Congratulations to all the brides and grooms to be! If you are lacking inspiration for your wedding, in this article we will examine the most popular trends and styles for wedding celebrations in the 1980s. You can say this is a throwback series. The weddings were lavishing during those years because it was a time of accessories, jewellery and voluminous hair. The nuptials integrated perfectly the trends of the decade. The newly engaged couples may remember those times as their childhood years and even if they may seem recent for some of them, the trends have definitely evolved and changed. We can say, without going wrong that the major theme of the moment was over-the-top. Over-the-top dresses, over-the-top jewellery, over-the-top hairstyles, over-the-top flowers and over the top cakes. Too much over-the-top? You can say so.
Let’s dive into the wedding trends that defined the 1980s.
When you say 80’s wedding gown you say drama, so you can imagine that most of the dresses had large puffed sleeves, numerous frills surrounding the hemlines, and metres of lace. Not only the details of the gowns were dramatic, but the size was also grandiose because most of the brides preferred ball gowns. Sleek dresses were not really an option, the larger the skirt of the gown the more dramatic the bride would look, and this is all they wanted. Considering that the style icon of the time was Princess Diana, who opted for a ball gown inspired by fairy tales, it’s understandable why all the other brides preferred the same model of dress.
Princess Diana’s dress was iconic not only for the 1980s, but for many other decades because women around the world wanted their bridal gowns to have long trains, big veils, poufy sleeves and metres of fabric around their waist. The Cathedral Train veil was the hottest trend of the time, and it matched perfectly the tiaras, sequins, and pearls brides worn to complete their attires.
The best friends of the bride were dressed as bridesmaids. They didn’t wear matching colours, they preferred individual shades, but they opted for dresses in similar models. Their gowns also had puffy sleeves, cinched waists and lace.
If nowadays, destination weddings and elopements are preferred instead of classic weddings, back them the nuptials were highly traditional. The couples preferred to have their ceremonies held at a religious venue like a church or synagogue, and the reception at a restaurant or hotel located close to the church. All the tables at the reception had a table number and place cards, so everyone knew where they sit. The guest book was formally displayed at the entrance and the table centrepieces were made from formal church candles and flowers. Brides and grooms preferred flowers like baby’s breath, gardenia and other simple and elegant blossoms. Brides opted for oversized bouquets in colours similar to their bridesmaids. The same type of flowers were used to build floral arches at the reception venue.
The popular bands of the time were busy to attend the wedding reception. Why? Because the music was so good it kept everyone dancing all night. And did we mention that the entire show was live? Can you imagine the Royal Family dancing joyfully? Neither we! But they definitely did it.
We should not forget about the menu, it included prawn cocktail, soup, salmon or beef, and desserts. The newlyweds always drank champagne.
As you can imagine a puffy dress cannot be worn without matching accessories. Brides preferred cathedral-length veils because they wanted metres of fabric to drag behind them while they walked to the aisle. They preferred updos with loose curls and a soft makeup for the eyes. Some brides also opted for pink or red lips and pastel-hued eye shadows. Depending on the dress, some of them also worn bridal gloves because they added a royal aspect to their attire. The ones who could afford, accessorised their outfit with a tiara. Oversized bouquets always completed the look because everyone tried to recreate Princess Diana’s look. Princess Diana wed Prince Charles in 1981, so their wedding was the example everyone tried to imitate during the entire decade.
In the 1980s, the cakes were decorated with inedible ornaments, and made from dark fruit mixtures. They were so big they had to be placed on pillars. Sugar paste covers were a hot trend for wedding cakes because they allowed confectioners to play with different colours to decorate the cakes. Iced cakes were a major trend because they stopped the pillars from damaging the layers. Elegant cakes were a thing back then, so accessories like ribbons and flowers were common elements placed on cakes. Speaking of the royal wedding, the British Naval Armed Forces made the cake and it took them 14 weeks to finish it. In 2015, a slice of the royal cake was sold with $1,375 at an auction.
The traditional vertical cake has started to differ in models as the decade evolved and you could see even cakes offset on stands with different models. It was the result of a collaboration between the groom and bride and it lacked many of the feminine elements we see nowadays. It included neutral flowers and other similar elements. The average cake was somewhere between 4 to 8 tiers that were held together with columns.
The weddings were opulent and ample, and the receptions had a playful touch. The couples took this playful touch with them when they spent the wedding night, and not few are the recordings of couples who used pleasure toys to spice up things. The 80’s also ware the start of wedding videos and photos. The cameras were sold at accessible prices so newlyweds were willing to pay a modest sum to immortalise the most important moments of the wedding. When the wedding party was over the couple left the reception in a car decorated with balloons and cans.
What do you think? Did the couples from the 1980s had better bashes than the ones from the present?