The wedding fashions of years gone by

From the vintage wedding to more contemporary-themed big days – like Vicki & Jay’s Gaming Wedding – here at Leez Priory, we love them all. Like the wedding theme, however, wedding fashions have evolved dramatically over the years. The bridal colour palette may have remained mostly white, or at least a shade of ivory, but the styles that have captivated brides now and in previous years couldn’t be more different.

Wedding fashion

With a history dating back some 300 years, it’s safe to say that Leez has seen a number of fashions come and go – some good, some bad. With more than 25 years of experience in the wedding industry and as the host of over 10,000 weddings in total, the Country House Weddings team has also been privy to a number of fabulous bridal designs. In this blog post, we take a closer look at the wedding fashions of years gone by. Who knows, a dress from a bygone era may just inspire you!


Floaty and floor length was the call of the day back in the 1910s. Like modern day brides and grooms, those tying the knot more than 100 years ago loved a good party, which meant the wedding dresses they chose had to be elegant as well as light and free flowing. Dancing was an important custom and the brides had to bop with the rest of their guests.


After experiencing something of a revival in recent years thanks to the release of The Great Gatsby remake, the 1920s style doesn’t seem all that long ago. Originally the flapper dress wasn’t such a statement. It was more of a bridal style staple during the era with pretty much every bride opting for the sophisticated, slim fitting dress, complete with high scoop neckline and low waist. 1920s brides also knew how to accessorise and most did so with a lace veil.

Want to add some Gatsby glamour to your wedding day? Check out these 1920s inspired wedding dresses.

1930s and 40s

The style chosen by brides in the 1930s and 1940s couldn’t be more different than the jazzy, opulent looks of the 20s. During these two decades, brides opted for simpler designs and materials, with figure-skimming numbers in silk or rayon proving popular. High necklines and long sleeves were also fashionable during these eras.


The 1950s saw the birth of the ball gown, with strapless styles and boat necklines favoured by brides. Jackie Kennedy was thought to have propelled the ball gown wedding dress to new heights at her 1953 wedding. Fashion Editor Morgan Pilcher describes Jackie Kennedy’s era-defining wedding style in this Net-A-Porter post:

“Jackie looked incredible when she married John F. Kennedy in an ivory silk, portrait-neckline dress with a bouffant skirt designed by Ann Lowe. I love that the neckline has an elegant yet sexy flare that would feel of-the-moment today. Jackie wore little jewelry, but the subtle single-strand pearl necklace that she did wear complemented the dress perfectly.”

1960s, 70s and 80s

It was all change in the 1960s. To complement the extraordinary fashion trends of the era, brides began wearing slimmer and shorter styles, and sleeves became extremely fashionable. Come the 1970s, these sleeves got even bigger, puffing out at the elbows to create a style that’s not likely to be revived by modern day brides. A decade later in the 1980s, the strapless wedding dress made a comeback but brides didn’t wave “goodbye” to sleeves for too long…

1990s to the present day

The 1990s saw slim fitting dresses with sleeves back in fashion, whilst the fashion designers of 2000s and beyond brought A-line wedding dresses back into the fold. Kate Middleton’s wedding to Prince William saw a more traditional sleeve and dress style return, but more risqué wedding dresses have been popularised by celebrities tying the knot in recent years.

Keen to hear more about the wedding traditions from years gone by? Take a look at our recent blog post. Some of them could make a comeback at a wedding near you.

If you have any questions relating to having your wedding at Leez Priory, please don't hesitate to call Kristy via the contact details below:


T: 01245 362 555

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