Marriage is an age-old practice. It's reported that the first recorded wedding dates all the way back to 1250-1300 C.E, a distant memory from the destination, micro, and hybrid events of the present day. And while the first bride’s outfit isn’t documented, the bridal industry has seen its fair share of trends in the past few centuries. Today, marriages are all about choice—the ability to choose your partner, your vows, your invite list, and of course, your outfit.
According to a study conducted by Brides and Investopedia, many couples are caught between tradition and innovation after a year and a half of uncertainty. “Forty-two percent of couples are planning a “traditional” wedding, while 41 percent of participants are incorporating classic and unconventional elements,” the study notes. And for 28 percent of people in the study getting married, the typical white dress or suit has gone out the window.
Meet the Expert
Gabrielle Hurwitz is a bridal fashion stylist based in Los Angeles and New York City. She has previously worked at Martha Stewart Weddings, Cosmopolitan, and Style Me Pretty.
To help shed light on what's currently happening within bridal fashion, we spoke with Gabrielle Hurwitz, bridal fashion stylist at Gabrielle Hurwitz Bridal Styling, for expert advice on the ways brides and designers are mixing past trends with new classics. We're calling it, traditional with a twist—take what you love from the traditions and revamp the rest. It’s not too serious, certainly not retro, and entirely of the moment. Keep reading below!
Mini Dresses with Long Traditional Veils
“What started out of necessity—brides wanting to still feel bridal for their micro weddings even without a big white dress—,” shares Hurwitz, “has become a fashion statement for brides who are looking for a fashion-forward look without completely bucking tradition.” Pairing classic veils with contemporary mini dresses offer a dramatic effect without feeling too conventional. It’s a playful nod to the traditions a veil represents, with an eye towards modern taste. Plus, the length of the veil makes for stunning photographs no matter the wedding locale.
Birdcage Veils & Hats
All over Bridal Fashion Week, birdcage veils and hats made a resurgence down the runways. A once dated accessory, only seen in faded wedding polaroids and classic cinema, brides and designers are now incorporating this style into all of their looks—paired with everything from classic ballgowns to A-line dresses. “Birdcage veils aren't for everyone,” Gabrielle reminds us. “But when they're done well, they're undeniably chic.” Even better, they’re not just for ceremonies and can be included in a bride's rehearsal dinner or reception outfit.
Sleeveless Gowns with High Necklines
From Grace Kelly to Meghan Markle and Lady Kitty Spencer, high necklines have graced the most royal wedding aisles throughout the years. Paired with a sleeveless silhouette, brides are able to get the best of both worlds—an effortlessly regal and trendy gown for their big day. “Take it up a notch with a keyhole or open back for just the right balance of timeless and sultry,” recommends Gabrielle.
“White dresses aren't for everyone so I love seeing more brides choose to wear color and prints,” Hurwitz shares. And we couldn't agree more! A colorful gown transports guests to the runways of Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week. By steering away from traditional bridal white, brides are taking control over the creative vision of their weddings in order to show their individuality and uniqueness. From bold and pastel-colored gowns to bright (and even neon!) accessories, there are so many ways color can change the course of a wedding for the best.
According to Gabrielle, “accessories are the perfect opportunity to take some fashion risks with and infuse your personality into your wedding day look.” If Bridal Fashion Week was any indication, gloves, sunglasses, and choker necklaces seem to be a few popular choices for designers—and we expect to see them more down the aisle.
Also, accessories are a simple way to switch up a look from the ceremony to reception, without compromising on wearing an entirely traditional look. They offer brides the ability to mix and match throughout the day and night—like sitting for portraits in heirloom earrings, then changing into sunglasses for dance floor shots.