Something Borrowed, Something Blue, Wedding Fashion Is Big News

Something Borrowed, Something Blue, Wedding Fashion Is Big News

With the contentification of our everyday lives, it should come as no surprise that wedding days have become the most content worthy day of them all. Ranking above birthdays, graduations, baby showers (and it’s recently social media birthed cousin gender reveals); the day that we chose to say I do in front of our loved ones and pledge to spend eternity with our partners has the perfect instagrammable moment.

When music nepo-baby Sofia Richie (daughter of music legend Lionel Richie) wed fellow music nepo-baby Elliot Grainge (his dad is Universal Music Group CEO), it was a star studded event covered by all major fashion and celebrity publications. With Vogue covering the run up to the big day, we got to see Sofia Richie-Grainge pick all three of her custom Chanel dresses, her rehearsal dinner, after-party and of course the wedding ceremony. Richie-Grainge has used the interest in her wedding to renew her fame on social media, launching a TikTok account and taking us along behind the scenes with mini vlogs and get ready with me’s, even on her honeymoon. In just a month her TikTok account has amassed 2 million followers, proving my point that wedding content is the content.

L-R: Sofia Richie-Grainge wearing her custom Chanel reception dress, Sofia Richie-Grainge walking down the aisle with her father Lionel Richie, Elliot Grainge and Sofia Richie-Grainge on their honeymoon

At the epicentre of all wedding content is the bridal outfit. While there are long standing favourites such as Chanel, Pnina Tornei and Vera Wang; newcomers such as Simon Jacquemus who released a bridal collection after getting engaged to his now husband are creating a stir. His brand Jacquemus’ AW22 collection titled Le Papier was inspired by the planning of his own wedding. Undoubtedly, the bridal look is big business and as an (ideally) once in a lifetime event, the budget is often astronomical and therefore very attractive to fashion brands from a commercial aspect.

However, for some fashion brands the move towards bridal is more reactive. Alie Mackintosh, owner of ethical UK-manufactured womenswear brand AYM Studio, was asked to make her sister’s wedding dress in 4 months. She then subsequently released the silhouette, which she named Glencoe, on her website for other eco-conscious brides to purchase.

L-R; AYM Studio’s Glencoe gown, AYM Studio founder Alie Mackintosh helping her sister Liz Mackintosh into her wedding dress that Alie designed, AYM Studio’s Glencoe gown

Rokeya Khanum’s synonymous brand Khanum’s customers were continually choosing her famously monochromatic beaded pieces for their bridal festivities from bachelorette parties to rehearsals dinners and main dresses. In response to this she released a relatively affordable bridal collection that features the intricate beading that her brand is known for.

Khanum’s debut bridal collection; L-R: Kezii Cape, Kezii Halter Top, Kefi Mini Dress

Gbemi Okunlola was a seamstress who pivoted to start her bridal brand Alonuko after a client was so happy with the work on her ankara bridesmaid’s dresses she hired Okunlola to make her wedding dress. Now, the vast majority of the pieces Alonuko makes are bespoke, especially their famous work with dying illusion mesh to perfectly suit the bride’s skin tone. On social media the brand even shows Okunlola flying around the world to get brides into their dresses on the special day. Her most recent custom design for US based fitness influencer Toni Fine Fit Fitness for example, took social media by storm and gained Alonuko 150,000 followers. 

L-R: Alonuko 2023 Mariposa Collection, Actress Danielle Brooks in her custom Alonuko gown, Alonuko 2023 Mariposa Collection

While all three of these brands have very different looks and price points, they are all made to order, which unlike the rest of fashion has remained customary for bridal dresses. However, fast fashion brands such as ASOS, House of CB and Reformation are now also offering options, allowing brides to have their dream dress at all price points.

After taking an explainable dip from 2020 to 2022, the wedding industry is forecast to grow in size, variety and most importantly profit. Traditionally budget hoarding areas such as bridal dresses, caterers and venues are on the rise, but now that every single part of a wedding is primed for sharing online, no stone is left unturned. 

Couples are now hiring “wedding content creators” to film and edit photos and videos of their special day specifically for sharing online. These budding entrepreneurs travel around their local areas, shooting behind-the-scenes style footage and angles that are surefire winners online, getting them back to their clients as soon as the same day, ready to be shared online. 

Of course the hub of this growing industry is TikTok. The OG instagram slogan of “pics or it didn’t happen” is essentially what is being tapped into. Even traditional wedding videographers are offering clients wedding video teasers akin to film trailers, posted to wet the appetite for the Oscar worthy full video.

Weather is not exempt for wedding pressure either. In the global west, early Spring to mid Autumn are seen as “wedding season”, with June to September being the prime months to get married. During this season the venues, vendors and planners are the most expensive.

Complementarily “wedding dress” season – i.e. the most expensive time to buy a dress is January as that falls right in the middle of engagement season; November to early February (ie Valentine’s Day). The wedding industry has essentially commodified every single month of the year for all things weddings, and we haven’t even touched on suits.

Even in TV and media there has been an increase in the number and popularity of wedding related shows. From Say Yes To The Dress, 90 Day Fiancé, Married at First Sight (the Australian spinoff is particularly juicy) and of course Netflix’s Love Is Blind.

L-R: Jules Robinson and Cameron Merchant from MAFS Australian have been married since 2019, Brett and Tiffany Brown from Love Is Blind have been married since 2022, Trista and Ryan Sutter who met on the Bacholerette have been married since 2003

But back to fashion, outside of the wedding party just being a guest is now met with added pressure. Aesthetics are essential so guests are often presented with stricter and stricter dress codes to ensure that nothing will ruin the wedding vibe.

Now, am I against the idea of an aesthetically pleasing wedding? No. Controlling what colours people wear is essentially what you can do with Nigerian weddings when choosing an ankara or lace for your guests, limiting them only to what style they can sew the fabric into. However, we can all admit that there is additional pressure akin to that of a royal wedding felt when as a society every part of our lives is seen as “content”.

Essentially, weddings have been big business, weddings are still big business and it seems they will continue to be big business. What do you think? Do you plan to content-ify your wedding day if you get married?

British Royal Weddings. L-R: Princess Diana getting married to Prince Charles in 1981, Kate Middleton getting married to Prince William in 2011, Meghan Markle getting married to Prince Harry in 2018