A Mountaintop Showcase of Wedding Wear
Words by Christina shepherd mcguire + photography by erin wheat
So, the bride-to-be puts you in charge of sourcing your own bridesmaid’s dress. You have no idea where to start, as she simply gave you a color and let you roll. Maybe, like us Teton-based locals, you live in the middle of nowhere with little access to any type of fashion scene, and you actually want to buy something you’ll wear more than once.
Enter … expert Tanya Hartman, owner of Gilded Social, a fancy occasion shop in Columbus, Ohio, that also services a nationwide clientele via virtual appointments. Let’s just say, she knows style, and she especially knows what looks good on women’s bodies. Hartman’s shop focuses on wedding occasion dresses for bridesmaids and mothers-of-the-bride that can segue from wedding party to street with a simple switcharoo of accessories.
In the pages that follow, Hartman shows us her dresses on everyday people (herself and two college friends, Audrey Russell and Cammie Trainer) during a Teton-based photoshoot conducted by local photographer Erin Wheat. Hartman demonstrates the way different dress styles fit a diversity of sizes (size 4, size 10, and, herself, a size 18), as she meticulously selects local accoutrements that meld Western wedding fashion with timeless offerings.
“It was great to show that we can dress every size,” says Hartman. “There are some dresses that don’t look good on me; and the same goes for real petite gals, as well. We [at Gilded Social] use our knowledge of our stock to hone in on what works on certain body types.”
* Florals were sourced regionally and provided by Flowers by Chloe.
Look #1: Sunset Colors, Earth Tones, and Hats
Sunset colors like terracotta and English rose represent an enduring trend in wedding fashion. Similarly, earth tones, like sage and cashmere, work well for bridesmaids’ dresses, as they nicely complement a cream or beige-colored bridal gown (a trend that is gaining popularity). The Crown + Brim hats and Hide Out Leathers coverups featured here fully complete this over-the-top Western look.
When accessorizing with hats, Hartman says, “Be considerate when timing your photos and styling your hair. Choose a low bun or long curls to one side, so that you don’t have hat head. And, work the timing of the sun into the photos, so that the hat doesn’t shade your eyes.”
Look #2: Non-Sequined Metallics and White Bridesmaids’ Dresses
“Satins, metallic mesh, and other metallic-like fabrics work for ladies who want a ‘blingy’ look, but think full head-to-toe sequins are too much,” says Hartman.
Additionally, she notes a growing trend in brides purchasing a white bridesmaid’s dress instead of a traditional bridal gown due to a change in plans during the pandemic. The white bridesmaid’s dress (in the middle on Audrey) also offers an alternative for brides who want something more casual or understated. Here, Pendleton wool blankets and Sing Hat Company hats bring in texture to offset the metallics.
Look #3: Timelessness
Long-standing trends like crepe solids and embroidered patterns coordinate beautifully together. Hartman built this look off of the printed dress (featured in the center on Audrey) and paired it with two other dresses that pull colors from the print. Similarly, you could dress a Maid of Honor in a print and match it to coordinated bridemaids’ dresses. Prints work well for mothers of the bride, too, by offering a standout style from that of the wedding party. Hideout Leather wraps and laughter accessorize this look perfectly.
Look #4: Re-wearable Chiffon
“Chiffon is the ultimate bridesmaid fabric, so there’s a big range in what’s available,” says Hartman. “Some styles are absolutely beautiful and re-wearable, some are just terrible.”
Featured here are bridesmaids’ dresses that can also be paired with flats for a summer dinner outing. Hartman’s wrap dress, as well as the Deep V design on Audrey and Cammie, delivers a flattering neckline on most body types. (The blue dress even has pockets!) Also, using cool greys and blues for an “ombre” theme represents a trend now seen in bridal party wear. Accessorize these dresses with Copperdot Leather Goods clutches and a Gallery Wild backdrop for a fundraiser event or community outing.
Look #5: Wedding-to-Street
Velvet, chiffon, and jumpsuits can take you from a wedding celebration to a casual cocktail party in one outfit. The styles featured here are also suitable for a rehearsal dinner, a night out on your honeymoon, or even a reception-ready second look (for those who want to slip into something comfier). Hartman’s outfit is actually a jumpsuit (left), Cammie’s velvet dress (middle) can also be worn on New Year’s Eve, and Audrey’s spaghetti-strapped dress (right) pairs well with boots and a jean jacket for a casual look. Just grab a Copperdot tote and you’re ready to go.