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Weddings Make Holidays Special
By Laura Martin
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Engaged couples planning year-end weddings can take advantage of decorated churches and family reunions for their special day.
Anne Stevenson, a home economist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said people planning a holiday wedding can wait and let the church or cathedral decorate and then add a few accessories to it.
"Using the church's decorations and maybe adding a few candles can make a much more inexpensive wedding," said Stevenson, a wedding director. "Keep it simple. Understated elegance goes along with the holidays."
Holiday weddings are unique for many reasons.
"The love and thankfulness of the season help to dictate the atmosphere," Stevenson said. "Holiday weddings already have a theme which is difficult to totally break away from.
"People don't have to be concerned with theme colors," Stevenson said. "Weddings around Thanksgiving and Christmas are expected to have colors of autumn and winter."
Friends and families often gather to celebrate the holidays. A wedding can bring them together in one trip, making it easy for everyone, Stevenson said. People also have time off from work during the holidays.
Dr. Phyllis Miller, fashion consultant with MSU's School of Human Sciences, offered some advice on holiday wedding styles.
"Because of cooler weather, a wider range of fabrics and trims is suitable for holiday wedding gowns," Miller said. "Luxurious brocades, which have designs woven into the fabric, are dramatic and capture candlelight beautifully. Also, heavier satin and taffeta make lovely holiday gowns."
"When selecting a style for your gown, think about warmth as well as beauty," Miller said. "Long or three-quarter sleeves will keep the chill away. If you still want a sheer look, try long lace or net sleeves."
"Fur trims and matching muffs are popular accents for cool-weather weddings," Miller said. "Richer, beaded trims and heavier laces covered with sequins or pearls are also suitable on heavier fabrics and fall or winter gowns."
Holiday colors can add unique accents to the wedding.
"For autumn or Thanksgiving weddings, think of the colors of a bright autumn afternoon, such as warm oranges, red-oranges, rich golds and yellows," Miller said. "Eggplant, wine and chocolate are also wonderful, rich colors for autumn.
"For December weddings, the traditional red and green can have many variations," Miller said. "Try rich reds, ranging from true red to red violet, cranberry and burgundy. Pale pink, rum pink and hot pink also look great with green, which can be delicate like mint green, or deep, like forest or hunter green."
"The groom and his entourage might consider a red, green, silvery, or gold vest, cummerbund or tie. A red boutonniere is another festive touch."
Additional glittery accents are popular among holiday brides.
"Make the bride's face and body sparkle with shimmer lotions or powders," Miller said. "If her gown and skin colors are cool, try silver. If warm colors are used or if she has a warm complexion, try gold or bronze. Gold or silver eyeshadow draw attention to those dreamy eyes. Many blushers also shimmer."
Dr. Jim DelPrince, a floral designer with MSU's Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, recommended ways to use flowers to add some drama to an already decorated church or cathedral.
"Trends have made holiday bouquets small and simple, usually from six to eight inches across," DelPrince said. "Lily of the Valley and Stephanotis are two simple but elegant selections."
"For Thanksgiving weddings, show the season as an abundant harvest, using very fine textured or decorative fruits like berries, rosehips or bittersweet to spice up a bouquet or any kind of floral arrangement," DelPrince said.
To enhance the festive look in an already decorated church, add flowered branches such as pussywillow. Six feet of branches hanging on a pedestal can make it seem nine feet tall, DelPrince said.
Traditional flowers like poinsettias are often used. Something a little different than the traditional flowers are amaryllis and narcissus. They can give a new twist to a decorating scheme, DelPrince said.
Holiday weddings can be a joyous time. Stevenson reminded the bride and groom to enjoy the holiday season and not overlook it in the wedding preparations.
"Keep in mind that weather might be a concern," Stevenson said. "Bad weather may make it impossible for some guests to arrive on time. Remember the three most important people will be there -- the bride, the groom and the preacher. Make your plans and then go with the flow."