because when extended families extend to step-parents and their parents, it can get pricey. A white boutonnière is the most formal and certain holidays call for a specific color flower, but nowadays anything goes for a wedding. Personally, I like the blue cornflower, although they are often difficult to find. images-9 images-11 images-12 030-IMG_7940 Wedding bouquets naturally reflect the flowers of the season and the bridesmaids' bouquets should be a smaller version of the brides' bouquet. In winter the flowers are deeper in color, in the fall they are the colors of autumn and in spring and summer you'll see anything from pastels to the brightest pinks, blues, yellows, and purples. images-14 More than likely the bridal bouquet includes at least one of the wedding colors, which is also found in the bridesmaids bouquets, boutonnières, corsages, table centerpieces and then again decorated on the wedding cake. Personally, I'm not a fan of corsages. I don't like making pin pricks in my clothing to attach them or having them crushed while dancing cheek to cheek. I wouldn't wear a wrist corsage either unless I was reliving my junior prom.

~Didi

  • Mother of The Bride Dress Code
  • Creative Etiquette Solutions

Mother of The Bride Dress Code

Dear Didi,

I’m searching for a mother of the bride outfit that is a sophisticated look suitable for an older mother of the bride to wear to her daughter’s August wedding. If someone is asked to describe the way I look, I’d like them to say I’m pleasantly plump. The mother of the bride dresses I’ve been trying on just aren’t for me. I look in the mirror and say to myself, “What am I doing in this silly dress?” Do you have a creative solution to this wedding dilemma?

–Anonymous, Watch Hill, RI

Dear Anonymous,

Living close to Newport, you are in luck looking for mother of the bride dress code ideas at this time. The answer is to attend the Newport Flower Show this weekend June 19-21, 2015. At booth #24 you'll find couture special occasion jackets by the ever so chic Maria Pucci. In choosing one of Maria Pucci's lovely handmade jackets you have more options to coordinate with the wedding colors, which typically match the wedding color scheme, by simply changing a trim, button or other detail to coordinate with the theme. For instance, instead of a corsage, your jacket can have a floral pattern in one of the wedding colors. The beauty of the Newport Long Coat (photo above upper left) is that it is a formal jacket. Because it is not a long dress, it won't compete with the bride's wedding gown, the arms are covered for a religious ceremony, and the mother-of-the-bride is freer to move around the reception to greet and dance with guests. Ahead of time go to Maria-Pucci to check out the brilliant designs of her versatile couture jackets. These beautifully made special occasion jackets are not only for the mother of the bride, but are a popular choice as cocktail attire -- especially for wearing when entertaining or being entertained day or night. These wonderful jackets are made for the young at heart. LB KRZ 1   DSC_0046 05-LB KRZ 2  

~Didi

  • Black & White 2:00 PM Wedding
  • Creative Etiquette Solutions

Black & White 2:00 PM Wedding

Dear Didi,

My daughter wishes to have her colors for her wedding black and white is that okay if the wedding is at 2 p.m? The bridal party would be wearing black and white as well. Is that proper wedding etiquette for two in the afternoon?

–Shirley, South Carolina

Dear Shirley,

There is nothing chicer than a black & white wedding. A black-and-white bridal party is very smart looking. The image to the left of your question illustrates my point. A real two o'clock wedding with the entire wedding party in black, but the lovely bride. Since it is a two o'clock wedding -- and the earlier in the day the ceremony the less formal the dress code -- the bridal party outfits would not necessarily be as dressy as an evening wedding. Even though the men in the bridal party may wear tuxedos or black suits, male guests would have the option of dressing less formally. For instance, in dark suits. The bridesmaids would wear black and white or solid black knee-length dresses with black heels. The bride's dress would be ankle length and not have a train. Nor would her veil be a cathedral-style veil -- which cascades to the floor and beyond. In other words, she wouldn't wear a ball gown, but she could definitely wear a long dress. Although a black and white knee-length dress is equally as chic.The dress code on the invitation could state 'Black Tie Optional' or 'Business Suits.' The flowers could be a third color, either red, purple, yellow, but white flowers would be equally as amazing -- if not more.

~Didi

  • Groom's Family Gift to The Bride
  • Creative Etiquette Solutions

Groom's Family Gift to The Bride

Dear Didi,

My son is marrying his girlfriend in June 2015. I want to know if it is a custom for a mother-in-law, me, to buy her a piece of jewelry and what type? Or is this a custom at all? I would like to do the right thing, because she’s a very lovely girl.

