A Century of Weddings: The 1980s
A Century Of Weddings: The 1980s
Bring on the puff sleeves and crimped hair—we're stepping back in time to the Eighties! The outlook of this decade? The bigger and bolder, the better. Weddings went over-the-top with decadent decorations and lavish cakes as brides flocked to elaborately detailed gowns. The soundtrack of the 80s was full of upbeat pop music with rock and new wave tunes keeping pace. Celebrity style influenced the looks of the era; one particularly famous bride cemented her legacy with an incredibly iconic gown. Let's take a closer look at the wedding trends of the decade!
Lights, camera, action:
The 1983 release of the first consumer camcorder kicked off an entirely new trend in the wedding industry: wedding videos! Couples hired videographers (or a friend with a very steady hand) to film the big day, resulting in a sweet and sometimes cringeworthy memento!
Go the extra mile:
The 80s were all about excess—big hair, big clothes, big living! Lavish cakes and elaborate decorations were wedding must-haves, no matter the theme. Multi-tiered cakes connected with stairs and mini lights (seriously!) competed with huge balloon arches and intricate floral arrangements for a delightfully overdone design.
Baby got bouquets:
The bigger the bouquet, the better! 80s brides often carried giant, cascading florals down the aisle. Filler flowers like carnations and baby's breath bulked up these bouquets to create an unforgettable statement.
Drama, drama, drama:
The fashion mantra of the 80s? More is more. Ballgown silhouettes boasted puff sleeves or shoulder pads as full skirts were coated in sparkles, pearls, and beading. Cinched waists and princess vibes were key trends; brides looked to add as much detail as possible into their looks. The popularity of high necklines just meant more surface area for embellishments!
Trains of thought:
In keeping with the over-the-top designs of the 80s, brides sought a touch of grandeur in their wedding day ensembles. Long, lace-edged cathedral veils topped with tiaras were popular, while lacy gloves and flashy jewelry added an extra layer of opulence.
Hair & Makeup
Girl with a curl:
80s hair was all about big curls and teased updos, a la Madonna and Whitney Houston. Blown-out “mall” bangs made appearances on TV screens and sidewalks alike as people flocked to salons for perms and Jheri curls. Another hair trend synonymous with 80s style? Wildly colorful hair, often spiked or gelled for a punk rock look (please see: Cyndi Lauper).
The bold type:
The era infamous for its over-the-top style didn't hold back when it came to makeup, embracing vibrant colors and dramatic looks. Bold shadow and smudged liner emphasized the eyes, especially when paired with bushy brows. Bright lip colors paired with vivid blushes for a striking look. Contrasting colors were all the rage—blue eyeshadow coupled with a punchy pink lip created the perfect 80s face.
Video killed the radio star:
As disco died down, new wave and punk music took over alongside fast-paced pop songs and pulsating hip-hop tracks. The launch of MTV in 1981 introduced a slew of new artists and created a demand for music videos! Legendary artists like Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston released iconic records, as newcomers like Madonna and Paula Abdul burst onto the scene. British groups like Duran Duran and Wham! took over the charts alongside prolific artists like Queen and The Rolling Stones.
Nobody puts baby in a corner:
80s film was filled with campy hits and now-iconic pop culture moments. Hollywood blockbusters like E.T. (1982) and Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) were heavily marketed alongside teen films like The Breakfast Club (1985) and Dirty Dancing (1987). One of our favorite 80s movies? The Princess Bride (1987), specifically the wedding scene that launched our first bridal fantasies!
Princess Diana & Prince Charles:
The wedding of the century (watched by 750 million people!) took place when Lady Diana Spencer married Prince Charles in 1981. Her iconic silk taffeta gown, designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel, featured famously puffy sleeves and a 25-foot train, plus extravagant details like sequins, frilled lace, and of course...10,000 PEARLS. A legendary look for a legendary woman.
Rita Wilson & Tom Hanks:
Hollywood's golden couple married in 1988, cementing our idea of everlasting celebrity love. Rita wore a fitted minidress with a ruffled waist detail and sequined neckline. Her oh-so-80s accessories? A long, tulle veil and sparkly tights!
Diana Ross & Arne NÆss Jr.:
The iconic chanteuse married the shipping magnate in 1986, wearing an elaborately detailed gown. Embellished long sleeves and a high neckline nailed key trends of the era while a slim silk silhouette added a timeless touch.