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Dress Up
The best trend of the year is the afterparty. Who said the fun has to end after the cutting of the cake? Anything goes afterhours, from throwing darts at the dive bar where the happy couple first met to renting a private dining room at the chicest restaurant. The only requirement is that the bride doesn’t ruin the gown she walked down the aisle in. Try some of these party frocks.

White eyelet dress by Holly Sharp, $98, at South Moon Under in Rehoboth Beach.

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Ivory goddess-inspired dress by Donna Morgan, $149, at Lady’s Image in Hockessin and North Wilmington.

White halter dress with pleaated skirt and bodice beading by Glam Gurlz, $178, at Christina Gowns in Dover.

A Hair Affair
Hair is the latest blank canvas for brides to work with, and the results are inventive styles and unexpected accessories.
“You still see some tiaras,” says Rene Costleigh, owner of the Rene Delyn Salon in Dover. “But a lot of people are just adding decorations or jewels that you can place in the hair.” Anything that makes your hair sparkle—brooches, feathers and combs—is fair game.
Another big trend is forgoing the formal updo and wearing the hair down or half pulled back. Soft curls are popular. So is the straight ’do. The only option that is out is the shellacked coif of yesteryear.
The one tradition that has stayed is the veil. But brides are remembering that the netting isn’t cemented to the head. “They are still [popular],” she says. “But they are taking them off after the ceremony.”

Black is Back
Black: the color of night, the slimming selection of fashionists—and the uniform of funeral goers. Does a millennia of black-clad mourners ruin the chances of a girl donning a dark frock to a wedding, even if it’s a beautiful, knock-em-dead LBD? No, says Joan Stokely, president of the Society of Diplomacy, a Pennsylvania-based etiquette consulting group. “It’s perfectly OK to wear black,” she says. “As long as it’s not too drab. Try to keep it cheerful.” The one thing guests should make a point to avoid is wearing anything that could be confused with a bridal gown or a bridesmaid dress. That means no white, not ever. “You don’t want to compete with the bride,” she says.

The Laws of Bras
Before you choose a dress to wear down the aisle, be sure you know what you can, and cannot, wear under it. “Before you spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a dress, you have to ask yourself if you can get an undergarment for it,” says Debbie Esslinger, owner of Bare Essentials, a lingerie boutique in North Wilmington. Many dresses dip low in the back or have sheer or cut-out sides, which can make finding support a challenge. That said, there are options. Strapless bras work well for most gowns. Convertible bras can wrap around the body under halter, strapless or backless gowns. And stick-on bras can give a little coverage and support to small busts. Pieces like bustiers and body smoothers can hide panty lines and bumps under clingy dresses. The dress and body style are major considerations in picking a bra type, but so is how the bride will wear the piece. Sitting and dancing are all part of the evening. So is going to the bathroom. “You don’t want something that you can’t easily take off,” she says. “You don’t want to have four people helping you in the stall.”

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