History of the White Wedding Dress: Part Two

Wedding Planning | By:cocomelody

In our previous post, we discussed the origins of the traditional white wedding dress and how dress styles have evolved throughout the first half of the twentieth century. Here, we take a look at the later decades and see what the popular wedding dress trends were during those times.


Paul and Talitha Getty on their wedding day in 1966. Image from Getty Images.

The femininity and elegance that epitomized the 1950s drastically changed during the next decade. The Swinging Sixties was a time of great social upheaval, with the rise of youth groups and the general public developing a growing interest in the future. Popular designers like Mary Quant and André Courrèges were inspired by modernity and futurism, popularizing high boots, mini skirts, and pillbox hats. Wedding dress trends included the rise in popularity of tiaras, metallic embellishments, short veils, and metal jewelry.



A wedding dress during the 1970s. Image from Pinterest.

By the beginning of the ‘70s, the trend had shifted to a more romantic and nostalgic tone. The bohemian style that defined the 1970s also extended to wedding trends: popular dress styles included billowing long sleeves, empire waists, dust ruffle hems, and flower crowns. It was also during this decade when bridal magazine debuted and bridal designers first produced off-the-rack wedding dresses.



The wedding of Princess Diana and Prince Charles, 1981. Image from Getty Images

It was the time of Dynasty, the economic boom, and of course, large shoulder pads. Princess Diana’s wedding in 1981 began the trend of the princess gown, which showed off the natural waist and featured a dramatic train and full-length veil. Most wedding dresses of the 1980s were characterized by oversized shoulders, high mandarin collars, and full skirts. Wedding dresses were also produced in other neutral shades, such as cream, ivory, and champagne. It also became popular during this decade for weddings to be captured on video.



The wedding of JFK Jr. and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy

Simplicity and minimalism prevailed throughout the 1990s and popular wedding dress styles of the time featured clean lines, shift/sheath silhouettes, and a distinct lack of ornamentation. The style is exemplified by Carolyn Bessette’s wedding in 1996 to John F. Kennedy Jr., wherein the bride wore a Narcisco Rodriguez bias-cut shift dress and sheer gloves. The ‘90s also saw a rise in destination weddings and a shift from traditional venues like churches.