How Wedding Style Has Changed in the Last 30 Years, Based on "Father of the Bride"

Plus, exclusive details on the newest costumes!

Father of the Bride

Photo by Claudette Barius

Third time’s the charm for Father of the Bride! Just when we thought we couldn’t get enough of this marital dramedy, a third adaptation is coming to HBO Max on June 16, 2022.

Similar to the 1950 version starring Spencer Tracy and Elizabeth Taylor, and the 1991 remake by Nancy Meyers, the current film is about a relationship between a father and his daughter. However, this time around, Billy (played by Andy Garcia) and Ingrid (played by Gloria Estefan) are a Cuban-American couple living in Miami who are trying to save their failing marriage. Meanwhile, their daughter Sophie (played by Adria Arjona) is planning her wedding in an unconventional way, and her traditional father is not thrilled about it. But even with all the drama, what we're most excited about is the show-stopping fashion!

From Sophie’s silk column gown to her bridesmaids’ blue sheath dresses, the costumes are brimming with jaw-dropping details and modern touches; and compared to the 1991 film, it’s clear that trends have changed in the last 30 years. So, to get the inside scoop on all things fashion, we tapped Caroline Eselin, the costume designer of the latest Father of the Bride feature. 

Meet the Expert

  • Caroline Eselin is a costume designer who has worked in the industry for over 20 years. In addition to her work on Father of the Bride, she’s also created looks for The Underground Railroad, If Beale Street Could Talk, and Moonlight.

As a whole, Eselin wanted to create wedding looks that honored the family’s Latin roots. “We embraced color, and we wanted to embrace Miami and the marrying of the cultures,” the costume designer reveals. “We just wanted beautiful colors everywhere.”

For the couple’s costumes, in particular, Eselin wanted to capture the duo’s nontraditional style and spirit. “They’re their own people,” she notes. “They’re this forward-thinking couple that are going to do great things in the world.”

Even though Sophie and her fiancé Adan Castillo (played by Diego Boneta) represent a contemporary couple, the costume designer still wanted to stay true to the elegant style featured in the 1991 rendition. “When you look back at the 1991 version, you can see it has such a classic feel to it, and I hope we did that as well but yet applied it to the culture and place we were in,” Eselin shares. “We wanted to be specific to Miami, to Mexico, and to Cuba in those cultures, those families, and those people. It really is a timeless, classic feel that applies to our modern world.”

Looking for more exclusive details? Keep reading for a breakdown of each wedding look featured in the current Father of the Bride and how it compares to the outfits in the 1991 movie. 

The Wedding Gown

Father of the Bride in white dinner jacket and his daughter in silk striped column dress

Photo by Claudette Barius

For her special day, Sophie taps her sister Cora (played by Isabela Merced) to design her silk striped column dress with a square neckline, puff sleeves, and a white belt—an ensemble that honors Sophie’s personal style while infusing Cora's own individual touch. “Cora is this cool kid from Miami, so we sort of did it through her eyes,” Eselin explains. “But, we took a lot of things into account, like what her sister would want. It was making something more simple and elegant for her sister and doing it through Cora’s expertise.”

Eselin also incorporated personalized details that communicate important information about the bride’s background, upbringing, and identity. “I thought it was a wonderful tribute to Miami with the stripes,” the expert says. “Stripes are synonymous with Miami. You just see them everywhere.”

While Sophie’s custom dress is brimming with intricacies that tell a meaningful story, the outfit that Annie Banks (played by Kimberly Williams) wears in the 1991 version highlights ‘90s trends. Unlike Sophie and other modern brides, Annie’s long-sleeve satin ballgown with delicate lace detailing, a high neck, and an oversized bow on the back fits the mold rather than hinting at her individuality. The ‘90s bride’s ensemble evokes a traditional and modest, yet regal and romantic look. Whereas Sophie’s sleek silhouette and cottagecore-inspired sleeves feel chic and cutting-edge.

The Bridal Party Dresses

Bridesmaids wearing blue sheath dresses

Photo Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Not only does Cora design a dress specially made for Sophie, but she also customizes ensembles for the entire bridal party. Sophie’s bridesmaids all don blue sheath dresses with oversized buttons down the side. Eselin says she selected these outfits as a nod to the pop art that graces Miami. The girls are accessorized with flower barrettes, pearl bracelets, and a belt, “...another one of Cora’s touches with a nontraditional flare," the designer adds.

Also, instead of sporting the same exact look, two members of the bridal party wear two-piece sets with cropped tops to suit their specific characters. Their looks still use the same fabric and materials, but the diverse styles prove that modern couples are now embracing individuality. 

For Annie in the 1991 film, her bridesmaids all wore the same long-sleeve, bubblegum pink A-line dresses affixed with bows on the back. This was synonymous with past trends when individual style was not encouraged. Today, mismatched dresses and personalization are key components in bridal party fashion. Annie’s girls look modest and tasteful as opposed to Sophie’s squad appearing fresh and current.

The Father of the Bride’s Attire

Father of the bride in white dinner jacket

Photo by Claudette Barius

The name of the movie is Father of the Bride after all, so obviously, the father of the bride has an important role; and his fashion is just as noteworthy! In the current adaptation, Billy sports a Ralph Lauren white dinner jacket and tuxedo pants, with a black bow tie and a tropical pocket square. “Billy is an elegant gentleman and an architect in Miami,” Eselin shares. “He has an old Cuban, traditional sense about him. A lot of the Latin and Cuban men look to European fashion and other refined and beautiful fashion.”

In the 1991 version, George Banks (played by Steven Martin) donned a black tuxedo and matching bow tie with a white floral boutonniere. His look was conventional and expected, and there wasn't anything personal about it. On the contrary, Billy’s dapper white hue and Miami-inspired pocket square reveal how fathers of the bride are now playing around with different styles and colors that suit their personality and environment. 

The Mother of the Bride’s Ensemble

Mother of the bride in turquoise lace dress with bell sleeves

Photo by Claudette Barius

To complement her husband, Ingrid dresses herself in a turquoise lace dress with flared sleeves by Carolina Herrera. To Eselin, the dress was the perfect embodiment of Ingrid’s heritage. “The dress has a fun Latin feel with ruffles, and the sleeves are bell,” she explains. “It just has a feel about it that feels of the culture.”

While Ingrid’s look encompasses her own culture and spirit, the gold beaded suit jacket, strands of pearls, and gloves that Nina Banks (played by Diane Keaton) wore in the 1991 feature were more subdued and polished. Current mothers of the bride love finding pieces that celebrate their personal style rather than restricting themselves to the traditional dress code.  

The Groom’s Outfit

Groom's white dinner jacket

Photo Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Since Sophie and Adan are nonconformists who want to start their own traditions, Eselin wanted the groom’s look to suit his distinctive style. Adan dresses down his J.Crew dinner jacket and black tuxedo pants with Common Projects sneakers. “It was an effortless, relaxed feel for him,” the costume designer reveals. Instead of blindly following the classic black-tie dress code, Adan wears what he wants to wear, as most modern grooms are doing today.

Meanwhile, Bryan MacKenzie (played by George Newbern) in the 1991 Father of the Bride sported a black tuxedo and bow tie with a white floral boutonniere. In the ‘90s remake, the groom, groomsmen, and father of the bride all dressed alike, which is different from today where grooms are much more likely to ditch tradition and choose clothing and accessories that feel unique to them.

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