Then & Now: How weddings have changed through the decades

Tuesday 12th December 2017

Cairn Group Hotels
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Have you ever flicked through your parents or grandparents wedding photos, and thought, WOW? Or maybe even giggled a little? You’ve probably come across a wide range of weird but wonderful styles, dresses and ‘dos but no matter what year or decade you’re in, weddings tend to follow suit (pardon the pun), and echo similarities generation by generation.

Getting hitched has its traditional aspects that stand the test of time, such as the father of the bride walking her down the aisle and the exchanging of vows. But then there are those details which are reflective of the trends of the era.

Here, we’ve looked back at how wedding trends have evolved over the decades and how you can take the best of the past trends and bring them into your upcoming wedding at our Cairn Collection hotels…



The year of ‘flapper fashion’, and the emergence of iconic French designer Coco Chanel, the 20s was an era filled with jazz, pearls and bobs. Wedding dresses became shorter in the late 1920s, where it wasn’t unusual to almost see the bride’s knees!

If you’re a lover of all things vintage, Redworth Hall has the perfect setting, where a dedicated wedding planner will be there every step of the way to make sure you get the fairy-tale ending you wished for.

Credit: @laurincabral


Being wartime, the 40s was a decade of simplicity but heavily relied on romance… brides-to-be would often arrange their wedding in the brief window before her groom left for duty, so wouldn’t have much time to plan anything too extravagant. A wedding reception would often comprise of a wedding cake and punch!

Relive your romantic 1940s fantasy at one of our Cairn Collection hotels; The MajesticStirling Highlandand Stoke Place each offer both class and charm.

Credit: Want That Wedding | Charlene Morton Photography


The decade of The Beatles, The Supremes and Bob Dylan, and when mini skirts and thigh high leather boots were fashionable, the 60s was an exciting era to say the least. Fun, casual and comfortable were the main features of a 1960s wedding dress, and the wedding day itself was a similar relaxed style too.

Cairn Newcastle and Cairn Edinburgh are both situated in the centre of two lively cities, ensuring your wedding reception/honeymoon stay will be a groovy one to remember. With special offers that can be catered to your stay, you won’t be disappointed…

Credit: @_whimsicaldiyweddings_


Considered as one of the most iconic closely guarded secrets in fashion history, the late Princess Diana’s wedding dress left the world speechless as she revealed her famous dress on her big day. With a lavish 25ft train and over 10,000 mother of pearl sequins and beads, and of course the statement puffed sleeves, Princess Diana was the ultimate icon of the 80s.

Whether you’re after an extravagant wedding or something a little more low key, Cairn Collection’s Angel Hotel in Cardiff is an elegant Victorian property, boasting three beautiful wedding function rooms complete with stunning period features. Find out more about what wedding features are available here. Alternatively, St George’s Hotel in London offers a wedding with breathtaking views across London’s skyline.

Credit: @vintagebrides


We’ve seen a whirlwind of weddings over the decades, but let’s talk about the now. 2017’s trend seems to be introducing elaborate entrances and décor, along with a splash of colour to the traditional ivory and white. Although there’ll always be a place for a traditional wedding cake, more and more couples are taking to alternatives such as doughnuts, cupcake stacks and even cheese!

Enjoy a modern wedding at The Old Ship in Brighton, with stunning panoramic sea front views, with the option of exchanging vows whilst overlooking the sea from one of the lounges. Or experience the modern bustling city of Newcastle and say I Do at our famous Royal Station Hotel. Licensed to hold civil ceremonies, you can enjoy and host your big day in one beautiful venue.


Which one of our Cairn Collection venues can you see yourself saying I Do?

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