Wedding bells are soon to be ringing and the stress is setting in. Planning the big event is picking up and it can be difficult to settle on one idea.
“I’ve seen a lot of stress over weddings,” Hayley Bush of LULA Vintage said. “It seems that perhaps it should be more fun and joyous. When you make it your own, I think that can happen.”
As far as dresses are concerned, it is all about the layers. Multiple layers and textures are big trends seen at Fall 2012 Bridal Fashion Week in New York this year. Brides today are leaning toward more romantic, floor-length, flowing dresses made of combinations of soft fabrics such as chiffon, organza, or tulle. Of course with Kate Middleton as the number one bride of 2011, many designers this year are featuring long sleeves and lace to mimic the royal wedding gown.
Many designers have included dresses in off-white and pastels in their collections. Bush noticed this colorful trend emerging in her customers’ buying habits. “I’m getting more people not just getting a traditional white dress and tux,” Bush said. “Overall, it seems things are much more casual.”
Joy Teiken, of the Joynoelle atelier, agreed. “I’m seeing a lot of my brides adding color to their dress,” Teiken said. “It’s not strictly white or cream, but adding a little color to add a little fun flair. Maybe more subtle colors like lavender, blush pink or soft yellow. Not too loud.”
Vintage styles are experiencing resurgence in demand lately. Fashion as a whole has been taking nods from past eras recently, so it is to be expected that weddings wouldn’t be far behind. “There has always been a contingent of those who chose more vintage [styles] for their weddings, as tradition is an implicit aspect of weddings,” Bush said. “However, now it seems vintage is inspiring a mainstream audience.”
Andrea Erickson, owner of Andrea’s Vintage Bridal, began her boutique when she began looking for a vintage gown for her own big day. “And who wants just the dress? It works so well to have vintage shoes, beaded bags, glam jewelry and cake toppers all under one roof,” Erickson explained.
Bridal boutiques across the board agree that many couples are going the vintage route. Teiken noticed couples taking the trend outdoors. “People really like the vintage flair – getting married in a barn or outside and having the whole vintage aspect.”
Erickson draws special attention to the plus-size shopping experience. “Vintage can be ridiculously tiny in sizing,” she noted. “Our selection of larger sizes is certainly smaller, but it is choice.”
Servicing clients up to size 20, Erickson commented that she is able to restructure most dresses up to three sizes larger – a novelty unique to this shop. “We not only remake dresses, but we are committed to increasing our inventory of luscious vintage reproduction dresses in plus sizes.”
With this vintage trend is an overall move to integrate old, sentimental objects into the big day. “People are bringing in their grandfather’s tie to use as a sash or their grandmothers jewelry, which I take apart and then use as beads in the dress,” Teiken said. “It’s a special time, so to bring something in from someone who is really important to them is a fun way to honor the loved ones in their lives.”
In a sea of low-cut, strapless, or open-back dresses, Teiken noticed many brides are choosing to cover up – and rightly so. Stylish capes and bolero style jackets are being put out by designers. For the colder weather, wraps of velvet, heavy satin, or pashmina keep the chill away, whereas summer weddings are featuring lighter fabrics to reduce sun exposure on bare arms.
Bush understands the differences in seasonal looks well, as she switches out inventory with the time of year. “The items in the store are appropriate for the current season,” she said. “Sometimes that makes it tough in January if you are looking for a June wedding. I constantly refill and restock my store. This means two things. First, that you should you come back regularly. It also means that you should get what you like when you see it because it could easily be gone.”
When planning the wedding, each boutique offers something different. At Joynoelle, the couple has the option of choosing between in-house designs, or consulting with Teiken for a one-of-a-kind piece. “They get to be part of the process,” Teiken said. “There are a lot of the dresses out there that look exactly the same, and they don’t want to be a cookie-cutter bride. They really want to show their personality with their partner. Having their dress made was the second most important thing of the whole process. The first was marrying the person they love, second is the dress-making process. We design the dress together.”
Teiken also noted a certain surprise element that can go into the wedding day. She has designed completely different looks for a couple without the other one knowing what the love of their life is going to be wearing.
“It is important to look good together, but not match,” Teiken said. “Have elements that bring out your own personalities but also show the personality of your partner. You don’t want to look like groomsmen or bridesmaids, identical, you want to look like the bride or groom.”
It is typical to go into a salon to order the fashions for the wedding and, six months to a year later, the couple is finally able to bring them home. However, many boutiques are catering to a different experience. Andrea’s Vintage Bridal boasts that their staff does their best to accommodate very last-minute shopping. According to Erickson, there is “no waiting for your dress to come in…your dress is ready for you now.”
Bush noticed an increase in couple wanting to be more involved in the planning process. “Overall, it seems things are much more casual with a little D.I.Y. thrown in too,” she said.
Teiken’s observations were along the same line. “People are really careful with their money, they’re wanting to be a bigger part of the planning process and possibly doing some of the things themselves – whether it’s doing their invitations or doing their own flowers.”
So, what is the first step in the planning process? Each boutique offers different advice. Erickson emphasized the importance of consulting with her clients.
At LULA, Bush recommends that you know your size. “The answer ‘I don’t know’ is not a legitimate answer,” she said. “If you are old enough to tie the knot with the right person, you are old enough to measure your waist. Overall, I would say to have an idea of what you’d like, but don’t get super fixated on it. Roll with what you find.”
Teiken stresses the importance of working with people that you feel an upfront connection with. “It’s such a special time that you should be able to show your own personality and the people you work with should be able to understand that.”
Location: Walker Art Center, Rachel Joyce: www.walkerart.org
Fashion: Andrea’s Vintage Bridal: www.vintagebridal.biz
LULA Vintage Clothing: www.lulavintagewear.com
The Wedding Shoppe: www.weddingshoppeinc.com
Models: Sadie Bazur-Leidy, Mel Cruz-Lleras, Nikolina Erickson-Gunther, Elizabeth Hunstad , Brian Johnston, Catherine Lleras, Jessica Madole, Jason Rebeck
Stylist: Alyson Newquist: www.alysonnewquist.com
Floral: Flora Bella: www.florabellastudio.com
Hair & Makeup: Amber Rose Hair & Makeup: www.amberbrenke.com
Sari Green, Master Stylist & Creative Colorist at Studio 411 Salon Spa: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jewelry: Rare Bird Jewelry: www.rarebirdstudio.com
Wedding Banner: Blue Button Press: www.etsy.com/shop/bluebuttonpress
Produced by: Andy Lien
Photography by: Mike Hnida