5 Trends Changing the Wedding landscape

London - Some may think traditional weddings are a thing of the past, but that does not mean that the wedding industry is in decline. As more young couples around the globe seek out new, unique and alternative ways to celebrate their big day - without spending big - the rise of mass-market bridal wear has emerged. 2016 saw the wedding market hit by a slew of affordable bridal collections from the likes of Asos, H&M and Whistles, changing the category for good. But are brides-to-be in 2017 still looking for mass-market wedding dresses to don on their special day? And has affordable bridalwear really impacted other categories within the wedding market? FashionUnited takes a closer look and shares 5 millennial driven wedding trends changing the landscape this year.

5 Trends Changing the Wedding landscape

Mass-market bridal wear continues to become more affordable

Some may wonder if consumers really want a mass-market wedding dress to wear on their big day, as tv-shows such as ‘Say Yes to Dress’ continue to highlight the emotional journey attached to finding the right dress. With the average price of a wedding in the UK sitting at 27,000 pounds, it should come as no surprise the average amount most brides spend on a wedding dress is 1,385 pounds. In London, the average amount is even a little higher, coming in at 1,677 pounds according to Bridebook, the UK's no.1 wedding planning app and website. However, not everyone is able to spend that amount on a dress, let alone on an entire wedding - which is where affordable bridal wear comes into play.

The mass market’s move into bridalwear has affected the average price point of bridalwear as new data indicates that mass-market wedding dress are only becoming more and more affordable thanks to more high street retailers like Topshop, Lipsy and &Other Stories launching their own bridalwear collections this year. In fact, the average price of a new wedding dress or bridesmaid has decreased over the past year. During the first quarter of 2016 the average price of a new bridal dress was 338.57 pounds (437.46 US dollars) according to Edited. This average price has now dropped 33 percent to 226.61 pounds (292.80 US dollars) during Q1 2017.

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And it’s not just mass-market wedding gowns which are becoming more affordable - bridesmaids dresses and occasion wear is also becoming more accessible as an increasing number of brides select up to three outfits to wear throughout their wedding day, from the ceremony to the reception and after party. “These days, couples are building their wedding experiences around social media-worthy outfits and events, which means there’s less focus and splurging out on just ‘the dress’,” says Katie Smith, Senior Fashion & Retail Market Analyst at Edited.

Wedding attire is becoming more versatile by shaking things up

As more brides-to-be opt to wear a more affordable wedding dress for their big day, another emerging trend sees brides, grooms and guests alike opting for more functional or versatile wedding attire. This is in part driven by millennials seeking out experiences over out right owning material objects - so rather than spending a fortune on a dress which will likely only be worn once, more brides are seeking out more versatile wedding attire which can be worn again. This is seen in the rise of wedding tops, skirts and bottoms offered by designers and mass-market wedding retailers alike and the trend is only set to continue to grow next year. Designer labels including Carolina Herrera, Oscar de la Renta and Viktor & Rolf, have all embraced the two (or three part) bridal ensemble for SS18 by presenting a mix of looks.

5 Trends Changing the Wedding landscape

Herrera presenting cropped trousers paired with a lace top to accentuate the waistline and a tulle skirt with a form fitting sequined sweater among her gowns for Spring/Summer 2018. “I strongly believe in separates for weddings,” said Herrera during her collection presentation “that, for me, is the modern way of dressing the bride.” Other mass-market retailers, such as Lipsy, have also launched affordable wedding dresses with detachable skirts in a bid to offer millennial brides versatile wedding wear this year. These dresses were designed to be worn again at other events to offer future brides more flexibility and versatility with their gowns. "One thing I've seen for the first time this year that I expect to see more of are removable skirts,” said Ann Oleinik from Ann & Kam Photography to Brides. “The bride can have a sheath dress look and a ball gown look for much less than the cost of two dresses."

