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The Kate Effect

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Photo via Time.com.

Local bridal shop sees trend toward more elaborate, formal wedding gowns

She’s been married more than three years and is about to welcome her second baby, but Kate Middleton’s impact is still being felt on weddings here in Southern Maryland.

Brides want a formal, special day of their own, said Jennifer Collinson, a member of the team at Serendipity Bridal and Events in White Plains.

“I’m actually seeing a lot more formal weddings coming up,” Collinson said, laughing when asked about the “Princess Kate effect.”

“What one girl wants, another girl wants,” she continued. Brides, she added, are planning their own wedding days and thinking, “I deserve to look like her.”

“She was such a beautiful bride and so well styled,” Collinson added.

That means more brides are asking for custom gowns – they’re adding sleeves (like Kate) or adding accessories like sashes and belts. Designers, Collinson said, have gotten the message and are sending stores more gowns with sleeves.

Collinson has been in the wedding industry since 1993, and she’s seen trends and styles come and go. For years, she said, brides have planned low-key weddings, going for simple gowns and bucking tradition. Recently, she said, that’s begun to change.

“Brides are seeming to notice the quality of the fabric being used,” she said. “We really encourage that at Serendipity – that they come in and feel the fabric.”

Brides, Collinson said, are being drawn to higher-quality fabric and gowns that have special details like beading or lace. They’re also planning more church and evening weddings.

“They’re looking for a little more opulence in their day,” she said. “They’re realizing that it’s a special day.

“They’re understanding that they’re the rock star of the day.”

And that means Collinson is seeing another item fly off the shelves at Serendipity: Veils. The trend toward simple, nontraditional weddings meant about half of the brides who came into the store weren’t buying veils.

Now, Collinson said, nearly every bride is opting for some kind of veil.

“Veils are my most favorite item of the wedding day,” Collinson said. “It’s what takes you from a girl in a pretty dress to a bride.”

Collinson said the economy is playing a part in not only the type of weddings couples are planning, but also the number of weddings. As the economy has improved, couples are increasing their wedding budgets. Most used to limit themselves to around $1,000 for the dress; now, she said, it’s not uncommon to hear budgets of $2,000-3,000.

And, she said, more couples are getting married because they feel more comfortable in their finances than in years past.

One last trend coming for 2015? Color. Collinson said subtle shades like peach sorbet, blush pink, champagne, and light gold are popular – especially when layered under lace. And while the colors of the gowns might be untraditional, the silhouettes of the gowns are not.

“The gowns are still opulent,” she said. “They’re ball gowns. The colors are bridal-like – you choose your best shade.”

Collinson said it is an honor to serve the brides who come into Serendipity, and she thanks her brides for the opportunity to be a part of their wedding day in some part. “We don’t work on commission; we work on customer service,” she said. “It’s an honor. We get to take them from A to the aisle.”