A Century of Weddings: The 1990s

A Century Of Weddings: The 1990s

The generation of millennials, the decade of divas, and an iconic era for rom-com moments…this is the 1990s. As the excess of the 80s wore off, couples planned sophisticated affairs that sometimes involved getting away (like “secluded beach” away…). Gowns got sleeker, makeup got bolder, and the music got a little more dramatic. Let’s take a closer look at the wedding trends of the decade!

Wedding Trends

Shoot for the moon:

After Fujifilm released the first disposable cameras in 1986, many couples chose to distribute them at their receptions and have guests document the party! (We see you, Monica and Chandler.)

Let's get away:

Elaborate venues and over-the-top ceremonies went by the wayside in the 90s as elopements and getaway weddings rose in popularity! Quiet beaches and sophisticated celebrations were the perfect combination for an intimate and spontaneous event. (Planning on eloping? Take a peek at our tips for the perfect elopement!)

Meet your match:

While we love a good mix & match maids palette, brides of the 90s often gravitated toward an entirely matching look for their party, down to the hair and nails!

Bridal Style

Smooth as silk:

90s brides were all about the 3 S’s: sleek, sophisticated, and sultry. Opting for slinky slip dresses and fitted halter gowns, brides kept their wedding day looks refreshingly minimalist. Gowns were often free of embellishments as more emphasis was placed on silky fabrics and crisp silhouettes à la Carolyn Bessette. For an elevated look, some brides added a decorated topper for extra oomph.

The crown jewels:

Though 90s wedding dresses were understated, brides of the era didn’t shy away from sparkle! Crystal chokers and glittering hair pins were go-to pieces along with satiny opera gloves! The final touch? A tiara, naturally! While Celine Dion opted for a heavily bedazzled headpiece, many brides slipped on a thin crystal tiara for a modern yet regal moment. As for flowers? Giant bouquets were out (unless you were Mariah Carey…) and delicate bouquets were in!

Hair & Makeup

The Up & Up:

We admit…we kind of miss the era of butterfly clips and the Rachel! While the clips were more of a casual accent, an updo with a few curly tendrils in front was a classic 90s bridal style. For a softer yet still polished look, a chignon topped with a veil was pure bridal bliss. Another gorgeous option? Braids! Whether they were thin (still in love with Brandy’s micro braids from Moesha, tbh) or chunky, braids were a 90s staple.

Don't tweeze me:

As supermodels strutted the runway and pop starlets took over the charts, their makeup looks epitomized 90s beauty. While some trends (like sculpted contouring and radiant skin) have stayed popular, a few others (looking at you, razor-thin brows and body glitter!) have gone by the wayside. Many brides of the era experimented with bold matte lips and jewel-toned eyeshadow.

Parties

Just a teenage dirtbag, baby:

One of our favorite musical eras (brb, blasting our girl-rock playlist), the 90s introduced the world to grunge, as well as new generations of pop stars, hip hop icons, and divas. As Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera became household names, groups like the Spice Girls and the Backstreet Boys dominated the charts. The era of 90s divas was strong with Mariah Carey, Selena, and Whitney Houston recording unforgettable hits (including the iconic “I Will Always Love You”)! Alternative rock groups like Nirvana and Pearl Jam also broke onto the scene, alongside hip hop and rap legends including Lauryn Hill, Snoop Dogg, and TLC!

The rom-com era:

While the rom-com has been around for decades, no decade did it like the 1990s. Tom Hanks ruled the box office with leading roles in Sleepless in Seattle (1993) and You’ve Got Mail (1998). Wedding movies like My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997) and The Best Man (1999) surged in popularity alongside teen comedies like Clueless (1995) and 10 Things I Hate About You (1999).

Famous Couples

Angela Bassett & Courtney B. Vance:

While this uber-talented duo met in college, they didn’t cement their relationship until a decade later, finally tying the knot in 1997. The bride wore a minimalist V-neck gown, paired with a delicate bouquet and a (very on-trend) crystal choker! Fast-forward 23 years later: the power couple have twins and a few prestigious awards (a Tony, Emmy, and Golden Globe!).

Cindy Crawford & Rande Gerber:

In 1998, the stunning supermodel tied the knot with her businessman beau in a secret destination ceremony in the Bahamas (cue the launch of a million “beach bride” Pinterest boards!). The bride donned a lacy mini dress from John Galliano for the intimate ceremony before changing into a bathing suit for a post-reception dip in the pool!

Sarah Jessica Parker & Matthew Broderick:

The longtime stage and screen actors married in a surprise ceremony in 1997, letting their guests believe they were simply attending a party. But when they arrived? They saw SJP wearing a tiered spaghetti-strap gown in a striking black hue! (Curious what Carrie Bradshaw would say about that…)

And that's been the 1990s!

Onto the next decade: The 2000s.

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