Take a look back at the most popular wedding trends, from attire to reception décor to cakes, starting in the early 1900s.
In the early 1900s, the customary wedding dress featured an S-shaped corset, which drew in the stomach and pushed out the bosom, an effect emphasized by frills on the bodice. Gigot sleeves were popular — wide, puffy sleeves that tapered to a narrow forearm. While white was still the color of choice for affluent brides, due to Queen Victoria’s trend-setting gown in 1840, other brides opted to wear azure, mauve, or pale pink. High waists, high collars, long trains, long gloves, and veiled hats also were in fashion.
Pictured: Frieda and Samuel Bernstein, married in 1902.
The 1910s introduced a more flowing silhouette for wedding gowns. Dancing also became a popular part of the wedding celebration, with phonographs providing background music as guests danced the tango, turkey trot, and hesitation waltz.
Pictured: Joseph and Susanna Nash, married in the 1910s. Photo courtesy of Diane Forden, Editor in Chief
Depression-era wedding dresses often were made from rayon, due to its affordability compared to silk. Because of the economic hardship of this time period, many brides opted to simply wear the nicest dress in their wardrobe (often a floral-patterned calf-length dress) or choose a style that could be dyed after the wedding and worn again.
Pictured: James and Nellie Fiato, married on June 12, 1932. Photo courtesy of Rita Sadowski, VP/Creative Services Director
Hats were the headpiece of choice for many brides, rather than traditional veils. Wedding receptions often featured Art Deco influences, with décor often seen in a black and white color palette, faceted mirror glass, crystal chandeliers, and marble surfaces.
Pictured: Blanche Thomas and John O’Gorman, married in the 1930s, with sister Marguerite Thoma
Wartime weddings often left little time for preparations. According to a 1942 issue of Vogue, “Weddings nowadays hang not on the bride’s whim, but on the decision of the grooms commanding officer. He names the day when he grants that unexpected furlough… The 1942 schedule may run something like this: engagement announcement on Monday, invitations sent out by telegraph on Wednesday, the last handful of rice and rose petals flung on Saturday. ”
“The dominant daytime silhouette was one that reflected the practical needs of the wartime woman. Skirts short enough to ride a bicycle, jackets buttoned high to the neck for warmth, lacy sweater to make the wool go further, sturdy shoes, and a shoulder bag,” according to Vintage Weddings: One Hundred Years of Bridal Fashion and Style by Marnie Fogg.
Pictured: Joe and Helen Forden, married in the 1940s. Photo courtesy of Diane Forden, Editor in Chief
Wedding rings for men became popular during the war as a way to visually connect the couple during the separation, according to Vintage Weddings.
A 1940s wedding reception typically featured big band music and the Jitterbug. In many ways, the concept of the DIY bride was born in the ’40s: with limited funds available during the war, brides used furnishing fabrics to make dresses (like Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind), lace curtains to create veils, and paper flowers in their bouquets.
Pictured: Rose and Eddie Kaufman, married in the 1940s. Photo courtesy of Jim Duhe, VP/Associate Publisher.
Grace Kelly’s iconic wedding gown in 1956 further set the tone for ’50s wedding dresses. The luxe dress featured a barely-visible sweetheart neckline beneath the lace, with a luxurious skirt.
Pictured: Rita and John Sadowski, married on January 25, 1958. Photo courtesy of Rita Sadowski, VP/Creative Services Director.
Gowns in the ’60s featured high-waisted empire lines, and many brides wore domed pill-box hats with bouffant veils flowing from the hat.
Pictured: Elana and Moe Molcho, married on September 17, 1962. Photo courtesy of Paulette Sadfieh, web intern.
Unlike previous decades, the ’70s isn’t defined by one dominating trend. 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.
Pictured: Nancy Saykaly and John Souaid, married on February 6, 1971. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Lazarus, VP/General Manager.
Cathedral trains, lace-edged frills, full-length veils, and oversized bouquets made a comeback during the ’80s.
Pictured: Audrey O’Gorman, married on May 22, 1982.
Fueled by the popularity of weddings in pop culture, the wedding industry expanded massively in the ’90s. Starting with a remake of Father of the Bride (1991), popular movies centered around weddings included Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997), and Runaway Bride (1999).
Pictured: Gina and Michael Grieco, married on June 28, 1992. Photo courtesy of Rita Sadowski, VP/Creative Services Director
Pictured: Rita Sadowski and Walter Walsh, married on May 4, 2002. Photo courtesy of Rita Sadowski, VP/Creative Services Director.
These days, more and more brides are favoring curve-hugging gowns — the mermaid is one of the hottest silhouettes.
Pictured: Rachel Brown and Evan Sparkman, married on May 28, 2011. Photo courtesy of Holli B. Photography.
Pickup skirts first became popular in the mid-2000s. Modern dresses feature asymmetrical, looser pickups.
Pictured: Amanda Weber and Julian Ruedas, married on February 25, 2012. Photo courtesy of Visionyard Photography