Don't underestimate the importance of fashion. Your wedding gown should say a lot about you -- and your wedding's -- style. Is it a good fit for your type of event? Here's what to consider as you ponder the options.
What to consider: Think about your aisle. Will there be a runner? If you're planning to walk down a grassy path, pay special attention to your gown length. Opt for something that doesn't skim the ground (or get it altered that way) so that you don't get unseemly green stains along the hemline, or lay down a runner. Also consider accenting your gown with the season's key embellishments -- floral embroideries and floral accessories hairpins, brooches, and so on.
What to avoid: High heels. If your aisle is grass, you'll sink indelicately into the soil. Also, avoid embellishments that are too shiny or glittery; they may look a little out of place if your setting is au naturel.
What to consider: If you're planning to have your ceremony out in the sun, you'll want to consider fabrics such as chiffon, silk, and charmeuse as well as shapes that will help keep you cool. Make sure your fabrics are natural and breathable. And you'll definitely want to opt for flats or sandals, unless you create a firm walkway over the sand.
What to avoid: If your aisle is sand, stay away from gowns with heavy trains, so you don't carve a wake as you walk down the aisle.
What to consider: All options are open for a chic city wedding, from princess ball gowns to sleek, svelte sheaths to short, sassy minidresses. But consider your particular city venue when making your selection: You may want to go more opulent for a big hotel affair, or more modern or fashiony for a clean-lined loft wedding.
What to avoid: Nothing is off-limits, but if you're taking a cab to and from your location, make sure your gown will fit inside!
What to consider: Even if you'll be shuttling directly from a heated limo to your event location, you're sure to get a chill if you don't have the proper cover-up. Your dress itself can still be strapless or skin-baring, but you'll want to have something beautiful to throw over your shoulders. Consider a fashionable cover-up, lace jacket, or cashmere shrug. Many designers are creating them to match the gown.
What to avoid: Anything not properly lined. Don't skimp on undergarments (if you're cold, your whole guest list will know). Also stay away from light materials such as linen or crepe in favor of moire (a heavy silk taffeta), brocade, or velvet accents.
What to consider: There are few settings as grand as this, so make sure your gown matches your surrounds to achieve a big impact. Go all out with a ball gown, a full A-line, or a chapel-length train.
What to avoid: Consider avoiding shoes that will clack too loudly on a stone floor as you walk down the aisle, or lay down a rug.