Zoe pleased me to no end when she asked about my wedding veil. She did not ask about my dress, granted, but the fact that she was even considering my veil - or part of it? - made my eyes tear up with sentiment. So when I visited my mother in San Jose last week I went into the basement to excavate for the big box that held my wedding dress and veil and my sister Diane's veil, too. I brought it all home for good measure.
My dress still looked lovely to me - but, my goodness, was I ever really a size 5? My veil has a big white rose in the center with a lot of fluffy veiling; my sister's has a little crown. Considering they are both more than 40 years old, they look pretty good. Perhaps some part of one of them will work its way into Zoe's ensemble. And since Diane and I are both still married to our original husbands, perhaps it will be good luck.
I knew my straight dress with the chiffon sleeves and lacy floor-length train was probably dated, but I wondered: What is the latest in wedding wear? So I stopped in at Joanna's Bridal in Danville to talk to the experts and was filled in on the latest trends by owner Chris Potepa, Joanna's husband, as we wandered among the gowns.
Yes, strapless is in, Chris verified, and are about 80 percent of the dresses they sell; halter tops and spaghetti straps are also popular. But he noted this is for California weddings. Ivory, aka "diamond white," is in style, with some white dresses using the darker white as an accent. He showed me some dresses that were very fancy with beads and little pearls and crystals and Spanish lace. He also pointed out the "corset" look on a dress where it is laced up the back, which not only looks nice when viewed from behind but also helps the bride avoid extra alterations.
Chris said most brides these days have already done their homework before they come in, looking online and in magazines, so they may know what designer they want or even the exact dress. Of course, it may look different on them than on the size 2 model and that's when the experts work with the bride to find the perfect gown.
Moving on to the veil room, I saw that mine is outdated. The veils now are finished with pearls or beads or satin or have something sparkly imbedded in the lace. In my girlhood, the supreme romantic moment was when the groom would tenderly lift the veil from the bride's face to seal their vows with a tender kiss, but Chris said many brides these days do not want to cover their faces. He mentioned that both long and short veils are in vogue, whatever looks good with the dress.
We ended up at the mother-of-the-bride rack of dresses. Most of these were long and a surprising number were strapless. Chris remained diplomatically silent when I voiced surprise that mothers would compete with their daughters by going strapless. He pointed out that most of these dresses are for formal and evening weddings. While I was there, a mom from Greenbrook Elementary School came in to pick up a dress she'd bought from the mother-of-the-bride sale rack. Her name was Meg Esch and she said she'd bought the dress not for a wedding but to wear to the school's black-tie fundraiser that night. She knew the shop had fancy dresses and would be able to alter it for her quickly, and she was quite happy with her find.
I attended two weddings last summer, and both of the brides wore lovely gowns along classic lines that allowed their own beauty to shine through. As I look at my photos from those two weddings, I'm noticing not just the brides' dresses and veils but the flowers, the dinner settings, the chairs, etc., etc., etc. Yikes! So many details. At least we have a veil. Two. Maybe.
-Dolores Fox Ciardelli can be e-mailed at editor@DanvilleWeekly.com.