Wedding MBA 2014: Behind the Scenes With the Top Wedding Pro's

Last month, 2000 wedding professionals gathered in Las Vegas for the Wedding Merchants Business Academy to discuss wedding history, trends, innovations, and technology. Want to learn what's hot and what's not? Read on for Part I: Wedding Trends Past and Present

We'll start with wedding history as seen by Carley Roney, co-founder of The Knot. Carley talked about where we have been and where we are now, identifying wedding trends through four iconic weddings that changed how weddings were done.

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1. Princess Diana and Prince Charles:

Who can forget the 1980 wedding of Princess Diana? A real life princess ushering in the era of over-the-top princess weddings. This wedding began the era of puffy sleeves, long trains and veils on wedding dresses, cascading wedding bouquets and opulent wedding cakes and receptions. During the 80s, most of the weddings were paid for by the parent's of the bride and conformity to wedding trends was high.

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Photo: Denis Reggie2. Carolyn Bissette and John F. Kennedy:

We move from British royalty to our home grown unofficial royalty, the 1990 wedding of Carolyn Bissette and John F. Kennedy. Here, simplicity and elegance were highlighted. The bride wore a simple white, sleeveless gown and carried a small bouquet. Suddenly "big and opulent" was out and we entered the era of elegant simplicity. Dresses had clean lines, no sleeves and little or no train. Veils were shorter or were replaced by modest (often flower) head pieces. Receptions featured understated elegance, simpler centerpieces, smaller and fewer flower arrangements. The whole effect was expensive but not ostentatious. 

Image Credit: Denis Reggie


3. Sarah Jessica Parker as "Carrie" in Sex and the City (the movie): 

"Sex and the City" had been a fashion trendsetter for some time before the 2000 movie. Even though the wedding never happened (spoilers!), the wedding dress and head piece worn by Sarah Jessica Parker on her way to the alter set off the next trend: Daring and Different. Here, designers had freedom to alter the traditional gown in a variety of ways: ruffles, tucks, and off-beat layers, plus veils that could now be worn coming down the side of the head not just the back. Wedding cakes began altering their shapes and colors with designs both beautiful and original. Receptions had an element of surprise in them—theme buffets, margarita fountains, unusual gourmet touches.

Image Credit: PA Photos



4. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt:

Everyone wanted to know what kind of dress Angelina would wear, and she did not disappoint. Her dress was designed to reflect what is closest to her heart: her family. The dress was a lovely white in the front and embroidered with her children's pictures on the back, which brings us to what Carley Roney names as our current trend: Expressionism. Today's couples are older, more financially secure and independent. They want to have a wedding celebration that reflects what is important to them. The millenials are choosing to have smaller and more down-to-earth events. The most popular wedding material right now is wood, which is highlighted in the "rustic wedding". Like Anglina, each couple is expressing what is closest to their heart, so today's weddings can incorporate ideas from all previous trends mixed and matched with what is new and original today.

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What aspect of these trends appeals to you? Whether you choose to follow a trend or ignore them all, you have so much freedom to make the wedding of your dreams into an event to remember!




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Hi, I'm one of the co-owners here at Wedding Bell Invitations. I have been involved with weddings and marriage for many years both as a wedding officiant and as a marriage counselor. I have a wealth of experience with every aspect of creating wedding ceremonies and have officiated in all types of settings and weather.

When my husband and I wanted to create an online business, we automatically gravitated to the wedding industry. I love paper and designing kits that are beautiful, affordable and easy to use. One of the most wonderful aspects of our business is getting emails with pictures of the beautiful invitations our customers have created and their joy in them-- to be a part of that process is one of my greatest pleasures!