By Miranda Zsigmond
Right after Thanksgiving, I found myself sitting on my couch, trying to console my roommate whose boyfriend had decided to end the relationship that weekend. Yes, she’d been turkey-dumped.
As I attempted to tie back together the unraveled pieces of her life, my Facebook news feed was blowing up with news of new engagements.
The holidays do strange things to people.
Currently I am in a pretty committed relationship of almost two years. Admittedly thoughts of marriage have crossed my mind — and then meandered away. After all, if I’m apprehensive about graduating college in the spring, I’m clearly not ready for marriage, right?
Even though I grew up with divorced parents, the idea of finding someone who I liked enough to spend every holiday with is something I’m still interested in. I remember looking at pictures of my mom on her wedding day, with bright eyes and a big smile, a hopeful 24-year-old, only three years my senior. In her gaudy, early ‘90s white mess of a wedding dress, with its long lace sleeves, my mom posed with my dad. I found out later that she hated the dress, but she was pregnant with me and didn’t have a lot of options.
My mom has taught me a lot. Some of the most important things I’ve learned were what I don’t want in life, in relationships and in a wedding. Thankfully wedding trends have evolved since the dark and satirical days of ‘90s fashion. Even in the past 10 years, weddings have persistently pulled away from tradition as couples have begun focusing more on each other and less on over-the-top opulence.
It’s an exciting time to be a modern bride. The modern or alternative bride is the result of the independent woman who makes her own happiness, writes her own story, and is able to take traditional storybook ideals and morph them to her preference.
Bridal trends – including everything from cakes to venues to dresses — have undergone a minimalist and unique make-under, as an earthy, deconstructed wedding with lux details is the current norm.
The lavishness of the wedding cake had dwindled as cakes have shed their white frosting coats to reveal a negligée of light florals layered in between buttercream.
“Naked cakes are stacked cakes with only filling and a crumb coat with no external frosting,” explains Chef Jeremy Peters of Cypress College in Cypress, Calif.. “It is a step away from the traditional white layered cake that our mothers and grandmothers had before us, and it has simply never been done before, similar to when impressionism became an art movement and upset the traditionalists.”
Though this spin on tradition has shaken up the pastry world, the naked cake fits into the trendy rustic vibe of so many weddings. It also is significantly cheaper as it cuts out approximately 70 percent of labor costs, allowing it to be produced more quickly. For once, nude isn’t rude.
While cakes are being dressed down, more brides are choosing to dress up and walk down the aisle in some color or an alternative design, incorporating their personal style and pulling away from traditional white.
“If I decide on a colored dress it would have to be very special,” said Kaitlyn Tice-Leco a newly engaged modern bride. “I’m all for a unique dress but something in me can’t stray from a white dress. It’s something I’ve dreamed about since I was a little girl.”
More designers are filling the gap between the bride who wants to hold on to some tradition and the more adventurous bride with a variety of unconventional styles.
LOHO, which stands for League of Her Own, is a bridal boutique aiming to fill that void. Located in San Francisco’s design district, LOHO goes beyond being just a shop to fulfill a very specific niche for women who don’t identify with the mainstream aesthetic. The boutique offers dresses from designers who specialize in organic, comfortable and free-flowing alternative dresses and features ready to wear brands like Stone Fox Bride and Callahan as well as custom-order dresses.
“I’ve always considered myself ‘fashion forward’ and trendy. I wear pantsuits,” jokes Tice-Lecou. “So I’ve been really thinking about a flowy and laced wedding ensemble. There is something edgy and daring . . . in a sweetly feminine way that I think really fits my personality.”
Things that Sparkle
Engagement rings are also having an evolutionary moment, or more like an apt resurgence of style. In the recent past, high jewelry design was not defined by color, and clean crisp platinum and white diamonds were the rage. Within the past five years, designers have been incorporating more colored stones into their creative designs, prefect for the unconventional bride who is looking for something timeless and extraordinary, but with a twist.
Jewelry designer Aaron Ruff is the creative force behind the increasingly popular Digby and Iona engagement rings. These designs are based in tradition but take subtle modifications and unexpected embellishments, turning the ring into a one-of-a-kind piece. Digby and Iona creates whimsical rings that seemingly tell an individual story through the use of textured metals, raw and peppered diamonds, as well as other precious gemstones like sapphire and tourmaline.
“I feel like non-traditional rings are becoming more common among all brides,” said SMU grad and newlywed Samantha Landon. “Every couple feels like their love is the most powerful and unique, thus couples want to find a ring as crazy and one of-a-kind as possible . . . that fits their special story.”
Though it may be off in the distance, I feel some comfort knowing that when I do decide to get married I will have numerous options to choose from to fit my independent style as a bride.