Enchanting Gowns for the Style Conscious Bride-To-Be
Even an institution as traditional as marriage is not immune to changing styles and fashions. The rise in informal weddings over the last few years has had a profound effect on the traditional bridal gown. Now, it may be considered gauche to mention love and money in the same sentence, but there is no doubt that the economic recession has had impact on marriage.
Over two million couples say "I do" each year in America. What most of them are blissfully unaware of before they start planning is that weddings are big business in the US. The bridal industry rakes in about sixty billion dollars per annum! And costs are rising. In fact, the price of the average wedding has doubled since 1990. It is now approaching thirty thousand dollars.
Not surprisingly, many new couples cannot afford these hefty fees, which is why they are planning more informal ceremonies. Beach, backyard and destination weddings are on the rise, while formal ceremonies are less popular than ever. As a result, the formal wedding gown has lost much of its appeal.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that the wedding dress has changed more in the decade than it did in the last half century before then. The tradition of the white wedding began with Queen Victoria in 1840, though it did not catch on with the middle class until after the Second World War. Colors and styles have remained fairly static since then. It was not until recently, due to the economy and rising connubial costs that they started to change.
As we mentioned, the white wedding has been popular for over sixty years. If you had walked into a bridal salon or boutique just five years ago, all you would see was white. It is only in the last few years as weddings have become more informal affairs that brides-to-be are eschewing pure white in favor of colors that flatter their skin tones.
It is often said that pure white make most women look washed-out, which is why off-white colors are actually more popular these days. Ivory and champagne are now considered traditional colors and pink has also gained a loyal following.
Only a few years ago, the average bride-to-be wouldn't dream of wearing a strapless gown to a formal ceremony. Now they are fairly common. There are two very simple reasons for this. The first is that formal brides often had to buy a second, more comfortable gown to wear to the reception. But today they often simply cannot afford it. Informal ceremonies are also more popular than they have ever been.
As more and more ceremonies are held outdoors in the spring and summer months, fabrics have become lighter and more breathable. Brocade and velvet are out and crepe and dupioni have grown ever more popular.
Once again, as ceremonies take a less formal tone, brides are free to show a bit more skin. No, we aren't talking about swimsuits or bikinis. But many younger brides prefer the plunging or decollete neckline to the traditional high neckline of the halter.
With the exception of the color, the biggest change in bridal gown fashions has been the rising hemline, which really does call into question that old theory about shorter skirts in stronger economies. The fact is that wedding dresses are getting shorter as weddings become more informal, which makes perfect sense.
Even at formal weddings, brides are far more likely to wear shorter gowns. The standard floor-length dress with the long train and elaborate veil is on its way out. Of course, brides still adhere to the rules of decorum at formal ceremonies that are held in a church. The most popular hemline these days is the tea-length.
The tea length dress is not nearly as easy to define as the floor-length hemline, which obviously touches the floor. Some dressmakers offer tea-length wedding gowns that fall just below the knee and others offer dresses that fall all the way to the ankles. For a formal ceremony, we strongly recommend a gown that reaches the ankles.
Short dresses give brides the option of adding a few eye-catching accessories. A high hemline can be adorned with lace, beads, or embroidery. This is an easy and affordable way to jazz up a simple or plain wedding gown.
The bride-to-be should also consider her leg wear. For beach weddings, most young brides go bear legged, though white fishnet stockings can be a fun and attractive alternative. It really does come down to personal taste and the venue.
Fashion and style choices have always and will always be about personal preference. This goes double on the wedding day, when the bride is the center of attention. Finding a dress that she feels comfortable and confident is what matters most.