As beautiful as a destination wedding at a resort on a warm and sunny tropical island can be, it does call for a change of dress. In response, a few years ago Sandals Resorts worked with Vivian Diamond of the Dessy Collection to create a line of simple, modern, airy dresses ideally suited for destination weddings available in sizes 0-28.
Note: These dresses are no longer available.
Sandals Resorts coined the term "weddingmoon" — a combination wedding-plus-honeymoon getaway. Today, 16 percent of weddings take place in a destination away from home. In this exclusive interview, Joann Delgin, Sandals' director of wedding strategy, answered questions about these wedding dresses. Her answers may still be of interest to women planning what to wear at a destination wedding.
Why has Sandals branched into wedding dresses?
John Lynch, evp of sales worldwide, was empathetic to brides standing in the Caribbean sun with full tulle ball gowns and gloves. He became passionate about offering dresses designed with the Caribbean climate in mind, allowing brides to feel elegant yet without the weight and heat of a traditional wedding gown.
Who was the designer of Sandals' destination wedding dresses?
Vivian Dessy Diamond of The Dessy Group captured the beauty and carefree spirit of a destination wedding with her dress collection. They are casual but "island elegant" — chic, stylish, and fresh — what today's destination brides are seeking. Attention to detail includes special touches such as a jeweled brooch or lace-up back through crystal rings. Some feature slight "sweep" trains.
What considerations should a woman take into account when selecting a dress for a tropical destination wedding?
The warm climate as well as the location (i.e., will she sink her feet into the sand alongside the splash of the ocean?). It is also important to consider how well the dress material will travel and how easy it will be to carry while embarking on planes and automobiles.
Are there certain dress fabrics that work better? Ones to avoid?
This collection was designed with lightweight, breezy fabrics such as chiffon and charmeuse with tropical settings in mind. The wedding dresses are cool and comfortable and the fabrics are light and wrinkle-resistant for ease of travel and packing. Each has a stretch knit lining that is designed for easy alterations. The best part of all is, they are washable. So there is no need to worry about sand and water affecting the look of the dress.
Fabrics to avoid in a destination wedding dress would be anything that stains easily or tends to be heavy. While a crinoline is pretty, it probably won't travel well, nor feel good on your skin while standing in the warm Caribbean sun.
What about destination wedding dress styles? Any musts to avoid?
The dress should be soft and fluid, not clingy, lightweight, and easy to pack. You cannot go wrong with a dress made of a fabric that fits and moves with the body. You'll be less stressed traveling and won't have to deal with finding someone to steam your dress upon arrival. I would certainly stay away from heavily jeweled or beaded dresses.
What should the bride wear at a destination wedding if this is not her first wedding?
Every bride should wear a dress that makes her feel spectacular! Our collection is offered in white or ivory. A bride should pick the color she feels she looks and feels best in.
What wardrobe advice do you have for the groom at a tropical destination wedding?
The groom will look dapper in a light linen suit or lightweight shirt and pants. A formal tuxedo is typically made of heavier materials not forgiving in the Caribbean heat. The groom should be smiling in the soft Caribbean breeze as his bride cascades toward him...not sweating!
What about shoes for the couple?
Most of our brides are happy in a low-heeled strappy sandal or shoe. It also is common to see the bride barefoot with decorative jewelry around her ankle. The groom typically follows suit with a lightweight sandal or bare feet.
What's the best way to transport a wedding dress to a destination wedding location?
If you can avoid it, do not check the dress with your luggage. I suggest using a lightweight carryon bag that will hang in the first class garment bin. If that is not an option, I suggest keeping it close to you in the overhead carrier bin.