With destination weddings on the rise, more and more wedding guests are asking the question ‘what will I wear?!’
It’s no secret that the most popular destinations are beach weddings. And while the mental images of the sun and beach are beautiful thoughts, it’s not uncommon for the next few thoughts to be how hot and heavy a fully embroidered lehenga or sherwani will feel in 30 degrees.
Destination Weddings and Fashion
In fact, destination weddings are influencing the world of South Asian fashion so significantly, that the designing guru, Sabyasachi Mukherjee has noted the phenomena in his collection,
‘Destination weddings are quite shaping of the future of bridal wear. Taking cues from our heritage, and marrying them to contemporary needs, we at Sabyasachi are constantly redefining Indian bridal wear. ‘An Endless Summer’ is almost a ready-to-wear take on bridal couture. Effortless chic being the buzzword, the clothes are lighter, brighter, measured and sophisticated.’
Remember, with beach weddings it’s not just the elements you’ll need to dress for, it’s also the ambience. A destination wedding is a unique experience, so from one former destination wedding bride to you, here is a list of tips and tricks to make sure you’re matching the occasion.
The Destination Wedding Bride
Whether it’s the color of your lehenga, the weight of it or the embroidery, you have the room to go lighter!
Pastels look beautiful against the tropical backdrop, breezy outfits work better with the heat and embroidery becomes completely optional- these are all of the bonus benefits of having a destination wedding.
Think About the Heat
I personally had the lehenga I wore for the religious ceremony altered for deeper arm holes, and let me tell you- I loved that I made that decision! The outdoor ceremony was a complete success with zero sweat stains and I have my deep arm holes to thank for that. With no fabric touching my armpits, I felt cooler and more confident when moving around (after all, there was no need to hide sweat marks).
Considering the heat doesn’t just apply to your clothing, though. It also means packing your beauty supplies with extra-matte powder, a setting spray and waterproof products. Everyone is different, but I know that my heat-friendly products made the difference between running and lasting makeup.
Casual and Mobile
Have you seen that photo circulating with the Indian bride sporting running shoes under her lehenga? If you’ve been envious of the look (I know I have!), there’s no better time than your destination wedding. There’s something about the ambience of a pre-ceremonial beach party, an outdoor bar reception or just the tropics themselves that make skipping the heels a totally reasonable option.
This one is all about personal preference, ultimately do what feels best. You should however, give flats extra consideration if you’re planning on having any of your events on a beach or cobble-stone area.
The Destination Wedding Groom
Get Fancy with Patterns
A lot of grooms would have a hard time pulling off a floral print at their own local wedding at the risk of looking too casual. But at a destination wedding it suddenly becomes couture.
Your tropical wedding is your chance to play with colors and patterns that you may not have otherwise considered.
Local weddings seem to have a ‘status quo’ already established as to what is the appropriate amount of formal (yes, that navy blue tusk fits the bill!), but with destination weddings, that precedence has yet to be set and that’s something you can take advantage of.
My husband did our religious ceremony in 3 layers of a sherwani. He survived, but I’m sure if he had to do it again, he would easily ditch one or two.
Remember, if you do need to dress it up, chances are that your photos will be on resort and very close to your room so you can easily plan for an outfit change from photo-ready to party-ready!
Sorry grooms, but you may not have the same sleeveless options as your bride (but if you do, more power to you!) What you can do is switch the light shirt that’ll surely accentuate the stains from an evening of partying with a dark shirt that will hide it. Because let’s face it, bhangra is one heck of a sport. If you plan on dancing through the night, make sure that your clothes will support that choice both functionally and aesthetically.
Fashion for Destination Wedding Guests
Alright, destination wedding guests, let’s get you in the right direction with planning your wardrobe!
Consider your Suitcase Allowance
Let’s start with this one. Before we get ahead of ourselves, the first thing to consider when traveling for a destination wedding is the weight allowance for your suitcase.
Indian clothes are notoriously heavy, so it’s important to plan backwards (or be prepared to pay an extra fee for more weight/extra bags).
If it’s your first time traveling, make sure you try putting your clothes in the suitcase ahead of time so you know exactly how much you can fit in there.
Don’t forget- that includes your swim suits, wedding event clothing, casual clothes, shoes, jewellery and makeup too!
Keep it Simple
We said it before, we’ll say it again: you can get away with being a lot more casual at a destination wedding versus a local wedding.
At the end of the day, whether you choose to take up that opportunity is completely up to you. But the elements (rain, sun, sand) are a bit easier to deal with when your clothes are lighter, brighter and more comfortable.
The expensive jewellery can stay at home, not only because the tropics are a place of simplicity and minimal bling, but also because theft is possible.
While the Caribbean is relatively safe, there are cases of theft and of course it’s always better safe than sorry. So, if you have a 10ct diamond or Rolex, maybe swap it out for a cheaper alternative when you attend the wedding.
I’d hate to leave you with the impression of fear, so let me give you this caveat: In my 20+ travels to tropical destinations (including my own wedding where we had cash, jewellery and other valuables on us), the only thing that I’ve ever had stolen is my phone.. and that’s because I left it unattended on a daybed.
Play with Color
Go with natural looks for your makeup (your tan will help you out there) and keep the colors for your clothing. If you’ve ever wondered where to wear that orange suit, those blue shoes or yellow earrings, this is your chance!
Bright and beautiful colors will pop and keep you matching with the flowers, sky, ocean and general landscape.
Cotton, Cotton, Cotton
And on that note, cotton will be your best friend. Cotton is perhaps the most breezy and breathable cloth out there, so opt for the fabric in your day-time trousers, your suits, your dress shirts and your shawls.
The material is not only going to keep you cool, but it’s also lightweight for all of your packing needs. This way you can pack not only your main outfits, but also throw in extra sweaters and throws to transition from daytime to evening Caribbean weather.
There you are, your guide to destination wedding fashion.
While I hope this does help (and I would have appreciated some of these prior to my own wedding!), at the end of the day, your fashion choices are a reflection of you.
So, pick up the tips and tricks that suit you, and feel free to ignore the others and make your own fashion rules.