For better, for worse ... and they don't come much worse

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The Independent Online
CELEBRITY BRIDES with a taste for the outre may wish to think about toning down their frocks in future. For this week sees the launch of what will surely become one of the least-coveted style titles around. The first edition of Wedding Day, a new bridal magazine, features the worst-dressed brides of the year, chosen by a panel of fashion and beauty experts.

The Wedding Day panel were not about to spare anyone's feelings. Worst- dressed of all in the opinion of the judges was Frankie Park, the comedy actress and novelist, who married actor Nigel Planer in April. "Why is she wearing a white floor mop as a jacket?" asked panellist Tanya Sarne, managing director of Ghost designs. "If it's supposed to be a Bohemian look it just doesn't work," sniffed make-up artist Barbara Daly. Handbag designer Lulu Guinness did not mince her words. "Frankie looks like a dog's dinner," she said.

Actress Raquel Welch, the second-worst-dressed bride, was deemed to have revealed rather too much of her startling 40DD cleavage, when she tied the knot with pizza restaurateur Richard Palmer in July. "She's got to get over her bosom," commented Lulu Guinness. "We all know that's what she's famous for, but we don't need to be forcibly reminded."

James Major's bride, Emma Noble, also came in for criticism. "It's a `Quality Street' look, a meringue puff," said Tanya Sarne. John Stoddart, fashion and celebrity photographer, was similarly unimpressed. "The bustle detail is dreadful - it's like a parachute," he sighed.

June bride Courteney Cox, star of Friends, splashed out on a hand-sewn Valentino gown to marry actor David Arquette. A waste of money according to Mr Stoddart, who commented: "Courteney looks terrible. She's wearing the same net curtains on her head that I have in my living room."

Linda Kelsey, consultant editor of Wedding Day, the first magazine from the new publishing house founded by former Sunday Express editor Eve Pollard, said that the trend is towards the simple and streamlined. "Meringue- type dresses are very hard to get away with unless you're incredibly young and innocent," she said. Isn't it rather cruel to pour scorn on a bride on a day that is supposed to be the most magical of her life? "It was a bit mean," said Ms Kelsey. But, she added, "the panel did try to be constructive".

It's not all acid, however. The magazine also presented accolades for the best-dressed brides of 1999. The judges' favourites were Stella Tennant - bride of photographer David Lasnet - and Scheherazade Ventura Bentley, who snapped up Zac Goldsmith, heir to the late Sir James. Stella's frock, according to Ms Guinness, "is unconventional and modern but also very bridal", while Scheherazade's secret, according to Ms Daly, was that she was "young and chic enough to wear spaghetti straps".