Over the weekend, pop singer Ellie Goulding wed art dealer Caspar Jopling in a lavish, star-studded ceremony. There was an electric blue VW camper van, an array of celebrity guests and a festival-themed reception, yet all eyes were on Ellie's dress, a custom design by the French fashion house Chloe that took 640 hours to create. It had long sleeves, a high ruffled collar, and was hand-embroidered with white roses of York - a nod to the church, York Minster, where the wedding took place. The modest style was unexpected, but are we about to see a wave of copy-cats at Irish weddings in 2020 and beyond? We spoke to wedding experts to find out the eight emerging bridal trends to look out for.
MODEST WITH A TWIST
"I think we'll see a little bit of inspiration, but very few carbon copies of the silhouette itself," says Celina Murphy, deputy editor of OneFabDay.com, about Ellie Goulding's wedding dress choice.
"It's actually quite tricky to wear. It's not super-flattering on a lot of body shapes, and you need a certain type of venue. It works well in a very epic venue, which Ellie had, but maybe not so much in a more casual, laid-back location."
While Ellie's dress may not be a natural fit for the average woman, wedding planner Tara Fay (tarafay.ie) notes that influencer Chiara Ferragni's Dior dress from 2018 has been a big hit with Irish brides. "It's such a simple style, but it has the high neck, the long sleeves and the full skirt. I'm definitely seeing a lot less embellishment - most of my brides this year have gone for very plain, nearly timeless styles."
Celina predicts brides will be keen to pick up on one detail of Ellie's dress, though: the high, ruffled neck. She points to actress Mandy Moore's Rodarte dress from last year, which had a similar neckline, and has proved very popular with the site's readers.
END IN TIERS
Speaking of Mandy Moore, the This is Us star's blush pink dress with tulle layers also tapped into the trend for tiered skirts. The frothy tiers, combined with a cinched waist and fitted top, create a romantic and ethereal effect, with a vintage flourish.
"I think for a lot of people of my generation, their mams might have gone for something similar, because it was huge in the '70s. A lot of brides getting married in their 30s might have that nostalgia factor," says Celina. "It's a really nice shape if you want to go for something daring, and it's a great compromise because you can wear it without a sleeve or with a low neck and it still looks pretty and bridal - you don't feel like you're wearing something from a costume drama."
MAKE IT PERSONAL
Ellie Goulding made sure to enrich her gown with a tribute to the venue, in the form of intricate embroidery, and Chiara Ferragni's second dress carried a special message, too: it was stitched with husband Fedez's lyrics, along with a lion illustration in honour of their son Leo.
Tara points out that many brides like to incorporate personal touches - Meghan Markle had her veil embroidered with flowers to represent the 53 countries of the Commonwealth, as well as the California poppy from her home state.
"People caught on to that, and how it was representative of something. Now everybody wants something to make it personal, whether it's initials sewn in, little pieces of jewellery sewn in, elements of a family dress or a family veil. I've had a lot of cases where we have sisters who all want to use the same veil," says Tara. "Weddings are about telling your story as a couple."
COLOUR OUTSIDE THE LINES
In Ferragni's case, embroidery offered an opportunity to introduce colour into a classic ballgown, and events specialist Kate O'Dowd of Love & Gatherings (loveandgatherings.com) observes that Irish brides are increasingly open to splashes of colour. "Not many people would wear an entirely pink dress, but I saw a bride last year who had her dress handpainted with flowers, and her husband's name intertwined. That's a beautiful way of bringing colour in, whereas otherwise it's quite a traditional dress." While Kate finds pastels most popular, Tara adds that she sees the occasional vibrant hue, often in the shoes. "I love when brides wear colour! It's their individuality, it's their personality, so why not? You don't have to spend a fortune on a pair of shoes that you'll never wear again."
"In contrast to minimalism, there's a much more ethereal, almost bohemian style by the likes of brands such as Cecilie Bahnsen or Simone Rocha," says Kate, highlighting model Caroline Brasch Nielsen's lace dress by the Danish label. "It's directional but it's still bohemian. Even though it's not form-fitting in the way that the traditional bridal dresses are, it makes you look tiny because of the volume."
Slightly less common but no less fashionable is the dramatic, Victorian-inspired dress. "The Victorian trend is a more daring trend - it's about volume and evoking a certain period," says Celina. "In Ellie's case, it's a very subtle influence, whereas in our view, the trend is all about big volume and lots of ruffles. Very fashion-forward brides will go with it, or brides who are interested in the history of fashion."
PUT ON THE CAPE
"The trend that we're seeing being embraced the most is the caped wedding dress," says Celina, adding that it comes in several forms: a cape overlay, a cape built-in, or a caped jacket slung over the shoulders. "I think that's the one that's going to get even bigger in 2020, because when we were at Bridal Fashion Week, I'd say 70pc of the cooler, contemporary bridal brands had at least one caped style in their collections. It's a way to have a bit of skin covered up but also to be really cool and fashion-forward."
Wearing separate gowns for the ceremony and reception is the new norm among celebrities, but it's trickled down to Irish weddings, too. "I'm definitely seeing second dresses, and I'm seeing a lot of dresses that morph," says Kate. "I had a gorgeous bride who wore a Marchesa dress that had a cape during the ceremony. When the cape comes off, it almost becomes an entirely different dress." Model Chanel Iman opted for a removable cape with her Zuhair Murad gown, too, allowing her to hit two trends in one. Kate points out that as well as giving you a new look, it can serve a practical function - particularly if you're holding your reception in a marquee, which can quickly heat up.
UP TO YOUR NECK
"Meghan Markle's Stella McCartney dress is the most-requested one," Tara affirms. The halter-neck gown is much more sought-after than her boatneck style, which Celina believes is due to its more flattering, comfortable shape. "For the average bride, Meghan's halter-neck dress is a more fitting dress and a more fitting silhouette. We have seen that loads, plus we always have loads of messages from people saying they're looking for something similar. I think that's a trend that'll last years."