Bridal Market Trend Report for Summer 2013

I hope 2013 and 2014’s brides like lace! More than 50% of the gowns we viewed at our bridal trade show in Harrogate a few weeks ago featured some kind of lace! In fact, one of our designers had only two dresses (out of around fifty) that didn’t have some element of lace. So hopefully lace is what our customers will continue to want for the next few years! We did intend to buy a few of them but since the designers were showing little else we’ve ended up with quite a few more lace gowns than we’d anticipated.

We arrived at the trade show armed with a list of wedding gown looks that we felt we were missing or that brides seemed to be looking for, but we were also waiting to see what the designers were showcasing  – we always hope for something new and exciting but the reality of bridal wear (as opposed to ready to wear) is that the styles rarely change, they merely evolve. We’ve seen lace as the big bridal fashion story for four or so years, the satin a-line has been popular for more than a decade and the pretty princess tulle gown has been popular forever! But each season the bridal designers attempt to rework the classic fabrics and silhouettes of bridal and will tweak the details in order to satisfy the fashionable brides who crave something different to what they’ve seen before.

So other than the newest version of the lace look, the other major thing we were on the hunt for were gowns featuring a few different necklines, and my goodness did we find some crackers! We’ve ordered gowns with bateau necks in satins tulle and of course lace, V-necks in lace and Mikado, cap-sleeves and even some styles with little detachable jackets. The only thing we didn’t find that we were desperately searching for was a good A-line halterneck gown. In fact the only A-line halter I found in the whole of the trade show (which comprises hundreds of designers and thousands of gowns) was utterly hideous! No way would I have had that on our rails and I certainly wouldn’t let any girl buy it for her wedding day. We managed to order a real variety of skirt shapes too and even a few shorter fifties style gowns. The vast majority of the gowns we chose featured semi fitted silhouettes but we also found some great ballgowns and one or two full-on fishtails.

Another big trend which isn’t going away is the waist belt! The designers have opted for subtle colours such as platinum and taupe in the sashes, and instead of 2012’s oversized 3D waist detail, next year’s dresses will feature flatter trims, beading and appliqués on the belts.

Whilst on the hunt for the next big look in bridalwear we discovered something a little bit unexpected – oversized 80’s style butt bows! Some of the gowns we saw had bows that were overly exaggerated and very over the top, however some dresses incorporated this new trend in a more alternative and funky stylised way – at jaunty angles or juxtaposed against a softer dress. I expect the trend to be showcased in a huge way over the next few collections.

The most surprising thing we found at the show however wasn’t a dress design or fabric, it’s the very welcome news that some of our designers are now able to produce some slightly cheaper dresses! After years of prices steadily creeping upwards I’m delighted that two of our designers have created gowns with a much more achievable price point. Whilst price isn’t always a factor for a girl choosing her wedding dress, we do like to be able to offer some styles that sell at under £1000 that aren’t sale or discontinued styles. This has been difficult to achieve without sacrificing some element of design, quality or fit, but this season the dresses we found which will sell under £1000 certainly don’t look how they used to! These gorgeous dresses really hit the mark for us and hopefully will be popular with our customers too.

In terms of bridesmaid styles the look hasn’t changed so much. Chiffon and asymmetry are still the big style stories; however the designers do seem to be pushing shorter bridesmaid styles again. There also isn’t much of a change on the colour front either – blues and yellows do seem to be getting a little more emphasis though.

There also isn’t much of a change in the look and style of accessories – side pieces rather than tiaras still seem to be the flavour of the day along with birdcage face veiling and of course the full length lace trimmed veil. A few of the more European brands seemed to be showcasing huge bridal hats again – a look that certainly requires a very confident bride! I’m not so sure that our girls are quite ready for that look yet!

I am very excited about the styles we have ordered. I’m always disappointed that I can’t take them home on the plane with me! These new styles will start arriving with us around Christmas but it will be May 2013 before they are all in store, which means these dresses are ideal for girls whose weddings are Winter 2013 onwards.

For more information on the designs and styles we have coming in stock – please contact Catherine at Cathedral Gowns (Tel: 028 4461 2532) or visit

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