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Bridal party traditions are changed in Delaware

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The unfortunate tradition of bridesmaids wearing gowns that will be forever consigned to the back of the closet is blessedly over.

And who wears the frock—if a dress is worn at all—is changing, too.

More brides are choosing male friends or mentors to stand up for them on the big day, says Erin Proud, principal of Proud to Plan Weddings and Events in Wilmington.

One bride chose a male friend to be an attendant, along with her closest gal pals. Proud is currently planning a wedding in which a man of honor will attend the bride and a best lady will stand by the groom.

Junior bridesmaids, flower girls and ring bearers have long been part of the processional. Today, attendants also might include a maid who is a generation older than the bride, such as a beloved aunt.

“We’ve had moms as matrons of honor and dads as best men,” Proud says. “What’s more important than maintaining traditional bridal party roles is ensuring that the people closest to you are up there, standing by your side, helping to create wonderful memories of your wedding day.”

Brides also are preceded down the aisle by fewer attendants these days, says Paula Waters, manager of Simon’s Bridal Shoppe in Dover.

Instead of dozens of cousins or a houseful of sorority sisters, brides are sticking to those nearest and dearest, “three or four girls at the most, usually sisters and close friends,” Waters says.

In keeping with the shorter line of maids, hemlines are shorter, too.

“Short dresses, at the knee or above, is what everyone is going for,” Water says. “It’s youthful and fun and the girls are happy because they have a nice dress they can actually wear to parties after the wedding is over.”

Fitted bodices and flowing skirts look ladylike floating down the aisle—and hot on the dance floor at the reception. The most fashionable fabrics are satin, taffeta and chiffon.

“Sometimes girls will order tea-length dresses with chiffon skirts and have them cut to a shorter length,” Waters says.

So what are the yummiest colors? Chocolate brown, a recent fall fave, is now being worn year-round.

There also is a wave of clear, cool, turquoise-kissed blues. Picture nature-inspired hues that complement a variety of hair colors and skin tones.

“Marine blue is beautiful for outdoor weddings, especially if it’s on a beach or by the pool,” Waters says. — E.S.D.

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