By Ally Morrison
The year of weddings is here. The Knot estimates there will be about 2.6 million weddings in the United States in 2022, the biggest wedding boom since 1984, as brides who had delayed their ceremonies because of COVID fears finally set dates to walk down the aisle.
At The White Room, a bridal boutique in Mountain Brook, owner Cathy Kelley said this year is the busiest she’s seen.
“This is the biggest year for weddings, and I’ve never seen anything like this.” Kelly said. “I’ve done this for 18 years. This will definitely be a record year.”
With an increase in weddings, comes an increase in gown styles.
Looking back, Kelley said the most popular wedding dress styles in 2021 had off-the-shoulder necklines with fit-and-flare silhouettes.
She predicts dress trends for 2022 will change.
“Remarkably, strapless gowns are making a comeback.” Kelley said. “I think brides are tired of seeing higher necklines, sleeves and coverage. They’re really going after strapless, and beading is going to be very popular as well.”
Creative Director of Bustle Gowns Laine White reveals there is an abundance of diversity happening in wedding fashion this year.
“Right now, every bride is leaning into their own individuality with their dress styles.” White said. “It falls in line with our desire to be culturally diverse and to be more excited about our own personalities.”
At Bustle Gowns, a Homewood bridal boutique, all dresses sold are sample gowns, and every gown is unique. Every bride leaves the store with their dress in hand.
“The gown that every bride selects is one they had no expectations of falling in love with.” White said.
According to White, dress styles selected by brides at Bustle Gowns vary drastically person to person.
White notices venues no longer determine the style of dresses that are selected. Instead of seeing cathedral trains only in large cathedral weddings, brides have started choosing individuality and personal taste over what is expected. Brides are paying homage to their family members, cultural history, their partners and even their hobbies.
“Our owner, Meredith Carter, is a big believer in not having to have a certain style of dress to fit a bride’s venue or location, it’s a new thing and really different.” White said.
White reveals there will be an abundance of breaking tradition in the wedding culture this year. Intimate weddings, out-of-order ceremonies, and modern and edgy twists featuring neon lights and disco balls are a few of the trends White noticed when speaking to brides this year.
“It’s been really awesome to see new styles and twists explode and to watch people get creative with their ceremonies.” White said.
Cathy Kelley is enamored by the wedding boom.
She noted that, as two years’ worth of weddings are fit into one, many brides will be involved in multiple weddings other than their own throughout the year.
“One client said she will be in six weddings in the new year,” Kelley said. “Since there is such an increase in weddings, we will see a lot more Friday and Sunday night weddings.”
As brides venture into “the year of weddings,” the variety of dress styles and wedding styles is nearly endless.
Bridal Shows Showcase Latest Trends
On January 16, The Pink Bride Show will be held at Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Center. This bridal event will feature Birmingham’s prime wedding experts, fashion shows, and inspirational exhibits. This occasion will allow brides-to-be an opportunity to visit with vendors, and shop for their special day. In addition, The Pink Bride Show will present giveaways, shopping, and food and beverages. Tickets are $15, and can be purchased online.
On January 23, Swoozie’s Birmingham Bridal Showcase will take place at The Summit. Swoozie’s will be kicking off the year of weddings by celebrating brides with this annual event. Brides will be able to schedule one on one wedding consultations, view custom invitation options, and get inspiration for various wedding celebrations. This event will also feature hundreds of personalized gift options ideal for bridal parties.
Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex will host the Alabama Bridal & Wedding Expo, featuring dozens of wedding industry experts on May 15. Over 36 different types of wedding professionals will be in attendance, ranging from bakeries and entertainment, to florists and photographers. The interactive expo will offer food and dessert tastings, fashion shows, live music and giveaways. If registered online prior to the event, admission is free. Tickets will be sold at the door for $10.