What if we told you that elegant white dresses and extravagant receptions haven’t always been the wedding standard? In this era of digital registries, couple websites, and planning boards, unions have taken a more contemporary outlook. However, things haven’t always been like this, and lovers regularly came up with unique ways to celebrate their day. From pop culture influence to royal ceremonies, here’s how weddings have changed.
1940 – Weddings in Between a War
The ‘40s were a tumultuous time, but people did not let that stop their weddings! In contrast to expectations, the weddings weren’t that formal like the ‘30s or ‘50s. The majority of weddings followed a brunch menu and were held around noon.
The wedding wardrobe ranged from very formal to business dresses. Rose pink was all the rage between both brides and their bridesmaids. This is the time that popularized male wedding bands as men wore them during fighting overseas as a reminder of their family.
1942 – Male Wedding Bands
With the bells of World War II ringing, short and informal weddings became the trend. Weddings nowadays are planned for months and even years, but these weddings took place with a few days of prior preparation.
A 1942 Vogue issue brought out how to-be married couples didn’t have as much power over the wedding as much as the groom’s commanding officer. The fashion was super simple, with grooms showing up in their military attire and the brides donning something minimalistic.
1944 – Weddings in a Hurry
Wartime weddings still called for grooms in their uniforms and brides in their best outfits. During the tail end of the year, male wedding bands became mainstream in America, as men liked to carry a memory of their wives with them into the war.
Since there was such a shortage of time (we’re talking four days of leave. Invitations go out on the second day, they married on the third day, and have a mini-honeymoon on the fourth), gowns on brides was a rare sight.
1946 – Reuniting and Reigniting
The war was finally over and the ones who had spent their days defending their nation were finally heading back to their lovers to seal the deal. The year saw a growing love for white silk parachute fabric as it had been put on sale post-war.
The gowns followed a general trend of being full-sleeved with tons of ruffles and paddings on the shoulders and minimal fluffing underneath the skirt. A modest V-neck was commonly spotted on brides.
1948 – A Diamond Means Forever
Engagement rings weren’t always sporting a shiny rock. After the famous slogan from De Beers that read, “A Diamond is Forever,” people’s views towards diamonds shifted dramatically. It was also fuelled by Princess Elizabeth flaunting her engagement diamond.
The market was seeing an increasing demand for the sparkly rock, and they became the norm that we see to this day. Stiff boat necks on gowns became the new trend, and brides adored lighter cream or off-white shades on their dresses.
1950 – Sweetheart Neckline on the Sweetheart
1950 marked the first of seven weddings of Elizabeth Taylor, where the 18-year-old got hitched to the hotel heir Conrad “Nicky” Hilton. Elizabeth also donned a beautiful wedding dress with a sweetheart neckline that year on comedy film Father of the Bride and heavily influences formal dress styles as well as wedding dress styles.
At her real wedding, she wore a gown designed by Helen Rose. Surprisingly, Rose was the one who designed the gown on Father of the Bride.
1953 – DIY Weddings and the Ring
Most weddings had a very specific DIY vibe to them all throughout the ‘50s. Bridesmaid sat for hours carefully making every table topper and making bouquets that went along them. Elizabeth Taylor had already separated from Nicky and was going to tie the knot with Michael Wilding, who presented her a huge cabochon sapphire as the ring.
This set her apart from the crowd and couples started contemplating whether or not they should include some unique stones on their rings too.
1955 – Couture Gowns for the Win
On sets of the romantic comedy titled The Ambassador’s Daughter, the beauty Olivia de Havilland stunned everyone in a Christian Dior piece with a high neckline, long sleeves, and humongous skirt. Although that particular design had been the norm for a while now, these expensive, couture, designer gowns became a hot topic.
Even if brides couldn’t afford the real deal, a ton of gowns were made taking “inspiration” from some other incredible Dior designs.
1957 – In With the Cocktail Ones
Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner exchanged vows for the first time on December 28, 1957. For the nuptials, Natalie was seen in a chic white, strapless cocktail dress paired up with a unique lace hood and simple ballet flats.
