When you decide to get married, you’re not simply saying “yes” to your beloved. You are saying yes to a whole host of factors that will make up your special day: the venue, the guest list, the music and the rituals you choose to honour.
But among the most important things you must choose is the dress you are going to wear on the day that many count as among the most important of their lives.
In recent years the definition of “wedding dress” has expanded from the traditional lace and tulle meringue to include just about anything that exists in that context. We have seen brides in slinky slips (popularised by Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy), smart suits (à la Bianca Jagger) and two-piece sets (as seen on Australian influencer Steph Claire Smith).
More than ever before, stylish brides are eschewing tradition in favour of honouring personal style on their special day, realising that feeling like yourself is perhaps the most important criterion for a wedding dress.
Still, as in everyday life, our style is inevitably influenced by culture as well as what’s popular at that moment. This is why we can expect to see a lot of these bridal trends as we head into the new year.
Ahead, we breakdown the ones worth noting down for your bridal moodboards.
Forget fresh and innocent whites, pinks and pastels. This year is all about the drama of a “moodier” wedding. Celebrities like Kourtney Kardashian were at the forefront of this trend when the reality TV star married her rocker boyfriend Travis Barker (for a third time) in a Dolce & Gabbana-themed wedding in Portofino, Italy.
At the ceremony, Kourtney wore a custom lace and satin corset mini dress inspired by 1960s Italian lingerie with a sweeping, detailed veil. But it was her pre-wedding looks—namely a figure-hugging black mini dress with an image of the Virgin Mary dressed in blue on the front, matching black opera gloves and a short black veil that she wore to a pre-wedding lunch—that have inspired the rise of the gothic glam bridal look.
Since Kardashian and Baker tied the knot in July, Pinterest reported that searches for “dark wedding ideas” increased by a whopping 59x, while “goth wedding decorations” increased by 6x.
Other notable proponents of the trend include British beauty editor Tish Weinstock who married her now-husband in an 11th-century castle over Halloween—in front of guests including Kate and Lila Moss and Adwoa Aboah—wearing an antique lace gown and mermaid hair extensions inspired by Morticia Addams. While this trend was embraced by the style set in 2022 expect to see it trickle down into the mainstream this year, with touches of freakishly-elegant gloom invading even the most traditional of nuptials.
Bows are back, and the bigger, the better. Expect to see show-stopping bow details on dresses this year, whether they are pinned on the back, flowing into a dramatic train, employed to create a dramatic shoulder strap or used as an accent for every bridal accessory from bags to shoes.
This trend featured extensively on the runway at the Fall 2022 Haute Couture Shows. At the Valentino show Pierpaolo Piccioli sent out a slinky white gown, complete with a thigh-high slit, hidden metallic bustier, and black bows and over at Giambattista Valli, another conversation-starter piece was a feather-trimmed, semi-sheer bodycon number that enveloped the model’s shoulders in a larger-than-life snowy white bow.
In Australia, two of the country’s top fashion editors wore wedding dresses that employed the use of a dramatic bow at their respective nuptials. Tara Morris-Wilson, senior creative stylist at The Iconic, wore a white taffeta gown from Antwerp-based brand Bernadette to her Sydney wedding, framed with a one-shoulder neckline and exaggerated bow, while stylist Lucy Wood said “I do” in an Ivory Emilia Wickstead dress that had a statement bow appliqué on the back with long sashes akin to a trailing veil.
For many, this trend speaks to the unashamed femininity and maximalist glamour many are craving post-pandemic. Bow down!
Make it mini
Gone are the days when a wedding dress with a raised hemline would raise eyebrows. In 2022 (and into 2023) the bridal mini dress is the ultimate power move, a rebellious wink at the establishment and many of its outdated traditions around weddings.
The ivory minidresses available now feel sweet and just a little retro—and most of them aren’t even true wedding dresses, so finding your favourite is as easy as placing an online order.
Take cues from style icons including Yoko Ono, Sharon Tate, Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor, or more recently Lily Allen, Kourtney Kardashian and Chloë Sevigny. Because nothing says cool girl —or eschews tradition more—than making it mini.