“Wedding guests in ancient times would tear off part of the bride’s gowns as tokens of good luck, leading to the tradition of the bride throwing her garter and her bouquet” - RBA Times magazine
Weddings over the years have evolved and blossomed just like our brides. From year to year, wedding dress styles change, capturing the hearts of brides across the globe with collections created by award-winning designers. Have you ever taken a moment to sit down with your Mum or Grandma and look back on old wedding dress styles? The high lace necklines and the puffy shoulder pads will make you giggle, but you'll be surprised how many of these amazing statement dresses have made a comeback!
How wedding dress styles have changed over the years
We can thank the roaring twenties for two popular wedding styles: beaded gowns and cathedral length veils. These styles went on to influence the trends we still see today, such as gorgeous glam beading and caped sleeves, deep v-necklines and satin gowns boasting a lace edge.
The thirties brought a romantic look, with high necklines and long sleeves. Silk was a sign of wealth, but if you couldn’t afford the fabric, brides could use Rayon or a similar fabric. The thirties featured figure-slimming silhouettes in silk giving an air of sophistication that was sleek, chic and unique in style.
Wedding dress styles didn’t change much through the forties, with the long-sleeved v-neck being in fashion for quite some time. I don’t blame them, this is such a romantic look! It's also a look that's still in fashion today and can be seen in the Esme bridal gown by Modeca.
Wow, now this was the decade of extravagance with skirts and sweetheart necklines starting to make an appearance. Dior’s ‘New Look’ was a major influence in the early 1950s fashion, with voluminous skirts, pockets and nipped-in waists, and brides followed suit. Shorter veils also became popular as brides opted for ballgown styles. This style is still popular in modern-day gowns, with Justin Alexander Miami dress taking inspiration from the 1950s.
Welcome to the 'Slim and Short'. The sixties were an iconic era for all the right reasons: colour pop, brave hemlines, music, and the power of art. It was a decade all about fun. The arrival of the Slimming Sixties saw another change in wedding dress style with skirts getting shorter! The sixties brought high necklines and short hemlines with miniskirts taking over the fashion industry. Designer Justin Alexander has kept this chic style in one of his current collection gowns, Lilly.
The seventies brought with them a feeling of nostalgia: full sleeves, plenty of lace and a lot more coverage. This style is similar to the Boho trend that's so popular today. Brides often wore wide-brimmed floppy hats instead of veils ,and many gowns came with long bell sleeves and high necklines. Our Eddy K gown Samara shows off all the sophistication of the 1970s perfectly.
The eighties were an iconic decade for fashion with the rise of ‘Poof’ giant gowns and, yes, shoulder pads! Brides today still love the breathtaking drama of ball gowns, big hair, cascading bouquets, and cathedral length veils. One dress we will never forget is Princess Dianna’s wedding gown. Diana wore an ivory silk taffeta and antique lace gown, with a 25-foot train and a 153-yard tulle veil, valued at £151,000.
The nineties... the slimmer, figure accentuating styles were back again! Bringing our bridal look back down to earth with more elegance and simplicity, and much less fabric. The sheath dress silhouette was all the rage, and is defiantly popular today.
The decade where strapless and understated styles took centre stage. Mermaid styles and silk were the main features of the noughties' ‘Dream Dress’. Celebrity bride Katie Holmes married Tom Cruise in 2006, wearing a beautiful mermaid-style gown that typifies this decade.
In the 2010s, brides were are all about the lace, A-lines and trumpet styles that still stand out today. Illusion necklines with lace appliques still make for a very elegant and on-trend wedding gown. Famously, Kim Kardashian wore a custom lace gown by the then-Givenchy creative director, Riccardo Tisci, for her 2014 Florence wedding to Kanye West.
What decade will inspire your wedding dress?
A little advice for all our brides to be: being unique is important on your wedding day, but don’t let the old styles fade away! Whether it's eighties wow-factor or twenties glamour, use nostalgia as inspiration and see that dress of your dreams come to life. Written by Sarah Hickling, Bridal Stylist at Fross Wedding Collections.