Celebrity nuptials can have an impact on the overall wedding industry, but a royal wedding is a game-changer. The local wedding industry is getting ready for the biggest day in 30 years as Prince William marries Kate Middleton on Friday.
At the center of it all will be the dress.
Danielle Adrienne, the owner of a Center City wedding boutique, says some customers are already asking to secure a dress similar to what Middleton will wear, sight unseen.
The last royal wedding 30 years ago featured Princess Diana’s dress with puffy sleeves and a skirt fashioned from an avalanche of fabric. It immediately set wedding-dress style for the rest of the ‘80s.
“If we look at Chelsea Clinton’s wedding, as private as that was, by the next day someone had sketched out a knockoff of her gown,” said Philadelphia wedding planner Mark Kingsdorf. “That became readily available pretty much in the next couple days. So as public as this is, and with the time difference, I’m guessing by that weekend they are going to have something in production.”
Right now Middleton’s dress is one of the best-kept secrets in the world, perhaps even beyond the reach of Julian Assange. A U.K. bookmaker called Paddy Power is taking bets: as of Monday, the odds favor designer Sarah Burton, with the long-shot payoff being Libelula.
Most observers expect the dress will be the opposite of the poof that Prince William’s mother wore in 1981.
“In light of the fact that she’s wearing Diana’s engagement ring . . . I can’t see her do something as big and over-the-top and ornate as Diana,” said Kingsdorf. “At some point, you have to say, ‘Is Will marrying his mother?’ I don’t think he wants to mimic the royal wedding his parents had.”
Main Line designer Frank Agostino says the dress will have to have some volume to compete with the huge expanse of Westminster Abbey, but fitted such that Middleton doesn’t get lost inside it. “I think she’s going to be wearing something with beautiful lines, but clean and modern,” said Agostino.
Agostino–whose own wedding anniversary is on Friday–will be watching Kate’s Big Moment, but he said his well-heeled customers don’t want knockoffs.