We hear it all the time, and it's usually a well-meaning parent or relative eager to share advice and life experience with happily engaged couple. "When we got married…" or "It used to be that you would…" are two of the best-intended phrases that will undoubtedly elicit a bemused eye-roll from any modern bride.
Inspired by a few recent advice-interventions and my own parent's 26th wedding anniversary (Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!), I thought I would take a look back at the recent history of weddings and how things have changed a over the last 30 years.
While the 60's was marked with a strong desire for diversity and uniqueness, the wedding industry didn't see as much of that change until about a decade later. In the 1970's, American brides were hell-bent on marking their marriages without any of the hold over traditions and formal expectations from the 1950's. Gowns in the '70s ranged from hippie frocks to fairytale princess gowns, pantsuits to punk-influenced dresses, and a revival of '30s and '40s silhouettes. For the first time, weddings were not being held in churches and the idea of a "destination wedding" was born from these wild rebels :-)
The trend of unique weddings pretty much faded into the background when Princess Diana of Wales married Prince Charles in 1981. The beauty and glamour of the royal wedding immediately brought traditional, ceremonial weddings back into style. Every bride dreamed of replicating Princess Di on her wedding day, and no expense would be spared for the big moment. Cathedral trains, lace-edged frills, full-length veils, and oversized bouquets all made a comeback during the 80s. Four tiered cakes which were the standard during the the 1950 and 60's, now soured to up to 8 tiers (!) and couples continued to build on the idea of the perfect, dreamlike wedding day, and average costs for weddings began to soar. For the first time, couples were able to capture their weddings on film and the wedding videography business was born.
Weddings were extremely an extremely big part of pop culture in the 1990s with movies like Father of the Bride, Four Weddings and a Funeral, My Best Friend's Wedding, and Runaway Bride, and bridal styles became much more simple (think Carolyn Bessette's bias-cut shift dress for her 1996 marriage to John F. Kennedy Jr.). While wedding budgets continued to go up, so did the popularity of elopements and intimate destination weddings.
This is when personality rather than tradition prevailed. The idea of making your wedding day your own has became more acceptable and creativity was praised. Whether your invasion of the perfect wedding day is with all of the glitz and glamour or a casual picnic in the park, make it your own! The economic recession, as well as the rise of social media gave brides more reason to search for inspiration and budget friendly alternatives to traditional wedding options. We saw an resurgence of the homespun ceremonies of the early 1900's and the birth of the (term) "DIY Bride."
Who knows how our modern brides will be categorized in 40 years?! The only limitations to couples are their imaginations. No matter the wedding style they choose, couples have unlimited access to creative inspiration and professionals to execute their vision. Many are choosing to incorporate some of the trends that became popular when they offered budget-saving alternatives (i.e., mason jars, burlap details, chalkboard signs which all replaced traditional wedding details) but now offer unlimited personalization. Technology is more incorporated into weddings than it has ever been before (both in the planning process and as a way to engage and connect guests) and the next new trend is just a few Pins away :-)
So the next time a family member offers anecdotes and ideas from their own wedding, just remember, anything goes now and you have the freedom to incorporate any tradition, throwback or forward-thinking idea you want into your celebration! Just try to keep the eye rolls to a minimum ;-)
Happy Planning! Xx Danielle