Elements of Style

The Reality of a Pandemic Fiancée

Wedding dress designer Danielle Frankel details how COVID-19 affected weddings.

By Danielle Wright Published in the Spring 2022 issue of Houstonia Magazine

According to Danielle Frankel, wedding dress couturier of Danielle Frankel Studio, weddings will never stop.

When the coronavirus pandemic began to ravage the world in 2020, it set off a chain of canceled or postponed events. After months of preparation to bring dream weddings to life, brides around the world were faced with the dreadful reality that their exquisite event would have to wait. However, according to Danielle Frankel, wedding dress couturier of Danielle Frankel Studio, weddings will never stop.

Danielle Frankel's eclectic designs sits at the helm of spring bridal trends.

“Wedding planning slowed down for a handful of months, but people will still get married,” Frankel says. “Now that they are vaccinated, they can have these larger weddings, and I think that notion of being closed and reopened, that reemergence, people are definitely excited, and they are eager to plan their weddings.” As society reimagines the “norm,” the timeliness of a new-age wedding has no bounds. With the emergence of new COVID variants, patience holds no weight in a world that may feel like it’s running out of time. With so many unanswered questions about the virus and its potential for continued impact, brides are impatient now more than ever to marry. 

“These are tentative wedding dates. Before the pandemic, you had a wedding date and, if you’re not getting married on your wedding date, it was very strange, like something is up,” Frankel says. “Now it seems like everyone, or at least our clients, are like, ‘well, this is the plan for now. And we’ll have to play it by ear and have a rolling target.’”

In 2019, spring was the ideal season to have a wedding. Flowers are blooming and the fresh, crisp air is brought upon by winter’s cold front cleanse. The weather calls for perfect temps in the 70s, creating flawless outdoor ceremonies. However, with the arrival of the latest variant, brides-to-be are caught in a mix of socially distant ceremonies or canceling until the pandemic passes. With the unknown of who is vaccinated and who is bold enough to inquire, Frankel says weddings have become less seasonal and more spur of the moment.

Housed in New York, the new bridal line includes several non-traditional wedding gowns. From silk, drapes and pleated styles to appliques and two-tone textiles, here enters the wedding dress of the modern woman. 

Originally headed in the wholesale direction, Frankel had a change in course to a direct-to-consumer approach. Frankel insists that clients are not into bridal salons anymore, but rather an intimate avenue that makes for a better experience. Even in the latest work-from-home and Zoom norm, the strategy of Danielle Frankel Studio has made it pleasant to engage with clients and better suit their needs. “It’s not just about coming to New York and coming to the atelier during the fitting experience. We are working with people from all over the world, certainly in Texas, where they’re ordering the gowns directly through us and we’re shipping it to them. Then we’ll FaceTime and walk them through where they need alterations. People are so much more willing and open to work that way.”

Frankel shares her suggestions on the most important piece of the wedding planning process: the dress. Say Yes to the Dress may be fun to watch on TLC, but the reality of finding the perfect gown may be more complex than it looks.

Texas holds no bounds when it comes to the weather. Weddings may begin with a sunny day and turn into a rainy nightmare, or a humid morning can turn into a colder evening. With this in mind, it’s best to pick a dress well-suited for any change. For brides who perspire at the first sight of an increase in Fahrenheit, strapless dresses will be their saving grace. 

“I definitely think fabrication is key. If you are someone that sweats a lot, go with strapless or little spaghetti straps, something slinkier and easier. I recommend paying attention to the linings, too, because you don’t want to have any linings that have extra fabric on your body. If the lining is really lightweight, the dress will therefore be light. Look inside the garment; that’s an important thing too.”

So, when is the right time to seek a gorgeous gown? There is no right time. From rapid ceremonies to planning years in advance, the new era of weddings holds no frame. The truth is people want to get married and stop waiting. 

“I think there’s so much that goes into a wedding and I’m producing it. Our approach is we sell our wedding dresses as ready-to-wear because that’s how people shop. They want to buy their wedding gown and be able to go to fittings and alterations right then and there, and take her home as soon as possible.” Frankel says. “We’ve had people who are like, ‘I’m getting married this weekend. What do you have?’ And then we’ve had people who have purchased, and we’ve been, because of the pandemic, working with them for like two years. There’s no wrong time. I would say just when you find that gap, that’s right. That’s when you should purchase it.” 

While the pandemic is filled with uncertainty, Frankel has confidence that weddings will never go out of style.

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