The drama of picking out the dress for the big day is well-established. But that is hardly the only look you’ll wear in the lead up to the ceremony. Wouldn’t it be nice to raid the Vogue sample closet? Now you can: we spoke to Cynthia Cook, a bridal stylist whose fashion pedigree goes well beyond white satin gowns—she was Anna Wintour’s assistant and worked with nearly everyone else in The September Issue, too. But most importantly, she has a gift for keeping wedding outfits as practical as they are romantic and graceful.
What to wear to your engagement party
For your debut as a bride, Cynthia “loves a classic white dress”— make sure it’s one that’s easy to wear, she notes. “You’ll most likely be on your feet the whole night.” To add a little panache, “accessorize with festive shoes and simple jewelry—this is not the night for a trendy earring.”
What to pack for a bachelorette party weekend
Photographer: Alex Bramall
For a bachelorette, you want something that’s easy to travel in, but that still exudes a bit of glam. Cynthia advises mixing “one or two white outfits with printed mini dresses or a big polka dot maxi dress.” They’re comfortable and pretty, but to move things into Technicolor territory, bring some “statement earrings and colorful flats for the best bachelorette ‘gram.” And here’s a smart trick: Cynthia says these are perfect outfits to recycle for your honeymoon. Bon voyage!
Once you have the outfits on lock, gather the girls for your last hurrah with free GIF invitations from Paperless Post Flyer.
What to wear to your bridal shower
Dress: Luisa Beccaria. Shoes: Manolo Blahnik
Like your engagement party look, you’ll want something that’s good for doing hostess duties—excuse us, guest of honor duties. Cynthia loves “cotton or lightweight silk for daytime”—something pretty and breathable that “looks as good standing up greeting guests as it does sitting down opening endless kitchen gadgets.”
Putting together a non-traditional bridesmaids’ look
Photographer: Sergio Sandona
If you don’t want your ladies-in-waiting to look too matchy-matchy, “treat your bridesmaids’ dresses like an editorial in Vogue.” Pick a theme, but build in contrast and coordinating colors, so everyone looks like themselves. “For a springtime wedding, choose romantic florals mixed with soft pastels that complement an outdoor setting,” for example. “If you’re jetting away to an island,” play with the typical resort palette by “selecting white dresses, but in different materials and lengths to give your pictures dimension and texture.” In short, think variations on a theme, rather than just one look.
What to wear to the rehearsal dinner (and how formal or informal should you go?)
Dress: Brock Collection. Dress: Carolina Herrera. Dress: Markarian.
They call it a rehearsal, but it’s a whole different show. “Don’t be afraid to have a more iconic look” at your rehearsal dinner, says Cynthia.
What to wear to the post-wedding brunch (and how to make comfort look glamorous)
Dress: Erdem. Dress: Madewell. Dress: Gioia Bini.
Think resort-y, if not literal resort wear: “a great cotton or linen dress, and some flats.”
What’s the perfect shoe for the wedding weekend
Shoe: Tabitha Simmons. Shoe: Vetements x Manolo Blahnik.
If you can only have one shoe to walk you through your festive tour of duty, Cynthia recommends “a Manolo slingback or a Tabitha Simmons block heel.” Block heels are easy to walk in, and they won’t sink into the ground if you’re having an event outdoors. Now, get to bridal marching.
Outfits: check. Invitations? Save the dates? They’re all here.