What is Bridal Market?


By Sarah Zlotnick

You know Fashion Week, right? These days it may seem like Fashion Week exists to give style bloggers an exciting new backdrop to have their pictures taken against, but Fashion Week actually exists to give editors, writers, boutique owners, and buyers an opportunity to view upcoming collections so they know what to write about in their next issue/stock their stores with next season. Bridal Market is the same, except the focus is wedding and bridesmaid dresses, along with shoes, veils, jewelry, and other accessories. If you’re thinking this sounds a lot like Bridal Fashion Week, you’d be right! Bridal Market = Bridal Fashion Week. The terms are pretty much interchangeable.

Some designers present their collections in studios or in their personal showrooms, while others take appointments at Pier 92, which is a great opportunity for editors and buyers to see a lot of designers at once. 

OK—Why should I care?

Collections hit the stores roughly six months after they hit the runways. So if you’re not quite ready to go wedding dress shopping, but are ready to start brainstorming, viewing the collections will give you an idea of what will actually be available come shopping time.

If you’ve already gotten your dress and are in the tailoring phase, consider Bridal Market the quintessential place to snag inspiration from. WeddingWire Editors attend every Market, and we post our favorite details on WedStyle, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Be it a blinged out sash or an unexpected neckline, take a peek at what’s new and how gowns were accessorized on the runway and incorporate these trends into your own wedding day look!

You know, that actually sounds kind of fun. How long does a show last? 

The formal presentation is actually very short—usually no longer than 10 or 15 minutes. Which makes sense, when you think about it—it only takes a certain amount of time for a model to sashay up and down a runway.

And what’s the difference between a runway show and a presentation?

Both have their merits! A runway show is what you think of when you typically think of Fashion Week. Attendees sit on opposite sides of a walkway, and models wearing gowns sashay up and down said walkway a few times. Runway shows are great because they allow us to see how gowns move/if they’re easy to walk in, which is pretty important considering the real brides who wear them will be walking down their own sort of runway.

A presentation, on the other hand, is a more intimate event. Less people usually attend, and dresses are either presented on standing models or mannequins. So, very little sashaying involved. These appointments allow us to get up close and personal with the gowns. We have the opportunity to feel the fabric, admire beautiful beadwork, and better understand the heft of a dress.

Overall, both help us editors discern what the best dresses are to present to you, the future bride, at the end of Market.

Got it. Editors go to Bridal Market to report on new styles. What do boutique owners and buyers do?

Their purpose is even more important—they attend Market to stock the stores you’ll end up buying your dress at! When a boutique owner/buying makes an appointment to view a collection, they also place orders for the gowns they’ll carry in their stores. An important detail to note: not all dresses are ordered as is. Boutique owners know their audience better than anyone, and will sometimes work with designers to tweak gown styles to better suit brides in their area of the country. This can be anything from changing the color of the skirt underlay to adding cap sleeves to a strapless style.

Alright, I’m officially pumped for Bridal Market. What’s the best way for me to follow along?

Starting April 15 we’ll be posting on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook—find us on any one of these platforms for even more of-the-moment coverage. If you want to get in on the exclusive behind-the-scenes action, add "weddingwire" on Snapchat!

Just looking to browse neatly organized photos of the newest collections? Not a problem—we’ll have that, too! Check back in with us after the end of Market on April 20th to see photos of the full collections! 

Got more dress questions? WeddingWire’s Sarah Title, Alex Merriman, and Elizabeth Stiles will be at New York Bridal Market from Wednesday April 15 through Monday April 20—tweet @WeddingWire to get in touch!

Gown in photo by Reem Acra, Photo by Dan Lecca

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