The April 2011 wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton is now a memory, but it lives on through the "bridal bounce" it created, i.e., the trends it has set for other brides planning their weddings.
Most weddings begin with an engagement and a ring. When William proposed to Kate, he gave her the sapphire and diamond engagement ring that had belonged to his late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales. That resulted in a renewed interest in choosing colored gems for engagement rings.
Philip Press, celebrity jewelry designer and master platinumsmith, has noticed a surge of interest in color, along with a renewed commitment to platinum in engagement rings, since the royal wedding.
Press, whose showroom and workshop in West Hollywood, Calif., attracts customers from around the world, says: "Color is hot again in my designs. I frequently use vibrant precious gems and colored diamonds as an accent or the focal point. They all look amazing in platinum, the noble metal that is perfect for royalty -- and every bride looking for heirloom quality."
Meaghan Owen of The Moxie Agency works with Bryan Rafanelli, who planned Chelsea Clinton's wedding and served as an expert on the royal wedding for E! Entertainment Television. According to Owen, several touches used by William and Kate are being chosen by other couples for their wedding day.
One was the use of trees to decorate Westminster Abbey, where the royal wedding was held. Owen calls it a Rafanelli signature piece. "We have been importing trees into our tents for years. It is a sophisticated way to bring height to a room while proving a romantic canopy at the same time," she says.
The use of vintage cars has gone up since William and Kate drove away in the Aston Martin owned by Prince Charles, father of the groom.
Smaller bridal bouquets are also a legacy of the royal wedding, according to Owen. "We have been promoting smaller bouquets for a few years now. It is a sure sign of the times, but more importantly, it is a reflection of the understated elegance that seems to be the hallmark of this royal wedding."
Bridesmaid dresses have been influenced by the one worn by Kate's sister and chief bridesmaid, Pippa Middleton. Erika Unbehaun, an American wedding planner, says: "All of my brides have since requested neutral-colored bridesmaid dresses. The brides who want a vintage wedding are turning toward long-sleeved lace gowns in hopes that this elegant look will turn just as many heads."
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had an after-wedding party for their younger guests, a trend that has caught on to an extent, according to Marta Segal Block, editorial director of GigMasters, an online booking agency for event entertainment, including weddings.
This trend already was starting to gain traction before the royal wedding, but Pippa Middleton's placing of a disco ball in Buckingham Palace has brought this sort of dance-centered after-hours party to the front of everyone's mind," Segal says.
Though it sounds like nothing but fun, this trend has some negatives.
"Most couples don't have the money to throw two completely different parties, so they wind up skimping on things like photography or quality entertainment at the main reception," Segal says. Plus, many couples misjudge how tired they will be at the end of their wedding day.
"An after party sounds great in theory, but few brides sleep well the night before their wedding, and many get up early for hair, makeup and pictures and spend all day being emotional. By 10 p.m., they're ready for bed, not another party."
On the plus side, an after-wedding party can be a good idea if the couple have a lot of out-of-town friends coming in for the wedding. "You really want to maximize your time with them," Segal says.
"The after party is also something that you get to control, instead of fighting for control with your mother or mother-in-law. Or, in many cases, it's something that a groom can control," Segal says.