Fashion: Off white

Today's bride and groom can choose a practical alternative to the white dress and morning suit: ultra-glamorous party clothes. Photographs by Derrick Santini
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The Independent Culture
A wedding dress is one of the most expensive garments a woman (or her parents) will ever buy. The average price of a traditional white dress from Pronuptia or Berkertex is pounds 660. At Pronuptia, a hand-embroidered, beaded gown can set you back anything from pounds 199 to pounds 1,900. It is a lot of money to spend on a dress you may wear only once and then store away in the back of the wardrobe.

The virginal white wedding dress is out of fashion, even for a church wedding. And, in a register office, a blushing bride in pure white does not have the quite the same appeal, especially if it is her second or third time round the block. Instead of dressing like a meringue, and hiring an ill-fitting morning suit for the groom, there are alternatives available for about the same price as the bridal shop option. What better time than their own wedding for both bride and groom to choose something really special that they can wear again?

Here, we make four suggestions for the wedding day: one traditional, the others a little less orthodox but just as special. It would be a crime to banish these outfits to the dark recesses of the wardrobe - apart from the white dress, which might look a little eccentric if worn on any other occasion. And, for once, we pay some attention to the groom, who is all too often left at the mercy of his nearest formalwear hire shop. It turns out that, given half the chance, the groom will outspend his bride. And who says the bride should always carry the bouquet?

Left

Fergus wears purple velvet suit with waistcoat (jacket not shown), pounds 495, by Jasper Conran at Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge, SW1; pink linen shirt, pounds 115, by Paul Smith, 41-43 Floral Street, WC2; mock snakeskin loafers, pounds 74.99, by Office, as before.

Hannah wears silver circular skirt, pounds 305, and matching sleeveless cropped shirt, pounds 275, both by Yeohlee, from Pellicano, 63 South Molton Street, W1; lilac satin cross-front shoes, pounds 169, by Emma Hope, 33 Amwell Street, EC1

Below

Fergus wears black mandarin-collar jacket, pounds 910, and matching trousers, pounds 405, by Issey Miyake, from Liberty, Regent Street, W1, and Pollyanna,14- 16 Market Hill, Barnsley; black leather loafers with buckle, pounds 74.99, by Office, as before.

Hannah wears silver pleated skirt, pounds 225, under silver linen and viscose mix dress, pounds 395, both by Kaat Tilley, at Liberty, as before; shoes by Emma Hope, as before

This page

Fergus wears electric blue single-breasted off-the-peg suit, pounds 650, electric blue long-sleeved shirt, pounds 85, blue silk patterned tie, pounds 55, all by Oswald Boateng, 9 Vigo Street, W1; black leather loafers with buckle, pounds 99, by Office, 57 Neal Street, WC2 and branches nationwide.

Hannah wears red satin trouser suit, pounds 785, by Romeo Gigli, 62 South Molton Street, W1; red strappy sandals, pounds 175, to order at Jimmy Choo (0171-249 2082)

Opposite

Fergus wears traditional, Oxford-style morning wear, pounds 59.99 to hire; Hannah wears `Chelsea' traditional wedding dress, pounds 599, both by Pronuptia Youngs, 19-20 Hanover Street, W1; Fergus's black leather brogues, pounds 250, by Pollini, 47 Sloane Street, SW1

Fergus wears Prince-of-Wales-check suit, pounds 615, and cream shirt, pounds 95, both by Paul Smith, as before, and Pollyanna, as before; brown leather brogues, pounds 250, by Pollini, as before.

Hannah wears cream, single-breasted, fitted jacket, pounds 629, and matching skirt with train, pounds 775, both by Yohji Yamamoto, at Liberty, as before, and Pollyanna, as before; cream satin beaded shoes, pounds 229, by Emma Hope, as before

Stylist Jo Adams

Make-up Sharon Dowsett, using Aveda products

Hair Colin Gold for Steven Carey of Mayfair

Models Fergus Turcell at 2 Management and Hannah Dakin at Models One

All floral arrangements designed by Wild at Heart, 222 Westbourne Grove, W11 (0171-727 3095)

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