Nothing brings bridal stories out of the woodwork quite like planning your own wedding. Once anyone who’s ever worn white hears you’re getting hitched, brace yourself for a tale. Some brides of yesteryear will recall florist disasters and menu mishaps, while others will smile as they revisit those first dance feelings all over again. Some sagas are funny. Others are romantic. Each one seems to come with a side of joyful nostalgia.
Personally, I thought the best stories came from family. Planning a wedding was the perfect excuse to pull out albums and ask about the color behind blissful black and white smiles. As I flipped through weathered wedding portraits, grandmothers on both sides of our families beamed as they turned the clock back to the fifties. It was a decade that married sensibility and glamour like no other, and boy did our grandmothers wear bridal white well.
Along with their wedding gowns, their albums also showcased a second outfit. Each had a tailored, more everyday-feeling ensemble: a getaway look. It was here in the album that my mother’s mother stopped and laughed. Apparently they had quite the getaway. After accidently leaving her suitcase behind, she and my grandfather had to shake a trail of cars full of jokester friends who had decided they were coming along for their honeymoon. There were no flashy sparklers or bubbles in that exit photo. Just stylish newlyweds in their travel attire, all smiles while surrounded by trickster friends who were about to give them a getaway memory of a lifetime.
The photo got me thinking. When did a more casual wedding day getaway fall out of vogue? It’s certainly understandable for a bride to want to spend every minute possible in her once-in-a-lifetime gown, but there’s something symbolic in this vintage tradition that’s been a bit lost in recent years.
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Back in the day, slipping into less formal attire was a rational choice for couples wanting travel with ease as they embarked on their honeymoon that very day. Though most couples today don’t depart until days or months later, that outfit change could signal more than retro elegance and tradition. Beyond practical travel clothes or just another ensemble to flaunt, this quick change is a bridge between wedding day grandeur and everyday married life. It’s a tiptoe back from the fairytale towards the real life love story that brought you both here in the first place.
A simple transition from bride to wife while you’re still in the spotlight…now doesn’t that sound nice? If my grandmothers could wear it so well in the fifties and Steel Magnolias's bride Shelby could perfect it in pink in the eighties, what’s holding us back from bringing a new sense of style to the tradition today?