From the lavish glamour of the 1920s to the demure charm of the 1940s, below we explore the most appealing elements of bridal style throughout the decades.
The white wedding dress was first popularised in the 1900s by Queen Victoria, who wore it on her wedding day to Prince Albert. Following on from this trend, many well-off women began to marry in white gowns. The 1900s wedding gown was defined by a long trail, a high neckline, a cinched waist, and lashings of lace.
The sophisticated and demure look of the 1900s can be recreated by drawing on the charmingly subtle elements of this style of dress; for example, you may like to go for a gown with a high neckline, which highlights a slender silhouette.
In the 1910s the empire line gown reigned supreme, often decorated with fine lace detailing. Short sleeves and veils were also key characteristics of the 1910s wedding dress. If you’d like to draw on elements from this look, why not go for some elaborate lace detailing?
The roaring 20s was a time of freedom, exploration, and indulgence; the relaxed, non-restrictive, and playful style of the 1920s wedding dress well reflects the free-spirited essence of the era. The 1920s wedding dress was straight cut, with a relaxed waistline and a hemline just below the knee. Brides normally wore a classic flapper headdress, to which they attached a trailing veil.
There are many fun ways to play around with this look; you may like to try out a cute headdress or go for the class flapper cut.
During the Great Depression, many brides-to-be couldn’t afford a traditional silk gown; with many brides getting married in their own ‘best’ clothes and doing away with any elaborate jewellery and accessories, such as the traditional bridal veil. Despite the economic hardship of the age, this was also the time of Hollywood glamour; and this glamorous femininity was reflected in the style of dress; with a fitted bodice, cinched waistlines, and longer dress lengths.
During the war, there was not enough money for fine dresses or fabrics; with many clothes being rationed, the 1940s bride took what she could get. The 1940s wedding dress was therefore simple and practical.
The 1950s were all about sweetheart necklines and ballerina skirts; this era was all about Hollywood glamour, with stars such as Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor, were the inspiration behind the more fun and sensual 1950s wedding dress. You can emulate the 1950s bridal glamour with a high-impact ballerina skirt, or charming sweetheart neckline.
The 1960s was a time for breaking the mould and the 1960s bride made her bridal look fun and individual; metallics, flower-power patterns, and short skirts were some of the interesting quirks of the 1960’s wedding dress.
The 1970s wedding dress reflected the hippy vibes of the times; with empire waistlines, square necklines, and batwing sleeves. Floral headdresses and cascading curls were the hallmarks of 1970s bridal beauty; a trend that is commonly replicated today.
Everything was ‘big’ in the 1980’s bridal world, with huge capped sleeves, puffed out skirts, full veils, and voluminous curls. The bridesmaids were all styled in uniform brights or pastel colours, as wedding blogger Lily, notes: “it was an unwritten rule to have very bright and pastel colored bridesmaid dresses”.
The 1990s bridal dress was all about simplicity and sophistication; elaborate, bold designs were replaced with a simple, well-fitted dress design. Brides also accessorised with simple veils and floral headdresses.
The Early 2000s
Strapless gowns began to become very popular during this time. Brides also opted for more fancy styling; going for beading, sequins, lace, and quirky and unique dress designs. Tiaras, floral headdresses, were some popular accessories for the early 2000’s bride.
Whether you dig the fun flapper style of the 1920s, or you’re more enamoured with the high glamour of the 1950s wedding dress; each era holds some wonderful bridal style inspiration, that we can incorporate into our own modern wedding dress designs, and can serve as inspiration for wedding themes.