–Chickibb, Mid Atlantic

Dear Chickibb,

The tradition used to be that the groom's family presented a piece of jewelry to the bride to wear on her wedding day. Either a family heirloom or something new. For instance lovely earrings or a necklace. Find out what jewelry your future daughter-in-law is planing on wearing with her wedding dress. Ask her what she would like. Nowadays, a bride appears in beautiful earrings rather than a necklace that might distract from the fine design of her wedding dress. If the piece of jewelry is an heirloom, it can be her 'something old.' New, it could be her 'something new,' or even 'something borrowed' or 'something blue' -- if there is a blue stone. But it should be her choice. If the bride is wearing her grandmother's Victorian earrings, a modern necklace may not work with her wedding dress. After World War II, the tradition became more about giving the bride monogrammed silver flatware. Nowadays, couples are marrying later, because a woman is more likely to have a career and her parents are close to retiring or retired, and the wedding couple can pay for their own wedding. In that case, you might offer to give them their wedding trip, or pay for the wedding flowers, music, or photographs. Instead, you would be giving the wedding couple a significant gift. My best advise is to give your future daughter-in-law something she wants and needs. Tell her you wish to give her a special, personal gift and ask her what she would like. Suggests a couple of choicest and go from there.

~Didi

  • January Dress Code Mother-of-the-Groom
  • Creative Etiquette Solutions

January Dress Code Mother-of-the-Groom

Dear Didi,

I am the mother of the groom.  The wedding is  in January at 5:00 p.m.  Is it appropriate for my dress to be  an elegant sleeveless dress?

–MLM

Dear MLM,

It is appropriate to wear a sleeveless dress under the condition that your arms are buff. What I would question is the dress code for the 'mothers' (mother-of-the-groom, grandmothers, aunts, godmothers, and stepmothers), which, traditionally, is set by the mother-of-the-bride. Find out the length, style and color of the MOB's outfit and follow suit with the color in a similar hue. Think about the wedding photos and how you will fit in with the other 'mothers.' We want you to express your style, but you will want to blend in. Also, consider the climate and temperature in January at five o'clock, if the ceremony is in a church or other house of worship, some of which will require covered upper arms. That said, if your elegant sleeveless dress has a coordinating jacket, which can be taken off for the reception, then your outfit is appropriate.

~Didi

  • Wedding Hats
  • Creative Etiquette Solutions

Wedding Hats

Dear Didi,

My step-grandson is having a 4 o’clock outdoor wedding in October. in middle Alabama at the bride’s grandparent’s home. They are very wealthy and we have never met the bride or her family. I am a young 60 ish 😉 and I have a quirky since of style and like to be different. I am also a hat girl. Would it be appropriate to wear a hat?  Suggestions on what to wear?

–Kristy, Alabama

Dear Kristy,

Hold on to your hat, because you are not going to like my answer. Don't get me wrong, I love hats. But for a wedding such as this you don't want to wear a straw hat with a lot of fake flowers or you'll look like a hick. I'm all for being quirky, but quirkiness has its place and the place is not this wedding. As the step-grandmother you should look elegant and dignified. Wedding etiquette suggests that you dress in the same style as the other "mothers" (grandmothers, mothers, aunts, grandaunts, and godmothers). Find out from your step-son's mother, his step-mother, or the bride the style, length and color palette of the dress code for the other "mothers" in the wedding party. You want to blend into to the wedding photos and not stick out like a misfit. Find out if any of the other "mothers" are wearing hats. Should you decide to wear a hat, make sure that if it has a brim, it is narrow or the hat looks like a cloche that fits close to your head. Often called a 'dinner hat,' it is worn indoors as well as outdoors (I'm presuming there will be a tent for the dinner and dancing). Another alternative is the fascinator, which is a marvelous wide headband with a fascinating decoration, the color would coordinate with your outfit. To illustrate the kinds of dresses that a woman over forty would wear to an upscale wedding, I recommend the website Halsbrook.com. Not only will you find an appropriate dress, but the accessories that work well with it. After browsing the trends, you can look in department stores near you for similar styles.    

~Didi

  • Granny the wanna' be bride
  • Creative Etiquette Solutions

Granny the wanna' be bride

Dear Didi,

Is it improper for the grandmother-of-the-bride to wear a white blouse with rhinestone buttons to a 4:00 p.m. outdoor wedding?

–A. Z., Location withheld

Dear A. Z.,

It would depend upon how many real jewels the grandmother plans on wearing with the white blouse that has rhinestone buttons. Mixing faux bling and real bling can be tricky. Before leaving the house, she should look in the mirror to see if she thinks she looks too glitzy. She can always take off some of the bling. I would also question whether she should be wearing white. The only woman in white at a wedding is the bride. Think about it. Sitting at the ceremony and seated at dinner will she appear to be wearing white to her granddaughter's wedding?

