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Ready to dazzle

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Brides and grooms recently tying the knot have coordinated their wedding attire to reveal more of their personalities, both individually and as a couple.

Local retailers and wedding industry experts say they saw more couples creating their own style in 2014, rather that following traditions by rote. They expect only more of that in 2015.

Like grooms and their groomsmen wearing whimsical socks or plaid bow ties and cummerbunds.

Or brides flirting with color and bridesmaids wrangling cowboy boots under their skirts.

John Baum, manager of Mr. Tux on Eubank NE, says he’s been fitting grooms in trimmer fitting tuxedos with flat front pants, in colors other than classic black, with more requests for gray.

“Bow ties are making a strong comeback. Long ties are still dominant in the store,” he says.

He adds he rarely gets a request for a cummerbund.

Albuquerque photographer Kim Jackson says she’s seeing both brides and grooms taking a few more risks with their attire.

“I did see a lot of plaid this (past) year and more bow ties,” she says. “Lots of cowboy boots. Bridesmaids often were allowed to buy their own choice of dress within a color palette or could choose from several designs.”

Fun and romance

Darlene Archibeque of Bridal Elegance by Darlene on Menaul NE says brides are having fun. “The style is really romantic, but fun. They want to be different than their sisters or cousins.”

Pink wedding dresses are popular in her shop, especially for brides planning a second wedding. “Girls are doing a lot of boots. They are also wearing Converse or flip-flops under their dresses to be comfortable.”

Wedding gowns that are beautiful and functional sell more frequently than purely stylish dresses, like strapless gowns, that are hard to wear for women with curves.

“Girls are wearing dresses with shoulders and sleeves,” Archibeque says.

Shelly Phelan, manager of Demetrios on Renaissance NE, says illusion necklines and backs allow for some sheer exposure, while providing a foundation for the dress, so the bride can wear it for the ceremony and dancing into the night.

“We’re seeing sheer on top with lots of beadwork and lace,” Phelan explains, whether the gown has a vintage or modern design.

‘We’re seeing nude (colors) under ivory. People love that. It makes the bead work and lace stand out more,” she adds.

As for veils, some brides like them, while others are happier with a glittering headband or flowers.

“We still have the typical tiaras and headpieces, but we’re seeing some cathedral veils and a trend in that direction,” says Karen Chavez, manager of Alfred Angelo Bridal in Uptown. “It’s a go-big-or-go-home kind of trend.”

Dresses are more heavily embellished with hundreds of sparkles and shiny pearl beads on lace, she says. “We have glitter, beginning at her hair, from top to bottom.”

Many gowns focus on a low back. “We’re seeing a low back and sleeves. More brides are requesting coverage. It’s a trend nationwide, not just in New Mexico.”

Yoke necklines and watteau trains that fall from the shoulders or the upper back are also popular.

Color to accent traditional white is trending, she says. “We still see a lot of the cameo, not so much a blush. We see a hint of color underneath. Some alternate soft color between the layers of the skirt.”

All of the gowns in Alfred Angelo’s Disney collection are highlighted with a color. Snow White has apple red, for example: “Every single princess has color. Aerial has a turquoise sea green. And we have color requests from nontraditional brides. We’ve done an all-black dress.”

“We’re seeing romance and elegance and chic at the same time,” she says.

Blooming color

Melissa Manning, a bridal designer at People’s Flowers, says she’s been making romantic bouquets with Victorian styling with shades of white, champagne and blush roses with pearls and rhinestone accents. But color is also appearing in floral arrangements with vivid jewel tones of bright red, green and purple together.

As for hair and makeup, makeup artist Noel Dalton, owner of The Vanity Makeup in Nob Hill, says she’s been creating more romantic, softer styles: “Brides are finally understanding less is more when it comes to hair and makeup. It’s still possible to photograph beautifully without piling on loads of makeup and hair spray.”

Applying makeup in sheer layers helps it last longer and look more natural, she says.

She often works with her sister, stylist Hannah Dalton of Stockton Hair Artists, on wedding parties, and finds that a princess half-up, half-down hairstyle is the most requested. “It’s great to have your hair up and out of your face, yet still showcase length or texture.”

One of her most important tips for brides happens before they get to her studio. “Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Nothing photographs and feels worse than dry skin and lips.”

She also recommends hiring professionals and delegating on the big day, because a bride’s job is “to just show up, relax and be pampered.”

All the experts say destination weddings are increasingly popular.

Mark Underwood, who was the Face of Fox for KASA-TV and often hosts wedding expos, speculates that the trend reflects couples deciding how they really want to spend their money as they start their lives together.

“One of the trends in a down economy is people trying to do their weddings on a budget,” he says. “They are figuring out ways to have a smaller wedding. Maybe they want the $20,000 going to buy a house instead of a wedding.”