When an estimated two billion spectators view your wedding, it's bound to be a trendsetter. From her gown to her bouquet to her veil, the Duchess of Cambridge—aka Kate Middleton—will shape the look of weddings in several big ways, according to interviews by Special Events.
No. 1, say professional planners, is the eco-friendly, "green" aspect of the royal wedding, held on Friday in London. The wedding featured an allee of 20-foot-tall seasonal trees lining the aisle of Westminster Abbey, which are to be replanted in parks later.
This green element was "beautiful, stunning simplicity," says Lynn Fletcher of Lynn Fletcher Weddings in Calgary, Alberta. "Although the idea of putting trees in events is not new, the wedding spoke of the graceful sophistication of keeping it simple at every turn. I feel that it worked."
While Kate's trees were emblematic of England, the custom can be tweaked to suit any wedding, notes Rena Puebla, head of Coast Concierge of Costa Mesa, Calif. "For example, if you are having a spring wedding, what is more beautiful and romantic than having cherry blossom trees throughout your ceremony, then use the trees for the reception. After the wedding, you can help the environment 'go green' by donating the trees to your community park, church, etc., or even planting the trees on your own property. It serves three purposes--that's what you call fabulous!"
No. 2 on the professional planners' list of top trends will be the influence of the bride's demure wedding gown.
After years of strapless ball gowns, "I am hoping that this will bring back sleeves!" says Margie McCaffrey, director of weddings at the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino in Reno, Nev. "It has been so long since wedding dresses with sleeves--of all shapes, lengths, etc.--were in style. I would love to see this become as popular as the sleeveless dress, which is all that we see for the most part. Sleeves can be very beautiful and stylish, as Kate has shown us."
Frank Andonoplas, MBC, of Chicago's Frank Event Design, agrees. "I think this will start to bring back this trend and start to stray away from the strapless gowns we have seen for many, many years," he says. "I didn’t expect it to mimic Princess Grace’s gown, but am glad this classic romantic silhouette will hopefully make a comeback."
No. 3 of Kate's trends—the smaller, unstructured bouquet.
"I loved her English oval bouquet," Andonoplas says, noting it was quite different from the huge bouquet carried by Princess Diana in 1981. "I think it will bring back a trend to looser bouquets, in bouquet-holders."
Ali Phillips, of Chicago-based Engaging Events by Ali, points to the symbolism of the bouquet's flowers--lily of the valley (sweetness and renewed happiness), hyacinth (constancy), sweet William (a tribute to the groom) and myrtle (a royal tradition since the wedding of Queen Victoria). "I really feel it will become a trend for brides to start putting in the wedding program what the floral elements are in their bouquet and what the flowers' meanings are," she says. "I have already proposed that to two of my clients this summer, and they love the idea!"
Brides in love with Kate's bouquet will have to brace themselves for the price tag. "The duplication of Kate’s bouquet, with 150-plus stems of lily of the valley, will be much harder due to availability and price," cautions Janet Flowers, head of Janet Flowers Wedding and Event Design, Rockville, Md. "Local lily of the valley is available for several weeks, with the first bunches arriving early May. Your average bride will not pay for an entire bouquet filled with these magnificent, dainty blooms."
No. 4—Bridesmaids in white. More common in Britain, this has long been considered impolite in America. But this sentiment may change thanks to the royal wedding.
Seeing Kate's sister, Pippa, and the flower girls all in white prompted "the most immediate comment from my brides," says Heather Snively, MBC, of Weddings Unique of Orlando, Fla. "They liked the clean, pristine, simple, elegant look for the bridesmaids' dresses."
And No. 5 on the list is inviting guests to contribute to charity in place of a wedding gift. This trend is a "for sure," Phillips says. "The I Do Foundation makes this very easy now."
BRIDES IN LOVE WITH ROYAL WEDDING
Brides are already asking for elements they saw in the royal wedding for their own upcoming nuptials.
For one, "Carriage rides from the church to the reception," says Tara Wilson, president of Tara Wilson Events of Fort Worth, Texas.
"I have gotten a request for adding more musicians like trumpets for ceremonies in churches, and a bride who is adding six choir singers, which she liked at the royal wedding," Phillips notes.
ALL IN THE DETAILS
The discerning eyes of wedding professionals picked out details from last week's landmark event that they particularly love:
"I loved seeing how sheer her veil was. This could start the trend of a veil or blusher over the beautiful bride's face," says Colette Lopez, head of La Fete Weddings, Santa Barbara, Calif. "It's elegant, classic and added such a stunning touch to her entrance."
"Less than 24 hours after the wedding, the one comment I heard from my clients was the way in which Kate's dad held her hand up as they processed down the aisle and William held her hand in the same way as they recessed," Snively says. "It looked regal and allowed for some extra distance between the couple for her dress not to get stepped on!"
"The bride doing her own makeup--that was a shock to so many people, especially the commentators--but it turned out wonderfully," notes Barbara Wallace, founder of Barbara Wallace Weddings of Corona del Mar, Calif. "This might lead to something not as obvious, which is that perhaps couples will see that they can trust their own preferences and taste rather than relying on others--friends or professionals--to tell them what they must have."
MY WEDDING, MY WAY
Not all wedding professionals think that brides will mimic the royal wedding.
Joyce Scardina Becker, CSEP, head of San Francisco-based Events of Distinction and founding president of the Wedding Industry Professionals Association, predicts that her brides will continue to have an average of four adult bridesmaids—as opposed to Kate's sole maid of honor—and dress them in color. "Many brides even love the look of whimsical and fun party dresses for their bridesmaids," she says.
"Typically, all brides and grooms want to put their own identity and signature on their wedding day," she notes. "No one wants to be a copycat of someone else's wedding day."
Jenne Hohn, founder of Napa, Calif.-based Jenne Hohn Events, thinks the royal wedding actually reflects trends that have run through many weddings in recent years.
"I have personally found a trend of demure wedding gowns, fewer bridesmaids/adult attendants, green elements, smaller bouquets, and replacement of wedding gifts with charitable contributions throughout the last two years as couples have taken the 'decadence' out of their weddings and made them more meaningful, not necessarily economy-driven," she explains.
"In my opinion, Kate was an exquisite and perfect example of today's modern bride," Hohn adds. "The couple found a way to incorporate their own simple elegance into a ceremony steeped in lavish tradition."