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Weddings Through the Ages

Weddings Through the Ages

How times have changed – wedding trends from the 1980s to today

It’s a nice day for a white wedding – Ah, Billy Idol…who could forget. His name is synonymous with the 1980s and wedding singers all over the world still to this day. Princess Diana was the bride every woman wanted to be and more was definitely more if you were married in the ’80s. How times have changed!

While the decades have passed, the meaning of a wedding hasn’t changed in the slightest; the dress is still the most important thing to a bride; and she will always be the centre of attention. The style is really the only difference. That’s why we’ve taken a step back in time to have a look at how weddings have transformed in the past 26 years.

It has been truly inspiring to watch the trends change since we began Gold Coast Weddings Magazine. We have seen some interesting and intriguing trends throughout the ’80s, which were popular in their day. Only to make way for the sleek and stylish trends we have now.

We have watched many brides and grooms say “I do” to each other on their special days and then relive it in the magazine. We feel honoured to be part of your day and our goal has always been to help you with the planning and organising of your wedding.

We have seen the industry grow and change and go through good times and bad, and even with the downturn in economic stability, couples all over the Gold Coast still saved their money to have the wedding of their dreams.

So let’s take you back three decades to relive these wedding eras from the ’80s to today.

Eighties – 1980-1989

A young Mel Gibson was about to get hitched for the first time; grey suits and pink bridesmaid dresses were in and the bride couldn’t go past puffy sleeves and countless metres of chiffon and taffeta. Welcome to the weddings of the 1980s where it was all about excess, excess, excess. We will probably never see anything like it again.

Big was definitely better when it came to the opulence of an ’80s wedding: The train on the dress could be up to 8m (like Princess Di’s); the same as the full length veil; and the bouquets were tear-shaped, oversized and fell almost to the floor. Hair was big, hats were in and there was lots of pink lippie being smacked on bride’s and bridesmaid’s lips.

These weddings were formal and traditional. Four-tiered wedding cakes at the turn of the decade gave way to cakes of up to eight tiers by the end of the ’80s. They were detailed and opulent. Marzipan icing was layered over fruitcake and would leave the flower girls and page boys with a sugar high and mud cake wedding cakes were all but unheard of.

Princess Diana’s wedding set the theme for many fairy tale dream weddings for years after her special day, even influencing weddings and dresses well in to the early 1990s. Her wedding to Prince Charles was seen as romantic and every girl wanted one just like it, or at least elements of it.

Flower girls were the latest accessory, bridal parties were large too and video cameras had only just hit the shelves and allowed couples to video their wedding. This set the scene for what is still a huge industry – wedding videography. Madonna and Michael Jackson were the artists of choice on dance floors around the Gold Coast, while New Kids on the Block were cool by the end of the era.

Nineties – 1990-1999

After the party that was the 1980s, the ’90s weddings were influenced more by pop culture and many wedding movies. Think Father of the Bride, Four Weddings and a Funeral, My Best Friend’s Wedding and Runaway Bride.

The perm was in and braids were too, Nicole and Tom were the couple of the moment and Posh and Becks got married later in the decade.

The early ’90s were still very much ’80s inspired, but by the late ’90s brides had ditched the froufrou puff ball wedding gown for a more streamlined silhouette shape. Shift dresses were the flavour of the decade. Matte lip, dark gloss and neutral eye shadow were popular choices when it came to makeup. Weddings were a little less over the top and a little more minimalistic. Cakes were still tiered, but with only two or three layers.

It also became the decade that more couples chose to elope.

Celine Dion and Mariah Carey battled it out for most popular song played at a wedding and everyone knew the words to Love is Around by Wet Wet Wet…Cue: I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes.

Noughties – 2000-2009

While more wedding ceremonies started to take place in hotels or country clubs in the Noughties, rather than what had traditionally been a ceremony in a church, strapless gowns gained a huge following and brides sung to the tune of “simple and elegant” with friends and family a huge focus for many couples. Weddings were still quite formal, but by the end of the decade that had almost faded in the distance.

Strapless dresses were here to stay and brides were chic, sleek, modern and stylish in their overall look and also in the theme of the wedding. Hair was up and makeup was natural looking. Although this is the decade we started to see wedding dresses in coloured accents – such as gold, champagne, mushroom pink and silver – or with bold coloured panels in red, blue or purple. And as long at the groom matched the bride, he could wear anything from a tux to no tie or jacket.

Brides took a leaf out of Princess Mary’s book, Katie and Tom were married and Jennifer Anniston’s style was fitting with her seamless effort, yet elegant look, when she married Brad Pitt.

Black and white photos made a stunning return and cake toppers were no longer essential with couples choosing an elegant-style cake with beautiful flowers on top instead. James Blunt made every bride feel Beautiful and Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Kelly Clarkson heated up the dance floor.

Today – 2010 – 201?

Today anything goes. There are no hard and fast rules about what you should or shouldn’t do. Your wedding is a celebration about you as a couple and your family and friends. Most times the bride wants to be elegant, but also relaxed and low key.

Weddings are more of a big party for many couples, who forgo the traditionalist elements such as the bouquet, garter, bonbonniere, the bridal party and even hen’s and buck’s nights (or they are having them together). These are often thought of as extra costs that don’t need to be included – especially if the couple is trying to save money.

Even the Royals were doing it with Kate Middleton preferring to do her own makeup and wear Princes Diana’s wedding ring on her big day.

Brides are also going for the old Hollywood look with The Great Gatsby and Downton Abbey being huge influences from that era of art deco style in the early years of this decade. Ruching, sleeves, sparkles and bling all make a prominent appearance.

The smoky eye and defined brows with a nude or light pink lip is the look of the season, while a pop of red on the lips is just as popular and matched with understated eye makeup. While the veil may not be as prevalent, embellishments are, with brides opting for hair clips with diamantes or feathers. Hair is relaxed, but still pulled up or a semi upstyle.

The groom is having more of a say in what he would like to wear and how his hobbies or interests can be incorporated into the wedding – and the bride is fine with this movement in what has traditionally a female-only domain.

The reception is more of a stand-up affair with finger foods, but food is more of a feature now so guest don’t leave the wedding hungry. They are able to eat at any time with food available throughout the night. However, sit-down weddings are still somewhat popular. Cupcakes rule the wedding cake scene but have since moved over for cake pops and dessert bars or lolly buffets.

The reception is more of a party with games and other novelties such as a photo booth, jumping castle or mechanical bull, and live music or local bands are making a comeback, however, DJs are still many couple’s number one choice.

With a never-ending array of places to have your wedding on the Gold Coast, couples can enjoy a formal country-club affair or informal boho beach wedding. Brides are making up their own rules when it comes to their special day and with their “anything is possible” attitude, a return of the ’80s may not be so unrealistic after all. Or maybe not.



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