As another year gets underway, it’s another load of engagements, hen and stag dos and weddings filling your calendar. Over time, weddings have evolved drastically. Just twenty years ago, overseas hen and stag dos were a rarity and wedding ceremonies were still quite traditional with the standard service, speeches and the a wedding breakfast which was a sit down meal. Wedding dresses have changed vastly over time too, reflecting the fashion trends of the moment. In the 1950s, the skirts of bridal gowns were tight at the waist growing wider down the seam just like the midi skirts worn by women at the time. In the 1980s, the style moved to include big skirts and shoulder pads on the arms à la Diana Spencer and Sarah Ferguson.
Nowadays weddings are bigger than ever and trends for ceremonies, dresses and the build-up is ever-changing. We spoke to the experts to find out which trends will be resurfacing in 2020.
1. Second Wedding Dress For Reception
Just that one special dress for your wedding day? Think again. Following in the trend of the Duchess of Sussex, who changed into a beautiful Stella McCartney gown for the royal wedding reception in Windsor, and Kate Middleton in 2011, more and more brides are opting to change into a different gown post-ceremony.
According to designer, Phillipa Lepley, the type of dress is usually an ‘ivory of pastel coloured dress with no train that is more sexy than the wedding dress… has more movement and showing more flesh’.
Judging by the string of A-List brides that changed into a second dress in 2019 – for example, Katherine Schwarzenegger, Ellie Goulding and Hailey Bieber – who had even more than two – this is definitely an emerging trend.
2. Eco-friendly Weddings
At this point, sustainability is an area we’re all engaging with in every aspect of our lives, even our weddings.
Allyson Rees, senior editor of lifestyle at trend forecasters WGSN, told ELLE UK the company is already tracking the ‘increasing popularity’ of vegan dinners, plastic-free weddings, locally-sourced flowers and carbon-offsetting their honeymoon.
This is a trend Bernadette Chapman, founder of the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners (UKAWP) echoes: ‘Couples marrying now are very conscious of the damage we have done to the planet and they can actively ensure they are as environmentally friendly as they can be.’ Chapman says this can take many forms like asking guests to RSVP through a website, arranging coaches for transport to reduce the amount of cars, encouraging guests to keep one glass throughout the ceremony and sending invites on recycled paper. For example, Edinburgh-based Summer Lane Studios stationary is all printed on recyclable card or seeded cards where you can plant something in exchange.
3. Vintage or Pre-Loved Dresses
Environmental awareness for the 2020 bride now extends all the way to her ever so special dress.
With an increasing understanding that fashion (mainly textile production) has one of the most sizeable carbon footprints of all industries, a pre-loved or vintage wedding dress is a stylish way to avoid contributing to that harmful output.
‘Online searches for wedding dresses that include the words “vintage”, “second hand” or “pre-owned” are collectively up 38% year-on-year, averaging close to 19,000 searches a month.’ Global fashion search platform Lyst detailed.
Generally speaking, an ‘old’ dress will also set buyers back less than their ‘new’ counterpart: a brief glance at designer resale site Vestiaire shows a pre-loved Carolina Herrera wedding gown selling for a third of the price of a new iteration from the esteemed brand.
‘Brides are becoming increasingly conscious of a wedding’s financial and environmental implications, and data shows that they are now actively looking for both financially and environmentally-friendly solutions.’ Lyst’s Insights Reporter Morgane Le Caer told ELLE UK.
‘Vintage wedding dresses are a great way to tackle these important issues, while also adding even more personality and individuality to the day.’
4. Dresses with Tulle
After seeing tulle everywhere on fashion week runways (especially, at the Molly Goddard – aka the Queen of Tulle – and Ralph & Russo’ shows), it’s no surprise this trend has migrated to bridal collections.
Lepley tells ELLE UK: ‘Tulle has always been an essential bridal fabric… but in 2o20 it will really have its moment.’ The naturally romantic fabric, Lepley says, is also flexible as it can be layered multiple times or embellished depending on the bride’s preference.
‘Tulle really lends itself to couture,’ Lepley says. ‘It’s also the perfect fabric for brides wanting to go big as it looks like something out of a fairytale.’
5. Personal Touches
Rees tells us that more brides and grooms are incorporating personal touches into traditional elements of weddings, think Hailey Bieber’s “TILL DEATH DO US PART” slogan in her bespoke Off-White gown by Virgil Abloh.
