When it comes to planning a wedding, the old rules no longer apply. The new vibe is creative, colourful and eco-conscious, with a bespoke approach bringing everything within reach – so say the experts. Here, industry insiders weigh in with the latest trends for every element of your day – from fashion-forward wedding dresses and alternative bridal jewellery to minimal make-up and seasonal wedding breakfasts.
Kate Halfpenny, celebrity stylist
“It’s liberating to see what brides are doing these days. People are welcoming the opportunity to have that breathtaking ‘wow’ moment via dramatic gowns with amazing silhouettes, big sleeves, and layers of beautiful fabrics and textures, but there’s also an increasing demand for edgy micro-mini party dresses from those who want to embrace what’s happening in the wider world of fashion.
The future of bridalwear is centred around provenance: people want to know exactly where their garments have come from and how they were made. At Kate Halfpenny, we’ve always been focused on British-made design. I also believe that more people will be shopping solo because they don’t want to be overwhelmed or swayed by the opinions of others. I always say to just focus on what makes you feel great in the moment, with a stylist who can help you imagine how something might look with a tighter sleeve or an oversized bow belt.”
How to Choose a Wedding Dress
Whatever your bridal style, all eyes will be on you when the big day comes. So, where to begin? Designer Kate Halfpenny shares her top tips to wedding dress shopping.
Hannah Martin, make-up artist
“Full face, overtly glamorous ‘Instagram’ make-up used to be the standard for brides at their weddings, but in recent years, I’m seeing many brides embracing their natural beauty, preferring to look like themselves rather than the version on social media. And more brides are choosing to downscale their weddings generally, even if that means doing their make-up themselves. Right now, it’s not about achieving the perfect make-up look, but focusing on the make-up that makes them feel their prettiest – and that often defines itself as a glowing ethereal bridal look that enhances but isn’t overbearing and won’t date.”
Sergio Momo, perfumer and founder of Xerjoff
“Traditionally, brides have explored floral and fruity perfumes that include white flowers, green-fresh notes, neroli and white musk. Now, couples are veering towards ingredients that suit their personalities. Just like choosing the bride’s wedding attire, perfume should be chosen according to personal preference – and that includes both the room fragrance for ambience and personal scents. The final choice on the day should also blend well with the selection of wine and Champagne.
Some notes could also be introduced with the floral bouquet – such as the use of fresh spices – or for him, light leather undertones, Damascus rose, vetiver or dry woods. And tobacco will give the groom an elegant – and universally matching – result.”
Visit Salon de Parfums on the Sixth Floor for one-to-one advice and bespoke fragrance services.
Sarah Royce-Greensill, jewellery editor and consultant
“‘Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.’ For my wedding day last summer, I ticked off the quintessential bridal quartet with an antique engagement ring, a shiny new wedding band, a borrowed pair of pearl earrings and a blue-sapphire ring of my mother’s (a gift from my father for their 35th wedding anniversary). The rhyme is traditional, but my jewellery reflected my everyday style – my pearls were strung from gold hoops and stacked alongside blackened-gold diamond huggies.
Weddings – and bridal jewellery – are more individual than ever. And even one-day affairs require a change of outfit, which means a jewellery wardrobe is a must. Pearls are a time-honoured choice for a reason – their lustre brightens the complexion and complements bridal silks and lace – but today’s take is super contemporary. Try trading Tiffany’s diamond and pearl drop earrings for a dazzling pair of Harry Winston chandeliers. Or swap De Beers’ ultra-feminine Adonis Rose climbers for Boghossian’s diaphanous mesh earrings. Complement a square neckline with a chic rivière like the minimalistic new Tiffany Edge diamond necklace or try Anita Ko’s Hepburn choker strung with an emerald... or in a rainbow of sapphires. Eschew gemstones altogether with Fernando Jorge’s sumptuous yellow-gold Flame necklace, or go maximalist by layering chains and charms by the likes of Melissa Kaye and Shay.
Basically, the rulebook has been ripped up and scattered like confetti. The traditional verse needs another category: ‘Something entirely you’. And the best part? Wedding-day jewellery will be worn and adored for generations to come.”
Beanie Major, founder of In Detail
“When it comes to choosing an engagement ring, I find that around 70% of the engaged couples I meet make the decision together. That’s a trend in itself. It makes sense that the woman would want to be involved – she’s the one who is going to be wearing the ring. And the process can bring couples even closer together.
Looking ahead, in terms of design I think we’ll see a return to stone-led pieces, because in times of economic uncertainty, people want to see their investment. I encourage that, because you can remodel the setting as many times as you like. Your ring can grow and evolve with you, which is quite beautiful. And the trend for smaller, more intimate weddings will start to be reflected in people choosing rings that feel personal and individual. I recently worked on a project for a couple who chose matching solitaire diamonds for the centre stones and then went in wildly different – very experimental – ways for the settings.”
Lucy Carr-Ellison, co-founder of Tart London
“Formal seated meals used to be the standard for weddings, but now there are requests for sharing platters, which are more social and relaxed. Initially, we thought people might be cutting back their budgets, but that’s not the case. Instead, they are becoming more conscious about spending money in a positive way: they want everything to be sustainable, responsible and feel personal and unique. When we started out, we’d get a lot of requests for, say, asparagus in October, but now couples are interested in seasonality. And Champagne used to be a given, but now most of our couples want English sparkling wine. People used to play it safe for wedding breakfasts – meat with gravy, potatoes and vegetables – but the food is becoming increasingly experimental: creative dishes, ones that celebrate vegetables, and edible flowers to add colour.”
Neill Strain, founder of Neill Strain Floral Couture
“Despite the fact that Covid restrictions limiting guest lists have now been lifted, small weddings have stayed in vogue. This means that clients have bigger budgets to spend on little details that will enhance their guests’ experience, such as intricate floral arrangements on the tables. They also have one eye on social media – they want that Instagram moment! – so they’re steering the budget into certain installations such as a floral arch or a fireplace decked out in a fabulous display.
Another priority is that they want their wedding to have minimal environmental impact, so I work with them on that – which might mean packaging the flowers up at the end of the night for guests, or bringing them to a care home afterwards. For my own sister’s wedding this winter, we decided to leave the flowers with the local church over the Christmas period so that the congregation could enjoy them.”
Find Neill Strain Floral Couture on the Lower Ground Floor.