Bridal Trends 2018

Brianna Moran on February 10th, 2018

Something Borrowed, Something Blue

Alongside increasingly sophisticated elaborations of traditional themes, modern couples are focusing on the essential aspects of weddings: romance, elegance and refinement, while ignoring tradition for its own sake.

Subtlety and understatement balance these new heights of creativity. Wedding dresses are being made in bold colors, yet the silhouettes remain classical. Yes, the catering might be provided by a food truck, but the fusion cuisine that’s served is locally sourced, using the best ingredients. This overarching trend is even reflected in wedding photography, which increasingly abandons formal portraits and replaces them with candid and documentary-style images, inspired more by the cinema and fashion magazines than by yesterday’s tried-and-true formulas.

Left: Johanna and Michael held their wedding reception at the Blue Ocean Event Center with the Atlantic Ocean as their backdrop. Right: Flowers by Steve created refined floral arrangements for the ceremony featuring bright colors to accentuate the coastal setting. Photos by Alison Ebacher,

Here are five trends to watch for in 2018.

Capes and Shawls

As wedding-themed Pinterest boards abound with the idea of replicating vintage looks, hop inside a time machine and return to the early 1900s, because capes are back in style. Cloaks and capes were popular before the arrival of the more convenient modern coat. Capes have been embraced by fashion designers to create refreshing and daring silhouettes to adorn the bride. They can be versatile as well, adding daring drama or subtle refinement. Pieces range from delicate lace that’s gently draped over a bride’s frame, to bolder items that look like over-the-shoulder bearskin rugs. Oleg Cassini’s well-regarded 2018 bridal collection features capes and shawls, and captures the mood of our times with modest elegance.


Continuing the theme of updating historic fashions, Victorian high-necks and lace are making a comeback this year. Fanciful chokers are a new addition to bridal gowns, often part of intricate lace chest pieces that extend into the gown’s neckline. If you don’t want to go back in time to the 1800s, short dresses are also trending, offering a more current, yet still classic, 1950s feel. Oscar de la Renta is pioneering this trend, featuring several dresses in his 2018 collection that are cropped in the front. Designers are also becoming more inclusive of modern brides who may not want to wear a floor-length dress, but instead a pant and jacket ensemble for a sleek and avant-garde alternative look.

A dessert bar brings a lighthearted charm to your reception. Photo by Adrien Bisson.

Black and Blue

This year, brides are trading their all-white ensembles for blue and black gowns. Mellow cerulean is an elegant way to avoid the given tradition of all-white everything. Opalescent dresses stand out with a color palette straight from Botticelli. Additionally, these dresses are gorgeous when paired with currently fashionable silver jewelry.

Blue is also being incorporated into floral arrangements in the bride’s bouquet and in table centerpieces for a subtle pop of color. Conversely, bold blacks are being added to wedding dresses via black sashes and bows, with Audrey Hepburn-esque three-quarter length gloves or even with all-black dresses. Adding a black bow, sash or trim to your dress provides a touch of dramatic flair, but go for the all black dress if you are feeling daring!

Documentary Photography 

Couples are shying away from filming hours of footage during their wedding ceremony, and are instead creating edited, story-driven short films that capture the key moments of the wedding day.

Weddings are also being photographed in the documentary format. We are seeing photos of proud fathers as they view their daughter in her wedding dress for the first time, couples laughing as if someone just told a hilarious joke, and flower girls with wild smiles sprinkling the aisles with a little sunshine. Look at any wedding photographer’s portfolio from the past year and you are bound to find a whole catalog of these “candids.”

In another trend, industry professionals are continuing to incorporate drone photography into their repertoire in order to capture overhead shots of the venue and wedding party. According to Colleen Dolan, owner of Match Made Studios in Melrose, Mass., drone photography is in the “beginning stages of getting popular.” If you’re exploring this option, note that commercial drones require a Federal Aviation Administration permit to operate, and that waivers may be required of guests.

Food Trucks and Dessert Bars

In keeping with the revolution of new trends, the classic wedding cake is being replaced by dessert bars, and the sit-down dinner is being refreshed with the introduction of food trucks. Doughnut bars are being introduced at receptions and add a childlike sense of delight. Grandma goes for the classic jelly, little cousin Suzie goes for the one with sprinkles, and you go for the pumpkin spice while you all giggle over how wonderful and odd it is to see doughnuts at a wedding. Pancake and mimosa bars, farm-to-table sliders, appetizers and virtually anything else you can make bite-size and portable are being introduced to the cocktail hour at afternoon weddings.

Food trucks are replacing catering, especially for late-night receptions. Having a taco truck or a pizza bar allows family and friends to grab a bite to eat together before they hit the dance floor. If the venue is too small for food trucks, there are the increasingly popular food stations, where guests can sample a variety of items, such as barbecue, sushi, oysters, pies and make-your-own s’mores.

Replacing the sit-down dinner with something delightful like a food truck or dessert bar brings a lighthearted charm to the reception and is another example of an unfamiliar, whimsical and, ultimately, practical trend that adds an air of enchantment to that special day.



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