Photo courtesy of The Plumed Serpent

Today’s reality is that love doesn’t always win out the first time around; “second chances” are called that for a reason — and now you get a do-over! So, if this is your second time at facing “I do,” know that the question of what to wear is just as important as ever.

Many repeat brides feel that virginal white is inappropriate.

Sukran Ayral, the owner/designer of Sukran’s in Norwalk, says that maybe “diamond white” should be avoided, but ivory or champagne color is just fine. Alison Fischer of The Plumed Serpent goes even further.

“Whatever makes you happy,” Fischer says. “‘Starter’ brides are usually in their 20’s, so a second wedding bride can be still quite young and there are no rules, except that you wouldn’t want to wear a very formal dress for a small, intimate wedding, or a sundress for a wedding with 200 people. You have to think outside the box. One of my most beautiful brides was a grandmother who wore a full-length black satin gown with an ivory lace jacket.”

Bridal consultant Ruth Blackwood, who’s planned weddings all over the world, says “It’s 2012, and brides can do anything they want, but they should consider where the wedding will be. Many churches frown on hip hugging ‘Mermaid ‘ wedding gowns. Brides should also consider the reactions of older relatives, like grandparents.”


Deborah O’Brien photo

For the past couple of decades, strapless bridal gowns have become a kind of uniform. Revealing one’s shoulders, upper back and touch-of-cleavage is so popular that bare arms and shoulders are seen in almost every wedding picture. Sukran says that this is slowly changing. “There are more and more shoulder treatments, lace cover-ups and V-necklines. The season is important. Chiffon for summer, silk crepe for fall. For second or third weddings for older brides, an elegant, dressy suit is a good choice.”

Here’s an example: Alexis M. wore a strapless white dress with a train, and a full-length veil for her first wedding. Eight years later, she was a bride again, and this time, she wore a half-mermaid (form-fitting to the hip) hot pink, puffy skirted-dress. Twelve years later, she chose a gold brocade suit with a sequined jacket. She looked wonderful all three times.

(Unfortunately, a bride’s fashion sense has little to do with the success of her marriage.)

Many repeat brides abandon any thought of “bridal” wear. They pick a dress (or pantsuit) they’d wear to a party. But most brides seem to want something, however small, that’s traditional and/or sentimental.

Birdcage veils fill the bill. They’re short, un-fussy and just cover the face enough to look both fun and flirty. Likewise, the bouquet. Some brides simply carry a clutch purse with a single white orchid. Others want a traditional bouquet, often with multi-colored, garden flowers.

Basically, the rules are out the window. Fischer says she’s outfitted all kinds of weddings, for first, second and third-time brides. She remembers one bride, who married very young and wore nothing special. “When she became a bride the second time, she wanted the full, traditional wardrobe. ‘This time,’ she said, ‘I’m doing it right!’”