W￼ith more than 100 years of experience, bridal and formal shops in the Tri-State area have seen it all when it comes to weddings — from bridal gowns with shoulder pads and long sleeves to grooms wearing thick wide ties and baggy pants.
As trends have come and gone over the past decades, store owners say the trends for the coming decade will be much harder to pinpoint because of the wide variety of options now available to brides and grooms.
“In years past, we would sell just ballgowns and everyone coming in wanted ball gowns, but now there is such a variety of styles for whatever that bride is looking for and for what she envisions herself to look like,” said Lara Clagg, who has owned Lara’s Bridals and Formals in Ashland with her mother, Pauletta Wilson, for the past 34 years.
“From ballgowns to a straight style, there’s a style for everybody.”
She added that the internet has also become an important tool for brides to see everything that’s out there before stepping into a bridal shop and making their selection.
“I love the variety of styles that are available for brides now,” she said. “You don’t have to think that you can only get one particular look.”
While the options are endless, Clagg said she has seen more brides seek out gowns with lace and sparkle tulle.
“We’re seeing a lot more of sparkle tulle or glitter tulle layered within ballgown skirts or an A-line dress,” she said.
“But we’re also seeing many brides do a plain very simple sleek look with no beading, no lace just like a knit material. We see it all. It can go from that very glamorous bride that wants lots of sparkle to like very sleek look, and then there is still the lace with that boho vintage inspired look.”
Along with the boho look, Clagg said many brides are opting for sleeves on their gowns in order to accommodate fall weddings.
“Brides are liking the sleeves because fall weddings are very popular,” she said. “There are venues now doing a barn wedding theme in the fall because brides are wanting more outdoor weddings. I know some people are picking a family farm and setting that up for a wedding.”
With the rise in outdoor and barn weddings, bridal consultants at The RoseTree Boutique in Ceredo, which has been in business for 27 years, said they are finding that brides often look to match their dress to the venue.
“Really, the venue is setting the tone for the type of weddings people are having nowadays,” said a RoseTree bridal consultant. “But that is not always necessarily true because sometimes we’ll still sell a formal wedding gown for a beach wedding. You don’t want the venue to necessarily always set the tone for your wedding gown, there are so many factors out there. The bride makes up her own rules.”
When it comes to grooms’ attire, as with most things in the wedding, the bride is once again taking the lead.
Sheila Roeller, owner of Skeffington’s Formal Wear, a Huntington staple for nearly 48 years, said typically the bride will come in with the groom and tell her what she’d like the groom to wear.
She added that the style now is for grooms to wear color tuxedos.
“The colored tuxes are all in style — navy blue is very, very popular and burgundies,” she said.
“And most wedding dresses are ivory now, so we’ll pair that with an ivory shirt, a very light ivory that’s barely off-white.”
Along with the colored tuxes, Roeller said grooms want their outfits to be short and tight.
“They want tight coats and short pants,” she said.
Roeller said grooms used to want their pants to hit an inch off the floor whereas now they want the hem of the pants to end just above their shoes.
While Roeller said she is partial to seeing grooms in tuxedos, with the popularity of barnyard weddings she has seen more grooms go for a more casual look.
“We have grooms that will wear cowboy boots and jeans, but we’ll still do vests for them — linen vests and linen ties,” she said. “We can do a casual wedding; we can do a fancy weeding — whatever suits you we can take care of it. We can make sure you’re happy.”
Though the style surrounding grooms has changed, Roeller said there is one thing that has stayed the same.
“Black never goes out of style, black is always in style,” she said. “Black is always classic. Black is always eternal. Black was around 150 years ago, and it will be around in 150 years. If you want a classic sophisticated look, you want to go with a black tuxedo — a nice-fitted black tuxedo.”
These styles and more will be available at the annual WKEE Bridal Expo, which will take place from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9, at the Mountain Health Arena.
Tickets are $10.