Aisle do's for children
by TARA MCLELLAN
ou can pick your clothes. You can pick your friends’ clothes. But can you pick your friends’ kids’ clothes? When you’re the bride, the answer is yes, or at least most of the time. From beachy casual to formal elegance, brides now have a wide selection for their pint-size attendants, making dressing up for the big day seem like child’s play.
Casual Small Fry-Day
Imagine a wedding by the beach, an afternoon garden party, or a small, intimate wedding with close family and friends. As some brides break out of the formal routine, children’s wedding attire is breaking out as well. Hand-smocked, all-cotton dresses and suits come in a variety of colors and shades of white, and are ideal for a more informal affair. “Our collection features many hand-smocked outfits in traditional designs,” says Vickie Moran of Orient Expressed. “You can find colors that are appropriate for the bride’s taste and style or to coordinate with the bridesmaids for a unified look.”
A more relaxed fit can also result in a more relaxed child. “Our soft cotton dresses and suits are great for kids to wear not only on the big day, but also to all of the events leading up to it, such as rehearsal dinners and so forth,” says Moran. “Our holiday themes and traditional styles work well for many occasions, so children can wear them until they outgrow them, a bonus the parents of the children appreciate as well.”
For brides who want a balance between casual and formal, there are options beyond cotton for dressing up young attendants. Clean, crisp linen in whites and pastels have a classic look that bridge the gap between casual and formal. According to Karen Ludwig at Mignon for Children, “What we’re selling mostly are looks that are traditional. Dresses are more on the plain side, nothing ornate.” Keeping a look neutral to complement the bride is an easy way to have a simple look for the child. “The colors that we see are mostly whites and shades of white to attend the bride instead of coordinating with the brighter colors of the bridesmaids’ dresses,” says Ludwig. “Boys can also have a crisp look in linen with white or ivory Eaton suits. The look is traditional, but not too formal.”
A Formal Affair
For some brides, the big day is just that, the biggest day of their lives. For those brides who want a dreamlike, ultra-formal wedding the most popular choice for child attendants continues to be dresses and suits in classic silk. “The most popular children’s attire for weddings that we sell are those in silk,” says Peggy Roth of Banbury Cross. “Although we do find the casual white-cotton apparel to be growing in popularity for outdoor weddings, we still find most people are looking for the silk dress or suit for a formal wedding occasion.” For weddings with one child or many, silk accents can add a magical hint to that special day, and, most of the time the children think so, too. What are good choices for this formal look? “A popular choice for girls might be a simple silk dress with a colored or neutral sash or even a flower accent,” says Roth. “A good choice for the boys would be the little button-on shirts and shorts. Both have a look that is elegant and easy to wear.”
Fit and Fashion
From casual to formal, from beachside to cathedral, brides have a wide variety of options to choose from when dressing child attendants. The key advice is to take a look at your own style and what you will be wearing on your wedding day. According to Roth, “The children’s attire does not, and probably should not, match the bride’s look exactly, but it should coordinate. If the bride has lots of beading, perhaps the flower girl could have a small beaded accent.” The bridesmaids’ dresses can also be a good starting place when selecting children’s wear. “If color is important to the bride, then maybe bring in a sash that coordinates with the bridesmaid,” says Roth. “It is important, though, to limit color on kids’ clothing, because sometimes too much can be overwhelming.”
Choosing wedding attire for the children in your party may seem overwhelming, but in the end, it can be a lot of fun. Most children’s-wear shops recommend bringing the child in for a special day of trying on clothing and getting ready for the big day. It’s a good time to prepare each child for their role, as well as a good time for the parents and the bride to choose the right fit and style. Make the day of it and let the games begin.
Banbury Cross, 732 Dublin St., (888) 272-0440
Mignon for Children, 2727 Prytania St. at the Rink, 891-2374
Orient Expressed, 3905 Magazine St., 899-3060