By this time, lace veils with intricate designs were popularized, and the world still loves a neat lacework. The groom donned a traditional cutaway and his bride blushed in a high neckline dress with a sweep of a train.
1959 – Grace Kelly Redefines Wedding Looks
Any bride who walked down the aisle after 1956 would probably spend a lot of time trying to recreate the “Grace Kelly” look. She married Prince Rainier III the same year and got all eyes on her with her attire choices.
One of her dresses became one of the most famous wedding gowns in all of history – the vintage Belgian lace alongside gorgeous yards of silk, tulle, and taffeta decorated with a soft pearl embroidery bodice.
1961 – Wedding Reception Is a Must
Before the early ‘60s, receptions were more of a plus at a wedding, not necessary. However, with the advent of the new decade, receptions became more of a requirement than a wish. When the weddings featured a reception, it would be a rather casual affair with punch, cake, and some fun music and dancing.
1961 almost marked the rising of the Berlin Wall, which divided the city into two. People who had relatives on the other side of the country couldn’t bring them in for their wedding without formal permission.
1963 – Regal Empire Waists
This was when the fashion really started to get chic, extra, and every bit unique that we adore the ‘60s look for. Pillbox hats, bouffant style veils, and high empire waists took top place on every bride’s dress wishlist.
Bridesmaid dresses were quite similar in design to the bride’s, which we think would be a rather huge issue in the present day. Pillbox hats made every bride tie their hair up and high.
1965 – Can’t Go Wrong With Lace
Beloved actor and singer Annette Funicello exchanged vows with her agent, Jack Gilardi, in the very first month of the year. She donned an elegant white gown with a sweetheart neckline underlying an entire lace body with long sleeves and a “star” neckline.
With her short curly hair left untied and a bouffant type veil, she dazed everyone with her classic sense of clothing. This goes to say how much this decade loved its lace.
1967 – Daisies on the Day
If there was a flower that could define ‘60s weddings, it would be daisies. They were everywhere! Made into bouquets, attached on the embroidered patterns on veils, and even weaved into the dresses’ lace. The King, Elvis Presley wedded 21-year-old Priscilla Beaulieu.
Elvis shone in a classic black tuxedo and his signature pompadour. He accessorized the look with a diamond, platinum, and sapphire watch; sapphire and diamond cufflinks, and cowboy boots. Prescilla was reported to have made her own dress, which was an elegant white number with pearl embellishments.
1969 – Dresses Should Be Personal
‘60s brides took inspiration from Jane Fonda, who wore a high-waist, sleeveless sheath on her wedding, and also Yoko Ono who looked fun and spunky in her mini-dress paired with knee-length socks and sneakers.
This popular trend of brides walking down the aisle in short wedding dresses was going strong even during the end of the decade, with some brides jazzing it up with a hat instead of a veil. Audrey Hepburn took the best of both worlds when she appeared in a short dress and a head-covering.
1971 – The Natural Look
1971 saw model Bianca Perez-Mora Marcia tie the knot with Mick Jagger. Shifting out the traditional wedding dress, the future Mr. Jagger left all jaws on the ground when she donned a YSL Le Smoking Jacket coupled with a loose skirt and a delicate sun hat to tie the look together.
This created an overall effortless, natural look that shaped weddings for the rest of the decade. Weddings now had couples aiming for that “carefree” look – nothing extra, just sticking to minimalistic patterns and fabrics.
1973 – Frills and Thrills
1972 smash-hit The Godfather perfectly encapsulated all the popular wedding trends of that time – tons of vibrant colors, showy headpieces fixed to the shoulders, and an overwhelming amount of lace, and of course, the shoulder pads.
On the other side of all that lace and ruffles were brides who still craved the rustic Jackie O-inspired gowns. Princess Anne and Mark Phillips’ wedding saw the bride in a streamline turtleneck gown that wasn’t anything out of the ordinary but enough to make some headlines.
