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Wedding Fashion Rules Challenge Southerners
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Southern weddings are full of customs, but the most challenging traditions are those related to fashions.
"People in the South tend to be more conservative and traditional in their approach to weddings," said Everlyn Johnson, apparel and textiles program leader with Mississippi State University's Extension Service. "Usually, the more formal the wedding, the more we expect rules to be followed."
Johnson said the time of day, the formality of the bride's dress, the size of the wedding and the location determine the style of the wedding. Fashion traditions vary from informal to formal and also depend on the time of day. The change from daytime to evening occurs at 6 p.m.
"Formal daytime weddings may have grooms wearing cutaway coats with striped trousers or black or gray jackets. Tails are traditionally reserved for evening weddings," Johnson said. "Sometimes couples have to decide which is most important to them, the groom wearing tails or a daytime wedding."
Bridesmaid dresses may range from tea-length to floor-length in a formal daytime wedding, but tend to be longer during formal evening services. While fashion rules are often bent to accommodate individual tastes, Johnson cautioned against extreme deviations.
"In an informal wedding, spectators are rarely too judgmental when couples break from tradition. But when the wedding is more formal, some spectators pay much more attention to lapses away from tradition," Johnson said. "Wedding consultants can help couples avoid major fashion mistakes."
Brides should also determine the formality of the wedding early, so the formality of the dress and the service complement each other. The more formal the wedding, the more it will cost.
Johnson said second weddings tend to be less formal. The bride's dress will not be as elaborate, the head piece (if worn) will be simpler, and a corsage may suffice in place of a bouquet.
"Weddings don't have to be formal to create a beautiful atmosphere that is rich in tradition," Johnson said. "For each couple, it's their day, and personal touches will enhance the wedding experience. Brides should not let a paranoia about following rules keep them from having the wedding of their dreams."
Contact: Dr. Everlyn Johnson, (662) 325-3081