Thanks to lockdowns and restrictions due to COVID, many weddings have either been dialled back or completely cancelled, so it's worth noting that the backdrop of a pandemic has definitely had an impact on how brides are planning their outfits for the big day.
For this piece, I spoke to a range of wedding dress designers, retailers (luxury and secondhand) and Lyst, a global fashion search platform, to get the best idea of what brides are going to be after come the new year. So, whether you're rearranging your look for a postponed ceremony or just looking for inspiration for upcoming nuptials, keep scrolling for everything you need to know about the biggest bridal trends for 2021.
1. TWO OUTFITS
The Duchess of Cambridge wearing a second look for her wedding in 2011
By far the biggest trend for brides right now is choosing two outfits for the big day. Designers, luxury retailers and even secondhand bridal stores told me that plenty of brides were searching for not one but two knockout looks. Luxury retailer NET-A-PORTER told me that it's a trend that has been gaining traction for some time but is only set to continue.
Grace Loves Lace founder Megan Ziems and designer Kate Halfpenny revealed a similar trend, especially when plenty of couples have had to postpone a bigger event due to COVID.
"I’ve definitely noticed is our brides now buying two dresses; one for the micro wedding and one for the big celebration, later down the track. A lot of couples still want to keep that original, special wedding date they have set, so this is a great opportunity for brides to try our more minimalistic styles. Then, for the big party, they’re planning for when restrictions ease, our brides can opt for a more traditional and dramatic look," said Ziems.
Brides with Halfpenny London are being quite innovative when it comes to its outfits, revealed the designer. "Our slips and slinky dresses look incredible on their own for a simpler look and the overskirts and veils can be saved for the party, making them feel like they have two completely different yet equally special outfits," said Kate Halfpenny.
But it's not just those looking to buy brand new. Kate Atkinson, founder of Bridal Reloved, the UK's biggest secondhand bridal store chain, also told me the same: "Brides want two dresses, one for the marriage and one for the party (whenever that may be)."
Bianca Jagger wearing a simple jacket and skirt for her wedding to Mick Jagger in 1970
Another key option, in part thanks to ceremonies being smaller and restrictions in place due to COVID, is that brides are hunting down styles which are adaptable and versatile or silhouettes, which are sleek and simple are popular," says NET-A-PORTER. The most popular styles were from more '90s-inspired looks with designers such as Galvan and Michael Lo Sordo.
I also spoke to designer Valetine Avoh, who told me that while brides "want pieces with a lot of character." In other words, they don't want to show off too much. It's all about attention to detail and embracing nice fabrics but not being too over-the-top.
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Lily Allen wearing a Dior dress for her wedding this year
Unsurprisingly, brides are also thinking about sustainability. Global fashion search platform Lyst revealed that online searches for wedding dresses that include the words "vintage," "secondhand" or "pre-owned" are up 38% year-on-year, averaging 20,000 searches a month. NET-A-PORTER confirmed this trend telling me that customers are looking for styles they can re-wear beyond the big day, such as suits and slip dresses.
A incredible skirt paired with a more simple top could be the way to do a separates bridal look
Another huge trend is separates, as they can be worn in different ways. "While brides are postponing their big parties until next year, many are going ahead with a smaller, low-key ceremony on their original date and choosing to wear parts of their outfit, styling them differently to suit the new vibe," revealed Halpenny.
Avoh similarly confirmed this trend: "Two-piece outfits, especially if you can re-wear the top or the skirt separately, which will speak to eco-conscious and sustainable brides."