1975 – Play the Wedding Mixtape
For the ultimate 1975 nuptials playlist, people put together songs from Elton John, the Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder, and the Beatles. “You Are So Beautiful” by Joe Cocker had been released the previous year and quickly climbed to the top of the wedding favorites list.
Disco was super popular too, with songs like “Kung Fu Fighting” by Carl Douglas being the national jam. Alongside the music, wedding dresses became more sleek and simple, with elegant embroideries and puffed up long sleeves to achieve a royal look.
1977 – We Love a Good Headpiece
Headpieces. From fancy, frilly designs to simple, floral ones, headpieces were a rather popular wedding accessory back in the ‘70s. They were usually made of something metallic, or flowers and green settings. In addition to the generic veils, these headpieces gave a new dimension to the overall look.
The Deer Hunter’s famous wedding scene showed actress Meryl Streep in a layered boat neck white gown, long gloves, and a delicate headpiece in place of a veil.
1979 – Laces and Flowers
Following the general trend of laces, wedding gowns still featured the delicate white patterns. In that year, Alana Hamilton married Rod Stewart, and she donned an off-shoulder dress; accessorizing it with a crown.
Her groom defied all expectations when he wore an ivory suit with a white shirt and a scarf of the same color. The point was to recreate a floral, chill vibe that seems effortless and smart at the same time.
1981 – The Historical Royal Wedding
If you type “Princess Diana” in a search engine, chances are, you’ll see the words “Wedding Dress” in the first few commonly searched items. The gorgeous princess’s wedding to Prince Charles had all brides fantasizing about a fairytale wedding.
On the titular Royal wedding, Princess Diana wore an ivory vintage lace and silk taffeta gown that had a massive 25-foot train. To complete the iconic look was a 153-yard tulle veil. The designer duo David and Elizabeth Emmanuel gave birth to a wedding dress masterpiece.
1983 – Videotaping the Moments
Can you imagine a wedding without having it on record? 1983 saw a whole revolution when Sony introduced its famous consumer camcorders. For the first time ever, couples could capture their big day on the film, and they absolutely adored the concept.
This helped create a carer for many amateur wedding videographers. The rising demand for videography combined with the brides wishing to channel their inner royale due to Diana resulted in soaring wedding costs.
1985 – The Decade of Excess
For her first wedding, actress Kristian-Joy Alfonso’s character Hope on the show Days of Our Lives wore a modern white boatneck gown with overlaying net and floral designs. The headpiece was the star of the show, as it almost took over the entirety of her head before flowing into a long veil.
After looking at a few other dresses and looks, it’s no mystery as to why this decade (the ‘80s) is titled as “The Decade of Excess.” Sparkles, flowers, headpieces – you name it, they probably wore it.
1987 – That’s One Magnificent Balloon Arch
Poofy sleeves and huge bouquets definitely classified ‘80s wedding fashion. Additionally, the pièce de résistance would have to be the huge balloon arrangements. Balloon arches were considered fun and spontaneous and they were often used at the reception doorway.
Some weddings even had balloon works replacing bouquets on tables. A film with a cult following, Dirty Dancing came out that year and the song “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” could be heard at every wedding.
1989 – A Cake Affair
As the curtains drew on the ‘80s, cakes got a more complicated twist. Three or four-tier cakes were traditional in the past, but now cakes could be as tall as eight tiers! 1989 gave the world the heart-wrenching story of Steel Magnolias and the larger-than-life wedding of Julia Roberts’ character.
The ceremony almost looked like it had been “hosed down with Pepto-Bismol,” but it did a satisfactory job in highlighting the Southern trend of having groom’s cakes shaped into armadillos.
1991 – Wedding Movie Marathon
Vera Wang started her flagship bridal store based in New York City in 1990 and it became the house of inspiration for weddings throughout the decade. The ‘90s saw a growing obsession with wedding films, propelled by the release of Father of the Bride (1991) starring Diane Keaton and Steve Martin.
The decade brought us hit wedding flicks like My Best Friend’s Wedding, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Muriel’s Wedding, and Runaway Bride.
