Today’s brides and grooms are pledging their troths in weddings where the newest looks are old, borrowed from the past and have a splash of blue – Tiffany blue.
Everywhere – in gowns, tuxes, suits and banquetroom decor – those about to be wed are demanding the timeless, antique look. It can be North American country or old-English gentry, but the idea is to harken back to the late 19th century or the first half of the 20th.
“Vintage is a really big thing right now,” said Sandy Long, owner of Decorate Victoria with Huff and Puff. The event designer approaches each wedding like the designer of a movie set, using a warehouse full of props and a computer full of ideas and recorded pictures.
In dresses, icy, fluorescent white is less in evidence. Brides are more attracted to taupe, creams, off-whites or champagne colours with lots and lots of lace.
Sleeves or broad straps are coming back, ending what one fashion designer characterized as a near tyranny of bare shoulders and strapless dresses.
For venue decor, accent colours such as robin’s egg and Tiffany blue are popular. But fern green and even turquoise have become popular, too, as many strive for something like an art-deco look for their big day.
According to a survey in Weddingbells magazine, which bills itself as the No. 1 source for Canadian brides, nearly 158,000 couples will wed in 2012, with August and September the most popular months.
The wedding and honeymoon will cost an average of $31,110 – down three per cent from 2011, but still 20 per cent higher than 2008.
This year, 51 per cent of the brides are opting for a traditional wedding and spending an average of $1,847 on their dresses.
Alexandra Suhner Isenberg, fashion instructor with Vancouver’s Visual College of Art and Design, said in a telephone interview that the trend toward traditional ball gowns with lace isn’t surprising.
After all, Suhner Isenberg said the single-biggest inspirational wedding in recent memory is the April 2011 wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge.
“And her dress was quite old-fashioned,” she said. “So it doesn’t surprise me that lace is back. Her lace was all handmade, very old-fashioned.”
She also noted that Kate’s dress covered her shoulders. The popularity of strapless dresses, which don’t suit many women, is waning.
“For the past five years, people have been wearing these cookie-cutter, strapless meringue dresses,” said Suhner Isenberg.
“It’s not unique and they are just not interesting anymore.”
Suhner Isenberg also said colour, even bold colours, is starting to creep into bridal wear. Designers like Vera Wang recently introduced bright colours in some gowns.
But Isenberg also noted bridal fashions move more slowly than other fashions trends. “I still think we have a ways to go before people move away from anything more radical than cream.”
Blush Bridal Boutique in Victoria has noticed the move to traditional ball gowns in antique shades.
Blush co-owner Mary Logan said layers of lace, antique white colours and even little bolero-style jackets over the shoulders are part of the newest, vintage styles.