MINNEAPOLIS — Asymmetrical hemlines, daring slits, puffy sleeves, flowery fabrics.
Those are just a few of the trends in wedding dresses. But whether a bride-to-be opts for minimal and modern or vintage-inspired, one of the biggest shifts in wedding dresses may not be the style, but how they're being purchased.
Supply chain issues, rising inflation and a surge in weddings caused by pandemic-related delays have combined to alter how some brides are saying yes to the dress.
Custom dresses are now requiring longer lead times. Instead of allowing the typical four to six months for special orders, "We like to play it safe and say six to eight months," said Colby Tredway, CEO and creative director of Ivory Bridal in St. Louis Park and Flutter in Minneapolis.
Those whose weddings are planned for 2023 or 2024 may not mind the wait for a couture gown, custom design or a right-off-the-runway dress.
Others are frustrated that fallout from the pandemic has made wedding planning a contradiction in terms. They want their dresses and they want them now. That has led to a surge in buying off-the-rack or opting for vintage or rental dresses.
Marie Suchy, the owner of Posh Bridal, has witnessed the change firsthand.
Before COVID-19, the Hopkins, Minnesota-based boutique sold both special-order as well as off-the-rack dresses. But the lockdowns that shuttered shops, churches and most venues caused some couples to cancel and reschedule their weddings once, twice or even three times.
When the world — and the wedding shops — opened up again, Suchy realized that some brides were shopping for certainty as well as style.
"I noticed women were coming in and wanting to buy dresses off the rack," she said. "Brides weren't necessarily set on dates and places now. They wanted to have the dresses with them so they could get married in a year — or in a month."