How Kate Middleton Reinvented The $80 Billion Wedding Industry Before You Even Woke Up This Morning

MA wedding

Say what you will about the British monarchy, but they keep things moving.

The wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William seemed to whoosh by this morning.

But those few hours just set the artistic and financial expectations of vendors across the U.S. wedding industry (a business worth $80 billion annually).

So by the time Prince Harry raises his glass to the happy couple tonight, bridal businesses will be scrambling to follow Middleton’s lead.

Let's start with the obvious one: brides will want the retro, demure look Kate chose.

Which means designers well-versed in the style -- such as Priscilla of Boston -- can look forward to great 2011 earnings.

That is, unless they want to get married in Pippa Middleton's maid of honour sheath.

Our first thought was -- wow, that ivory crepe number (also McQueen) would also make a gorgeous wedding gown. And we're betting lots of brides will agree -- so designers should be sketching sleek columns right now.

coloured gems will eat away at diamond's dominance.

Middleton's heirloom sparkler may be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, but generally, coloured gems are much more affordable than diamonds -- and with spending still tight, it's the perfect time for the trend. Now Middleton has given it the push it needs to go from acceptable to fashionable.

Time for tiaras.

Just when you thought bejeweled headwear for commoners might disappear, they've been granted a second chance at life. There was much speculation that Kate wouldn't wear a tiara -- but now that she has, accessories companies are thanking their lucky stars.

Do-gooder gift registries will see a spike in popularity.

Which means -- not that they'll be saying it out loud -- a bit of a sales decrease for typical registry staples like Williams-Sonoma, Bed Bath and Beyond and Macy's.

Fashion-forward brides will eye those fascinators seriously.

Middleton got the ball rolling on this trend six months ago, when photos of her in fascinators started popping up everywhere and indie retailers rushed to roll them out. Now, seeing them in a formal setting will likely inspire daring brides to snap one up -- or make them part of the bridesmaid ensemble. (That's Prince Harry's ex Chelsy Davy in the green dress and a fascinator, by the way. We're not sure who her companion is, but we're loving that 'Pretty Woman' look.)

And bridal parties may slim down (in numbers, not weight).

Larger bridal parties, with six bridesmaids or more, have been in vogue for several years -- but they've also sparked drama and hassle. Seeing Pippa go elegantly solo may inspire brides to do away with big parades -- which would hurt the sales of bridesmaid dress lines. (Though maybe brides will start casting more flower girls, so they can make up the difference with tinier designs.)

Goodbye stretch Escalade, hello old Rolls.

Good news, exotic car rental companies -- after this morning, every bride and groom is drooling over Kate's Rolls Royce ride and Prince William's burgundy Bentley. You may even want to add to your fleet to anticipate a rise in requests. (Oh, and horse drawn carriage vendors will have quite a year, too.)

And this has less to do with marriage than the baby carriage, but...

Look for Catherine and Kate to jump up a few spots on the baby name charts -- joined, undoubtedly, by Pippa (few realise her formal name is Philippa), and possibly Harry.

Keep the pandemonium going with these international wedding watchers.

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