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Published: 9 Feb 2015

US Brands Reboot Bridal Retail

Caitlin Mociun's appointment-only bridal salon

Echoing a 2015 feature by The New York Times that revealed an increase in the number of brides renting their dresses rather than buying them, a handful of US retailers are reimagining the wedding market for consumers seeking a more modern approach to marriage.

Most notably, California-born designer Caitlin Mociun – owner of cult NY-based ceramics, jewellery and homeware brand Mociun – has launched an appointment-only bridal salon, wedding registry, and custom jewellery consultation service in a nearby space in Williamsburg. Billed as a boutique for "an adult woman who is really into design" rather than "a little girl's dream", Mociun White is a stark, white, loft-like mezzanine space, with railings, steps and fixtures accented in vivid, multicoloured blocks.

Fellow Williamsburg jewellery store Catbird also opened a wedding Annex in late 2014 devoted solely to its wedding and engagement collections, located on a street parallel to the original Catbird store. Echoing Mociun White's bias towards modernity over traditional visual cues, the informal space – which displays pieces in cool white glass-fronted cabinet armoires – welcomes both walk-ins and by-appointment customers.

The men's market is also shifting. US menswear e-tailer Bonobos recently launched Groomshop, a service where fiancés book an appointment with a dedicated stylist at any Guideshop (appointment-only showrooms that hold samples, but no stock) for a private fitting with their groomsmen. Consultations include advice on the engagement party, speech and honeymoon – mirroring content on the Groomshop website. Post-wedding, consumers are encouraged to share and hashtag images using #BonobosWedding.

As highlighted in our report Bridal Fashion & Beauty: Return to Luxury, this month also witnesses the New York return of The Big Fake Wedding show (formerly The Not Wedding show) – an immersive expo where vendors from DJs to caterers demonstrate their services as they would at a real wedding.

Such shifts in attitudes are reinforced by other major brands similarly reconsidering traditional attitudes towards relationships. See Same-Sex Tiffany Ad Fuels Rebrand and our report Fashion & Beauty: Liberating Gender.

For more specifically on alternative bridal fashion and beauty, see The Minimal Bride Solange Knowles and The Hipster Bride.