Bridal Style through the Years – Part Four.

04 12th, 2015

Here we conclude our series on the fashions and faux pas of the last hundred years in bridal style…

  • Inspired by Lady Diana Spencer’s chosen fairytale bridal style in 1981, brides of the 1980’s adopted the “more is more” philosophy. Think lace, frills, cathedral trains, oversized bouquets, bows, flounces, and floor-length veils. EXCESS. Every bride wanted to be a princess, with all of the trimmings. Sleeves were invariably long and flowing or puffed and gathered at the wrist. Fingerless lace gloves were popular. Grooms often chose a very traditional morning suit. Even wedding cakes became ever more elaborate, and it wasn’t unusual to see multiple tiers with complex embellishments. Gold accents were popular touches at wedding receptions. Bridesmaids wore bright pastel colours.

Lady Diana wedding dress

  • The 1980’s was the first decade when wedding videography became popular. This saw a return to tradition, formality, and etiquette. Every bridal couple became the star of their own home movie. Wedding costs started to exponentially increase from here as well.

Wedding Stars

  • As evidenced in other aspects of the 1980’s, brides had big hair and overdone makeup. Some brides chose a hat with a veil, others a veil with a tiara, still others a floral crown with a veil.

1980s bride

  • In the 1990’s the wedding industry was born. This was reflected in a plethora of wedding-themed movies (Father of the Bride, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Four Weddings and a Funeral). The average wedding reception moved from local restaurants and pubs to country clubs and fancy hotels and dedicated wedding venues.
  • The brides of the early 1990’s adopted styles which had been seen in the 1980’s, yet by the end of the decade many had a minimalistic, “less is more” philosophy. None epitomised this better than Carolyn Bessette, at her wedding to JFK Jr in 1996. Many couples even opted to forego the big wedding and either choose a small destination wedding or elope. Either way, by the end of the decade, simple elegance was key.

JFK Jr Wedding

  • By the new millennium, more and more couples chose to marry outside the traditional religious settings. This opened up a more relaxed trend in bridal fashion, and strapless gowns became the go-to look for brides. It seems the vast majority of brides from here even to this day have opted for a strapless dress…

Strapless wedding dress

  • Today, brides really choose a style that suits them. From full princess gowns to slim, simple sheaths, it really is about the bride’s personal style and the tone of the wedding. Figure-hugging silhouettes are also very popular.

More than at any other time in the past century, “anything goes” and this is reflected not just in the gown a bride chooses, but also in her choice of makeup, hair, bouquet, and theme of the wedding itself. Regardless, the average wedding cost continues to rise. It’s a special day, the biggest day of a woman’s life (until she may become a mother), and us girls want it to be our own version of perfection.


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