Just two months before her dream Tuscan wedding earlier this year, Emily Law was working on her registry. Clicking through fashion-focused wedding resource Over the Moon, she stumbled upon a service she’d never considered—or never knew existed.
“I just saw the ‘Styling Services’ tab,” says the web designer from Bi Coast. “I’ve read through [the description] and was like, ‘Okay, me to need This.'”
Stylists are rife in the celebrity realm: they’re the ones who snag exclusive pieces straight from the runway, determine custom headline-grabbing designs, and help create a public personality through distinctive fashions for celebrity clients. However, you may not encounter them elsewhere. Still, engaged couples regularly rely on event planners – why not someone to take care of the fashion too?
According to The Knot’s Shelley Brown, interest in wedding stylists began before the pandemic. However, the unprecedented wedding boom of 2022 has led to a proliferation of “maximalist” celebrations that span a weekend — or even a whole week — of associated celebrations, and that has increased demand for “curating an equally maximalist wedding wardrobe.” . she writes in an email.
“Because it’s not just a dress anymore – it’s not only your wedding dress,” says Micaela Erlanger.
The famed stylist organically expanded into weddings in 2019 (featuring Amanda Hearst’s epic family castle wedding) after noticing a “white space” in the luxury experience market. “It’s your after-party dress. It’s your bridal party, bachelorette party, mother of the bride — all those different things,” she says.
Law had already secured a hand-embroidered Reem Acra ceremonial dress for her scenic Italian wine country weekend, but felt “overwhelmed” by the sheer number of online options for all of the other events on the schedule. “I scrolled thousands pages of dresses, shoes and skirts, and I just had no idea what would look good,” she says.
Anny Choi, Over the Moon’s head stylist, stepped in as a designer with her fashion knowledge and connections from more than six years Fashion Editor. (Over the Moon founder Alexandra Macon is also one Fashion vet.) Choi first provided Law with a questionnaire and studied her new client’s Pinterest boards to refine Law’s style, tastes and wedding vision.
“She’s created an incredible interactive deck with tons of outfits,” says Law, who landed on four looks including a camisole and skirt set with a floral handkerchief hem, which tipped the Tory Burch Spring 2020 runway for a wedding brunch and a stunning feather closed-studded vintage Lanvin gown from Happy Isles Vintage Bridal Atelier for the reception. “[Choi] just helped me create this vision of an Italian wedding that I couldn’t have imagined myself.”
With numerous events documented and shared through photos, videos and social media, today’s weddings have become the equivalent of a very sentimental editorial. Of course, couples want to highlight their personal style to create ultimate fashion moments to commemorate their big day.
“Walking down the aisle is the closest thing to walking the red carpet,” says Erlanger, whose specialty is luxury bridal styling for a “demanding” clientele. “There are so many parallels: it’s a big milestone, it’s a high-pressure event, it’s a live event, you’re in formal wear most of the time.”
Los Angeles-based Kennedy Bingham, who previously worked for now-defunct wedding dress startup Floravere, quickly grew her wedding styling business on TikTok. She debuted her Gown Eyed Girl persona in the early days of the pandemic in May 2020, breaking apart from the more traditional wedding content on TikTok with style-driven videos.
“I really haven’t seen anyone from a fashion point of view,” says Bingham. For example, instead of posting videos of the anticipated “for the beach wedding,” she created content through the lens of an editorial creative director. “Like what I would wear if I were a villain? Or if I was there This Movie?” She gained 300,000 followers in a matter of months. Now, she has nearly 975,000 and 29 million likes (and nearly 68,000 followers on Instagram) and works with bridal brands in their marketing efforts.
After dabbling in the planning, Bingham began remote wedding styling in 2021. Based on a questionnaire and interviews with clients, she will put together “style guides” tailored to the event and aesthetic, featuring brands such as Selkie, Catherine Regehr and Toni Matičevski. She will add links to shop, research, customize and get her own ensembles from there. (She personally styles and shops for a Los Angeles-based clientele.)
“I always like to say, ‘I’m not a wedding person — I am Fashion person who specializes in bridal wear,” says Bingham.
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Over the Moon’s Choi credits her Condé Nast days for forging strong relationships with bridal-specific brands and fashion designers, allowing her to “call in favors” to commission a re-issue of a piece from the past season, adapting an existing style in a bridal range, dye or expedite an appointment at a luxury home. Because uniqueness is so important to today’s consumer, she also has inside information on emerging designers who can create bespoke looks for their clients and will work with her Garment District network to customize an existing piece for their clients. (Choi channels her fashion assistant’s days and will include restaurant and coffee break recommendations in her geo-optimized wedding dress schedule as an added personal touch for clients.)
Erlanger, on the other hand, says their specialty “is not just on-site experience — which really is the gold standard — but custom design. I bring my years of experience designing dresses in conjunction with the best luxury red carpet houses.”
Erlanger will work with the retail teams and in-house designers to achieve the full “couture experience” in bridal fashion, much like she does for an A-lister that includes Lupita Nyong’o, Meryl Streep and Diane Kruger . Take a look at her own wedding celebrations in 2022, for example: Erlanger collaborated with Prada on an ivory silk-georgette ceremony dress with delicate lily-of-the-valley embroidery (bodice), a reception dress embellished with crystals and feathers, and a two-piece mini-skirt set for the night out Dance. Markarian created the bespoke looks worn by her bridesmaids, including Nyong’o.
Judas and the Black Messiah costume designer Charlese Antoinette is expanding her prolific portfolio — which also includes designing a fine jewelry line and running the Black Designer Database — with wedding planning and styling, and recently polished her mother’s beach wedding in Jamaica. She smoothly transfers her on-screen skills and relationships to secure the resources needed to fit and fit parts to a variety of bodies, as well as to custom design looks herself.
“I’ve done different types of weddings — like it wasn’t just cis-hetero,” she says.
Antoinette recalls helping friend and colleague Kat Contreras (above) whose tailored wedding suit became a wardrobe crisis. “The suit was a terrible fit and they’re freaking out. So I took them to a tailor and we pinned it and adjusted it so much better,” she says. Antoinette styled the final look with suspenders and a matching bow tie and handkerchief.
During the pandemic, Antoinette also acted as a personal shopper in New York City for Darrin Maxwell for his wedding to floral designer Farah Maxwell. “We found this gorgeous white tuxedo with black silk lapels that was very slim fitting and modern with black tuxedo pants,” she says, noting how she also helped the bride with the finishing touches of styling for her big day.
As this unprecedented boom continues and another round of engagements begins, interest in wedding stylists—and the need for more of them—will grow.
Choi noted that “demand for Over the Moon styling services has skyrocketed over the past year” after images of fashions for registry office and backyard ceremonies went viral on Instagram.
“Gosh, I’d say my inquiries have increased slightly by 80%,” says Erlanger, who also advises and works with wedding brands like Forevermark.
In the first six months of her styling, Bingham received more than “50 requests a month,” she says, though she’s since refined her client list to focus on a more personal approach. With her next goalpost in mind, she would love to work with red carpet stylists – Law Roach is high on her wish list – to provide wedding-specific services to a celebrity clientele.
Whether by word of mouth or TikTok and Instagram (especially Instagram), styling is fast becoming another must-have for weddings – and a new (or additional) career path for fashion professionals to shape and grow in their own way.
“With the amazing photos and amazing outfits, most of my guests thought, ‘If we’re going to have our weddings, we want a wedding stylist,'” says Law.
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