Nov 2023

Anatomy of a Modern Wedding

In 2023, weddings are booming, but GETTING HITCHED looks different than before. From non-boring bridal to personalised merch and non-alcoholic parties, these are the trends shaping happily ever after. Welcome to the era of the NON-TRAD nuptials

PHOTOGRAPHY by PETE DALY

TOP: R+D LAB glass, $149 (set of two), MAISON BALZAC glass, $69, R+D LAB glass, $205 (set of two), MAISON BALZAC glass, $69

SPLURGE WISELY

Think you can’t afford the opulent caviar? Maybe you just need to trim your guest list. Minimonies – intimate affairs for around 10 guests – have all the makings of a regular wedding (the ceremony, the reception, the flowing Champagne) but are sized down so you can splash out on the things that matter most to you. The hatted chef, the martinis on tap … call it focused lavishness. According to Myriam Kassis from venue and events specialist Navarra, this ties in with a wider trend for food that goes beyond the alternate-drop dinner. “We’re seeing a rise in extravagant offerings: caviar and vodka shot stations, as well as pasta, fresh seafood stations and antipasto stations.”
Enter the minimony: lavish productions for a TIGHTLY TRIMMED and truncated guest list. Beluga for 10, anyone?

BOOZE-FREE BASH

With sobriety rising, more modern couples are saying “I don’t” to the open bar (check out #DryWedding for evidence). But can you throw a sober, or sober-curious, reception that’s still high on vibes? “We think it’s best to strike a thoughtful, inclusive balance between dry and traditional alcohol options,” says Caroline Au, design executive at JCAU Events, an award-winning Melbourne events company and production agency. She suggests offering a range of non-alcoholic beverages – think zeroalcohol beers, virgin cocktails, kombucha, soda, sparkling, and handcrafted, creative mocktails that look like the real thing.

Fruit is the new floral centrepiece. “Lemons, grapes and melons are becoming popular to mix with flowers; they cut down the cost and can be donated after,” says Sarah Cowley of studio Haven and Sarah.

HAIR CHOP There’s nothing like a fresh chop to feel like a new person, which is perhaps why the mid-wedding haircut is having a moment. On TikTok, “wedding chop” – video clips of brides getting snips between their ceremony and reception – has collected 54 million views and, believe it or not, none of it is car crash viewing. Think of it as a modern (and slightly extreme) take on the second wedding look: shorter dress, smokier eye, bolder lip, higher heel, and slick new bob.

BYE, MERCH

Spoiler alert: nobody wants a shell/golf ball/pack of cards/bottle opener embossed with your initials or wedding date. Commemorative tchotchkes come with good intentions, but often land in landfill. It’s why the tradition of giving wedding favours has decreased by 21 per cent over the last five years according to The Knot. If you must, go for something consumable (a mini bottle of mezcal), non-physical (a charitable donation, though you could be accused of virtue-signalling) or bespoke (personalised poems for all).

BARE ALL

Behold the rise of the sheer – naked, even – wedding dress. British beauty editor Tish Weinstock wore three different versions (John Galliano for Dior, John Galliano, and vintage) to marry Tom Guinness last year, while Ivy Getty donned a translucent Maison Margiela gown and Camille Charrière chose a lace Harris Reed number for her very stylish reception at Maxim’s in Paris. Tap into the trend with the ‘sort-of-naked dress’ – Vera Wang’s 2023 Haute Wedding collection features delicate but not-too-daring designs, while Sally LaPointe’s feathered organza bridal trousers bare a flash of leg. Great Aunt Pat might not approve, but then again, it’s not her day.

SAY YES TO A SWIMSUIT

Sun-soaked afterparties and beachside recovery days are pretty much written into the manual for modern destination weddings, but sand and silk do not good partners make. Enter the bridal bikini (or one-piece), a show-stopping design embellished with bling or French lace and sculpted with couture levels of corsetry. Brands like Marysia and Eres have long made wedding-appropriate swimwear, but today new names such as New York’s Karen Sabag and California-based Demi Raquel Thomas are launching dedicated bridal swimwear lines – and some even offer the consultation and fitting service you’d expect for your gown itself. A big evolution from Pammy’s white bridal bikini in 2006.

Here’s a trend that will have your guests THANKING YOU. Compassionate weddings are organised to maximise celebration but minimise inconvenience: the location is EASY; gifts are off limits; and DRESS CODES aren’t prescriptive.

BUY ONE, GET ONE MORE

The big trend at New York Bridal Fashion Week: detachable pieces. There were overskirts and trains that slipped off to reveal streamlined gowns; sleeves and straps to add or detach; and bows and boleros to play with. It’s an unfussy, economical way to transform from ceremony to reception – after all, if you’ve found a dress you love, do you really want to take it off after two hours?

PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVELY BRIDAL

Where do you find a wedding dress that isn’t so, well, wedding-y? In 2023, it’s a hot topic, given searches for antibride weddings increased by 490 per cent on Pinterest, and searches for nontraditional wedding dresses rose 110 per cent. Lucky, then, that Canadian e-tailer Ssense has launched a bridal edit with styles by emerging designers like Sandy Liang and Chopova Lowena, and established ones like Simone Rocha. There are playful minis, fun flats, long-sleeved silk sheaths and fashion-forward suits for him. Locally, check out designers Macgraw, Esse, E Nolan and Maggie Marilyn for chic gowns, stylish suits and no meringues.

THE BOUQUET TOSS IS DEAD

All the single ladies may be a feminist anthem in the Queen Bey context, but when it comes to weddings, it’s a little more sketch. Tossing a bouquet originated in 1800s England, when marriage was the only way a woman could rise out of poverty. The best alternative and less antiquated bouquet moments we’ve heard? Throwing T-shirts at guests of all genders, gifting the bouquet to the couple who’ve been married longest, or keeping and preserving the flowers.

Read more from this issue

And The Bride Wore...

Fashion-forward separates, unorthodox silhouettes, and sparkles and ruffles done her way

READ MORE

Put a Ring On It

Dramatic, dainty, classic or colourful… The new rules of engagement? There are none

READ MORE
Editor-in-Chief
JUSTINE CULLEN
Managing Editor
Elle Glass
Executive Editor
Laura Agnew
Creative Director
HANNAH MARTIN
Fashion Director
RACHEL WAYMAN
Associate Editor
Kathryn Madden
Digital Editor
COURTNEY THOMPSON
Designer
Zahra Stockman
Market Editor
ANNIE DOIG
Content Writer
Maeve Galea
Content Writer
Noni Reginato
Commercial Director
Nicole Corfe
National Sales Manager
Annaliese Gattelaro
Client Services Manager
Grace Hannah
Editorial & Advertising Coordinator
Delaney Ashton
Publisher and
CEO
SIMON BOOKALLIL
COO
DAVID ASTWOOD
TRUE NORTH MEDIA
INSTYLE AUSTRALIA IS PART OF TRUE NORTH MEDIA. © COPYRIGHT 2023 TRUE NORTH MEDIA. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. EVERY PRODUCT IS INDEPENDENTLY SELECTED BY OUR EDITORS. THINGS YOU BUY THROUGH OUR LINKS MAY EARN US A COMMISSION.