Summer weddings are becoming even more popular among the beach crowd. Sun worshippers delight in using the sun, surf, and sky as a backdrop for their important day. That is certainly true for the summer of 2009.

Those who can’t afford or simply don’t see a need for a lavishly extravagant wedding, often opt to keep it intimate and personal. Sometimes that means simply inviting a few family members and friends to share in the event. But beach weddings can also be lush for those who want a celebration as big as their love.

Today’s bride is no longer, pardon the pun, married to wearing white. Elegant ivory, soft eggshell, and tantalizing taupe and beautiful pale pastels will be popular. Wedding party members may be dressed in deeper shades of the bride’s own color or they could go even bolder in complimentary shades of blue, green, or orchid.

The beach bridal dress may be less detailed with regard to beading and lace but it will definitely have its own appeal in beautiful lightweight silks and satins and gossamer chiffons that whisper softly in the summer breeze. Off the shoulder, strapless, or Grecian style dresses will ensure that every bride looks her most beautiful on her special day.

The bridal party may wear dresses that match one another or feel free to choose their own based on the bride’s basic design and color scheme. Even the groom and his groomsmen may be allowed to go light and free; opting for stunning dress shirts and pants instead of suits and tuxedos.

Of course the more traditional bride may still want a certain amount of pizzazz even on the beach, adding beautiful accessories like hats and gloves to polish off the women and lightweight jackets with or without ties for the men.

However, beach weddings aren’t for everyone and the summer bride feel free in choosing an alternative venue. Art galleries, museums, and lavish hotels will be popular choices. So are weddings at home, in the garden or park, and at churches, community centers and halls. The rule is there are no rules anymore. Brides and grooms are free to let their imaginations soar to build the perfect wedding day that suits who they are as individuals.

There will be formal, semi-formal, and casual weddings galore this summer. It’s all about the couple, their families, and their lifestyles. Anything goes. But more brides than ever may cut back on the extravagance because of the waning economy, carefully choosing only those things they consider absolutely necessary.

Summer wedding dresses for 2009 will be romantic and nature will play an important part. Floral designs in lace, beading and accents will be found in a lot of today’s gowns. But that’s not all. Grecian and Roman elegance in stunning refined cuts will also popular. Ruffles and netting will abound for some brides while others opt for something sleek, smooth and oh so sexy. Ruching and pleating will be a part of many of today’s favorite dress choices and extravagant beads, sequins, and jewels aren’t going away either. Dresses may be long, short, or anywhere in between. They could hearken back to the days of Victorian modesty or let it all hang out like the free love 60’s. Not everything will be all white here either. Colored beads, stones, ribbon, and accents will make today’s wedding dresses very unique.

Some brides will choose to wear their mother’s or grandmother’s dress instead of buying a new one for two primary reasons. Number one, it is a part of their commitment to going green. Secondly, the vintage look is hotter than ever before. Halter, spaghetti strap, and strapless gowns will remain popular and be accompanied not only by plunging necklines but plunging backs as well. And don’t forget the one-shoulder goddess gowns that have become so popular the last couple of years. A few will also still feature the mermaid or fishtail look as well. Look for whites, to be certain, but also look for soft champagne colors, barely there pinks and cool platinum.

With venue and dresses under control, it’s time to move onto things like wedding rings, cakes, and flowers. Look for my article "Completing the Summer 2009 Wedding Preparations."