~Didi

  • Wedding dress code for attendants
  • Creative Etiquette Solutions

Wedding dress code for attendants

Dear Didi,

I’m the sister of a 26 yr. old bride and I am attending her after 5 wedding in Biloxi, MS in August. The wedding is at an inside venue on the beach. Her colors are fuchsia and navy blue. I am 39-years-old 5’5″ and a curvy size 14 with a tiny waistline and small bust. My sister did not specify a formal wedding; but, I am thinking an above- the-knee cocktail dress would be appropriate??? Any suggestions on the color? I have 3 other sisters who will all be in attendance for our baby sister’s wedding…we were thinking black but not sure.

–Michelle, Mississippi

Dear Michelle,

I agree, I'm not so sure about wearing black in August to a beach-style wedding. The attendants usually wear one of the wedding colors, so why not find a navy blue dress that accentuates your curves, and one that you can wear again. Look for a blue crepe A-line dress. To illustrate the kind of dress I'm recommending, I use the website renttherunway.com where you can rent, buy or just get a sense of dresses available in stores. I did a quick check under dresses choosing the color blue and found:
  • ML Monique Lhuillier: We Belong Together Dress
  • Nanette Lepore: Navy Lace Crew Dress
  • Lilly Pulitzer: Navy Bernadette Wave Dress
  • Vera Wang: Bicolor Power Sheath
  • Lilly Pulitzer: Derby Girl Dress
  • Blumarine: Lady Pep Dress
  • Carolina Herrera:  Navy Metropolitan Club Dress
  • ML Monique LHuillier:  Never Let You Go Sheath
If you find a dress at a site such as renttherunway.com, have your other three sisters check it out. You wouldn't necessarily have to wear the exact same dress, because we want all of you to wear the dress that flatters you most. Choose a length, such as knee-length or above, in one of the wedding colors (navy blue may be more practical for future use) and don't worry about matching the style. For one-on-one advice, go to what2wearwhere.com, where Hilary Dick is willing and able to help you further

~Didi

  • 'Coastal Cocktail' dress code
  • Creative Etiquette Solutions

'Coastal Cocktail' dress code

Dear Didi,

My daughter is going to a wedding in Maine on Labor Day weekend. One of the party invitations says, “Coastal Cocktail” attire. I know what that means in the South (Lilly Pulitzer, e.g.), but I’m not so sure what that might suggest for Maine.

–Anonymous, Palm Beach

Dear Anonymous,

Blue stripes are coastal, or any color stripe for that matter. Lilly Pulitzer is not RI, MA, NH, ME coastal. These places prefer J McLaughlin to LP. Go to jmclaughlin.com and look at the summer sale. Labor Day weekend, however, can be cold, so she'll need a pair of pants and a sweater. For the wedding weekend I like the following dresses on sale on the JMcLaughlin website: Emma Cap Sleeve Dress in Stay Sail, Sage Sleeveless Dress in Marble, Sage Dress in Deco Knot, Edie Dress in Mod Garden, and Nicola Dress in Black Portsmouth Stripe, Nicola Dress in Blue Riviera, Nicola Dress in Coral Mixed Media Stripe, and Maria Halter Dress in Jazz. Not on sale, I like Sage Dress In French Lace, which is lovely.

~Didi

  • Non-traditional bridesmaid dresses on trend
  • Creative Etiquette Solutions

Non-traditional bridesmaid dresses on trend

Dear Didi,

My fiancé and I are finalizing plans for a non-traditional wedding. We haven’t chosen what are considered conventional wedding costumes, because I am wearing a below-the-knee silvery blue-grey dress and Tim will be wearing a Belstaff (British biking) jacket, as will his best man. He doesn’t have groomsmen, but I have plenty of bridesmaids with a wide range of waistlines, heights, ages and gender (one of whom used to be a guy). Not your cookie cutter lineup. Needless to say, my ladies are looking for guidance as to what to wear. Please advise.

–D.S., Malibu, CA

Dear D.S.,

From what you've mentioned, relay the details of your dress, shoes, and accessories, then suggest, for instance, that an above the knee-length cocktail dress in the color (although not white) and style of their choice would look chic to you. Short and not white, because in photos you wouldn't want a lone bridesmaid in an ankle-length dress looking like a wanna' be bride. All eyes on the chic bride, you.

~Didi