by Jolene Rae Harrington, Director of Creative Content
There’s nothing like a prop to bring out a woman’s inner diva. Whether vamping it up with a feather boa or flirting coyly with a painted fan, a woman becomes positively magnetic with the addition of just the right accessory. Though a bouquet is a bride’s traditional best friend, daring damsels are reaching for parasols and umbrellas to best set off their feminine charms.
Although historically umbrellas were waterproof and parasols weren’t, both are now made in a wide range of materials and designs. From beach wedding to Victorian soirée, whatever your bridal style there’s a parasol or umbrella to match. Is your event Asian-themed? A rice-paper parasol evokes zen-like simplicity, while an antique pink silk brocade umbrella recalls a luxurious Japanese kimono. Have you chosen a turn-of-the-century wedding ensemble, with groom in Edwardian attire? Then by all means, a frilly parasol is a must, my dear.
Brides aren’t having all the fun: Color-coordinated parasols unify the overall look of a bride and her attendants. It’s the answer to the question “what should my bridesmaids carry?” and is a lovely way to make them feel pretty, special and comfortable.
Parasols and fancy umbrellas bring pizzazz to photo shoots, too. There’s nothing more fetching than a bride and her ‘maids taking a stroll with their parasols playfully aloft. Or use old-fashioned umbrellas to add period flavor to dramatic, sepia-toned engagement portraits.
Brides are also distributing umbrellas or parasols to their wedding guests as they arrive at an al fresco reception. Like lords and ladies of yesteryear, guests stroll about the grounds, protected from an unexpected June drizzle or the blazing sun. And ho-hum bridal showers come alive when you gift your gal pals with a parasol—just loop one on the back of each guest’s chair for a flirty thank-you memento.
h3. Up With Umbrellas
The largest source of vintage and vintage-styled umbrellas in the world is Bella Umbrella. Unique designs include Tartan plaid patterns that are perfect for Irish or Celtic weddings, and umbrellas with Italian jeweled handles to set off your European couture. Whether you’re looking for a classic style like the Pagoda, a girly-girl model with ruffles, or a delicate cotton umbrella embroidered with Battenberg lace, you’ll find those and hundreds more available for rent through Bella’s website.
Bella also has a world-class umbrella designer that can make anything you can dream up. How about an umbrella from the same fabric of your gown or bridesmaids’ dresses? Or fringed to match the beading or antique lace of your wedding gown? But of course.
Another one of our favorite resources is Pamela’s Parasols. According to owner and designer Pamela Noxon, “In ancient times parasols were considered magical and were enjoyed only by royalty.” With Pamela’s help, today’s royalty—the bride and groom—can indulge in the same noble and mystical tradition.
Parasols can be ordered plain or with all sorts of trimmings—jewels, silk flowers, beads or even ostrich feathers. Having a beach wedding? A natural accompaniment is the “Island Girl,” fringed with real seashells; for your garden wedding, twirl a parasol blooming with cheerful daisies.
You can even monogram your parasol, or have it printed with a sentiment such as “love” or “romance” in graceful calligraphy. Browsing the imaginative options at Pamela’s Parasols may even inspire your overall wedding vision.
If you want to get your color-coordinated parasols just right, take advantage of Pamela’s custom color matching service so that bridesmaids’ gowns will harmonize exactly with their handy fashion accessory. Pamela’s Parasols also offers rice paper and bamboo fans, which can be given to guests in an elegant satin bag for warm summer celebrations. Stamp them with your initials or wedding date, and the fans double as wedding favors.
In the hands of today’s bride, a vivacious umbrella or pretty parasol makes a personal statement of cutting-edge wedding style. What an innovative way to have your wedding “made in the shade!”