Children Attendants in Full Bloom (April, 2005)

Here comes the Flower Girl, all dolled up in a fairy tale dress stealing glimpses and endearing hearts while preceding the Bride down the aisle. And check out the little cutie’s attire: It’s blooming with colorful accents.

“Bold splashes of color are very popular now in Flower Girl fashions. In the past, the trend for the Flower Girls was to have one special girl mirror the Bride in white or cream as somewhat of a “mini-bride,” said Norma Sawdy, vice president and designer of Us Angels Inc. “Now the girls are parading down the aisle wearing touches of color.”

“Traditional colors of white and ivory are generally the main focus of the dress, with accent colors that mirror the entire Bridal Party, whether it be the Bridesmaid colors or flowers arrangements in the wedding,” Sawdy said.

The newest look flaunts details to the back of the dress, including floral blooms and colored sashes. And such details as beads, ribbons, bows, fabric flowers and floral petals make the dresses extra pretty.

The young girls’ dresses also are mirroring grown-up fashions in their shape. Similar to what’s happening with the Bride’s gowns, “we are also seeing a lot of full skirts, many with crinoline to create additional fullness.”

Designers caution it is important to judge the length of the dress. It’s a matter of taste, but floor-length dresses may be too cumbersome for little girls up to the age of 3 and you might want to consider tea-length dresses for those a bit older.

To ensure comfort, beware of synthetic fabrics, scratchy netting and exposed seams against the skin. The dress selected should be fully lined and have built-in crinolines with clean seams around the waistline otherwise the little Flower Girl will be fidgeting and itching throughout the day, and of course, not smiling.

Little Boy Duds

Hints of color are also showing up in Ring Bearer garments. “Where you’re seeing the fashion is with colored accessories, such as ties and vests, in brights and pastels,” said Cindy Ongerth, a buyer for After Hours Formalwear.

When it comes to tuxedoes, Ongerth said that tradition still holds true with most preferring one- or two-button notch coats in the basic colors of black, white or ivory. One rule of thumb, she said, is if the adults in the wedding party are formally attired, then the Ring Bearer should be as well.

Little boys in tuxedoes may be uncomfortable so here’s a tip: Bring a change of clothes for after the ceremony and photos. Or, dress the Ring Bearer in nice shorts or knickers if the theme of the wedding permits. Then, add a classic Eton jacket or put the little guy in a linen or seersucker suit.

Making sure the children in your bridal party are comfortable in their outfits is key to a successful wedding ceremony – otherwise they’ll want to change out of their outfits before they even walk down the aisle. thanks Debra Ramos for this article.

Fashion’s Return to Full Skirts (March 2005)

If the dress of Donald Trump’s bride is any indication, the age of the big, beautiful gowns is triumphantly in full swing.

When model Melania Knauss married the business tycoon January 22 in Palm Beach, Florida, she wore a stunning Christian Dior dress made of 300 feet of satin with a 13-foot train. The 50-pound creation had a full skirt that was ruched, pleated and adorned in ways that most brides could hardly imagine.

“Fuller skirts have been a trend in bridal wear as brides are looking for opulence again,” said designer Monique Llhuillier. “It’s one occasion when they can feel and look like a princess, so many of them are opting for the big, full, extravagant gowns.”

The weddings of the rich and famous are well-regarded touchstones for what women can expect to see in trunk shows and showrooms as they begin their quest for the most fabulous gown.

And, it’s the big skirt trend that’s gaining momentum, said Martha Steward Weddings Editor Darcy Miller. “For a while, there was a turn away from the big dresses, and everything was strapless and a sheath, especially after the Carolyn Bessette Kennedy’s wedding.”

But, it’s petticoat time again, and the abundantly made bridal skirt is an invitation to romance. As designer Justina McCaffrey said, “The wedding is a time for the bride to indulge in a little bit of fantasy and exude glamour.”

This is a time when ‘more is more’. Vintage glamour is in, along with sparkles, petticoats and rustling skirts. It is time for high drama in bridal design and it’s great fun.

Recent films such as “The Phantom of the Opera” also have acquainted women with these centuries-old fashions and shown how they can be made fresh and sexy. And, it’s no surprise that the big skirt has come back, given many women’s love affair with all things vintage. Full skirts flatter all types, but in particular petite brides who can tend to look too small in the wedding party. For the larger bride, it makes the waist look very small and it minimizes the hips – as you have no idea how much hip is under a full skirt.

While crisp satin and taffeta lend formality to the big skirts, designers also are selecting softer fabrics for a dreamier, ethereal effect such as silk chiffon and organza over layers of tulle for a light, gossamer effect. thanks Robin McMacken for this article.