In an age of social media, Rees says this personalisation creates a ‘wow-factor in real life and on social media’ making for a memorable post.
‘Veils are a good option for this [personalisation] because they can be passed down, but at WGSN we’re also tracking personal touches come through on dresses and shoes, like one’s dog paws embroidered into the hem of a gown or beaded initials on shoes.’
6. Little Women-Style Wedding Dresses
If you were a fan of Ellie Goulding’s bespoke Chloé gown for her wedding to Caspar Jopling in August, you’re in luck for 2020. According to Lepley and Lyst, Victorian-style dresses with high necks and puff sleeves, which also coincides with Greta Gerwig’s Little Women remake, are making a comeback.
‘Brides wanting something less playful but equally romantic are veering towards the ‘Victoriana’ trend, i.e high necks and more reserved designs with covered arms,’ says Lepley. ‘A high neck suits everybody and makes the face “pop” because of the contrast.’
Puff sleeves have also become a real hit, with Lyst reporting a 38% year-on-year search increase on the term. Both Mother of Pearl and Cecilie Bahnsen hero the trend and have become the most searched brands of the year.
‘With prairie dresses taking over our wardrobes last summer, it was only a matter of time before 19th century-inspired trends invaded the bridal market.’ Lyst’s La Caer explained to ELLE UK
‘Having been given modern updates from contemporary brands such as Mother of Pearl and Cecilie Bahnsen, puff
sleeves and mid length dresses are the perfect options for fashion-forward brides and more low-key, town-hall weddings.’
7. Bridal Sleep and Swimwear
That’s right, with weddings stretching farther than a single day, brides are turning to sleepwear and swimwear for all those extra activities (for example a day-after pool day or night-before sleepover) according to Lyst.
‘Searches for white swimsuits have increased 39% year-on-year, with one-piece swimsuits from brands such as Hunza G, Melissa Odabash and Marysia being particularly popular.’ Lyst explains.
‘Meanwhile, led by Sleeper’s feather-trimmed pyjama set, the trend for bridal sleepwear is growing: over the last six months, searches for white pyjamas have increased 95%.’
‘With weddings turning into bigger and longer affairs, as well as a general need to meticulously document everything for social media, bridal wear has now gone beyond the dress.’ Lyst’s La Caer told ELLE UK
‘Now almost as important as the gown itself, bridal sleepwear and swimwear pieces are yet another way for a bride to showcase her personal style and stand out in an increasingly crowded space.’
8. Two-Piece Bridal Outfits
Perhaps also playing into wedding sustainability, brides are increasingly opting for two-piece bridal outfits, either as their first, or second outfit of the day. Lyst believes, alongside the ‘cool factor’ of these ensembles, it has a lot to do with how much more wearable these pieces of clothing are.
‘Endorsed by Zoë Kravitz, Ellie Goulding and Hillary Duff, two-piece ensembles have recently been enjoying their time in the spotlight, and it’s easy to see why: bridal separates are not only a cool twist on the traditional gown, they’ll also allow to bride to
easily rewear elements of her wedding outfit long after her honeymoon is over.’ La Caer told ELLE UK.
9. Pets At Weddings
If a couple are proud parents to a pet, why wouldn’t it feature in their special day? Holkham Hall said they’ve noticed animals featured in the ceremony being ‘on the up’ – adding that ‘pets are always crowd-pleasers and Instagrammable’.
Meanwhile, Denton-Ross adds how celeb-favourite Lavender Green have been ‘increasingly asked to create a collar of flowers for our client’s dogs who will feature in the ceremony – usually as a ring bearer or to walk a member of the wedding party down the aisle.
10. Playful Necklines For Wedding Guests
Of course, not all trends are about the happy couple, wedding guests are also evolving in what they wear to their friend’s nuptials.
While previously, necklines may been purposefully conservative, guests are mixing things up with off-the-shoulder, and sweetheart necklines as dress codes relax.
‘Searches for off-the-shoulder dresses are up 28%, while square and sweetheart necklines saw a 23% and 25% rise in views respectively.’ Lyst notes.
‘After Selena Gomez wore Khaite’s Beth dress in January — which features a sweetheart neckline and extended sleeves — searches for the style spiked 138% week-on-week.’
This article originally appeared on ELLE UK.