Flashback: Weddings of the 1980s
The BIG 80s were just that. Everything was oversized. For those of you who were born in the 80s and too young to remember, or those of you born in the 90s, who never had a chance to use 9 cans of hairspray to create your "do" for a single evening, well..... you missed out. Here was the hairstyle that dominated that decade.
Yup, huge. These are class photos, and this style covered every socio-economic class, every region of the country and every personality type. (There was a competing style in the 1980s, Preppy - and we'll save that for another blog.) If you liked metal bands, this was your hair. If you liked Prince, same. If you liked Madonna, Davie Bowie, The Steve Miller Band, Rush, Duran Duran, it didn't matter. You got up early, you sprayed your hair out into orbit and made it to first period looking...…….. like this. And it wasn't just the girls. For those of you keeping score at home, everyone in this image below is a dude.
But I digress. The 80s weren't just about hair and MTV and rock-n-roll. Google "the 1980s" and when you emerge in a month, pale and hungry and humming U2 songs, you'll never be the same.
Meanwhile, wedding dresses were like everything else in the 80s - enormous. Certainly one of the most famous wedding gowns of that era was worn by Princess Diana when she married Prince Charles at St. Paul's Cathedral in London. For non-royal watchers, royal weddings are usually held at Westminster Abbey or smaller venues like Windsor Chapel. St Paul's is, wait for it, HUGE. Diana chose it because she wanted as many of her friends like Elton John and other non-royals inside, and as many common people as possible outside to feel included, effectively inaugurating her reign as "The People's Princess."
She became a princess bride on July 29th, 1981 and she looked like one. Her ball gown was nearly 6 feet in diameter, her train was 25 feet long, the gown's sleeves were large and puffy, and the veil was 153 yards of tulle. Her bouquet was 42 inches of white gardenias, orchids, freesias and lilies. That's nearly 4 feet of flowering going on. She looked like Cinderella, and women everywhere lost their minds. The 80s wedding gown style after that was destined to be over the top, with big hair pieces wrapped in tulle and satin, and gowns with tons of fabric, lots of beading, sequins and lace and the bigger, the better.
The grooms never have "as much" to do with regard to what they wear and that was certainly true then. Grooms basically needed a shower, the tux to fit, in some cases a mustache comb,,,, and of course, hairspray.
Notice the work-out type headband situation on both brides above? "An heirloom comb with fresh flowers and some tulle for your hair, Me-Lady?" Nope. "Let's make me look like a workout poster for Jamie Lee Curtis or Olivia Newton-John on the biggest day of my life."
And Lord help them, there were no breaks for the bridesmaids. In fact, I believe that the gorgeous options for the 21st century bridesmaid are a direct reaction to the dresses they were made to wear in the 80s. Poooooofy sleeves, balloon skirts that are essentially mullets if you look closely and by golly, if the bride is wearing a satin wrapped tennis headband, then so are you!!
Dresses for 80s weddings were Disney, if you know what I mean. Guests often forgot they were at the joining of two lives and two families to witness vows, but rather had stepped through a looking glass. When the bride made her entrance, there was no missing her in some understated frock.
But that was then, right? We've come a long way since then, 30 years in fact, and we've left all of that behind. I mean, fashion is cyclical and all but we wouldn't REALLY get back to this type of look...….. would we?
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