Wistful for the glitz and glamour surrounding last year’s royal wedding?
Your regal fix can be found at Madison area bridal shops, where brides are seeking a more traditional, romantic look and in some cases incorporating lace, fascinators and long trains, likely inspired by the now Duchess of Cambridge.
“Definitely ... hats and fascinators are really big right now,” said April Brady, editor of Madison’s Wedding Planner and Guide. Fascinators are small hats worn off center and frequently sported by the Duchess.
In addition, “there has been a resurgence of lace, and I’m sure it’s in no small part (due) to the royal wedding.”
Vera’s House of Bridals in Madison has carried a dress resembling the one worn by the Duchess since shortly after the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, which took place to worldwide fanfare just more than a year ago.
The bridal gown had a V-neck, long lace sleeves, handmade lace applique for the bodice and skirt and a nine-foot train.
But manager Tricia Roessel said while many brides try on the gown, priced at just more than $2,000, few buy it.
The fitted lace sleeves are too restrictive, Roessel said.
“Their arms don’t go up because the fabric doesn’t stretch. It just doesn’t allow the freedom of movement.”
Roessel said while the royal wedding has influenced wedding trends, many American brides want a gown a little more “fashion forward” than the traditional dress worn by the Duchess.
Brandi Nehmer, owner of Brandi’s Bridal Galleria in New Glarus, has similar experiences with brides.
Lace has been “very, very popular,” she said. But “we haven’t seen brides want long lace sleeves.”
Instead, brides this year are opting for less restrictive dresses, such as those with thin straps or cap sleeves.
“They want to be able to move and dance and hug without feeling bound,” Roessel said.
However, brides this spring do want a traditional, romantic look, accomplished with full gowns, long trains and tiaras.
“The girls are seeming to ask for more romance that the long flowing trains or veils have,” Roessel said. “We see a lot more of a romantic, softer look than two or three years ago.”
Nehmer said her shop carried fascinators long before the royal wedding, but sales have increased dramatically in the last year.
Brides still want to wear a veil to the ceremony, but more are buying a fascinator or a different head accessory, such as a comb with feathers, for pictures and during the reception, Nehmer said. “It really has been a fun little change.”
Fascinators, which come in a wide range of styles and prices, also are popular with mothers of the bride and groom and bridesmaids, she said.
Brides also are opting for more accessories, such as a beaded belt or a splash of color on the waistline of the dress.
That was the case for Robin Erickson of Wauwatosa, who was trying on dresses at Vera’s in March.
Erickson was drawn to a mocha-colored velvet belt decorated with beads and flowers, which she paired with dress options until she found a combination she liked.
Erickson said the royal wedding hasn’t really influenced her nuptials, but the ceremonies will have one thing in common.
“With my bouquet I’ve always wanted to carry lily of the valley,” which Kate did as well.
For brides who want something completely different, Nehmer said this season skirts, dresses with one shoulder strap and those adorned with feathers or tulle have been selling more than usual.
“We’ve had dresses like these for a couple seasons, and people were afraid of them,” she said.
Roessel said she’s had a few brides consider a second dress for the reception — something “short, fun” in which “they can dance all night.”
Trends from the royal wedding extend beyond the dress. Brady said engagement rings with colored stones also have become more popular, as the Duchess had a sapphire.
“In the last two months we’ve seen more sales of blue sapphire engagement rings than the last two years before that,” said Jon Bumann, manager of Chalmers Jewelers in Middleton.
Brides this year also want a ring with a vintage look and the “halo” style ring — a sapphire surrounded by diamonds — has been a popular choice.
But Bumann said sapphires long have been used in engagement rings because they’re durable and blue is easy to wear and match.