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David’s Bridal says weddings are coming back — now with jumpsuits and short hems

Weddings across the country have been postponed or canceled in the pandemic, but couples are now signaling that they won’t have their love locked down forever.

David’s Bridal, one of largest seller of wedding gowns in the United States, said it’s anticipating weddings to return with a vengeance this year and into 2022 because of pent-up demand.

James Marcum, CEO of David’s Bridal, said that based on the number and timing of dress orders the chain is getting, he expects the pace of weddings to be most robust in the fall, followed by next spring and summer. “In terms of volume of weddings, we anticipate it to be up approximately 50% compared to an average year, pre-pandemic,” he said.

In addition to the postponed weddings that will come to fruition this year, Marcum said many couples who proceeded with their nuptials in 2020 but opted for more intimate affairs, or “minimonies,” are planning to hold second larger celebrations.

“People are feeling a lot more comfortable and optimistic,” he added. “As vaccination rates pick up, we’re seeing signs of heightened wedding-related activity.”

To get a read on the renewed vigor to tie the knot, David’s Bridal commissioned a survey of its Instagram followers in early March, shortly after President Biden announced that the US will have enough vaccine for every adult by the end of May.

The survey showed that 60% of 2,648 respondents said they were planning a wedding in 2021, 61% want it to be an outdoor wedding, and 35% said the news of vaccination availability increased their guest count.

Another indicator that wedding demand is back, Marcum said, is the surge in enrollments in David’s Bridal new Diamond Loyalty Program it launched in early December.

The free program allows brides to share their loyalty number with family, friends and their bridal party to earn points when they shop that go toward a free honeymoon. “We’re approaching 200,000 people who have signed up and are talking about their [wedding] event dates,” said Marcum.

Enthusiasm for weddings is showing up in related businesses, too.

Online marketplace Zazzle, which sells made-to-order products such as invitations, party favors and gifts, noted a double-digit increase in “save the date” invites in January and February, compared to a year earlier.

Additionally, Zazzle said invitations for pre-wedding festivities such as bachelorette parties and wedding showers are up 32% month-over-month from January to February.

The company said orders for personalized masks and colors to match wedding colors have also jumped since January. “It tells us that couples are seeing light at the end of the tunnel,” said Nizzi Karai Renaud, chief marketing officer with Zazzle.

Jumpsuits and shorter hemlines

While wedding parties may be getting bigger, many couples are still embracing a casual tone to their celebration, said Heather McReynolds, David’s Bridal vice president of bridal and dresses.

“Ease and comfort is top of mind” for brides in terms of their wedding look, she said. Some brides are electing a “non-traditional” look with shorter hemlines, wedding jumpsuits or mix-and-match options such as a lace or beaded top with a tulle skirt.

McReynolds said this more relaxed look speaks to a larger trend, in which brides can rewear or repurpose their wedding day look. “They can actually incorporate these looks into their everyday wardrobe,” she said.

In February, David’s Bridal also launched the Little White Dress Boutique, a collection of budget-friendly, ready-to-wear dresses with prices as low as $90 that cater to pandemic-friendly “minimonies” and backyard weddings.

“The majority of this collection is under $200,” said McReynolds. For brides who opt for the glamor of a traditional full wedding gown, comfort and lighter fabrics are still key, with outdoor weddings heavily favored she said.

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