1993 – Eloping is So Fetch
While the ‘80s were iconic for the extra dresses and fancy fashion, the brides still wanted a little poof for an added dash of drama. The wedding industry was thriving, and couples started taking weddings out of churches and opted for destination weddings.
According to reports, eloping, which was previously termed as marriage at the very last minute, became a popular thing for couples who wanted a more intimate wedding. Some couples even liked being adventurous – like this couple, who took a rollercoaster ride in their gown and tuxedo.
1995 – Online Gift Registry
Couples these days probably can’t imagine a wedding without signing up for an online wedding gift registry. In 1995, the first-ever online gift registry was started by Target. It was so well-received that, in the very first year, 125,000 couples signed up.
In December of 1994, Celine Dion got married to her long time manager, Rene Angelil. Celine decided to go all out and wore a seven-pound ornate crystal tiara at the wedding. The rest of the decade saw brides glowing in a tiara for their big day.
1997 – Chic, Classic, and Clean
Minimalism and elegance were the two adjectives that led the keywords in the ‘90s wedding fashion. Courtesy of Carolyn Bessette, simplistic and classic bridal styles ruled the second half of the decade. Spaghetti straps were all the rage.
In addition to that, mermaid gowns, completely plain veils, and V-necklines were high on the preferred category. Around this time of the decade, brides started ditching the classic white wedding gowns and opted for edgy dresses in darker colors, some embroidered bodices, asymmetrical slits, and portrait necklines.
1999 – Make Way for the Beckhams
The definition of a true power couple – footballer David Beckham tied the knot with Posh Spice, Victoria Beckham, in the year of 1999. Victoria herself is a designer, so it was a given that she’d have impeccable taste.
She made all heads turn in an incredible champagne creation from Vera Wang. Victoria only wore that for the ceremony and matched with hubby David for the reception in a purple Antonio Berardi look.
2001 – Disposable Cameras and Forever Memories
The timeless sitcom Friends had everyone glued to the TV set in 2001 when Monica and Chandler were about to make their own happy “beginning.” In the sitcom, the wedding photos were taken in disposable cameras, but the plot of the following episode centered on how Chandler forgot to collect the images.
However, this created a bubbling trend of disposable cameras being used for the ceremonies. Monica came out in a simple, body-hugging gown and sleek long veil that accentuated her perfect physique and beautiful face.
2003 – Shimmers and Glitters
The ‘80s were extra, but the 2000s were shiny. The dresses show a shimmery touch to them. This mainly happened due to the prevalence of fabrics like silk and taffeta, alongside the bejeweling trend. This means that some wedding bodices featured an extra helping of blinding shine added on them.
As a part of that, the renowned model Naomi Campbell could be seen adorned in a sparkly sleeveless wedding dress on the runway at a fashion show in South Korea in 2003.
2005 – The Tower of Tiny Cakes
The cupcake trend originated at the very beginning of the 2000s, but the sweet tooth fever reached its zenith at the very middle of the decade – during 2005. People started switching out traditional, tiered wedding cakes for massive towers of decorative cupcakes slathered with unique frosting to complement the theme of the ceremony.
Couples still to this day enjoy having a table of sweets and a cupcake tower for easier distribution of desserts. Plus, it makes for some cute photos!
2007 – Let’s Make it Public
Although many still loved an intimate family gathering, the majority of the couples were taking their wedding game up a notch. The ceremonies were being publicized through various media outlets. A classic example would be when Cody Helgeson and Jessica Mapel tied the knot on Today Throws a Martha Stewart Wedding.
The audience voted on even the smallest details of the ceremony, including the choice of cake. Popular wedding based show Say Yes to the Dress came out that year and capitalized on the wedding obsession.
2009 – Something Blue, Something Fun
Viral trends are always influenced by different aspects of our life, but how about a wedding? The “JK Wedding Video” went viral and had everyone rolling on the floor from laughter, but people also appreciated the creative concept the couple planned perfectly.