More women are opting to buy their wedding dress online

Although fast-fashion retailers were quick to shift gears and take on an omni-channel approach, luxury and high-end retailers are also beginning to catch up and make the swift to digital. Now the bridal market is jumping on board, as an increasingly wide spectrum of retailers offer an array of wedding dress online. This ranges from luxury pure-players, such as Net-a-Porter to mass-market retailers like Asos, to direct-to-consumer, made-to-order brands like Floravere. Net-a-Porter offers a wide array of bridal wear from designer brands in the bridal boutique as well as a number of more affordable options from the likes of Needle & Thread, whereas Asos offers it’s own in-house bridal assortment in addition to three other brands.

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So even though the thought of buying the dress for their big day online may not tickle every bride’s to be fancy, it remains a viable option for future brides unable to find the right dress in person. What’s more, purchasing wedding dresses and bridesmaid dresses online is a big business, according to Edited. Data shows that the online sell out rate of bridal products has increased 50 percent during the first quarter of 2017 in comparison to the same period a year ago. "As consumers, we've become more comfortable buying across all categories online thanks to improved security and better delivery and returns services," adds Smith.

"There's an ongoing consumer shift which stems from market pressure around housing, jobs and economic uncertainty. That means not every couple wants, or is able to have, the full blown traditional wedding with all the trimmings. We're reaching milestones like home ownership later in our lives. Then there's the millennial shunt - consumers who are focused on the digital content of their wedding and are exceptionally adept at purchasing online. Retailers are facilitating this behavior by ramping up their online offering, improving the purchase experience with better imagery, video, delivery and returns and talking about wedding season in their content more often." In addition, brides who are shopping online for their dream dress and looking to score a good-deal on their wedding gown, the month of March has been highlight as the best time to buy, as dresses are discounted at an average of 60 to 70 percent ahead of the new season offering.

Think Pink - Brides are embracing more colour

5 Trends Changing the Wedding landscape

In the past most brides were very selective of their wedding dress colour, opting for the traditional whites, creams and ivory. However, this year sees a huge number of pink and blush bridal dresses hit the market, as the shade is set to become one of the most popular colours for brides to don on their big day. Millennial pink has already been hailed by many as one of the key colours of Spring/Summer 2017, which is the lighter sister of Rose Quartz, the colour of 2016 set by Pantone, and the shade is set to dominant wedding decor and attire this year. Designers from Marchesa to Christian Siriano have presented pink or blushed-tone wedding dresses, while mass market retailers like Topshop and &Other Stories are offering dresses in pale pink or peach. Off-the shoulder wedding dresses, bardot style and ‘90s silhouettes wedding dresses are also key styles emerging this year.

High street retailers catering to all your wedding needs

Perhaps the most interest wedding trend to emerge this year sees mass-market fashion retailers expanding their wedding assortment by offering everything from wedding dresses, to wedding lingerie, accessories, footwear and even decor. For example, H&M only offers a few wedding dresses, which act as a focal piece in its marketing, but has also expanded to offer wedding lingerie and accessories this year. Then there is Asos, which offers affordable wedding attire, shoes, accessories - even bridal swimwear and nightwear. Data from Edited shows that wedding dresses only account for 21 percent of the current wedding assortment industry wide, as retailers extend their offering.

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During Q1 of 2016 44 percent of retailers assortments for weddings focused on dresses, with accessories counting for 22 percent, lingerie for 9 percent, nightwear for 8 percent and footwear for 7 percent, according to Edited. But in Q1 this year, new wedding arrivals focused 36 percent on accessories and 29 percent on dresses, in addition to 10 percent on footwear, 7.5 percent on nightwear and 6 percent lingerie. As more couples seek to organise an original wedding, wedding merchandise has the potential to stretch across every category. “Mass market retailers have capitalized on this demand by catering to a broad range of wedding types and personalities, providing not only affordable dresses, but a whole bridal assortment online,” adds Smith.

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5 Trends Changing the Wedding landscape During the month of May FashionUnited will focus on bridal wear. For all reads on bridal wear, click here.

Homepage photo: Pexels

Photo 1: Topshop debut bridal range, via website

Photo 2: Left to right - Carolina Herrera SS18 via webite, Needle & Thread SS17 via Net-a-Porter

Photo 3: Left to right - Topshop bridal via website - Marchesa Bridal SS17 via website

Source: Bridebook.co.uk


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