After the sh**show of a year which saw millions of weddings cancelled in 2020, engaged couples had high hopes for 2021 nuptials… that was, of course, until the year became far more like its predecessor than the millions of happy couples could've ever expected.
Whilst it was estimated that over 400,000 couples continued with their plans to tie the knot in 2021 (an increase of 60% on 2020), plenty - perhaps wisely - moved their weddings back to 2022 to be on the safe side.
Whilst putting your wedding on hold once more no doubt felt devastating, it did give you more time to find that perfect dress if you hadn't already. And now, with a (hopefully!) brighter future on the wedding-horizon, newly-engaged couples can also start planning the wedding of their dreams from scratch with nothing but sheer excitement.
Whilst we know that the smaller ceremonies we saw taking place over the last couple of years led to an increase in sales of jumpsuits and suits after brides decided to shun traditional big white gowns, the good news for 2022 is that maximalism is back.
In fact, anything goes. If the last year has taught us anything it's that traditions are made to be broken so 2022 weddings are all about doing you - however that looks.
"Bridal trends for 2022 are exciting and contemporary as weddings move away from the more traditional formats," says wedding dressing designer to the stars, Suzanne Neville.
"They include unusual sleeves with exaggerated detail and a variety of hem lengths including mini and midi styles. Suits, jumpsuits, trousers and even shorts will appear more as weddings take on many different forms with outfits created to compliment the style of the event."
If you're yet to find your perfect dress, or have just gotten engaged and are beginning the journey (congrats!), we've grilled Kate Halfpenny - founder of Halfpenny London - on all the wedding dress trends you can expect in 2022 to help you feel inspired.
1. Larger than life sleeves
The trend of larger than life sleeves has filtered from the catwalks into bridalwear and brides are loving the opportunity to give a classic, simple, effortless dress the wow factor by adding a detachable sleeve. "Three years ago, we made a pair of double-puffed bubble sleeves for Millie Mackintosh in tulle and appliqué French lace, since then the trend for sleeves has really grown," says Kate.
There are so many options out there, you can have them as detailed or as plain as you like. "We have some epic Mikado sleeves in the collection we launched last year and a gorgeous shrug which adds volume. It allows you to update any dress and have fun, you can be traditional if you want to be, while also playing with the drama!"
2. Princess silhouette (make detachable for a dual look)
2022 weddings are all about choice - and the concept of layering detachable elements to transform the outfit throughout the day is going to play a key part. "The great thing about choosing a detachable overskirt is that you can wear it over a beautiful fit-and-flare silhouette and transform from princess to goddess," explains Kate.
"Have fun with it and people will think you completely changed your outfit. With everyone’s excitement that weddings are able to go ahead again, I think brides will want to really make the wedding outfit even more magical. I’ve said throughout all of this that, no matter how big or small your day is, you can still wear the dress of your dreams and feel amazing. Some brides have been opting for a small ceremony now and a bigger party later and this way you can wear the simple, elegant dress for one, then add the drama of the overskirt for the other and wear your dress for both events."
Capes have been one of the popular wedding dress trends for a while and the bridal experts don’t see them going away. In the same way that the detachable sleeves and the overskirts give you the opportunity for layering, a cape can add a magical element to a simple dress. "I think this is especially true if you’re not into wearing a veil, which I must say is becoming more popular," notes Kate.
4. Big magical veils
As any bride knows too well, veils can really elevate any look and make the simplest of gowns become bridal. They can also make something quite lacy and pretty look more edgy and fashion-forward if you choose a 3D appliqué veil, for example.
"I’d say around 80% of our brides choose to wear one and I’m all for the drama that it brings. Whenever else will you wear a veil?!" says Kate.
"Sustainability shouldn’t be a trend, it should be here to stay," says Kate - and she's spot on. From choosing to manufacture in the UK, to using all recyclable packaging, to the bags you use to carry your dress home, to what happens to the off-cuts from the fabric that brands like Halfpenny London use to construct the gowns, sustainability should be at the top of every bride's priority list.
"We repurpose or donate all of our off-cuts so no fabric ever ends up in landfill. I don’t want you to think about your wedding dress as a single wear item. I want you to think about it as something that you can wear again or pass it down as an heirloom. Your wedding dress should have a journey, like any other precious items of clothing you own." Hear, hear.
6. Interchangeable separates
Leading on from sustainability, the trend for separates is going nowhere. If you have a smaller wedding dress budget, consider investing in separates which will last you a lifetime and you can incorporate into your wardrobe to enjoy again and again.
Even big ballgown skirts can be shortened and worn with a cashmere sweater or cute cami for another occasion. The beauty of a two piece is that the choices are virtually unlimited and you can really pick and choose your top and bottom to create the exact look you want and really be the bride you want to be.
This was originally published on Glamour UK.