With a background in fashion that includes an internship at Elle magazine and designing for Jill Stuart, bridal and fashion designer Hayley Paige knows a thing or two about fresh female style. And if you don’t believe us, just ask her A-list clients, who include Chrissy Teigen, Carrie Underwood, and Hilary Rhoda, among other starlets.
Images via JLM Couture
So, when the designer, whose dresses are known for their feminine details and frothy, flowing layers, offered to dish up some style advice to Florida brides-to-be, we jumped at the chance. After all, weddings in the Sunshine State run the gamut, from glamorous celebrations at five-star resorts to laid-back island fetes where no shoes are required. Here, Hayley Paige offers some insight into finding the perfect frock for your own Florida wedding.
Weddings Illustrated: What should a bride look for if she’s getting married during Florida’s warm and humid summer months?
Hayley Paige: If you are terribly worried about being hot, I would weather-proof your venue before compromising on fashion! Unless your wedding dress is one layer of light-weight fabric and completely see-through, you will be hot no matter what, so follow your heart style-wise. I wore sleeves in the middle of July on one of the hottest days, but the sleeves were illusion tulle and super breathable; we also did the ceremony inside a church and had a secondary portion of the wedding outside after it cooled down. If your ceremony is outdoors and during prime “sun-beating-hours” time, have parasols available for your guests and start as promptly as possible.
WI: And if she’s getting married on the beach?
HP: Beware of the wind! You can play into it with a flowy dress and give that angelic fabric flight, but avoid having too many moving parts. If you are wearing a veil, you might want to choose something with beading around the edge to help weigh it down. The biggest thing to think about is walking on sand and not getting tripped up on your dress. Going barefoot, opting for wedges, or putting down a wood plank under the aisle are things to consider.
Bridal designer Hayley Paige, photographed by Chard Photo
WI: How can a bride who’s having a casual island wedding—in the Florida Keys, for example—look the part but still look and feel like a bride?
HP: As much as I love the idea of rocking a subtle color on your wedding day, if you are going for a very casual theme I recommend choosing a simpler “no fuss” silhouette in ivory. The simpler you go with the shape, the more I feel you should wear white to avoid looking like a bridesmaid. A lace sheath or bias-cut gown with a unique detail—such as fringe or a dramatic neckline—is perfect for this setting. Laid back and low back is the peanut butter and jelly of bridal looks; it’s effortless, but still on point.
WI: How can a bride achieve an upscale or elegant look that’s also laid-back?
HP: Sleeves add that elegant and polished look, and pairing them with a plunging front or back neckline is a magical combination in proportion (see Paige’s “Tanner” dress, above left). It’s the perfect amount of boho meets chic elegance.
Any final words of wisdom for Florida brides?
Having your guests wait outside in the boiling sun before the ceremony starts is extremely uncomfortable, especially for your groom and groomsmen (even if you give them parasols and fans). I would be sure to have a very prompt ceremony/start right on the dot! I would also advise keeping the entire bridal party in an air-conditioned room until the very last minute before walking down the aisle.