Brides were high-key looking into giving their ceremonies an entertaining dash with the signature flash mob-style dances going down the aisle. Even after the wedding disaster of Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City, brides couldn’t stop fawning over her feather fascinator.
2011 – Another Royal Wedding
After the spectacle that was Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s wedding, it was time for Prince William to wed the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton. Kate walked out in an ivory satin bodice with a modest yet plunging neckline (piece by Sarah Burton).
The dress was a game-changer in the industry, and brides couldn’t get over the attention to details. The amazing lace overlay was hand-made and shifted into sleeves following Grace Kelly’s gown styles. The dress also featured a nine-foot train and 58 buttons covered in organza.
2013 – Reappearance of the Vintage
Singer Kelly Clarkson exchanged vows with Brandon Blackstock in a picturesque ceremony at a pastoral Tennessee resort named Blackberry Farm. The romantic dress featuring intricate lace sleeves paid homage to the vintage wedding styles that have come back to life recently.
2010 had seen a growing demand for customized dresses, but ballgowns and mermaid dresses were still the bride’s top choice. Sweetheart neckline and low-cut backs were other popular choices.
2015 – Love Has No Gender
The Supreme Court made history this year and finally legalized same-sex marriages across America. For many long-time couples, it was a dream come true, as they finally got to close the deal. This year also marked the first teenage same-sex couple appearance on the TV show Glee.
The show also celebrated a double wedding between the female characters Santana and Brittany as well as the male characters Blaine and Kurt. The brides were seen adorned in two different styles of gowns, fitting for their personalities.
2017 – Splashes of Colors
Gone are the days when only whites and shades of beige ruled the wedding dress racks. Nowadays, brides aren’t afraid of experimenting with colors.
While blush pink and Tiffany blue remain classic colors due to their Disney princess influence, many brides could be seen rocking fire-engine red, sunset orange, and even jet black attires on their big day. Some weddings have bridesmaids donning an all-white ensemble, so the attention doesn’t shift from the bride’s big statement for a second.
2020 – The New Age Wedding
Pops of color and unique statements are the highlights of the new decade’s wedding style. Couples will reinvent everything starting from their “Something Blue” to forming a color palette depicting their own special story. Sustainable weddings have been popularized by green-conscious couples and include a lot of recycling and minimalist designs.
Wedding menus have gotten much more inclusive to satisfy people of different tastes. Couples are also loving the “mystical” theme and incorporating it into various aspects of the nuptials. Think crystals, palo santo, sage, and aura photobooths!
How March Became National Women’s History Month in the US
March is National Women’s History Month, but why is it so? Is it because this month is important in women’s history, or was it just arbitrarily selected? The truth is that March is the month of women both because of its significance in the history of women and because of coincidence.
Women’s History Month is marked in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia in March. However, it began with just one day – International Women’s Day: March 8th. This day has been celebrated in some shape or form since 1911. However, it was officially recognized by the UN in 1977.
Women’s History Week
Local groups and municipalities began celebrating Women’s History Week in the 1970s. The movement was very popular, and in 1980, President Jimmy Carter announced the first official National Women’s History Week, beginning on March 8th of that year.
Educational and governmental institutions soon realized that this period allowed them to do more than celebrate the achievements of women. They could also explore critical topics such as equality and opportunities for women, as well as educate people on the history of women.
Women’s History Month
In March 1987, Congress announced the first official Women’s History Month. Apart from International Women’s Day, March is known for a few more important milestones in women’s history:
- Title IX was passed by the Senate on March 1st, 1972, and it prohibited sex discrimination in all federally funded education programs. The title was passed by the Senate on March 1st, 1972, and it became law later in that year.
- The Equal Rights Amendment is a constitutional amendment guaranteeing rights regardless of sex past those assured by the 19th Amendment and was passed by the Senate on March 22nd, 1972.
- Earlier in the 20th century, two important women’s suffrage events happened in March – The first major suffragist parade in Washington, DC, on March 3rd, 1913, and the formation of the National Woman’s Party, a political group dedicated to women’s suffrage.