McKenzi Taylor of Electric Sugar Elopements on Unconventional Bridal Fashion

New York International Bridal Fashion Week, from April 6-8, signaled a shift in the bridal fashion industry. It was difficult to find a single collection without at least one unconventional look, whether a non-white wedding dress, a pantsuit or jumpsuit, or a cocktail-length dress with a campy veil. While traditionalism is still very important in the bridal fashion industry, many recognize a growing market for those who want an unconventional wedding day in an off-beat location filled with dresses of every color from black and burgundy to peach and orange. The unconventional wedding is often hyper-personalized, so a couple can share their unique aesthetic that isn’t influenced by traditional wedding day rules or faux pas. In many ways, this wedding style puts less pressure on the couple and adds more fun to the wedding planning journey so the two can feel their happiest and most comfortable.

To gain more insight into unconventional bridal fashion, Fashion Reverie has teamed up with McKenzi Taylor, a renowned elopement and micro-weddings expert who founded Electric Sugar Elopements (ESE), an unconventional wedding planning business. Electric Sugar Elopements is for the alternative couple who “give tradition the ring finger.” After organizing her own Las Vegas elopement, McKenzi Taylor became passionate about alternative elopements and micro-weddings. Coupled with her experience as a wedding photographer, she turned her passion into a business for wedding couples who rebel against traditionalism. In this interview, she offers insight into the top trends in the unconventional wedding scene, which Fashion Reverie also detailed in our “Editor’s Picks: Unconventional Bridal Fashion Representative of the Changing Industry.” Please read below for the entire conversation with McKenzi Taylor!

Image courtesy of Cactus Collective

Fashion Reverie: First, can you tell us about your start as a professional wedding photographer and your decision to create Electric Sugar Elopements?

McKenzi Taylor: After seeing […] more and more couples […] seeking to express their identity through special touches they’d bring to their traditional wedding […], ESE was born as a safe space for contemporary and alternative couples to express their […] ideas a bit more loudly. Our staff and crew encourage off-beat venues and design elements, badass backdrops, and unconventional photoshoots on the wedding day.

FR: I’m sure you’ve witnessed quite a few black wedding dresses in your business, and there is a major trend that emphasizes non-white dresses. Is this something you’ve noticed, and why do you think people are straying from the traditional white dress?

McKenzi Taylor: In the age of better body awareness and less stringent social norms, we see a rising percentage of women less concerned with the classic white dress and more concerned with size inclusion, design functionality, and a flattering color for their skin tone. The goal these days is to feel amazing, and that can be in whatever style and colors a couple feels best represents them. We have had brides with black leotards paired with tulle skirts, silver sequined cocktail dresses, mint green mid-length dresses with poms-poms, black dresses, burgundy dresses, and even a vintage Hawaiian dress with orange and green florals. Just about anything goes!

FR: Along with the stray from white dresses, I think the awareness of gender identity and fluidity has changed wedding fashion. I’ve noticed many swapping dresses for pants and two-piece sets representing the wearer’s style. Have you noticed this? In your experience, have weddings and wedding fashion become more about personalization and unique identity?

McKenzi Taylor: Yes, we do have a lot of same-sex brides getting married […], and typically one will wear a pantsuit or jumpsuit, while the other bride will opt for a traditional wedding dress. [Recently] we [worked with] a bride with such a cool, unique style that not many could pull off. She wore a bodysuit with oversized ruffles and a mustard-colored skirt. Normally you wouldn’t choose that for a wedding look, but the fit, colors, design, and overall style fit her energy to a tee, and it just worked. More and more brides are opting to express their own unique style [instead of] following wedding attire “rules.”

FR: On a similar note, short wedding dresses are becoming popular. What wedding fashion silhouettes do you tend to notice among your clients?

McKenzi Taylor: We see our clients in a lot of body-hugging/fitted silhouettes […]. […] Because of the nature of our style of weddings, we are not going to see many mermaid, princess, or ball gown silhouettes. Most of our weddings are in outdoor natural locations or nonconventional indoor spaces, and the attire reflects that. An overwhelming [number] of our brides are […] opting for comfort over restrictive silhouettes. Bridal veils are also very common among our brides; at least 75% wear some type of veil. […]. Most of our brides are shunning tradition with their dresses but maintaining that elegant touch with their choice of veil. Some of the veils we are seeing are ironic and cheeky, some are chic, and some bring a softness to a bride’s total look.

Images courtesy of Electric Sugar Elopements

FR: In my opinion, weddings in some ways have become less formal in terms of being more playful and fun. Some are even campy occasionally. Have you experienced weddings like that?

McKenzi Taylor: [That’s] all we do [at] Electric Sugar Elopements! The David Bowie wedding, we just did, is the quintessential wedding for ESE couples. […] The bride wore a disco ball-themed silver sequined dress […] complete with the bride’s rock n’ roll-themed (yet subtle) makeup. It was the right amount of camp, edge, laughter, and silliness, but with notes of romance […]. It was a memorable day.

FR: As you mentioned, venues also really influence bridal fashion, and over the past few years, couples have been getting more creative with where they are having their wedding. What kinds of unconventional venues have you noticed when working with your clients?

McKenzi Taylor: Unconventional venues are [our] specialty, [which is] why couples seek us out. We’ve had couples get married in a transformed alley, an abandoned building, a mock BDSM themed room, a neon museum, private residences, [and] outdoor locations like canyons, hillsides, and nature preserves. Anything can be turned into a wedding venue with the [proper] lighting, décor, and accessories, and of course, in some cases, permits must be obtained.

—Tessa Swantek

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